Expert Vagabond Hiking Mafate
A Guide to Reunion Island’s Three Cirques

A Guide to Reunion Island’s Three Cirques

A “cirque” is a caldera created by the collapse of a dormant volcano. Reunion Island is home to three entirely unique cirques, formed inside of Piton des Neiges - each with their own entirely unique landscape, culture and microclimate. The island’s pitons, cirques and ramparts all form part of the Reunion Island World Heritage site, which covers more than 100,000 ha or 40 % of the island.

Whether you’re interested in hiking, mountain biking, canyoning, or culture, the three cirques of Reunion Island hold the answer. Prepare for jaw-dropping scenery and an unmatched taste of local culture and cuisine as you explore the three cirques of Reunion Island.

In Mafate, you can experience a lifestyle preserved by location. The small sprinkling of villages, which can only be reached by foot or by helicopter, is entirely unique in its authentic Mafatese culture. Here, visitors can hike to their heart’s content, and spend the night in a traditional Reunionaise mountain gîte, surrounded by gorgeous nature and spectacular views.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About a 2-Day Hike to Mafate

In Salazie’s lush landscape, surrounded by thundering waterfalls and colourful traditional Creole houses, you can experience a true taste of Creole culture. With the highest rainfall on the island, this cirque boasts Voile de la Mariée or Bride’s Veil, one of the most beautiful waterfalls on Reunion. As one of the most beautiful villages in France, Hel-Bourg is officially worth a visit!

As the most populous cirque on the island, Cilaos is the beating heart of Reunion. Adventurous travellers will love the challenging drive in, which twists and turns over 400 times on the way up! Once you’ve conquered the journey, relax and unwind in the warm waters of the Irénéé Ascot spa, which is fed by two natural mineral water springs.

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