Surfing is very popular in Réunion and an international championship competition is held annually at St-Leu. Surfers should seek the advice of locals before leaping into the water as the majority of shark attacks are on surfers. Stand-up paddle is the latest craze to hit Réunion and you will see plenty of people giving it a go in the lagoons. For more information contact the Surf League (% 0262 243310).
Expect to pay around €0 for a one-hour individual surfing lesson or € for a group lesson. The following surf schools cater for all levels, from children to competition training.
Ski Club de St-Paul 1 Rue de la Croix, 97460 St-Paul; % 0262 454287; f 0262 212288; skiclubdelareunion.com; ( 10.30–18.00 Mon, Wed & Thu, 09.00–18.00 Sat/Sun. Caters for all levels of ability.
These are a good way for non-divers to see the marine environment and are suitable for children of any age.
Grand Bleu Port de Plaisance, 97434 St-Gilles-les-Bains; %/f 0262 332832; e info[at]grandbleu.re; grandbleu.re. 2 large boats & a bubble boat, all with underwater viewing. Trips last 1½hrs & depart at least 5 times daily. Dolphins are often seen in the early morning. The large boats can feel a bit crowded. Adult from €18.
Visiobul Réunion Port de Plaisance, 97434 St-Gilles-les-Bains; % 0262 243704; m 0692 852346; e visiobulreunion[at]wanadoo.fr; visiobul-reunion.com; ( from 08.00 daily. 4 smaller boats with trips lasting 30mins. Adult/student/child €12/10/7.
Dauphin Safari Port de St-Gilles-les-Bains;%/f 0262 332832; dauphinsafari.com. Dolphin-watching cruises departing from St-Gilles-les-Bains, with a trained guide. 2hr cruises depart at 08.00 & 10.00; there are also lunchtime & sunset cruises. 2hr cruise adult/child from €29/17. Reservation essential. Lunch cruise with snorkelling, kayaking & swimming adult/child from €36/25, sunset cruise adult/child from €30/20.
Oasis Eaux Vives 38 Ilet Coco, St-Benoît; % 0692 001623; ervpiaut[at]wanadoo.fr; oasisev.com. White-water rafting.
Planch’Alizé 25 Rue des Mouettes, 97434 La Saline-les-Bains; % 0262 246261; planchalize.net. Hire of windsurfers, kayaks, pedaloes & snorkelling equipment.
THIM Nautique 165 bis Rue du Général de Gaulle, 97434 St-Gilles-les-Bains; % 0262 242324; e thim.loc[at]wanadoo.fr. Boat & jet-ski hire, water skiing.
The majority of private yachts are kept in the marinas at St-Gilles-les-Bains and St-Pierre, where you may be able to organise sailing trips on an ad hoc basis. Alternatively, contact one of the following companies:
Batoloc Port de Plaisance, 97434 St-Gilles-les-Bains; %/f 0262 334867; e batalocs[at]wanadoo.fr; rj73.com/batoloc. Boat hire, fishing.
Bleu Indien 7 Rue Andromède, Le Mont Roquefeuille, 97434 St-Gilles-les-Bains; m 0692 853753; e bleu_indien[at]hotmail.com; bleuindien.com. Boat hire, plus fishing, wake-boarding & scuba-diving gear.
Compagnie des Pirates 4 Rue Générale de Gaulle, 97434 St-Gilles-les-Bains; % 0692 700277; e oceandream[at]live.fr; lacompagniedespirates.com. Sailing, cruises.
The best diving is on the west coast, around St-Leu and St-Gilles-les-Bains. It is not as good as the diving in the other Mascarenes but is worth trying nonetheless.
All dive centres cater for all levels. Expect to pay around €60 for an introductory dive of about 20–30 minutes. Dives for those with experience cost around €0 or €50 for six dives. Snorkelling trips, with equipment supplied, can usually be arranged by dive centres for around €0.
If you don’t speak French, check before you book that the dive centre can provide an English-speaking instructor as it’s essential that you understand the safety instructions.
Abyss Plongée 17 Bd Bonnier, 97436 St-Leu; %/f 0262 347979; e plongeurs[at]abyss-plongee.com; abyss-plongee.com
Bleu Marine Réunion Port de Plaisance, 97434 St-Gilles-les-Bains; % 0262 242200; e bleu-marine-run[at]wanadoo.fr; bleu-marine-reunion.com
Bleu Océan 25 RN1, 97436 St-Leu; %/f 0262 349749; e bleuocean2[at]wanadoo.fr; bleuocean.fr
Corail Plongée Port de Plaisance, 97434 St-Gilles-les-Bains; % 0262 243725; e info[at]corail-plongee.com; corail-plongee.com
O Sea Bleu Enceinte Portuaire, 97434 St-Gilles-les-Bains; % 0262 331615; e osea.bleu[at]reunion-plongee.com; reunion-plongee.com
Réunion Plongée 13 Av des Artisans, 97436 St-Leu; %/f 0262 347777; e clubhouse[at]reunionplongee.com; reunionplongee.com
Sub Excelsus 1 Impasse des Plongeurs, ZA Pointe des Châteaux, 97436 St-Leu; %/f 0262 347365; e contact[at]excelsus-plongee.com; excelsus-plongee.com