Level: Free shore access This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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With its breathtaking view of the Saintes archipelago, Vieux-Fort Lighthouse offers one of the most iconic landscapes in southern Guadeloupe. At the foot of its volcanic cliffs stretches a pretty coral reef, rather preserved and sheltered, on which underwater life abounds. Most of the fish typical of Caribbean shallows are found there, as well as rarer species, such as frogfish and triggerfish.
Vieux-Fort Lighthouse is located on the point of the same name, at the southern end of Basse-Terre. By car, drive to the village of Vieux-Fort, then park in the lighthouse car park (free). Then follow the small path that leads to the lighthouse, and go down on the rocks on its right.
Water entrance is from the rocks below the lighthouse. Prefer flat rocks, which allow you to wear your snorkeling gear and get into the water more easily.
The snorkeling area extends at the foot of Vieux-Fort lighthouse, on the right when you are facing the sea. It includes the reef found between the lighthouse and the beach, about 400m apart (see map above).
Near the water entrance, you’ll find 12 to 22ft/4 to 7m deep areas. Swim for 30-40m on the right and you’ll find shallower plateaus and coral bommies (6-12ft/2-4m). By swimming away a little, we will find rich beds up to 40ft/12m deep.
Vieux-Fort Lighthouse seabed is spectacular, with varied reliefs and numerous corals, gorgonians and sponges visible at shallow depth. The quantity and variety of fish are reminiscent of that of the very famous Pigeon Islands (Cousteau Reserve).
If you will see on this spot many widespread reef fish, such as butterflyfish, wrasse and damselfish, you may also encounter less common species, such as longlure frogfish, barracudas, triggerfish and lobsters.
This site will suit both families and more demanding freedivers.
The rocky point where the lighthouse is located marks the entrance of Basse-Terre bay. This spot is thus generally sheltered from waves, unlike the area to the left of the lighthouse, which is very rough. Do not enter the water if the sea conditions are not ideal on the reef.
“Le Phare” creperie is located next to the car park, about 100m from the lighthouse. Several seasonal rentals are available in the village of Vieux-Fort.
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.
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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.
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Level: Free shore access
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Marine reserve with coral reefs, turtles and barracudas
Marine reserve with seagrass meadows and sea turtles
Fringing reef with fish and coral