written in collaboration with mahli974 (4 spots)
Located between Saint-Paul and Saint-Gilles, Boucan Canot is well signposted and easy to reach by car. Follow the “Boucan Canot” signs on the coastal road (former national road, N2001) or the N1 expressway (Route des Tamarins, exit “Boucan Canot”). Buses from Car’Jaune and Alternéo networks go to the beach. On foot or by bike, from Saint-Gilles-les-Bains town center, head for the north for about two miles (3.2 km).
A swimming area is located at the northern tip of Boucan Canot beach, which is “closed off” by a rocky point, right in front of Le Boucan Canot hotel. Enter the water in the swimming area, directly from the beach (where the first rocks are).
The area to explore covers the coral reefs located on the left and right sides of the swimming area and along the rocky point.
The area is relatively deep (↕12-24ft/4-8m) and you will alternatively cross clear sandy areas interspersed with large blocks of corals. The rocky crevices are particularly rich in fish, but it is not easy to get close to the fish and take underwater pictures. On this spot, you could spot some species that are difficult to observe elsewhere in Réunion Island, as the usually do not enter the lagoons. Among the most colorful fish you should come across on this spot are, among dozens of other species, unicornfish, emperor angelfish and moray eels. Encounters with green sea turtle or hawksbill sea turtle remain rare.
Emperor angelfish at Boucan Canot © photo credit Mahli974
Only the more experienced snorkelers can adventure out on the other side of the rocky point and move along the coral reef, when the sea conditions permit. This area has the finest corals and underwater life. It is sometimes possible to exit the water on the small beach north of the rocky point, but only if the water level is high enough and the sea perfectly calm. Be careful, because there are a lot of sea urchins in the area, and the water is really shallow. Wear swim fins.
Restaurants and accommodation
A few luxury hotels (Le Boucan Canot and Le Saint-Alexis) directly overlooks the beach. A large number of snack, bars and restaurants are dotted along the beach and the road alongside it, so you can get something to eat and drink at low prices.
Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.
Type of spot
Level of difficultyExpert
Maximum depth20ft (6m)
Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
Potential DangersWaves, currents
Restaurants nearbyYes, inexpensive
Public toilets & showersNo