Its location inside a marine preserve makes the Calanque du Cap Rousset one of the best snorkel spots west of Marseille. This small limestone cove sheltered from waves boasts a gorgeous, very inviting environment. More importantly, its preserved seabed hosts numerous fish species like wrasse, sea bream, sargo and even sometimes small groupers.
Cap Rousset beach (and calanque) are located in Carry-le-Rouet, about 30km west of Marseille city center and 30km south of Marseille-Provence airport. A small parking lot has been set in front of the beach, but it is often overcrowded during summer. Alternatively, you can walk from Carry-le-Rouet harbor (about 800m from the beach). There is also a coastal path, but it has been closed down due to landslide hazard.
We advise to enter the water from the beach’s west side (on your left when facing the sea), or from the rocks located at the foot of the Buvette du Cap Rousset restaurant.
The whole Calanque du Cap Rousset can be snorkeled, but we advise to focus especially on the rocky areas located at the bay’s west side, where underwater life particularly thrives. If sea conditions are good enough, experienced snorkelers can also swim out of the Calanque and along the coast towards west (see map for more precise location).
Next to the beach, the rocky seabed alternates with a few sandy areas and posidonia patches (↕0,5-1,5m). Calanque du Cap Rousset is part of a marine preserve where fishing is forbidden all year round, so fish are particularly numerous here. Many species can be spotted in the shallow areas, like Mediterranean chromis, painted comber, blennies and seabream. The marine preserve also allowed numerous small gilt-head breams to take shelter in the bay. Don’t forget to look for gorgeous ornate wrasses twirling in the most oxygenated areas.
As you swim away from the beach, water depth progressively increases. It settles down at 4-5 meters at the foot of rocky drop-offs where the calanque opens to the sea. Snorkelers will spot schools of salema and mullets above the seabed. Dusky groupers have been reportedly spotted in this area. Even if it is a rare event, it means that the species is back in the Cote Bleue Marine Park, which is very good news.
Buvette du Cap Rousset is a restaurant and snack set above the beach. It is the only restaurant on site, but you will find a large span of snacks, convenience stores and restaurants next to the harbor, about 700 meters from the spot.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Shallow rocky and grassy seabed
Rocky beds and rock drop off
Seagrass meadows and rocky drop offs
Small cove with rocky drop offs and caves
Rocky seabed with fish and starfish
Marine reserve with rocky beds and snorkel trail
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