Glass bottom boat in Reunion Island

Zarlor “Glass bottom boat”

Observe the underwater life of the Indian Ocean

The glass bottom boat in Reunion. If you dream to observe underwater life but are not really a fish in the water, Sealife offers a great alternative with its glass bottom boats. The Visiobul 2.0, unique in Reunion, but also on the “Grand Bleu”!

What is a Zarlor ?

Zarlor is a creol word that means « treasure » !
But here, ” Zarlor ” are activities, recommendations (guided tours, sport or cutltural activities…) highlighted by the Tourist Office to discover or re discover the West part of the island.

Rendez-vous at Saint-Gilles’ harbour

Super easy, this “Glass Bottom Boat” Zarlor starts in front of the Saint-Gilles’ Aquarium at SeaLife to take in the Visiobul, or the Grand Bleu. In the heart of the port of the island’s seaside resort, hard to miss, however, plan at least 5 minutes free to park if you are on school holidays or on the weekend.

Romain in front of Sealife office at Saint-Gilles' harbour ready to take the glass bottom boat.

We go to the reception to check our reservation then we are directed to the Visiobul where Hugo, our captain will take us on board. Aboard a boat like no other… quite futuristic with its round dome, it’s not every day that you see a boat like this!
We take off our slippers before getting in, and here we go.

Little brief before the exploration

Once all on board, Hugo explains us that we can admire the reefs thanks to the glass bottom which offers a panoramic view of what is happening under the boat.

You can also go looking for dolphins since there have been sightings recently. Everyone looks like they’re up for dolphin watching, so let’s go!

Ze Caillou on board to enjoy a glass bottom boat trip in Reunion Island.

A dolphins’ ballet

We leave the port quietly to reach the ocean. And after only a few minutes of navigation, we come across our first dolphins’ group. Aduncus (Tursiops Aduncus), also called the bottlenose dolphins of the Indo-Pacific. Coastal, they are quite easily observed, yet they are not very numerous on the island (about 70).

Hugo tells us a bit about the different species, where to find them in general, about their behavior. Super interesting. These 1st dolphins don’t really want to play with us so we leave them alone and we go in search of another group.

Dolphin watching

A little further, there are several Longbeak’s group (Stenella Longirostris) which for some of them, seem playful. They follow the waves, surf, do small jumps, get very close to the boat.

We can observe them well, on 2 occasions they even pass under the boat and we can see them well from the window of the boat. You have to be quick, however, to capture them at this level, but it’s super fun.

We can observe 2 dolphins passing under the boat thanks to the big glass.

Everybody, children and adults are enjoying this boat trip!

Observe the reef with the glass bottom boat

Indeed, during this outing, we mainly observed dolphins, but it is quite possible to go a little closer to the reef and shallower waters to observe the underwater life of Reunion. Thanks to the glass bottom boat, the Visiobul or the Grand Bleu.

In short, after nearly 1h30 out, it’s time to return to port… it goes by so quickly. But Via the Zarlor, you can extend your trip to Saint-Gilles by continuing with a small restaurant just a few minutes from the aquarium. Creole meal or fish of the day, it’s up to you!

To close this article on Le Visiobul, glass bottom boat in Reunion, we were amazed.

Pratical infos about the Glass bottom boat in Reunion:

This « Glass bottom boat » Zarlot starts at Saint-Gilles on the west coast. At the Harbour in front of the Reunion Aquarium.

  • Option 1 with Visiobul : 1h30 – 63€ / 35€ for 4 to 11 / 9€ from 1 to 3
  • Option 2 with Grand Bleu : 1h15 – 42€ / 23€ from 5 to 11 / 9€ from 1 to 4

To know more about both options or book your trip, visit West Coast Tourism Office website (in french).

Don’t forget: water, hat, solar cream and sunglasses.

And to find all our activities in Reunion, it’s here !

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