Grande Anse is a lush beach, bordered by coconut palms, which marks the beginning of Réunion’s “Sud Sauvage”. Here, the coast has no lagoon and is battered by the swell. A rocky pool has however been set up south of the beach, allowing bathing in complete safety. Relatively small and shallow, the pool nevertheless hides a rich and colorful underwater life. Butterflyfish, surgeonfish, giant clams and morays are, in particular, easy to spot here.

Grande Anse rocky pool, Reunion Island
Grande Anse rocky pool.

How to go snorkeling Grande Anse rocky pool?

Grande Anse beach is located in Petite-Île, on the south coast of Réunion Island. The beach is well signposted from the main road. From Saint-Pierre and Saint-Joseph, allow around 15 minutes by car to reach the site. A large car park has been set up along the beach, but it quickly fills up on weekends and during school holidays. Once on the beach, you will easily see the pool, slightly to the left.

Grande Anse snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Grande Anse pool

We suggest you get in the water at the foot of the small wall that separates the beach and the pool. Choose a place where there are not too many rocks. Do not get in the water if there is too much swell or waves in the basin.

Grande Anse snorkeling exploration tips

In Grande Anse, snorkeling is only possible in the natural pool which has been set up south of the beach, protected by rocks. Elsewhere, swimming is far too dangerous, both because of the sea conditions (the ocean is rough on the south coast of the island) and the risk of shark attacks.

The pool measures approximately 120m long and 35m wide. The depth does not exceed 5ft/1.50m. Despite this very small size, it hosts an unsuspected and fascinating little underwater world.

Turkey moray in Grande Anse pool
Moray eels (like this turkey moray) are frequently seen in the pool, which offers many crevices to hide in.

Near the shore, you’ll snorkel above a bare reef flat (↕2-3ft/0.5-1m), on which surgeonfish and butterflyfish graze small algae. But after about ten meters, you’ll begin to discover a multitude of very preserved coral (especially branching coral). In places, they are home to giant clams. It is here, around the reefs, that you can see many species of fish. Damselfish, goatfish, raccoon butterflyfish, trumpetfish, Vanikoro sweeper, and wrasse are very easy to see. Moray eels also hide in the reef.

Coral in Grande Anse pool
Grande Anse pool hosts healthy hard coral, such as table and branching coral.

Near the rocks, visibility is often poorer as the waves create “clouds” of bubbles in the basin when they break.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

There are several snack bars along the beach, which offer snacks and sandwiches. The Palm Hotel & Spa***** overlooks the beach of Grande Anse.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth5ft/1,5m
  • Water entranceFrom a sand/pebble beach
  • Potential DangersMany sea urchins in the pool
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes, many snack bars near the parking
  • Public toilets & showersYes

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

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.