Lagon de Saint-Leu

Due to its close position to the town centre, Saint-Leu beach is often crowded, especially during weekends. A coral reef partly closing the bay and the neighboring small marina help make swimming quite safe. Underwater, a fine coral garden sheltering numerous fishes and invertebrates offers a lot to explore.
How to get there?

The beach is central to Saint-Leu town and close to its small marina. From Saint-Denis, take RN1 southwards (towards Saint-Paul / Saint-Pierre) for about 50 km, then turn off at the “Saint-Leu centre” exit. From there the beach is well indicated. Park along the street fringed with filaos that follows the shore. If arriving from the South (Saint-Pierre) taking the Tamarins road, turn off at the same exit, the trip will take you less than 30 minutes. Buses from the Kar’Ouest and Car’Jaune networks stop at the beach (“Saint-Leu Plage” stop).

Water entrance

When on the beach, get away from the river mouth and the fishing harbor and walk towards the left when facing the ocean. You will soon come across a rocky area. Enter the water from the beach, just before the rocks.

Aerial view


As often when snorkeling Reunion island lagoons, you will explore the area located between the beach and the reef (easy to spot from the line of breaking waves it generates). Here the distance between beach and reef does not exceed 150 meters et water depth remains under 2 meters.

Scattered in the lagoon, fine coral clumps attract numerous lagoon triggerfish, butterflyfish and surgeonfish. Look for small moray eels and juvenile lionfish hiding in the crevices and underneath tabular corals. You might also spot various sized giant clams rooted in coral: look for them especially on the upper part of the biggest coral formations.

Snorkeling Report - Mérou gâteau de Cire à Saint-Leu
Honeycomb grouper in Saint-Leu lagoon

Moving closer to the reef, you will love observing the arc-eye hawkfish waiting for a prey on top of their lair. Depending on your luck, you might spot dozens of other species there.

Do not get close to the river mouth and the fishing boats area. Currents are strong there and they can carry you out to the open sea. Always remain on the left part of the beach (when facing the sea). Even if it is a lagoon, Saint-Leu beach is somehow more exposed to sea hazards than other spots nearby. If conditions are bad, L’Ermitage and La Saline are calmer neighboring spots you can turn to.

Restaurants and accommodation

You will find a wide range of eating options around the beach, from classic food trucks to higher-end restaurants. Several accommodation options are also to be found nearby.

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.

Spot’s weather forecasts (°C)

Spot tips

  • Type of spot
  • Level of difficulty
    Intermediary level
  • Maximum depth
    8 ft
  • Water entrance
    Easy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential Dangers
    Fire coral, lionfish, scorpionfish. Currents and waves when approaching the river mouth.
  • Lifeguard
  • Visitor numbers
  • Access costs
  • Restaurants nearby
    Yes, inexpensive
  • Public toilets & showers

Spot map

Spot photos

Underwater spot photos

Species you may spot while snorkeling Lagon de Saint-Leu

Common name Scientific name Abundance Fishbase Wikipedia
Threadfin butterflyfish
Chaetodon auriga
Raccoon butterflyfish
Chaetodon lunula
Vagabond butterflyfish
Chaetodon vagabundus
Convict surgeonfish
Acanthurus triostegus
Brown tang
Zebrasoma scopas
False stonefish
Scorpaenopsis diabolus
Arc-eye hawkfish
Paracirrhites arcatus
Lagoon triggerfish
Rhinecanthus aculeatus
Honeycomb grouper
Epinephelus merra
Giant clam
Tridacna sp.
Moorish idol
Zanclus cornutus
Common lionfish
Pterois miles
Show all species
You encountered a specie at this spot that is not listed here?