Reunion is a tropical island located in the middle of the Indian Ocean. This unique island is part of France and because it is so far away from everything, it doesn’t see a lot of tourist leaving it pristine and relaxing for you. There is an active volcano, miles of warm, white sand beaches, lots of mountains, and great food. Reunion is a great place to go visit for people who want an off the grid tropical paradise.
Capital: Saint Denis
Size: 2,512 km²
Power Outlets: 230V/50Hz
Official Languages: French
Time Zone: GMT +4
Calling Code: +262
Weather: The peak tourist season is from late June to early September. Cyclones are frequent in February and March. The drier winter months are the most best for hiking.
Cost and Budgeting for Reunion
Reunion is pretty expensive. Most meals start at €10 and rooms begin at €20 euros on the cheaper end. However, there is not a lot of budget accommodation here. High end hotels usually start at €100 per night. Activities, such a paragliding, usually being at €60 euros. Generally, if you don’t do a lot of activities and stay at cheap places, Reunion can be relatively cheap. However, there are many activities and nice restaurants on the islands and vacations here tend to be expensive.
The Portuguese were the first European visitors, finding it uninhabited in 1635. Later, the island was occupied by France. It was named Reunion in 1793 by a decree of the Convention with the fall of the House of Bourbon. In 1801, the island was renamed “le Bonaparte,” after Napoleon Bonaparte. The island was taken by the British navy in 1810 but returned to France by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. During this time, the island was used as a stop over point on the East Indies trade route. French immigration supplemented by influxes of Africans, Chinese, Malays, and Indians gave the island its ethnic mix. However, the opening of the Suez Canal cost the island its importance and its economy suffered greatly as a result.
Reunion Island’s culture is a combination of French, African, Indian, and Chinese cultures. The 700,000 inhabitants of the island speak mostly French or Creole, and about 75% of the residents are Roman Catholic. This is largely a society respectful of each other’s diverse cultures and the island has suffered no political or social unrest in almost two centuries. Inhabitants of the island are extremely friendly and happy (you would be too if you lived here) and the culture here is very relaxed.
Things to Do and See in Reunion
Visit a Volcano- Reunion’s rugged interior is formed by Salazies Mountain in the west and the Grand Brule Mountain in the east, where visitors will find the island’s still-active volcano, the Piton de la Fournaise.
Check out the cirques- The island’s three cirques dominate the topography of the interior portion of Reunion. Often described as natural amphitheaters, cirques (a volcano that collapsed upon itself) offer not only amazing photo opportunities but also hiking adventures and wildlife sightings.
Hike- Reunion has amazing lush, green forests where you’ll view birds, hike through gorges, view amazing and abundant waterfalls.
Surf- The lively town of St Leu is the perfect location for avid surfers.
Scuba Dive/Snorkel- There are a few reefs off the cast that offer spectacular view of African tropical fish and coral among the turquoise blue water.
The Geography of Reunion
The island of Reunion is only 63 kilometer long, 45 kilometers wide; and covers 2512 square kilometers. Reunion is a volcanic island with similar geography and climate to that of the American island of Hawaii. The Piton de la Fournaise, a volcano on the eastern end of Reunion, rises more than 2631 meters above sea level. The island has many collapsed calderas and canyons to the south west of the mountain that make for great hiking. The slopes of are heavily forested. Cultivated land and cities are located on the coastal lowlands.