If you are planning to visit Mauritius’ neighbor, you got to know the Top 10 things to do in Réunion island before you arrive over there.
Frankly speaking, Réunion Island(French: La Réunion) is not the perfect beach destination for your holidays compared to other islands like Mauritius. Compared to its neighbors, Réunion has got major assets which well defines the type of tourism people do over there. Being a volcanic island helped La Reunion to shape its paysages over millions of years of weathering.
Sarcastically, it was just the landscape applying some makeup. The results are more than fantastic. No words in the world can describe the beauty of the landscapes in La Reunion Island. Even the photos do not speak of the actual cliché you can see with your eyes while visiting the island.
#1 Climb the Piton des Neiges
One of the best places to be in La Réunion is Piton des Neiges, the highest peak of the Mascarene Islands. This mountain stands at 3070 m. Hiking lovers will surely love this place. Climbing is worth it once in a lifetime. You will discover wonderful paysages as you evolve along your track. For slow climbers, the ascension may take two days and one night. It is highly advised to travel light or you may well be discouraged. There is a camp base at the top where you can spend the night and enjoy the view.
The difference between piton des neiges and other mountains is that there is no risk of avalanche. La Reunion being a small islands, rescue services will not take long before arriving. Till day, there has been no recorded hiking accident. Do not forget some warm clothing as it might get very cold up there in winter as well as in summer. Our advice to you: Just go ahead, hire a guide and do it!
#2 Take a helicopter tour over the island
The best scenery of Réunion Island resides in its wild interior, which features kilometres deep canyons and calderas, waterfalls, and an active volcano. There are many roads that you can follow to take you visit some great paysages in the island’s interior. On the other hand, some places are reachable only by hiking. Hiking may be very tiresome for elderly people and those who don’t have enough time. The perfect alternative is to helicopter tour the island.
It may be the perfect first time experience for those who have never done helicopter tours before. You will feel the adrenaline rise and will feel like a bird. Just enjoy the view.
#3 Visit Piton de la Fournaise volcano
The Piton de la Fournais is one of the most beautiful paysages that the south of the indian ocean can offer. The Reunions islands only active volcano looms over the island and is one of the most active volcanoes in the world with more than 150 eruptions recorded since the 17th century! It stands at some 2632 m high.
When you first arrive to the site, you will have to climb down a very long stairway where your hiking adventures will begin. There are several craters which you can visit along your way. There is a road which will take you to the caldera which you can hike down then up the volcano’s cone.
The last eruption was recorded in 2007. The Piton de la Fournaise offers a great show and the pictures are simply wonderful.
#4 Visit the Le Maido
Réunion island is host to many impressive canyons. One of them is the “Cirque de Mafate” nearly a kilometer deep. Le Maido is a scenic overview of the “Cirque de Mafate”. The Cirque has no roads down into it. The best way to discover it is by doing a long hike, driving up to the viewpoint or helicopter touring which is the perfect choice. Driving up to the top is nearly half the fun. You ascend over about 3000 vertical meters in less than 24km, with dozens of twists, bends and zig zags. Event the road is paved, you have to pay attention to your driving since there a ditches with steep drop-offs on the sides.
The sights from Le Maido are astonishing. You can see for miles into and across the Cirque de Mafate, which is full of rocky valleys that were formed by million of years of erosion. You need to get to the site by 9 AM to avoid watching into nothing but clouds. After this time, clouds start invading the Cirque. The sun is intense at the Maido. You will need to bring some sunscreen and inevitably warm clothing due to the low temperatures.
#5 Visit bassin des Aigrettes
The clear water from this natural pool at the foot of a breathtaking waterfalls will amaze you. Worth the visit during your stay in the island.
#6 Visit the Rivière des Remparts Canyon
The Rivière des Remparts is a creek that from the volcanic plateaus in the south-central portion of the island. All along its paths, the river sculpted a superb deep canyon, whose vertical green walls rise up to one kilometer from the river valley below. There is a viewpoint where you can admire the canyon along the road to the volcano. As for the Maido, the best time to visit the site is during the morning for the same reasons.
#7 Visit the St-Gilles Aquarium
600,000 liters of seawater dedicated to wildlife and underwater flora of Reunion Island.
The St-Gilles Aquarium is home to some 500 fish species, jack fish, sharks, seahorses, lobsters, corals. A journey at the aquarium can be fun and educational. You will find souvenir shops and restaurants where you can taste the local delicacies.
#8 Visit the beaches across the west coast
Being an island, Réunion is circled by beaches. The best beaches are found between St-Gilles and Hermitage les bains. The beaches in this zone are sand beaches which are sheltered from large waves by coral reefs just offshore.
#9 Drive to Cilaos
Driving to Cilaos is the worth the place out of the ten best things to do in the island. The road follows a canyon and rises thousands of metres in about 40 kilometers before finally arriving at Cilaos in the Cirque de Cilaos valley. To achieve this elevation change, the road twists and turns via a few hundred switchbacks many of which have completely blind turns. The street contracts in numerous spots to a single lane, so you need to be giving careful attention to your driving.
You will find spectacular views during your journey and will probably stop many times to take photos.
It is best to do the drive to Cilaos in the morning in order to get the best views as clouds tend to roll in the center part of the island during the morning.
#10 Visit the island’s incredible waterfalls
Go visit the waterfalls around the island. You have an extraordinary palette of choice. You can even go swimming at some spots.
The best ones are basin des Aigrettes and Takamaka.