The island of Reunion is lively, surprising and continuously moving. Under a sunny and warm climate, its population is accustomed to cyclones and other mishaps of nature. La Fournaise sometimes spits gush of lava flows so powerful at times that they manage to reach the sea to create new territories.
Much of the island became a national park in 2007 and the pitons, cirques and ramparts were in turn registered in the UNESCO World Heritage in 2010. On Reunion island, nature seems to explode in all directions – a myriad of waterfalls, lost in a wild circus, beside a green and blue lagoon or above the famous volcano.
On the one hand a dominant side, little windy and lined with shady casuarina beaches that delight fans of relaxation and water sports. The other a coastline exposed to the trade winds, tougher green face that appeals to lovers of raw nature. Choosing one or the other is not the question, no one can claim to know Reunion without having seen these two seaboards, each having their charms.
Hiking on the volcano ….
It is not coincidence that the Grand Raid, the famous mountain race in Reunion, starts rushing towards the volcano. Mineral landscapes of Piton de la Fournaise indeed offer some great opportunities for hiking. The usual visitor join the crater rim from the Bellecombe. Other prefer the road down to the sea, crossing a surprising succession of landscapes and vegetation
… And in circuses
So green that the area around the volcano are minerals, Cilaos, Mafate and Salazie offer an exceptional space to practice the queen activity of the island: hiking. Each year, thousands of visitors soar on countless trails, revealing in passing the particular lifestyle of these separate spaces. In the center, the Piton des Neiges, the highest point of the island, is also a nice playground for hikers.
If she rarely immediately raises the enthusiasm of the newcomers, who often prefer the attractions of the west coast, the first town on the island nevertheless has a charm of its own. The Barachois, its historical remains, dawdling in the aisles of the garden state is simply a wonderful journey. With its religious sites, markets and neighborhoods, Saint-Denis is also an excellent introduction to the island particularities
Surfing and kitesurfing
Do you know the the famous wave of Saint-Leu? The reputation of the city with surfers. The island has many other popular spots for surfers and bodyboarders. Aficionados of the “kite”, will also find excellent conditions along the west coast.
At 2200 meters above sea level on the hills of the West Coast, the name of the Piton Maido sounds like a promise to visitors’ ears. Accessible by car, on a beautiful winding road through a forest, Piton Maido reserves an exceptional view of Mafate and its islets. The opportunity to embrace a glance – if the weather permits!
The Grand Brûlé
South of the island, the lava flows are the witnesses which now stand still like statues right by the Piton de la Fournaise. Past Saint-Philippe, the coast guard, indeed, many traces of the most recent eruptions of the volcano. Black basalt extending to the sea, the landscape reminds some of the most “hot” episodes in the history of the island, such as the eruption of 2007, which cut the RN2 .
Canyoning and white water sports
A steep terrain, ravines, waterfalls, ponds … the island has all the turnkey to seduce lovers of canyoning and white water sports. You will delight either in the Cilaos and Salazie or in St. Benedict, which concentrates clubs offering rafting, snorkeling and canoe-raft.
Paragliding in Saint-Leu
Paragliders not raving about the conditions offered by the western resort of the island beauty of the setting, spot protected from the wind by the relief, conditions for almost fly 300 days a year … The site is ideal for a baptism, in tandem with an instructor, but confirmed will also find their account.
Bathing in the pools
Their names are evocative: Niagara near Sainte-Suzanne, Bouteille in the high plains, Peace Pool and Sea Basin just outside Bras-Panon and many more remain havens of freshness. Ponds and waterfalls of the island, often hidden in the bend of the cane fields, to the delight of fans of picnic and swimming … in total privacy.
Main resort of the island, Saint-Gilles-les-Bains draws crowds with its finely tuned cocktail of beaches, activities and restaurants-bars. Decidely casual and trendy for others, the city is the epicenter of the Western part of Reunion, less than an hour from Saint-Denis.
Paradise of fruits
Besides the delicious Victoria pineapples, bananas and coconuts that grow all year, every season brings a lot of vitamins. December and January is the season of lychees, mangoes and papayas, which are often present until February. The passion fruit appear in March and April. As for the guava trees, small and tasty red fruit, can mainly be found during the months May and June.
Hermitage-les-Bains, the family beach par excellence, has a trump card: a long series of casuarina trees that provide shade along the coast. Quiet beach, it is the favourite spot picnic lovers, who flock there every weekend. A Creole family tradition…
Sugar, and rum distilleries
Industrial tourism? Not only. Because in Reunion, sugar is also a culture, a history, a heritage. Throughout the visit of the distilleries on the island, and its two gigantic sweets still in business, you will learn about the production of alcohol and cane sugar industry that shaped the economic destiny of Reunion and opens new opportunities. A significant part of the electricity consumed on the island comes from sugar cane.
A must for hikers! At the heart of Reunion, Mafate can only be approached on foot or by helicopter. No road leads into this vast basin bordered by peaks and mountain walls, home to a few hundred inhabitants. Rare are those who regret the effort required to get there, as they are offset by the peaceful and quiet and beautiful scenery.
In 1841, a young slave of Reunion, Edmond Albius, discovered the process for manually polinating vanilla, giving the so-called vanilla “Bourbon” name. Production has had its ups and downs, but the Reunion vanilla remains one of the most popular among connoisseurs. Several sites, especially in the east of the island, you can discover how this delicate orchid Vanilla planifolia is cultivated.
Colorful and festive, Tamil ceremonies reveal a surprising facet of Reunion culture and its melting pot. During Teemeedee, the faithful walk on glowing embers, while celebrating the Cavadee, penitents pierce their tongue and cheeks with needles. As for Divapali, the festival of light, it takes place in the light of hundreds of candles lit to illuminate the return from exile of Rama …
We hope that you enjoy your holidays on the Island of Reunion!