Level: Free shore access This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
La Saline Lagoon is located just south of the lagoon and the Hermitage Pass, facing La Saline Beach. This part of the lagoon offers crystal clear and shallow waters (less than 2m), but the corals are mostly unhealthy in the area. The flats extending close to the pass however offer the opportunity to spot a good diversity of reef fish (angelfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish …), and sometimes young green or hawksbill turtles.
The beach lies south of Saint-Gilles, and is easy to reach by car. 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 Plage des Brisants for about 1 mile.
You can enter the water anywhere along the beach. Do not enter the Strict Nature Reserve/Wilderness Area, marked with yellow beacons (see map).
You can snorkel anywhere between the beach and the coral reef, which are distant from 350 to 400 meters, except in the wilderness area (which begins just south of Planch’Alizé restaurant). The further you go to the right, the closer you will be to the pass, which is an unsafe area because of strong currents.
Moving away from the beach, you’ll 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 meters 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, branching corals suffer bleaching and breakage and are less spectacular than in Lagon de l’Hermitage. 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, teardrop butterflyfish, lagoon 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. Near the pass, you’ll find a shallow flat of broken coral where immature hawksbill sea turtles frequently feed on. Green sea turtles are much rarer and can only be occasionally seen everywhere in the lagoon.
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.
Shallow lagoon with branching coral and colorful fish
Level: Free shore access
Shallow lagoon with coral and reef fish
Small city beach with rocky and sandy beds
Reef slopes with coral, fish and sea turtles
Shallow lagoon with coral, clams and reef fish
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