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Sugar Beach sits at the foot of the Petit Piton on the southwest of St. Lucia. The small bay comprises a variety of habitats, including sandy beaches, rocky shores and an area, rich in marine life, within a Marine Reserve. While snorkeling at Sugar Beach, you may encounter, among dozens of other species, butterflyfish, moray eels, boxfish, filefish and angelfish.

Ocean surgeonfish and foureye butterflyfish
A foureye butterflyfish and an ocean surgeonfish noted over the top of the reef. The ocean surgeonfish is one of the most common fish in the resort area, often found shoaling with other, similar species.

How to get to Sugar Beach snorkeling spot?

The beach is managed by the Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort. To snorkel this spot, you have three main options:

1. Stay at the Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, the hotel set in front of the beach;
2. Access the beach as a day visitor. Check with the resort, as entry conditions change regularly (free access on foot, payment of a day pass, etc.);
3. Get to the spot by boat: either by boat tour or by taking a water taxi.

Sugar Beach Anse Piton snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Sugar Beach

Depending on the area you want to snorkel, you can enter the water from the beach, or from the steps that can be found just past Sugar Point (see map above).

Sugar Beach snorkeling exploration tips

The best area for snorkeling is in the northern part of the resort, directly beneath the Petit Piton. This is part of the Marine Reserve and is marked out by guide ropes and marker buoys. From the beach, this area is on the right-hand side past the landing jetty and no boats are allowed access to the area.

Chain moray in Sugar Beach, St Lucia
The chain moray may be the most beautiful moray eel found in the Caribbean (here, photographed in the Marine Reserve area).

The reserve includes a wealth of brightly colored sponges, corals, and algae. It is also the best location to see the numerous fish species that shoal in the area. Snappers, groupers, and moray eels are also common here.

In the center of the bay, the beach initially shelves gently into a sandy subtidal area, then rapidly descends over a seagrass bed. This area has less diversity than the rock areas but still supports a variety of species, including well-disguised juvenile lionfish, banded butterflyfish, sharptail eels, and wrasse.

Around Sugar Point is a boulder and mixed rock area. The diversity of coral and sponge life is reduced compared to the reserve area but good examples of shoaling fish species were observed as well as the start of a sea fan and sea plume area.

Snorkeling from the beach in Piton Bay
View of the reef just past Sugar Point.

The southern sandy bay has a variety of habitats, initially including extensive seagrass areas, with small rock outcrops in the shallows and sporadic sea plumes and numerous sea cucumbers.

In total, nearly 220 marine species have been recorded in the resort area.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

This spot is the Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort‘s house reef.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaAnse Piton Marine Reserve
  • Maximum depth12ft/4m past the reef
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach or rocks
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsStay at the resort, voucher or snorkeling tour

MAP 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.