The best way to discover St-Gilles' iridescent lagoon is by joining a boat excursion. Various operators offer promenades en mer (boat excursions) and observation sous-marine (glass-bottomed tours) along the coast towards St-Leu or St-Paul. Safaris dauphin (dolphin encounters), whale-watching trips (from June or July to September or October), sunset cruises and day long catamaran cruises are also available. Tours go every day but are weather-dependent.
The waters off St-Gilles offer plenty of scope for diving (including the chance to explore a few wrecks), whatever your level.
St-Gilles is a good base for fans of Ernest Hemingway. The waters off the west coast are a pelagic playpen for schools of marlin, swordfish, sailfish, shark and tuna. A fishing trip for four to six people costs around per half/full day €400/800. Two recommended outfits:
Réunion Fishing Club Leads well-organised fishing trips.
Blue Marlin A well-established operator. Prices vary according to the size of the party.
From July (sometimes June) to October, whale watching has become increasingly popular in the St-Gilles area, with a number of operators, including dive shops, leading professional tours. Make sure to stick with operators with good environmental credentials.