Despite their small size (they cover only 15 miles of the coastline, and are rarely more than 200m wide) and shallow depth (generally less than 6ft of water), the coastal lagoons are excellent places for observing coral (well preserved in places), fish (triggerfish, surgeonfish, butterflyfish, moray eel, etc.) and giant clams (particularly numerous at Etang-Salé). Encounters with young turtles or stingrays are possible in the lagoons, but remain rare. Apart from a handful of clearly signaled channels, the calm waters of the lagoons (l’Hermitage, Saint-Pierre…) are protected by barrier reefs, offering optimal safety conditions for beginners.
The spots open on to the sea are few in number, and are less accessible and reserved for strong swimmers. You will often be dependent on the variable sea conditions in Réunion Island (waves, currents) and on the regular prohibition of swimming due to a few recent shark attacks.
Snorkeling can be done all the year round in Réunion Island, but several factors need to be taken into account. Water temperature varies from 70°F (22°C) during the southern winter (May to October, weather mostly cool and dry) to 80°F/27°C (with a peak of 85°F/30°C in the lagoons) in summer (November to April, hot and humid climate). In October and November, conditions are ideal, but the coast has a lot of visitors. In summer, rain is more frequent, particularly during the cyclone season (January to March), when access to the water is sometimes impossible for several days. In winter, the wind can be strong, making swimming less pleasant, and snorkeling outside the lagoon can be dangerous because of the waves.
More than 220 spots have already been published on Snorkeling Report, but there are still many spots to be added! You too can contribute to populate the map by sharing your favorite snorkeling spots around the world. The more snorkelers will contribute, the easier it will be for you, and other snorkelers, to find sites and enjoy the underwater world!
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Often seen in Boucan Canot; occasional sightings in l’Hermitage and la Saline especially near the pass
Common on all spots, even few meters from the beach
Rarely sighted in lagoons, take your chance at Boucan Canot
Easy to see at Etang Salé, frequent on other spots, like Saint-Leu, Saint-Pierre and l’Hermitage
Frequent on all spots, generally hidden under coral
In large schools on all spots, particularly at Etang Salé and Saint-Leu
On all spots
On all spots, but generally hard to find
Shallow lagoon with coral and reef fish
Shallow lagoon with coral, clams and reef fish
Reef slopes with coral, fish and sea turtles
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