Discover the transparent waters of the lagoon, the wildlife and coral landscape of the Marine Natural Reserve, the many species of fish, the ballets of tortoises and dolphins, the appearance of the coast of the majestic whales. The warm waters of Réunion’s lagoon and the Indian Ocean offer divers a wealth of sensations.
Thanks to the coral reef bordering its western coast, Réunion has a lagoon which provides the perfect environment for divers to discover the richness of the undersea scenery. Accompanied by a guide, equipped with masks, flippers and a snorkel, you can see the beauty and fragility of the reef and its remarkable biodiversity during an underwater hike.


The Marine Natural Reserve

Situated on the west and south-west coasts of the island, the Marine Natural Reserve created in 2007 stretches across 3,500 hectares and borders five of the western towns, from Saint-Paul to Etang Salé. Some 80% of the coral reef is protected within this rich ecosystem. More than 3,500 species have been recorded, including 366 different hard and soft corals, jelly fish and anemones, 200 species of crustaceans and 1,305 species of molluscs, starfish, sea urchins and other shellfish.
 
This abundance is increased by 1,000 species of fish and five species of sea turtles. Created in 2003, the Ermitage undersea path received an award from Ifrecor (A French Initiative for the Protection of Coral Reefs, from the Ministries of Environment and Overseas Territories) in the “Education and Awareness” category. The warm water (between 23°C and 29°C) is clear all year round, and also explains why diving lovers are so passionate about Réunion. And to ensure this passion remains danger free, all safety regulations in the diving areas must be strictly respected.

Exploring

Several possibilities are open to divers, and numerous companies offer starter courses and introductions with easier dives (Cap La Houssaye). More experiences divers will find multiple areas to explore, such as the wrecks of the coasts of Boucan Canot, Saint-Gilles and Sain-leu, the turtles of the Ermitage pass (Saint-Gilles), and the Pointe au Sel (Saint-Leu), where the 70-metre drop is frequented by tuna, mackerel and dolphins.

From June until October, the west coast enjoys the passing of marine mammals. While respecting the whale watching chart and regulations, visitors can watch humpback whales during trips out to sea (on boats) or underwater hikes (guided diving). Visitors can also watch dolphins, and several companies organise trips out to sea in complete safety.