Travel to Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains – West Coast Coral, Beaches & Water Sports
Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains is Reunion’s best-known beach resort, popular with French tourists and local holidaymakers during peak periods. Although there is little of cultural interest for the travel addict, it does provide a place to chill, relax and perhaps discover the colourful sea life of the coral reef for a couple of days at the end of island explorations and activities.
Accommodation, restaurants and facilities are well spread out along this 10 km stretch of Indian Ocean coastline from the smaller resort of Boucan Canot, north of Saint-Gilles, to Black Rock beach in the centre of the town, through to Hermitage-les-Bains and finally to Saline-les-Bains.
The centre-point of activity in Saint-Gilles is around the main harbour area and nautical club – somewhat aesthetically ruined, however, by numerous graffiti. There is an excellent aquarium worthy of a visit for family travellers, and a choice of restaurants and boutiques. The best coral beaches on the island can be found along this stretch of coast, protected by an extensive coral reef. Hermitage beach, Black Rock, and Boucan Canot are probably the pick of the bunch.
For travellers wanting to take to the skies for a highly recommended and breathtaking aerial view of the island, helicopter and light airplane rides depart from nearby towns. For those wild on water, there is also a great choice of water-based activities available including diving, fishing, boat trips, surfing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, catamaran trips, snorkelling and swimming. Mountain bikes can also be hired locally.
The beach at Boucan Canot has a reputation for a laid-back atmosphere and a great beach front bar and café scene.
For travellers without their own car, taxis are widely available in the area and can be booked through hotels.
- Chance to dive or snorkel the coral reef or relax on one of Reunion’s best coral beaches
- Take to the Indian Ocean on a sea kayak, a surfboard or a catamaran
- Experience the island’s magnificent scenery from above on an early-morning helicopter ride