Reunion island is the place where you eat fresh croissant and cappuccino together with a bowl of sweet pineapple for breakfast and french crepes with coconut water for lunch. You can have your fresh French baguette together with an Indian ocean view.
What to do on Reunion?
People on Reunion island speak a mixture of French and Creole languages. They use lunch breaks for surfing and plan mountains hiking for the weekend. The eruption of the volcano here is not a natural disaster, but an occasion to put up a tent and arrange a family picnic with a view of the lava flows. Reunion is an elite area of France with high prices. There is no basic list of attractions and no guidebooks are needed. But behind every turn opens the “best view in life.”
On the island, you will live in close proximity to wildlife, while being in conditions of European civilization. You will be overwhelmed by the problems of fish populations talking about sharks. You will think about the water cycle, feeling the power of the waterfall. You will even see how clouds form and find out so much about volcanoes.
Reunion’s waterfalls are a separate issue. There are many of them, and they are very beautiful. The path to each waterfall is a well-trodden path in the jungle without a hint of civilization. There are no entrance tickets, nor strict guards and rescuers. If you want, go at 5 a.m. Monday and swim all alone, climb the rocks to the top and jump into the lake. Only you and nature. Here are two waterfalls, where I’ve been – Bassin de Camaron and Langevin.
The beaches of Reunion
Swim on beaches with a shark net. Boucan Canot or Ermitage are very picturesque. Take off the sub, play beach tennis or go scuba diving. And then sit down in a bar and listen to stories about shark attacks, do not forget to google the names and photos of the mentioned predators.
Meet sunrise on Maido
You will see how the clouds form. The sun’s rays instantly illuminate the village of Mafat, hidden in a mountain gorge. The dew accumulated overnight on the plants gradually turns into trickles of steam, combining with each other they form a cloud, which becomes larger and larger and by noon covers the whole island.
Go down in a crater of the volcano
Piton de la Fournaise is the most active volcano in the world. The land always stays hot from the recent eruption. There are extraordinary landscapes from the cartoon “Lion King”.
Take a ride on the ring road
It runs around the entire island. You will see a place where lava always flows, a place where it always rains, rocks and an artificial geyser, take a walk through the French towns of “ala Provence”, but in a colonial style. Imagine, on the island, only 1 road leads to each point. And if it is blocked by a stone that has fallen from the mountain, people may be cut off from the world.
Tracking, hiking, tenting – what else is it called? There is a 2-days trail – Cirque of Mafate, all mountain villages and natural beauties are collected here. But you can go for 5 hours from the village of Silaos to the river and back. On the way, you will walk along mountain trails, cross streams, swim in waterfalls and natural jacuzzis.
Food on Reunion island
Prices in cafes for ordinary food are higher here than in Paris next to the Eiffel Tower. So get ready for the gluten holiday: French baguette sandwiches, crepes and takeaway pizza for 7-10 euros. Do not pay attention to the unsightly appearance of such pizza stalls. They cook sooo tasty.
In the mountains and in some places on the coast, you can try Creole street food: rice with various additives, samosa with filling from crab to Nutella. Such lunch will cost from 5 to 10 euros.
Remember to drop into a typically French bakery and order a masterpiece cake.
And at least once go to a restaurant and try the best tuna carpaccio in life.
What not to do on Reunion?
Do not expect a beach holiday with soft sand, warm water, and a soft sun. The sand on the beach is full of corals. Dangerous sharks swim 10 meters from the shore. And you can be burnt in the sun in 10 minutes.
Do not wait for cheap tropical fruits. One coconut costs 3 euros, mangos – 5 euros per kilo.
And don’t think about going to restaurants or shopping. Unless of course, you want to spend between 30 euros for a plate of pasta and 60 euros for a T-shirt. Do not forget, we are still in France.
Bull sharks and white sharks swim right to the shore. All this is due to the created conservation area around corals. Locals organize strikes not to raise their pension, but to be allowed to hunt sharks!
Advice before your trip to Reunion
- Find friends before your trip. It can be your compatriots who have moved to Reunion or friends of friends of friends. Or even a blind Facebook search. Locals are extremely hospitable people. This new friend will be your first guide to the island, advise on cool places and call for a party.
- Couchsurfing. This is the first place where I will insist on living for free or at worst rent a room in the family. Firstly, all the same acquaintances with the locals. Secondly – saving. Don’t forget to help prepare dinner. So you learn a lot about local cuisine.
- Chat! Wherever you go, smile wider and be very welcoming. Any local resident, even with a superficial acquaintance with you, will try to find a common ground between you. “Oh, are you from Russia? – Cool! “A friend of my ex-girlfriend studied in Russia!” As a result, they can call you for fishing or tell a lot about the island.
- Get your friend’s car. The very ones you meet. Surely there is someone with a stagnant Kia in the garage, ready to hand her over for 10 euros per day.
- Travel with autostop. Easy and verified!
- First live on the coast, for example in Saint-Gilles, walk around the town, spend time on the beach. And when you get tired of the heat, get over the mountains for a few days. It is cooler and much nicer to be outside.
P.S.: Just 30 minutes from Reunion there is a visa-free and well-known Mauritius island. Therefore, if you plan a trip for 2 weeks or more, why not combine the two islands in one trip?