REUNION ISLAND - GETTING AROUND
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.
Car rentals are extremely popular in Réunion, and rates are reasonable. Rates start at around €35 per day (including third-party liability insurance and unlimited miles) and can drop to as low as €25 per day if you rent for an extended period. Arranging your car rental before you leave home is usually cheaper than a walk-in rental.
All major car rental companies have a desk at the airports. There are also plenty of independent operators around the island. They are cheaper than international companies but their rental cars are usually older. Most offer delivery to the airport for a surcharge.
Like mainland France, Réunion keeps to the right side of the road. The road system on the island is excellent and well signposted. Opened in June 2009, the Route des Tamarins is a 21-mile, four-lane expressway that connects St-Paul to Étang-Salé and branches onto the existing RN1. It creates a direct route between the two biggest cities, St-Denis in the north and St-Pierre in the south. The massive New Coastal Road (Nouvelle Route du Littoral) between St-Denis and La Possession is due to open in 2021.
There are some gorgeous drives as you cruise along the island's dramatic roads. Stunning views aside, motoring around Réunion can be fairly hair-raising on occasion with some narrow, and hairpin bends, and rocky outcrops or sugar-cane fields that prevent you from spotting oncoming traffic.
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.
Car Jaune offers regional minibus services for several areas on the island; they run from St-Benoît, St-Joseph, Ste-Rose, St-Leu and St-Paul. These complicated local routes can be somewhat confusing, particularly if you don't speak much French. The most used routes for visitors are the buses from St-André to Salazie, Salazie to Hell-Bourg, Grand Îlet and Le Bélier, and the buses from St-Louis to Cilaos, Îlet à Cordes and Bras-Sec.
We do not recommend traveling by bicycle as a means of transportation. The traffic and the steep and precarious nature of the mountain roads does not make for a bike friendly way to get around.By Taxi
Hailing a taxi on the island is fairly expensive, especially when leaving the airport (expect to pay around €15).By Hiking
Reunion Island has 600 miles of hiking trails, with a dynamic variety of landscapes for an island. The cirques, plains and volcano have been classified as a french national natural park. The best hikes are probably in the Mafate cirque and on the volcano (Piton de la Fournaise).By Aircraft
Some helicopter and airplane companies offer touristic flights. These depart very early in the morning (in order to avoid clouds and fog at altitude).