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.

Saint-Leu Beach, Réunion Island

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.

Lagon de Saint-Leu Reunion Island snorkeling map


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 and the 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.

Coral reef at Lagon de Saint-Leu, Réunion Island

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’Hermitage and La Saline are calmer neighboring spots you can turn to.

Snowflake moray eel at Lagon de Saint-Leu, Réunion Island

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.

Species you may spot while snorkeling Lagon de Saint-Leu
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  
Leopard blenny Exallias brevis  


  • Level required Intermediary
  • Protected areaRéserve Naturelle Marine de la Réunion
  • Maximum depth8ft/2.5m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersFire coral, lionfish, scorpionfish. Currents and waves when approaching the river mouth.
  • LifeguardYes
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersYes

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

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.