'The Island of Adventure' has thousands of kilometres of hiking trials, hundreds of waterfalls, a series of underground lava tunnels, hair-raising bicycle routes and some of the best paragliding in the world to offer adrenaline junkies looking for their next adventure. Here's where to stay when you visit Reunion Island for an adventure-filled trip.
Hiking enthusiasts will find endless beautiful trails in the Forêt Departemento-Domaniale de la Plaine des Fougères, in the Piton Fougères area. At the beautiful Cascade Niagara, you can take a dip in a natural pool below the plummeting falls, while in Parc du Colorado, you can enjoy horseback riding, hiking trails and some of the best downhill mountain biking you're likely to find in the Indian Ocean. The island's capital city, Saint Denis, offers excellent accommodation of traditional Reunionaise hospitality, as well as many modern hotels and B&Bs. The airport is located in the North, so it's the perfect place to spend a night if you have an early morning flight. In the Northern interior, you'll find pristine hiking trails criss-crossing the cirque of Mafate, a scattering of remote villages accessible only on foot. There are numerous accommodation options in the cirque, ranging from basic dorm rooms to gîtes with hot tubs, making multiple-day hikes possible.
The Wild South
This part of the island is known for its rugged natural beauty and exciting nightlife. The world-famous Sakifo music festival takes place here every year, bringing together some of the best acts from around the Indian Ocean. At Route des Laves, a road featuring solidified lava flow formed by the eruption of Piton de la Fournaise, you'll find a trail that takes you to Cascades Cove. Grand Bassin is located in the Plaine des Cafres along a scenic 4.5km trail that descends 700m to the village below and is only accessible by foot - a hiker's must do! Hiking enthusiasts can also trek up to the summit of the cirque of Cilaos, where you can enjoy canyoning and swimming beneath waterfalls, rock climbing and more hiking trails. For the ultra-fit, the Réunion Grand Raid, a 150km ultramarathon that traverses the length of Réunion from Saint-Pierre in the south to Saint-Denis in the north offers the ultimate challenge.
The East Coast
Thanks to the many waterfalls that cascade down the mountains in this part of the island, canyoneers and kayakers are spoilt for choice! Canyoning involves hiking to the top of a series of waterfalls and pools, kitting up in wetsuits and helmets and making your way down the river by swimming, jumping, zip lining and and sliding. The Rivière des Roches near Bras-Panon is the perfect location for these activities, offering stunning surroundings and ample opportunity to get the adrenaline pumping. Explore the lava tubes and natural tunnels left by volcanic activity, located in Sainte-Rose. These stunning tunnels are only accessible accompanied by a registered and experienced tour guide. Enjoy quad biking and horse trekking along the scenic Mât River, where you can also cast your rod for a few hours of fishing.
The West Coast
For water activities like wind surfing, scuba diving, snorkelling, SUPing, sea kayaking and freediving, the West Coast is the perfect place to base yourself. The island's protected lagoon offers the perfect conditions for water activities, whether on the water or underwater. The calm, clear water offers excellent visibility while the coral reef offers protection from the waves and currents of the open ocean. This part of the island is known as the "resort side", and has many hotels, guest houses, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation options. Here you'll find many beachside restaurants, large supermarkets and some of the island's best nightlife to enjoy when you're not getting your adrenalin pumping.