Running along the centre of the biggest urban area in the south of the island, Saint-Pierre beach opens onto a lagoon that is sheltered from the turbulence of the Ocean. Although it does not have the reputation of the Ermitage lagoon, it is at a very similar level and makes an excellent spot for snorkeling. After less than two minutes in the water, you will be swimming among a wide range of fish and invertebrates in a spectacular coral setting.
How to get there?
The beach is on the Saint-Pierre sea front, just next to the marina. From Saint-Denis, head south and follow the signs to Saint-Paul for 50 miles (80km), then Saint-Pierre (expressway for the entire journey, around 1 hour). Once you arrive at Saint-Pierre, there are many places to park near the beach: next to the road along the sea front, in one of the car parks behind the beach or in the marina car park.
Once at the beach, find the marina dyke, to the left when you are facing the ocean, and enter the water nearby. Saint-Pierre train station, where the buses in the Car’Jaune and Alternéo networks arrive, is less than 5 minutes from the beach on foot.
You can enter the water anywhere along the beach, but you should choose the bathing area (shown by small buoys), which is cleared of the lagoon’s sea urchins every day. The 200 to 300 meters of beach stretching away to your right (as you are facing the ocean) from the marina dyke is probably the most interesting spot for snorkeling.
The area to explore covers the inner part of the lagoon, from the beach to the barrier reef.
The first few metres from the beach are sandy (↕2-4ft/0.5-1m), with a few fish here and there, including Picasso triggerfish, which fiercely protect their nests during the reproduction period.
You need to go a little further to reach the coral areas (↕2-6ft/0,5-2m). You will never tire of swimming between the acropora beds, following one of the Moorish idols, pufferfish or raccoon butterflyfish you are likely to meet. Among the most colourful species in the lagoon, it is not unusual to come across the clown coris (a familiar sight in aquariums) or the spectacular Meyer’s butterflyfish. Have a good look at the coral beds: many giant clams, moray eels, octopus and coral shrimp lodge in the crevices.
The closer you get to the barrier reef, the denser the coral becomes, until it prevents you going any further. In any case, you should not try to, since the barrier reef and the depth of the water generally make it impossible.
The predominant coral in the lagoon is the branching acropora type. They are spectacular, but also very fragile, and can break at the slightest touch of a swimfin. Be careful as you move forwards, especially if you go through narrow or shallow passages.
It is possible to explore the lagoon most of the time, since the waters are particularly well protected. In winter, the wind results in waves that may make your return more difficult. Saint-Pierre beach is lifeguarded during the day. Ask the lifeguards if you have any doubts about water conditions.
Restaurants and accommodation
Saint-Pierre is a particularly lively town, including in the evening. It has a wide range of accommodation and many places to eat. The Alizé Plage hotel gives direct access to the beach. There is a series of bar vans, restaurants and hotels along the sea front. Free showers are available to the rear of the beach, near the aid station.
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.
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