Reunion Island, the intense island

10 000 km from Paris, near the African coast, Reunion Island is one of France's most atypical overseas territories. Reunion Island is nicknamed "the intense island", due to its lush vegetation and abundant fauna. The island owes its nature to the volcanic earth as well as to the tropical climate.
Reunion Island is dominated by the Piton des Neiges with an altitude of over 3 000 meters. The island also has one of the most active volcanoes on the planet: the Piton de la Fournaise. A green paradise, Reunion Island is a former French colony that used to be called Bourbon Island. Today it has over 800 000 inhabitants from diverse horizons: Africa, Asia, Europe, etc. Like Madagascar, the population on Reunion Island is a blend. The melting pot is evident in the population's customs and daily life: music, cuisine, etc.

Reunion, the nature island

Nature-lovers will adore Reunion Island. It has a wide variety of landscapes, from mountains to white sandy beaches in an area of 2 500 km². Ideal for relaxing, unwinding and hiking in untamed nature.

Water and Reunion Island: surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Reunion has plenty of sandy beaches as well as inland lakes and waterfalls. Most of the sandy beaches are located on the west side of the island. Among the most beautiful places to visit during your trip to Reunion Island, be sure to go to the Grande Anse in the south of the island, to the Saint-Leu, Boucan Canot beaches or to Manapany-les-Bains. Swimming pleasure would not be complete without diving to admire the underwater beauty. Reunion Island has fish-filled water and coral reefs. The most fabulous place to dive is without a doubt, Cap Lahoussaye where you can dive to 17 meters. For immense landscapes and endless waterfalls, travel to the east of the island. Biberon Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, or Niagara Falls to the north of the island are perfect spots for picnicking and swimming.

Forests and mountains in Reunion Island: here again, there is a wide choice of sites to visit on the island. For example, you can climb the Piton de la Fournaise. There are marked trails for hikers. The Piton des Neiges will get your adrenalin pumping if you are a mountain climber. You must see the Bélouve-Bébour forests. There is an impressive variety of plants and flowers.

Emblematic sites in Reunion Island: some places in Reunion Island are worth the visit:

  • The Trou de Fer: an impressive geological depression in the Piton des Neiges range
  • The Cirque de Mafate or the Cap Noir overlook: the Cirque de Mafate is in the centre of the Reunion National Park and is on UNESCO's World Heritage list.
  • Port Saint-Pierre, the first port on the island and the fishing village at Terre-Sainte.
  • The dolphins at Sainte-Rose.

Practical information about Reunion Island

It is important to pack good insect repellent and lightweight, long-sleeved clothes, in your luggage , because some insects carry serious diseases such as Dengue Fever and Chikungunya. Also, pack good walking shoes that cover your ankles for hiking in the forest as well as a sun hat.
There is a 3-4 hour time difference between London and Reunion Island depending on the season. The climate in the Reunion is tropical and the seasons are inversed. It is best to leave during the southern hemisphere's winter, from May to November if you would like to take advantage of the beach or go hiking. You should avoid the month of January because it is the hurricane season. The tourist office in Reunion Island informs visitors about the best periods to travel.

For more information about Reunion Island