10 Things to do on Reunion Island
Blogger Natalie Roos has visited Reunion Island twice, exploring the many different layers the island has to offer. These are her top 10 things to do.
1. Swim in the warm Indian ocean
The lagoon is crystal clear and warm and if you have a snorkel and mask it's like an open water aquarium under there.
2. Take to the air
Microlights, helicopters and paragliding are the best ways to see the island. Because of the incredibly diverse geography of the island, it's also the best way to wrap your head around the three cirques that form the island population. Read about my paragliding experience here.
3. Eat the street food
There's a lot to learn about the culture of the island from the street food. Delicious dim sum (known as bouchons), samoosas and falafels, washed down with a cold Dodo beer is a great excuse for "cultural exploration". Ask around about the best places to eat, but I recommend Le Marmite and the Saint Paul's market (open on weekends) for the best local food.
4. Check out the street art
Absolutely loved visiting the workshop of these two super-talented street artists today - Kid Kreol and Boogie. They're working on a project to create visuals for the myths and legends of Reunion Island - stories passed down only by words until now. You can see their ethereal works all over the island. This one is in Saint Denis #gotoreunion
Street art duo Kid Kreol & Boogie are doing amazing things through their work. At the moment, they're busy a project to bring to life the island's many myths and legends visually. You'll see street art all over the island, but two hot spots are the Saint Gilles harbour and Saint Denis, the island's capital.
We hiked up to the remote village of Cayenne, in Mafate. Home to only a few hundred people, the cirque of Mafate is reachable only by foot - there are no roads leading in or out. There are hundreds and hundreds of kilometres to hike on the island, and if you're seriously into hiking, you could spend a week hiking from one side to the other. Our five hour hike to Mafate was the highlight of the trip for me. You can read more about my experience here.
6. Hang out at the beach bars
Sunday afternoons are when the locals hang out at the beach at l'Hermitage les Bains (Hermitage Beach), playing beach volleyball, boules and beach bats. Have a swim and settle in for a few sundowners at Coco Beach, where the Creole tapas are delicious!
7. Go canyoning
Canyoning is one of the most fun activities I've ever experienced. It's a mix between hiking, river rafting and cliff jumping. Except there are the rafts. You're wearing a wet suit, life jacket and helmet and you're floating down rapids, jumping off waterfalls and doing front flips off cliffs. Check out the video I made about it below.
8. Check out the volcano
Obviously. It's hard to explain just how cool it actually is up there. The landscape looks like Mars and the energy is very particular. Definitely one of the things you cannot miss out on.
9. Drink the rum
The local rum is made from sugar cane grown on the island and it has a very specific flavour. Nothing like the Bacardi rum we drink here. The locals drink it in two ways; in Tipunch or in Planter's Punch. Tipunch is served with sugar and a squeeze of lime, traditionally before dinner. Planter's Punch is served with fruit juice and is only slightly less potent than the Tipunch. After dinner, it's customary to have a shot of rhum arrangé, which is Charette rum, infused with a blend of spices or fruit. Every bar or restaurant has their own blend, so you'll just have to try them all.
10. Visit the Saint Paul's Market
Open on weekends, the market is where you'll get to eat the finest local produce, check out the locals and enjoy a bit of sunshine. I ate SO much while I walked through the stalls. Local Creole snacks, French cheeses, meats and olives. Fresh fruit... I was sensory heaven! The perfect place to spend a Saturday morning.