Rodrigues’ well-preserved marine environment is its key attraction. Thanks to an enlightened environment minister, himself a diver, the island has no industrial pollution and around 280 species of coral, a dizzying array of marine life including rays, jacks, turtles and white-tipped reef sharks, and dramatic underwater scenery which includes caves and canyons. The island has two marine parks, one at Mourouk in the southeast and another at Rivière Banane in the northeast
Diving is mainly off the south and east coasts. The windward coast, and close to the reef, the east coast is arguably the best, with around twenty dive sites including deep blue dives, coral dives and canyon diving. The most famous dive sites are La Passe St François, a kilometre-long channel near St François teeming with exotic fish, from tuna to rays, and the equally impressive La Grand Passe to the south off Port Sud Est. Although Rodrigues’ dive scene and virgin sites are best for qualified divers with experience, there are also shallow dives suitable for beginners and dive schools offering beginners lessons. The ideal months for diving are October to December, and March to April; dive centres close in July and August.
The best beachfront snorkelling is near the reef at Marouk, where equipment can be rented, in “the aquarium” off St François and around Île Hermitage and Île aux Chats, reached by fishing boat from Port Sud Est. Enquire at Rodrigues Tourism Office about glass-bottom boat trips.