The remote Indian Ocean island of Reunion lies between Madagascar and Mauritius, to the east of Africa. As a French overseas territory, it is considered a part of the Eurozone despite its remote geographic location.
The island is most famous for Piton de la Fournaise (literally meaning `Peak of the Furnace`), which is locally known as `le Volcan` (The Volcano). Piton de la Fournaise is more than 500,000 years old and is one of the most active volcanoes in the entire world. Although it's experienced more than 150 eruptions since the 17th century, according to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, it's the island's hottest tourist spot. A website for the territory claims that it's easy to hike to the top of the mountain, and that `courageous` campers can even spend the night near the rim.
Reunion is known for it's incredible diversity of landscapes and micro-climates, a melting pot of cultures, beautiful beaches, towering mountains, aquamarine lagoons, breathtaking canyons, colorful towns and villages, and amazing waterfalls. It is a popular destination for adventurers and hikers or for those seeking an active holiday infused with relaxing beaches, beautiful scenery and diverse cultures.
With an active volcano on its south coast (Piton de la Fournaise being the most famous), 17 miles of warm, welcoming beaches in the west, and lots of mountains and forests in between, Reunion Island offers vacation opportunities ranging from relaxing to truly adventurous.
If you're looking for a place to wind down, you'll find it on the west coast boasting beautiful lagoons, sandy beaches and laid-back towns. Notable towns to visit in this area are Saint-Paul, Saint-Gilles and Saint-Leu. If you are the kind of person that prefers an adrenaline rush, the possibilities are endless. From hiking Reunion’s unique `cirques`, such as Cirque de Cilaos, one of the three cirques on the island and arguably the most majestic, or exploring the island’s many waterfalls to scuba diving or surfing in the clear waters that surround this tiny 30-mile-wide island, the adventure activities are endless.
Réunion has a hot sub-tropical climate with sea temperatures that rarely drop below 73°F. The dry season is May to October, with temperatures ranging from 68-77°F. November to April is more humid, with most rain and occasional cyclones in January and February.
If you’re not a fan of crowds, plan your Reunion Island itinerary around the shoulder season. Temperatures in April, May, and September are still warm, and you don’t have to worry about those pesky cyclones. Prices for hotels have yet to skyrocket, and you’ll find fewer tourists hogging the hiking trails or all the good spots on the beach.
During the cyclonic season (November to April), you should check cyclone warnings shown in newspapers or broadcast by the radio or TV.
We recommend 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in larger cities.
Réunion is an easy destination to get around. Transport is reasonably priced and reliable, but be prepared for traffic jams near the main cities.
The most popular way of travelling around the country is by self-drive as this gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore the different regions of the island. The roads are in good condition although they become narrower in the remote areas. You drive on the right, as you would in France. Alternatively, you can hire an expert guide for the day, which is great fun as you learn a lot at the same time.
Intercity bus travel around the island is offered by Car Jaune (`Yellow Bus,` buses are easily recognizable by their yellow color). There are 13 lines. Apart from these buses there are also local buses. Most lines operate between 6am and 7pm Monday to Saturday, with a limited number of services on Sunday. You can buy a ticket from the driver as you board (except in the main bus stations, where you get them at vending machines). To get the bus to stop, you ring the bell or clap your hands twice loudly.
Reunion is part of the Eurozone, so as in many other European Union countries the currency used is the euro (symbol: €).
French is the main language, with Creole as the second choice. Some English is spoken but the road signs and information will all be in French. It’s useful to understand some French as English fluency is rare.
We`d recommend learning some basic phrases just to get around as the English spoken in this country is very poor. Also useful is a good English-French guidebook or to download the offline French language pack with the Google Translate app before coming here.