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Reunion Pictures

Referred to as a “mini-Hawaii”, Reunion is an overseas department and administrative region of France. It is a little known island in the Indian Ocean, mostly overshadowed by its more popular and nearest neighbour, Mauritius. Though Reunion is the largest of the Mascarene island group of which Mauritius is also part of, it is dwarfed by its other, more distant neighbour, Madagascar. Only the most seasoned and adventurous travellers have been to this little island. Like Hawaii, Reunion is also volcanic in origin and largely mountainous with plenty of opportunity for water sports on its western coastline. The Piton de la Fournaise (French for “furnace peak”) is an active volcano which dominates the southeastern corner of the island.

Reunion Attractions Reunion Beaches Reunion Capital

It is the island’s most popular attraction, primarily because it spews yellow and orange lava 24 hours a day (a natural display unrivalled by any man-made fireworks) and some brave visitors even opt to camp near the rim of the volcano. Nevertheless, there is real danger here as volcanologists constantly monitor this volcano ready to evacuate the areas residents should the need arise. But a visit to the island would not be complete without a close-up look of this natural wonder.

But unlike Hawaii, Reunion was uninhabited when Portuguese navigator Pedro de Mascarenhas first step foot on the island in the early 16th century. Its first inhabitants were African slaves brought into the island to work on the sugar plantations. When slavery was abolished in 1848, indentured servants from Southeast Asia and India were brought on the island. This explains the island’s multicultural mixture of Africans, Asians (Indians and Chinese), and Europeans (French).
Upon first arriving on Reunion you will be greeted with a cheerful “Bonjour!”. Breakfast would be a steaming cup of chocolat chaud and croissants. You would probably think to yourself, “Did the plane land in France instead of Reunion?” And indeed, at first glance, Reunion does seem like France in the tropics. But if you venture beyond the Gallic panache you will appreciate that the culture on the island is a melting pot of Indian, Chinese, and French influences though French or Creole are the official and spoken language.

The Reunion Island enjoys the same privileges as though it were located on European soil. In fact, the island was the first region in the world to integrate the euro as its official currency.
 

 
Reunion Harbour Reunion Indian Ocean Reunion Island

St. Gilles les Baines is Reunion’s prime destination for sunbathing. It has 20 kilometers of lagoon and golden sandy beaches (an unusual thing on an island where the sand is normally black because of its volcanic origins). It is so popular in fact that it can get pretty crowded. But it is well worth fighting tooth and nail to get in for a taste of Reunion’s tropical side.
The interior of Reunion is dominated by the island’s three cirques. These are volcanoes that have collapsed upon themselves to form natural “ampitheatres”. These cirques are located within the Piton des Neiges, the island’s highest peak and the source of the island’s existence. Salazie, Cilaos, and Mafate (as the cirques are called) offer visitors such outdoor activities as canyoning, hiking, biking, and trekking.

The people of the island are known for their friendliness and respect for each other’s belief and culture. Unlike other parts of the world, Reunion has enjoys a peaceful political and social climate for over two centuries.

Sega, the island’s national music is reminiscent of those found in the Caribbean, probably because almost the same cultures have influenced its development.
Reunion cuisine offers French, Creole, Indian, Chinese, and other internationally renowned foods…but with an island twist. This means the use of seafood and local fruits, vegetables, and spices, all of which the island has in abundance.

Reunion Lava Reunion Volcano
Reunion Shopping

Direct flights to Reunion from Paris are available. Connecting flights are necessary if you come from another destination. Since the climate is tropical, be sure to pack summer clothes and a light jacket (just in case). Walking or hiking shoes are recommended as the terrain on the island is quite rugged.

A visit to Reunion brings a unique experience to travellers. Though it is small, it has everything you’ll ever need for a relaxing, tropical vacation. And because it is not as popular as Mauritius or Hawaii, it is less crowded and less cosmopolitan (though most establishments do accept credit cards). If you’re looking for a nice and out-of-the-usual place to visit, try Reunion today!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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