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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 view
Snorkelers at the foot of Vieux-Fort lighthouse.

How to go snorkeling at Vieux-Fort Lighthouse?

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.

Vieux-Fort Lighthouse snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Vieux-Fort Lighthouse

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.

Vieux-Fort Lighthouse snorkeling exploration tips

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).

Whitespotted filefish and yellow sponges
A whitespotted filefish swim around yellow sponges at Vieux-Fort Lighthouse reef.

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).

Longlure frogfish in Guadeloupe
At this location, you may be lucky enough to encounter a longlure frogfish.

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.

Goldentail moray in Guadeloupe
A goldentail moray noted at reef.

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.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

“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.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Maximum depth40ft/12m
  • Water entranceFrom rocks
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes, next to the parking

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.