The Lagon de la Saline is located south of the Lagon de l’Hermitage, which is the widest, most extensive and best preserved lagoon in Réunion Island. It is protected from the agitation of the Indian Ocean by a coral reef, and its shallow, crystal-clear waters (less than 6ft/2m), sprinkled with coral, make it the top snorkeling site on the island.
The beach lies south of Saint-Gilles, and is easy to reach by car. Follow the “La Saline” signs on the coastal road (former national road, N2001) or the N1 expressway (Route des Tamarins, exit “La Saline-les-Bains”). A large shaded car park gives direct access to the site. On foot, from Saint-Gilles-les-Bains town center, go past the marina, then walk south along Brisants beach for about 1 mile.
You can enter the water anywhere along the beach
The area to explore is located between the beach and the coral reef, which are distant of 350 to 500 meters. The further you go to the right, the closer you will be to the channel, which is an unsafe area because of strong currents.
As you move away from the beach, you cross 100 meters or so of sandy seabed with scattered coral areas (↕2-6ft/0.5-2m), which grow denser as you move closer to the reef. Make your way between the coral to reach the more preserved areas. 100 yards before the reef (↕2-3ft/0.5-1m), the coral becomes so dense that you can’t go any further, while the water level gradually falls.
On this spot, corals (mainly branching corals of the acropora type) suffer bleaching and breakage, and are less spectacular than in the Ermitage Lagoon spot. Water may also be less clear, and the sand areas larger. However, this site is a good alternative if you want to explore new areas.
Under the water, you are sure to spot parrotfish, butterflyfish, triggerfish, Moorish idols, and a very large number of equally colorful fish.
Coral is highly fragile, and can be broken by a passing swimfin. Watch where you are going, especially when your way lies through narrow or shallow passages.
A large number of bar-vans and snack bars are dotted along the beach and the road alongside it, so you can get something to eat and drink at low prices.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.