Reunion Island: A small-scale French-speaking island in the Indian Ocean tucked between Mauritius and Madagascar, La Reunion is only 2,5oo km. However, don’t be mistaken by its size: home to over 200 micro-climates, it is a treasure for landscape variety.
On the other hand, this volcanic island also hosts more than 800 endemic species; no wonder its national park has been added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. Moreover, its population is also extremely diverse; as history brought people of European, Asian, African origin, and more together, they have learned to coexist and create exchange between cultures.
Piton de la Fournaise
Views on La Reunion were born about three million years ago from rough occupation. Although the old volcano that created the island is now asleep.
Moreover, it’s a younger brother, the Piton de la Fournaise, that continues to erupt today. It is one of the most active hot spots on the planet and also a marvelous sight.
On the other hand, to enjoy the most complete view over the hole, drive by car up to the Pas de Bellecombe viewpoint. You will go through the lunar Plaine des Sables, a red-earth plain giving out a magical impression. However, it is recommended to reach the viewpoint in the early morning as a sea of clouds usually glides in around 9 am.
Plage du Tremblant: Reunion Island
Regular volcanic eruptions shape the island, leaving fascinating sites to visit, mainly in the southeast. This black sand beach is overlooked by a hardened lava flow born a historic eruption in 2007.
Moreover, feel more of the volcanic energy by taking an outing into lava tunnels. A few adept tour guides will take you below the earth and into the womb of La Reunion for a real insider’s experience.
Make sure you book with a certified guide by choosing the ones urged by the Tourism Office or checking their background.
The highest summit today, the now sluggish Piton des Neiges once gave birth to La Reunion. It now shapes three calderas called cirques.
Peaks, ridges, and valleys make them magnificent hiking sites with mountain paths attracting adventurers from all over the world.
On the other, hand Mafate, the most famous critique, was once the refuge for people escaping from slavery who chose the inner mountains as protection from slave hunters. It remains accessible only by foot.
“DON’T BE A TOURIST, BE A TRAVELER.”
Salazie is another caldera, this one open by car. It is highly mentioned for visiting Creole villages, one of them lovely Hell-Bourg.
Guided tours, which you can book at the town’s own tourism office, can help you understand the lifestyle of tenants back in the day.
Moreover, take a couple of hours to respect the famous Case Folio with its traditional architecture and pretty fountain at the front of a lush tropical garden.
Saint-Leu: Reunion Island
A small western coastal town, Saint-Leu has much to offer. Outdoor sports aficionados will enjoy paragliding, taking off from overlooking hills for an epic flight.
After that, take a walk along with Pointe au Sel, searching for secret coastal basins where you can refresh with locals in pristine waters.
Finally, if you want to understand more of the Reunionese flora, head to the Conservatory of Mascarin, a huge botanical garden gathering all species growing on the island.
Sud Sauvage (Wild South)
While the north and west coasts are more urbanized, the south has remained wilder and more traditional.
On the other hand, basic forests and vast sugarcane fields run downhill towards rocky beaches battered by turquoise seas. Don’t miss the small, often busy beach of Manapany-Les-Bains, the white sand cove at Grand Anse, and the volcanic rock cape at Cap Merchant.
Although, If you still have time, head back into the lands and drive along the Langevin river, until you reach the beautiful Grand Galet waterfall.
Meanwhile, La Reunion has been populated by people of various races over time. Today, it is a melting pot of African, Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, and European origins.
However, communities, traditions, beliefs, and ways of life have blended to form a unique culture on the island, commonly called Creole.
Get to know the island’s multicultural background through museums, but also by visiting religious venues. Such as the Hindu temple Le Colosse in Saint-Andre, or the Chinese Guan Di temple in Saint-Pierre. The largest venue of its kind in the Indian Ocean as of today.
Local Canteens and Markets: Reunion Island
When traveling to Reunion, food is a must. Only through local cuisine will you completely understand the perfect multicultural blend. Moreover, the list of local specialties is very long.
You will find typical meals in La Reunion are shaped by Chinese, Indian, African, French influences, and many others.
On the other hand, Eat your heart out at the beach snack bars with samosas, bonbons piments. Don’t hesitate to enter canteens offering caris, the local dish with almost infinite variants.
The most typical will be chicken, pork sausage, and Indian masala goat. If you want to go a little fancier, choose octopus.