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.

How to get there?

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.

Lagon de la Saline Reunion Island snorkeling map

Water entrance

You can enter the water anywhere along the beach

Exploration

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.

Green sea turtle at Lagon de la Saline, Réunion Island

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.

Blackback butterflyfish at Lagon de la Saline, Réunion Island

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.

Tripletail wrasse at Lagon de la Saline, Réunion Island

Restaurants and accommodation

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.

Species you may spot while snorkeling Lagon de la Saline
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Blackback butterflyfish Chaetodon melannotus  
Threadfin butterflyfish Chaetodon auriga  
Raccoon butterflyfish Chaetodon lunula  
Vagabond butterflyfish Chaetodon vagabundus  
Titan triggerfish Balistoides viridescens  
Lagoon triggerfish Rhinecanthus aculeatus  
Leopard blenny Exallias brevis  
Zigzag wrasse Halichoeres scapularis  
Moorish idol Zanclus cornutus  
Tripletail wrasse Cheilinus trilobatus  
Cigar wrasse Cheilio inermis  

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaRéserve Naturelle Marine de la Réunion
  • Maximum depth8ft/2.5m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersFire coral, scorpionfish, stonefish, lionfish
  • LifeguardYes
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes, inexpensive
  • Public toilets & showersNo

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.