I came to the island of Reunion for the first time in summer 1998, or more precisely in the winter of 1998, since the seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere and July and August here correspond to the southern winter. Austral, that single word made me dream. And every time I returned to the island, I always thought to myself “this island is badly sold”
Three mountain Circues, a peak that rises to over 3000 meters (the highest of the Indian Ocean zone), a volcano among the five most active on the planet, dark and dense forests, steep footpaths, fog in the mountains and ice on the volcano one or two days a year, and activities such as paragliding, diving and canyoning! Indeed, it could scare vacationers looking for a beach destination, lagoon and coconut trees.
Then of course there is the “sister island”, 170 km away, the beaches are legion and lagoons evoke postcards. Mauritius has built its reputation on the blond gold of its sand and the turquoise of its waters. Besides, Reunion island evokes a greener, more sporty image. Not without reason.
Yet if I took some time and talk about known treasures of Reunion island, I might convince you to visit this wonderful island. I want to show you some nooks and meet colorful characters, I also want to show you what you will find exclusively in Reunion Island, things that any tourist dreams of finding on his arrival on an island in the sun: the beach and the lagoon – Reunion does have it all!
Beaches in Reunion Island
The most popular beaches are those on the coast near the town of St. Paul, which by its size, is among the longest towns on the island. St. Paul, first “capital” of Reunion since it was the first anchor point of the earliest settlers from Madagascar and beyond possess magnificent beaches. We should not omit Boucan-Canot, Roches Noires, Saint-Gilles, the Hermitage and Saline les Bains. All those a tourist bonanza since they are the more sheltered coast from the winds – the East Coast has the largest lagoon and beaches at your discretion.
Boucan Canot Beach, Reunion
Head to Boucan-Canot beach to eat some cheese samosas and observe the youth first try at seduction. Here you can sometimes get the impression of being on the Riviera with the pareos clustered on the sand in the solar corona. For children and little seasonal swimmers, this is a unique place with calm and clear waters, with reef fish that dance while you enjoy your swim.
Roches Noires Beach, Reunion
Further down to Roches Noires beach that stretches for kilometers to the marina of Saint-Gilles where you can take a drink after facing waves appreciated by surfers. One should not deviate Grand Fond, a quieter, calmer, better suited beach for picnics with the family under the casuarinas during the weekends since it remains the less exposed to view. Here, less people, less noise, but so much fun.
Boucan Canot and Saint Gilles, Reunion
Yet another track that I chose make you discover today, the most discreet one you can find on Reunion Island: You have to push after Boucan-Canot and stop before Saint-Gilles to park your car on a roadside right before the main road. A sarong, sunscreen, a water bottle, here’s everything you need to face the tranquility and privacy of this intimate and yet wilder beach. The shade of casuarinas allows employees to come and eat in the shade between twelve and fourteen hours, friends whisper secrets between two mouthfuls of rice. Creole family distributes beverages and paper towels to young too eager to go into the water, a pair sharing the same beach towel under a blazing sun. There you’ll find the perfect place to sit on a carpet of casuarina needles.
Here you can read quietly, dawdle a bit on the sand along the sails on the horizon or browse the endless beach for broken shells and corals. The beach has a pearly reflection and its clear water invites to bask without delay while admiring the cliff and the black rocks that form a scree in the northern end. The beach of Cape Lobster is beautiful, but above all natural and wild. Nobody picks up stranded corals, although there are still very few tourists busy looking for shells on the edge of the waves while environmental protection messages are plastered everywhere, from the airport to the beaches. Like the beach, do not miss its shells!
Is it a nice beach? … You decide!
Those are some of the awesome beaches of the island of Reunion, and I have not even talked about those in the South of the island … Now I think it’s time to tell you other secret places, less crowded and just as fine. This will be the subject of my next articles. But we had to show you the Reunion Island in this specific aspect as “vacation” and beaches similar to those in Mauritius! It’s done!
Have fun in Reunion!