Trou-aux-Biches lagoon is an appealing option if you’re looking for snorkeling spots on Mauritius Island’s west coast: it is an easily accessible and enjoyable place. The corals that were still very degraded a few years ago seem to recover on the barrier reef. Many tropical fish can be seen on the reef, and lucky ones will even spot a sea turtle.

Coral reef at Trou aux Biches
Trou-aux-Biches outer reef (the outer side of the coral reef) hosts healthy sea beds.

How to get there?

Trou-aux-Biches beach is located on Mauritius northern coast, about 7 kilometers south of Grand Baie. Several local bus lines stop at the beach. If you’re driving, there is a shady parking lot next to the public beach. Numerous hotels are set along the shore, providing direct access to the spot. Half of the beach is privately managed by Trou-Aux-Biches Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa. If you’re not staying at one of the beach hotels, the public beach (see map below) gives you free access to the spot.

Trou-aux-Biches snorkeling map

Water entrance

You can enter the water anywhere you want from the 1500-meter-long beach.

Exploration

You can explore the whole Trou-aux-Biches lagoon. It is 300 to 400 meters wide depending on the areas. Starting from the beach towards the barrier reef, you will have to swim over 200 to 300 meters to reach the areas where coral is best preserved. The sandy areas next to the beach don’t attract much fish except for a few triggerfish and butterflyfish. Water depth rarely exceeds 6ft/2m inside the lagoon.

Bluefin trevally at Trou-aux-Biches
Bluefin trevally (Caranx melampygus) are frequently spotted in Trou-aux-Biches.

Corals have been tremendously damaged in recent years, but it seems like they have been starting to recover since 2018. Some areas remain very degraded (dead or broken coral, covered with seaweed), but large areas are welcoming life again. Fine branch coral and finger coral can be seen next to the barrier reef. A few giant clams, slate pencil urchins and conches still live among the coral.

Moorish idols, convict tangs and whitetail dascyllus are the predominant fish species on this spot, as they are in all Mauritian lagoons. Filefish, pufferfish and triggerfish are also commonplace in the area. Lucky ones will even spot one of the sea turtles reported to often visit the lagoon.

Coral at Trou aux Biches
In the shallow parts of the lagoon, we can still find some healthy coral patches.

As a lot of boats roam the lagoon, we advise to take a small signal buoy along with you. When sea conditions are excellent, you can consider swimming along the reef towards south until the pass, before exploring the external side of the barrier reef. The external reef attracts less fish, but coral is better preserved and boasts more colors than inside the lagoon. This option is for experienced snorkelers only: it requires excellent understanding of the area.

Restaurants and accommodation

The food trucks set on the beach are a cheap option to have a meal. A large variety of restaurants can be found nearby, especially along Trou-aux-Biches Road (look for the road starting in front of the public beach). A dozen restaurants, hotels and holiday apartments are set along the beach, the most notable being Trou-aux-Biches Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa, Sakoa Boutik Hotel and O’Biches Mauritius.




Species you may spot while snorkeling Trou-aux-Biches
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Hawksbill sea turtle Eretmochelys imbricata  
Scrawled butterflyfish Chaetodon meyeri  
Indian Ocean teardrop butterflyfish Chaetodon interruptus  
Vagabond butterflyfish Chaetodon vagabundus  
Yellow longnose butterflyfish Forcipiger flavissimus  
Moorish idol Zanclus cornutus  
Whitetail dascyllus Dascyllus aruanus  
False-eye sergeant Abudefduf sparoides  
Scissortail sergeant Abudefduf sexfasciatus  
Sixbar wrasse Thalassoma hardwicke  
Bluefin trevally Caranx melampygus  
Barred filefish Cantherhines dumerilii  
Convict surgeonfish Acanthurus triostegus  
Black triggerfish Melichthys niger  
Titan triggerfish Balistoides viridescens  
Lagoon triggerfish Rhinecanthus aculeatus  
Guineafowl puffer Arothron meleagris  

 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Maximum depth6ft/2m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersBoats - Divers-down buoy recommended outside the designated swimming areas
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium to high
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

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.