MUST SEE ON THE ISLAND
VANILLA PLANTATION: La Vanilleraie is a vanilla preparation workshop situated at the heart of the authentic Creole estate of Le Grand Hazier in Sainte Suzanne (listed in the register of historic monuments). In this unique setting, in the shade of hundred year-old flamboyant trees, tours are offered and vanilla is sold in all its forms (pods, powder, extract and vanilla derivatives). Tour of the vanilla plantation and its different varieties of vanilla plants, in addition to tours of the vanilla preparation plant and discovery of the secrets of the manufacture of this sweet-tasting spice. The guided tours give detailed information about the plant and processing of the pods, while also covering the history of vanilla cultivation on La Réunion and the key role of Edmond Albius in its development. Finally, the screening of a ten-minute film shows the different stages in the production of the pods. Processed using a traditional, 150 year-old manufacturing process, vanilla pods embody both tradition and quality. Awarded silver medals at the French national agricultural fair in 2008 and 2010 and gold medal in 2011, La Vanilleraie sells an exceptional product: genuine La Réunion Bourbon Vanilla. Shop open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Hourly visits at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. http://www.lavanilleraie.com/
RHUM FACTORY: Right from the start, even in the garden in front of the Saga du Rhum, the scene is set. The mosaic of various traditional varieties of sugar-cane, with their colourful names, is planted opposite a row of barrels : for generations, sugar-cane has been giving the world a delicious drink : rum. http://www.sagadurhum.fr/-Visit-.html
ST PAUL MARKET: Saint-Paul market which opens on Fridays and Saturdays is famed to be the most beautiful market of Reunion Island. This open market is located on the waterfront of the city and is undoubtedly the most touristic market on the island. The market is the best place to discover Reunion Island’s culinary culture and traditions. Over 300 exhibitors offer local products, spices, fruits and vegetables. Saint-Paul market is also the best place to find souvenir gifts of Reunion Island.
TAKAMAKA: The Takamaka Valley deeply lacerates the eastern planet of the Piton des Neiges massif. It impresses the landscape with its steep ramparts, thus enclosing one of the longest streams on the island, the Rivière des Marsouins. Extending the plateau of Bébour in a setting of waterfalls, the valley drains water imbibing upstream the mountain forests, rich in remarkable biodiversity. The small road that goes up to it opens at its terminus on a panorama of great nature, an integral part of the heart of the national park and the World Heritage property. The ubiquitous water, is captured to produce electricity. It supplies two power plants made invisible, by an astonishing underground implantation, imposed by the very rugged relief. It is therefore advisable to be well informed about the weather and the prefectural arrests, to be equipped for the hike without forgetting water, a cap and a cover before going there.
MAIDO: The Maïdo is located on the heights of Saint-Paul. This site offers an exceptional point of view on the islets of the cirque of Mafate and on the west coast. To get there you will cross a forest of Tamarins, for a pleasant stroll in the heart of nature Reunion. The site of Maïdo is the starting point of many excursions to Mafate, but also to the Grand Bénare, third highest peak of the island with its 2,898 meters of altitude.
PITON DE LA FOURNAISE: Le Piton de La Fournaise is one of the most active volcanos of the planet. The volcano is the most visited place of Reunion Island and probably the most thrilling attraction of the Indian Ocean too. This mythic volcano can be visited by helicopter or microlight planes, but the best way to discover the volcano is the hard way, trekking!
The massive Piton de la Fournaise is our number one pick for many reasons. Amongst the reasons, the view from above, those who made it to the top will tell you about the outstanding view over the rest of the island!
MAFATE: Mafate is one of the three famous calderas found at the heart of Reunion Island. The caldera of Mafate is home to a small village of the same name. A very uncommon village as it is located almost 2000 metres above sea level. If you are looking to spend a day in an unusual place, Mafate is definitely worth it. The caldera is sort of incommunicado with the rest of the world. No roads, no chance to come across a car or a bus, the only way to visit Mafate is by walk.
CILAOS: Cilaos is a caldera located next to Mafate, but unlike its neighbour, Cilaos is accessible by road. However, you can still trek to reach its top. Cilaos is famous for its impressive canyons and waterfalls where numerous extreme sports activities like canyoning (canyoneering), rock climbing can be practised. In fact, Cilaos is considered to be an advanced location for canyoning, a world-class site to discover hidden gorges and slide down waterfalls. Besides these electrifying activities, you will also discover the small village of Cilaos, well-known for traditional products like lentils or its old-style sugarcane rum!
VOILE DE LA MARIEE: Voile de la Mariée is one of the many natural treasures of Reunion Island. This waterfall is famous for the optical illusion it produces, the falls take the appearance the veils of a bride! Several chutes form this waterfall which end up in a natural pool surrounded by sumptuous flora. When visiting the calderas, Voile de la Mariée is a must-stop. The best way to get there is by crossing the small village of Hell-Bourg on your way to Salazie caldera.
ST DENIS: Also known as the old city, Saint-Denis is the capital city of Reunion Island. Located in the north, the capital City hosts the main administrative centres of the island. From a historical point of view, Saint-Denis is very important to Reunion Island with its numerous museums and cultural monuments.
ERMITAGE BEACH: Reunion Island is not just about mountains, calderas and vertiginous peaks. The west coast of the island is blessed with some amazing beaches. Ermitage (or l’Hermitage as pronounced by locals) beach is the longest beach of Reunion Island. Nearly two kilometres of white sand to lay down your towel and enjoy a sunbath.
The beach of Ermitage is the perfect place to spend some time and enjoy the tropical side of the island. Ermitage beach is lined with filaos (casuarina trees) providing some shade and is protected by a coral reef.
BOUCAN CANOT BEACH: Boucan Canot is another well-known beach of the west coast of Reunion Island. This touristic beach of Saint-Gilles-les-Bains is ideal for tanning, bathing, snorkelling, surfing and other sensational leisure activities. Unlike Ermitage beach, Boucan Canot can be crowded especially during weekends. However, during weekdays, the beach is very calm.
EDEN GARDEN: Eden garden is a beautiful botanical garden of 2.5 hectares which includes more than 700 species of plants. You will discover through a stroll of two hours a wide variety of tropical fauna and flora including some endemic species of Reunion Island.
Even though it is located at the heart of Saint-Gilles, Eden garden is one of the quietest places in the city. If you like plants and calmness, we definitely recommend this botanical garden.
AQUARIUM OF REUNION ISLAND: Discover the abundant marine life of the Indian Ocean in this aquarium located in Saint-Gilles-les-Bains. The aquarium encompasses more than 500 species of fish and natural coral reefs nestled in more than 600 000 litres of water.The aquarium is a great alternative to discover aquatic life as a replacement for diving and also a great activity on rainy days!