Planning a trip to Reunion Island? We can help you find the right place to stay on “intense Island”!
Located in the Southern hemisphere on the Western side of the Indian Ocean, Reunion Island is the most populated overseas region of France with as a population of 866 506 inhabitants (2017) across an area of 2,512 km². Reunion Island is a volcanic island based around the Piton de la Fournaise, a still active volcano in the South if the Island, which gives it a very distinctive hilly terrain, which brings a tremendous climatic diversity and many micro-climates depending on shifting winds. Between the tropical beaches; the hiking spots in the mountains – especially near the Piton des Neiges -; and the cities: Saint-Denis, Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains, Saint-Pierre, Saint-André, Saint-Benoît; you will discover a diverse and multicultural island. Be careful, finding a place to stay in Reunion Island can be expensive. It will also be necessary to eat locally, as imported products are 30% to 50% more expensive. However, you will soon find that the local food is fresh and amazingly fragrant with its diverse influences and we would recommend you try as much as you can from fiery hot bonbons to savory simmered Caris. Many exotic fruits with intense flavor you can find nowhere else grow on the island which also produces world famous rum. Reunion Island has a extraordinary palette of flavors to offer your palate and is an absolute delight for all foodies with its unique cuisine shaped by its diverse history and fantastic local ingredients.
Unless you rent in advance, finding perfect housing can be complicated in Reunion Island as the supply of accommodations is sometimes saturated. You will however be sure to find a place to stay in Reunion Island, between hotels, youth hostels, private accommodation, guest rooms, or camping sites. To help you plan your trip without stress, discover the cities where you can stay on Reunion Island.
The North of the island
The North includes the cities of Saint-Denis – the capital of the department -, Sainte-Suzanne, Saint-Paul, Saint-Benoît, Le Port, La Possession, and Sainte-Marie. It is a large urban belt where most of the locals live and work. Saint-Denis especially concentrates a significant share of the island’s total population with its 146,985 inhabitants. Do not miss the typical Creole houses and the buildings of the Compagnie des Indes – the Villa Déramond-Barre for example -, then enter the Léon Dierx Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the State Garden. Two markets will take care of all your exotic and tropical shopping needs: the Grand Marché (which sells artisanal treasures and local crafts) and the Petit Marché for unique fruits, vegetables, and spices.
These local markets will have a great choice of embroidered fabrics, jewelry made of farmed turtle flakes, wickerwork made of braided cowhide, bamboo objects, lava rock or perfumes with natural geranium essences, coconut husk trinkets, various seeds, basalt, pearl, and so on. These make for great gifts and souvenirs and to this day, they are often authentic and produced traditionally. In Sainte-Marie, enjoy a sporting getaway by canyoning at the Bassin Bœuf in Piton Fougères. For some peace and quiet head to to Niagara Falls in Sainte-Suzanne. The North is a densely populated area to stay in Reunion Island, but you certainly won’t be bored nor will you feel oppressed as despite its small size, the island has a myriad of things to offer.
The beaches of the island
Reunion Island is bordered by waters that are warm all year round and offers countless water sports and charming places to relax. From Saint-Gilles to Saint-Pierre, a coral reef protects the 80°F water in a crystal clear lagoon, an ideal spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, paddle fishing, kite-surfing, whale and dolphin watching. Caution: to protect against shark attacks, swimming is prohibited on the coast except in this lagoon and in the areas set up for this purpose. Swimming here is safe and pleasant is safe as long as you respect local rules and keep to designated areas as currents can get quick strong once you go behind the reef. Where to stay in Reunion Island? Anywhere around the coast, if you like the sea, water sports and beaches shaded by coconut trees.
The Mountains from the Center to the South
Rocky peaks, corries, and ramparts are among the many natural treasures which can be found in Reunion Island. They have been inscribed on UNESCO’s list of natural World Heritage sites since August 2010. On Reunion Island, the mountains merge with the ocean, and the rugged terrain offers its guests a unique experience: 40% of the island has remained almost untouched since its emergence three million years ago. Don’t miss walking the slopes of the Piton des Neiges, the highest point in the Indian Ocean with an altitude of 10 075 feet: an excellent hiking destination in the middle of an incredibly unspoiled countryside. Hikes start from the Plaine des Cafres, or the Cirque de Salazie, or from the Cirque de Cilaos. In addition to the hospitality of the Reunion Islanders, choose the south and the center to stay in Reunion Island if you enjoy going for a tramp in the mountains.
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