Planning your next holiday and need some travel inspiration? You've come to the right place. If the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean isn’t on your travel radar, then it should be! An island-loving girl at heart, a recent visit to this exotic, volcanic island was filled to the max with epic adventures.
Utterly mesmerized and enthralled by the myriad of sights, sounds and experiences we enjoyed during our stay, extraordinary memories are firmly rooted in my heart and mind.
This wildly beautiful and diverse island is a marvellous melting pot of cultures, cuisines and natural landscapes that one can experience within a few days. We traversed the unique island in just 4 days and experienced an astonishing variety of exciting activities and breathtaking landscapes in each area. Boasting spectacular natural eye candy from North to South and East to West, no two areas are the same. The volcanic island is 63km long, 45km wide and covers an area of 2 512 square km. 40% of the territory is classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.
If you long for a relaxing, romantic beach holiday with your loved one or want to immerse yourself in nature, exploring over 200 microclimates on the island, experience thrilling and adrenalin pumping adventures or indulge your inner foodie at local farms, restaurants and markets, you can experience all this and more on Reunion Island! Here are a few reasons (there are many more!) why Reunion really is #TheUltimateIsland.
Savour traditional Réunionnaise cuisine with a cookery class on Philippe Morel’s sustainable farm in Sainte-Rose on the East coast. Tantalize your tastebuds with flavourful dishes such as spicy fish sausage, rice and papaya fritters, made by Chef Philippe on a wood fire. An insightful tour of his lush farm and sugarcane fields is a highlight as he shows you how his family lives a sustainable lifestyle.
A stop at the Notre-Dame-des-Laves church in Sainte-Rose is a must. The building was surrounded by lava during the eruption of Piton de la Fournaise in 1977, yet miraculously escaped damage with no lava entering the doors.
Passing by the Piton de la Fournaise on the Lava Road leading to the wild South, be astounded by the power of Mother Nature when viewing and walking on former lava flows. Listen to the raw power of the mighty ocean as waves crash against the rugged volcanic cliffs at Le Cap Méchant.
If you are in luck, Piton de la Fournaise may be erupting while you are on the island. Though it is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, the frequent, powerful eruptions pose no threat to the people. Prepare to be amazed by the mystical, magical lunar landscapes at Plaine des Sables. A calming meditation session amongst the vast otherworldly wilderness will be an experience to remember and comes highly recommended.
A helicopter flip over the island is incredibly thrilling and exciting, and was quite possibly the highlight of my time in Reunion. Soaring over 3 calderas (Cilaos, Mafate and Salazie), dipping through deep valleys and canyons, flying over the still-smouldering volcano following the recent eruption, then returning from the West Coast over the azure-blue water was breathtaking to say the least!
Dare to drive the winding road with about 422 hairpin bends over a stretch of 31kms from Saint-Louis to Cilaos. This hamlet town high up in the Cirque De Cilaos is well worth a visit, especially for those who wish to experience canyoning at its best, or perhaps hike the many trails in the area. The impressive Piton des Neiges, the highest peak in the Indian Ocean rising to over 3000m above sea level, can be seen from Cilaos. Just make sure you snap a few shots before the clouds completely hide it from sight!
When it is nearly time to say goodbye, end your stay with a blissful sunset cruise aboard the Le Maloya in Le Port. Feel the seabreeze gently blowing through your hair as you set sail on the largest catamaran in the Indian Ocean. You may be lucky to spot dolphins and whales between June and September.
I've shared a brief glimpse of what there is to see and do on this one-of-a-kind island that will captivate your heart and imagination from the moment you arrive. Don’t be surprised to find yourself planning your return visit before you’ve even left! A full blog post about my Reunion Island experience will be published on my website www.livingitupct.com in the near future.
In the meantime, set your wanderlust on fire and start planning your own unique trip to Reunion by checking out the tourism board’s beautifully designed and informative website https://en.reunion.fr/
Disclaimer: A special thank you to Reunion Island Tourism Board for sponsoring my trip to Reunion Island. #Sponsored