It is an overseas department and region of the French Republic
There are a few places around the world you can visit that will make you think you have died and gone to heaven. Most of those people, maybe all of them, will post a picture on Instagram with #blessed! I was one of them. La Réunion (I can hear in my head how perfect my French accent is…) is an Indian Ocean dream. People will be surprised how small this island is as you can barely sea it on the map. You are looking and trying to find it and then oops there it is, just under Mauritius and close to Madagascar.
The island is alive with adventure, not only because of its beautiful green nature, that is literally one of the greenest places on earth, but also because it has an alive volcano! Yes you understood correctly, an active ancient volcano that can guarantee you thrills!
See the list below the Top 10 Things To Do On Reunion Island:
1. Explore you senses at
Bassin Aigrettes Saint Gilles les Bain Cascades
Waterfalls… are a gift from nature to humans. A place where serenity, freshness and piece fulfill you. With its beautiful green and natural surroundings this island has not one, not two but a number of waterfalls to show off its beauty. It’s the top of my list because the waterfalls are of significant importance to the island and a main attraction.
They are so beautiful and majestic that you will want to run there to see it with your own eyes. The panoramic view will brighten up your senses and make you smile within. Take your swim gear with you and dive in to the natural pools with crystal clear waters and natural rejuvenating spas, as the pressure and the power of the waterfall will make your body and skin feel pure bliss.
You will miss out if you do not taste the water, so bring your cup, fill it up with fresh natural water and say cheers to the breath taking views around you!
2. Feel the volcanic sand at Piton de la Fournaise
Have you ever been in a volcano? Have you ever visited a country with an active volcano before? No? Then La Réunion will change that as it provides a special volcanic experience with its epic Piton de la Fournaise. One of the main reasons the island is full of tropical and jungle like natural beauty, is due to the alive volcano. A volcanic eruption might cause some problems to the inhabitants but it is a natural way to recreate beautiful beaches, enlarge the peninsula, plant new seeds and trees that will ensure the continuity of the beauty this place has to offer.
La Réunion is an island which gives the tourists an experience of black sand beaches as the lava running down after each eruption burns the earth burn to a dark brown and black and offers the magnificent opportunity for travelers to see green, black, brown, turquoise and blue colors come together. It is Nature’s chance to create a different kind of experience that the human eye might have not seen before. Even the name of the island makes you think that everything comes together in a natural alluring reunion of colors and nature!
3. Miracle Church and La Dodo
In April 1977 when the Piton de la Fournaise volcano erupted spewing lava down to the sea, numerous houses and other buildings where destroyed but miraculously the local church survived. They call it the Miracle Church, our lady of the lavas. It’s a beautiful church to visit and you will be amazed how its stunning colors remained intact after surviving this volcano eruption. It looks like a dash of pink in a burned dark brown site.
From volcanoes to extinct animals, the island is known as the “Lost Land of the Dodo”. La Dodo was a huge bird, that could barely pick up its wings and fly due to it heavy weight. A visit to the Natural History museum in La Réunion will bring you closer to nature and explain more about the extinction of this exciting yet strange creature La Dodo.
Right now La Dodo is on the logo of Bourbon: “La Dodo lé la” and it is the most popular beer of the island, a very delicious and refreshing one!
4. Hike Piton des Neiges
If you are one of those people who are looking for adventure then you shouldn’t miss out on hiking and/or climbing one of the wildest mountains you will ever see. Piton des Neiges is one of the places you have to hike up, as it is the highest peak in the Indian Ocean so you should do it at least once in your lifetime.
With its beautiful landscape, it is highly recommended not only for experienced campers but also for the ones who might want to take it a little slower. In that case hiking can take up to 2 days and there is a camp site on the top where you can put up your tent and enjoy a cup of tea with this magical view around you.
5. Night out a la Réunionnaise way!
If you are looking for a good night out then Saint Gilles, which is situated on the west coast has a lot to offer. There you will find a couple of bars and nightclubs which offer a big variety of music, from r’n’b to rock, latin to jazz and electro to Creole music which is the original and traditional music of the island. There is a fantastic mix of cultures and acoustics, influenced by immigrants and inhabitants that have settled here from around the world over the last 4 centuries.
One of the things you don’t want to miss at La Réunion is Sakifo Musik Festival in June! It is one of the best music festivals in the world as some of the most popular European, African and Latin singers and bands perform live every year!
Don’t miss out on the fun of dancing with your friends and check out some singing battles too. If you enjoy drinking, then Bourbon beer: La Dodo is a must, as well as Charrette, the typical local Rum made from the sugar cane of Reunion Island. Drink up and be careful your shoes don’t melt while dancing to the rhythms of Sakifo!
6. Activities and Adrenaline Réunion
Some of the most fun, adventurous and exhilarating things to do at La Réunion include, paragliding, canoeing, surfing, snorkeling, parasailing and stand up paddle. All you sport lovers will be getting excited right now. If you love the sea like me, then you can imagine why my suggestions include everything that deals with the ocean. Let’s start first with paragliding.
If you want to see with your own eyes how the Indian Ocean coral reefs look like from above, then you should try paragliding on top of the ocean experience. You will be amazed how beautiful and crystal clear the turquoise waters look from above. You will not be able to take your eyes off this infinity view of the ocean and the horizon right in front of you, whilst you fly like a bird.
Then if you want to see the corals up close, book yourself a snorkelling experience. Grab your mask and fins and get lost under the sea. Marvel at different type of fishes, starfish and the coral reef. If you don’t feel like diving do not worry as you can hire a transparent canoe and paddle your way across the sea. Other options include stand up paddling, which is a great exercise for the body and can free your soul.
The experienced surfers will know that La Réunion offers some of the best waves in the whole world! Most of the beaches in the island are surf approved as they are covered by the coral reef but there are a few where surfing is prohibited. I am sure you understand why. As you might have heard there have been a couple of shark incidents the past years, so be very well aware of your surroundings and ask which is the safest spot to surf!
Lastly the ultimate fun thing to do is parasailing! It will offer you the sailing, paragliding, flying and diving feelings all at the same time! It is a very safe sport to do alone or with a friend. Buckle up and get ready to fly to the top and dive from up high as fast as you can!
7. White, brown and black… Réunion
From white to dark brown to black sands, La Réunion is an island with heavenly beaches and warm waters surrounding it. The most popular beach on the island is Saint Gilles les Bains. A beach where you and your friends or family can spend the whole day lying on the beautiful white sand and enjoying the views around you, doing sports, drinking some cocktails or beers and having a picnic.
Swim in the warm waters and marvel the beautiful seabed, watching starfish and delight in the variety of corals and shells. A day well spent full of extraordinary experiences that will fulfil your body and soul and make you find inner happiness. The most exciting part of searching for unique places is that the island offers beaches with black sand.
This is something that can be found in very few places around the world and it will amaze you how beautiful it is. The lava coming down from the volcano, making its way to the ocean is a pure creation of Mother Nature, the most successful artist and architect of the earth. Take a drive along the island and make your way up to L’Etang-Salé to marvel the hot volcanic sand under the sun! If you want a tropical beach experience then you should take a day off and enjoy a picnic in Grande Anse.
A place located in the region of Petite Île, with magnificent white sandy beaches and coconut trees, it’s one of the most popular places for locals frequent and offers you the opportunity to enjoy a small and quick hike through the tropical hills.
8. Rivière des Remparts
Rivière des Remparts, is a beautiful river to visit, located in the valley upstream of Roche-Plate. Its stream flows south from the slopes of Piton des Songes in a deep caldera along the Piton de la Fournaise and reaches sea level at the town of Saint Joseph. You can enjoy hiking up the valleys to enjoy the astonishing green views, which contain native plants and a rich quantity of flora and fauna.
It is a place, which is home to the evergreen lowland forest, mountain forest, alpine brush and rocky cliffs. The gorges are separated by a cultivated plateau and a narrow ridge. The site is home to different species of birds that will sing along as you make your way up. What are you waiting for? Gear up, take a buddy and go revel in the nature that awaits you.
9. Cirque de Cilaos
A natural wonder, this town is situated in the centre of the island with an altitude of 1214 metres, Cilaos is a unique place to visit. Réunions dramatic Cirque de Cilaos offers a memorable drive from Saint Louis, that leads toward the stunning cirque, with numerous twists, turns and tunnels. Make your way to the cirque and you will be surrounded by unique indigenous trees, colourful flowers and pounding waterfalls, which attract the most enthusiastic sport lovers.
On the other hand if you don’t feel like doing any exercise and you want to take it slow then visit the vineyards and taste the exceptional local wines made from French varieties. If you like legumes or you are a vegetarian try their lentil dishes, as the area is known for its production of lentils and the delicious local cuisine. À votre santé et bon appétit!
10. La capital Saint Denis
The capital of La Réunion and the most populous commune of the island is situated on the northernmost point. The town offers numerous historical and architectural buildings and shows it’s beauty that was built many years ago. With numerous museums, old buildings, markets and gardens, it is a unique place to spend a couple of days and get to meet the locals and have some fine food and wine experiences.
Don’t miss visiting the monuments of La Réunion a grand Arc decorated in Hindu Style, Temple Tamoul, which is another extraordinary Indian construction with traditional Hindu carvings and Jardin de l’Etat a beautiful garden surrounded by fountains and palm trees. To bring memories back home go to the Rue de Souvenirs in Centre commercial de Carrefour and la Foir’Fouille to find outstanding and special mementos.
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