La Réunion round-trip – 8 days & 1200 km of on your own
Ttogive thousands kilometers away from Europe and France. The small little island of La Réunion in the Indian ocean has hardly any on the screen. Completely wrong. Fantastically beautiful hikes, volcanic landscapes, lots of nature, spectacular view points, waterfalls and gorges, where the eye can see and the sea always within reach. La Réunion has enchanted us immediately.
Now in September, it was time. We toured the island for eight days for a round trip on own fist with the rental car. In this blog article I want to tell to all the stations, accommodations, and Highlights of our 8-day La Réunion Roadtrips.
Table of contents
➥ La Réunion – a brief Overview
➥ Why Is La Réunion?
➥ 1. to 8. Day – all the Highlights & accommodations
➥ Our Route
➥ All Costs
A brief Overview of La Réunion
La Réunion is in the Indian ocean, about 680 km East of Madagascar and is part of the Maskaren archipelago, which also includes Mauritius and Rodrigues. The island is 72 km long and 51 miles wide and has a population of 900,000 inhabitants. Overall, the island has about 210 km of coastline. The travel times are not to be underestimated. Accommodations in various locations on offer. We opted for the North, South and West.
Unlike the Seychelles, La Réunion volcanic origin. The last active volcano of Piton de la Fournaise (2.632 m.), you can also climb it is. The highest point is the Piton de Neiges (3.071 m), around the three cirques Salazie, Cilaos, and Mafate form. The island is a Paradise for Hiking and Outdoor activities.
La Réunion has functions different climate zones, and vegetation. Bathing suits should be so as to of Luggage, such as rain and fleece jacket. By the way, La Réunion is one of France and thus of Europe. Cars drive on the right side and means of payment is the Euro. Anyone who speaks French, has in luck, because the inhabitants do not have it so with the English. French is the official language of the country, many of the residents also speak Creole.
It straight to the point to take: La Réunion is an island for lovers of Hiking, adventure, & Outdoor activities. Who doesn't like to hike and be active, or looking for a pure beach holiday is not, for this island is perhaps the best Alternative. If today someone asks what I liked best, then it's out of a fountain out of me. Can't decide I me but. The island is so incredibly varied that we probably wouldn't have become after three months of boring. In addition to many walks, sometimes long distance trails, there are providers for Canyoning, paragliding, Kite and wind surfing, helicopter, Climbing, Cycling, fishing, horse riding, Rafting, sailing, whale watching (July to October), Lava tours and so much more. Everywhere is flooded with small flyers and Mini-post cards for all activities. It reminded me a little of new Zealand – also, I was able to recognize the one or the other Gemeinsamkeite.
Safe holidays on the island of La Réunion since 6 years. Many of the beaches are closed due to the shark attacks. Bathing is prohibited in many places strictly. Who wants it anyway, may this in designated areas (e.g., beaches with an offshore reef that serves as protection barrier), in lagoons, in the Hotel Pool or in the many pools of the waterfalls, which are everywhere on the island. In the last 6 years, there were about 20 shark attacks, many fatal, which accounts for more than 15% of all fatal shark attacks. Where they came from suddenly, no one knows. There are various theories, including the Overfishing of the seas and the difficult search for food in the ocean. For me, the island does not diminish – quite the contrary. Who wants to lay in all these activities the whole time on the beach? I certainly did not.
Our La Réunion round trip – any tips, Highlights, and accommodations.
#Day 1 – La Réunion round trip from St. Denis in the tree-house to Sainte-Suzanne
➥ Accommodation: Les Terrases de Niagara (Sainte-Suzanne in the North)
➥ Activities: check in, relax, sunset & dinner in St. Pierre
On Sunday morning, it's going in with Air Austral. Only 2.15 hours of flight time, we need for the distance of almost 1,800 km from the Seychelles. La Réunion, welcomes us with a loose blanket of clouds. Upon arrival at the only International airport of the island, the Aéroport de La Réunion Roland Garros, St. Denis (short RUN) in the North, I notice the lower humidity. The air is truly clear, not so humid, and so hot as in the Seychelles, it also.
We're on the way to pick up our rental car. We booked him in advance of Rental Cars. The provider compares more than 900 landlords, and we found the best deal for the Budget. For the eight days we paid just under 240 euros, 30 euros per day. The queue at the counter is short, the car is new and a Diesel, we also have – all perfect for the Start of our Road trip.
Stay in the tree house
Our first stop is the beautiful accommodation Les Terrasses de Niagara in the city of Sainte-Suzanne in the North of the island, where we stay for two nights. It consists of two Bungalows and a tree house. Where will we sleep, you can probably think of. YEAH! We sleep in a 100-year-old litchi tree somewhere in 6 meters height in a small wooden house with beautiful views. Not only the tree house is a Highlight, but also the views of the roughly 50-metre-high Niagara Falls – the American Version of the small format of the wood terrace.
#Day 2 – La Réunion round trip – from Sainte-Suzanne to Hell-Bourg (Salazie)
Accommodation: tree house at Les Terrases de Niagara (Sainte-Suzanne in the North)
Activity: Trou de Fer hike in the Forêt de Bélouve (4 hrs) , Hell-Bourg, Salazie valley
Hiking in the fairy forest & Trou de Fer
Waking up in a tree house, which is incredibly beautiful. As we open at 6: 30 for the first Time, the eyes we look out of our bedroom window at the rising sun over the sugar cane fields. Let's not waste a lot of time, but to make our way. We drive with the car in about an hour from the Gite de Bélouve and hike to Trou de Fer. At the top of the Gite there is a platform with panoramic views of the Cirque de Salazie, one of three basin. For the 11 km long hike through the enchanted forest Forêt de Bélouve we need a total of hours. He leads over wooden bridges, rooty forest floor, or on wooden steps, sometimes very muddy. Sturdy footwear is essential. The hike ends at a lookout point, from where you can look in the 250 m deep gorge with many waterfalls. Really gorgeous! Then it goes back the same way.
The Salazie valley & the most beautiful village of France
Then we go to the Salazie valley and spend the afternoon in Hell-Bourg. It is said to be France's most beautiful village and has even received an award for it. We let us of course not to be missed. We will visit the Maison Folio, an old colonial house, and eat crepes in the small pedestrian area.
The small town is really picturesque. Many of the colonial buildings, some lavishly restored, dominate the city. Even if Hell-Bourg is an ideal starting point for many hikes, however, we decide today. What fascinated me in this area especially, are looking to ride into the valley and the countryside with incredible panoramic views. The Vegetation is so lush and green as anywhere else on the island (I think) and water everywhere, and shoot hanging cases of the mountain, directly to our car.
#Day 3 – La Réunion round trip from St. Denis to the West coast to St. Leu & in the mountains
➥ Accommodation: est Insolite (somewhere in the mountains in the middle of the forest )
➥ Activities: East Coast, Le Port, Saint-Leu
Early in the morning we make our way. Before we check in to our Bubble in the forest (I am looking forward to the whole time), we will make a few stops on the West coast, among others in Le Port (not very special) and the surf spot at Saint-Leu (quite nice), where still a few daring surfers car in spite of Bathing in the sea.
In a Bubble in the forest to sleep
In the afternoon we arrive in the est Insolite on. The property is set on an altitude of 1,500 m is what you call an unforgettable and unique experience. When we arrive after what seemed like an endless travel through the switchbacks, it is so quiet that my ears noise for a while. We are in the middle of the forest between huge tamari.
Imagine, you sleep in a plastic ball on a cozy bed in the middle of the forest. Around you is nothing but trees and to the top is you have a clear view of the stars in the sky. Close to nature – and that's exactly how it feels. The accommodation consists of four small Bungalows, each with a transparent Bubble as a bedroom, a small Mini-living room and bathroom (with Plums-Loo). The small, open Restaurant served us a cheese Fondue in the evening (just Right at 12 degrees) and a Petit Dejeuner (small Breakfast with coffee, juice, Croissants and jam) in the Morning.
By the way: Only a few meters away, is the end of the road with a vantage point on the entire Cilaos valley. We are the same in the Morning after sunrise and were able to enjoy all alone.
#Day 4 – La Réunion round trip – More to Cilaos-St. Gilles and to the Grand Anse
➥ Accommodation: Palm Hotel & Spa ***** (St. Pierre, in the South)
➥ Activities: Cilaos valley and the town of the same name, Whale Watching in St. Gilles
Cilaos, & the road of 420 bends
Early in the Morning, we pack up everything and drive in the direction of Cilaos. More precisely, we take the road of 420 bends and the drive is an experience. Partly single-track and through the narrow Tunnel we wind our way in the first or second gear upwards in the basin. The landscape is incredibly spectacular and impressive, even if I'm busy with the Drive am (Robert has no driving license).
In the town of Cilaos, we will take a break and explore the area by foot. We cover us with the famous Cilaos lentils. A wine from the place not to be missed. Tip: a Little hidden in a side street is a store called Marche Couvert with a very good selection of local products and Souvenirs.
Whale watching in St. Gilles
At the lunch there, we continue on to Saint Gilles on the West coast. We have booked a Whale-Watching Tour. From may to November is whale Season, then the mothers raise their calves, before it goes for you in the direction of the Atlantic. To see you, out you must not even with the boat, you can also simply go to the beach or on a terrace. Somewhere you will always see whales or dolphins from the sea.
With a boat we travel on the open sea. It takes 2 minutes until we spot the first whales. Into the sea, we must not with this provider, too dangerous, even if others do. We see a small group of people in the sea, closely together, they swim with a whale. Farther out at sea, it is supposed to be safe from sharks, especially when in a group. An incident, there was actually never. In addition to whales, we also encounter with many dolphins, examine our boat again and again, curious.
We booked the boat tour at Grand Bleu. The boat was, however, somewhat too large. I also liked that the engine was running the whole time, even when we were in the vicinity of the whales. During the Tour, once again, plastic cups were distributed with drinks, which I think is just eco-friendly, when you consider that you can make the Tour several times a day. In the village there are also smaller boats, for example about the diving schools. Next Time we will book a different Tour.
Our accommodation in the South: Palm Hotel & Spa *****
Our accommodation for the next two nights, the Palm Hotel & Spa, is located on the Grand Anse in the South, one of the most beautiful and wildest beaches of the island. The 5-star Hotel is located on the top of the hillside with stunning views of the Bay. Here, too, we see from the Veranda whales – because of the Cilaos wine tastes twice as good.
Who wants to get down to the beach, need to walk 10 minutes or 2 minutes by car. But that doesn't matter, because the view from up here is beautiful. The rooms are modern, the food is delicious and the Pools are wonderful – everything is recommended. We had the easiest category, the Deluxe rooms.
#Day 5 – La Réunion Round Trip – The Volcano
➥ Accommodation: Palm Hotel & Spa ***** (St. Pierre, in the South)
➥ Activities: Piton de La Fournaise hike (11 km one way, 5 hrs), St. Pierre, Massage in the Hotel
We face the alarm clock on 5 o'clock. Who wants to go Hiking on La Réunion, under a blue sky, have to get up early. From 10 a.m. clouds most of the time. Our To-Do today: the Piton de fa Fournaise. The volcano is the last active of the island and one of the most active in the world. Annually, there are eruptions, the last Time in June 2017. They are considered to be dangerous, because the Magma is emptied quickly and quietly.
We go to the Pas de Bellecombe, the starting point of the hike. From here you continue on foot. On the sign we read 2.45 hours each way. We run the 100 m in steps down into the crater (you must at the end also high). Once at the bottom, we feel like on the moon. The scenery is fabulous. The first piece is relatively on the ground floor, before it goes steadily uphill. The 12 degrees is hardly noticeable, and easy to sweat, but also quite quickly. After 1.5 hours we arrive. The view is impressive – the sea on your left and to the right of the volcano with a huge crater. We take a short break and enjoy the Moment. The way back is our sports program. In easy-to-joggendem pace it goes down and after almost an hour we are back on the car. A little tired, but full of great impressions. This has been more than worth it.
After a brief strengthening in St. Pierre we drive back to the Hotel. There is something Special waiting for me, a Massage in the Spa of the hotel. Just Right after this beautiful hike.
#Day 6 – La Réunion round trip From Grand Anse on the Southeast coast and to La Saline les Bains
➥ Accommodation: Villa de La Plage (La Saline Le Bains in the West)
➥ Activities: Cap de Jaune, Cap Méchant, Lava cliffs on the East coast
After Breakfast we drive along the coast towards the East. We make a small hike to the Cap Jaune (30 Min each way). The about 50 m high, gold-colored rock wall, we reach at the end of the hike over the Lava, is impressive. This natural phenomenon is created when molten Lava with sea water comes in contact with. The path down to the sea is an adventure, because we shimmy in part on ropes down.
It continues to Cap Méchant. Here, nature is raging and huge waves are breaking on the lava coast. The rock arch in the lava rock offers an impressive Photo opportunity.
We continue to the East coast and end up at the Coulée de Lava in 2007. This is the place where the Lava, in 2007, into the sea is gone and the island has zoomed in on a very nice piece. Nature has here done all the work, and you have to just let sink in.
Our accommodation in the West: Villa de la Plage
The next day we spend in the beautiful Villa de la Plage in La Saline les Bains, 7 km from Saint-Gilles centre. It has the perfect location to explore the West, even if we had already done some of the activities. The familial guest house is located on a long sweeping beach protected by a reef – bathing is allowed. There are also provided three rooms and a Bungalow, each furnished very tastefully and modern. We had an Outdoor bathroom with an Outdoor shower, between orchids and ferns, it was really unique. In the garden there is a swimming Pool and a wooden terrace located at the top of the tree, of the man from over the whole Bay can look. The delicious Breakfast with fresh juices & jam (both made by yourself or by the neighbors) was served with all guests at a large table. One of the highlights of dolphins, the loving owner, operates the property along with her husband is quite safe. She has very fond (and, although we arrived late in the evening) and us a lot of tips given.
#Day 7 – La reunion tour – Saint Paul & La Saline les Bains
➥ Accommodation: Villa de La Plage (La Saline Le Bains in the West)
➥ Activities: market in St. Paul, St. Gilles, South West coast
Unfortunately, my current chopper has been canceled flight due to bad weather. We leisurely Breakfast in our accommodation. Then we visit the market in St. Paul (always open Fridays and Saturdays) and to cover us with all sorts of Souvenirs and gifts. The selection of Souvenirs, I hope sometimes in the Seychelles. In the afternoon we use just for us. We go to the beach for a walk and explore the area.
# Day 8 – La Réunion round trip From the West coast back to the airport in St. Denis
➥ Accommodation: Departure
➥ Activities: Relax and have lunch in St. Gilles, from and to the airport
Since our flight was delayed for 9 hours, we will use the time to eat in St. Gilles delicious Burger and relax on the beach. In the afternoon we fly back in to 2.15 hour flight back to the Seychelles.
In eight days, four accommodation and 1,200 kilometres of it went for us on the island. This was our Route – with all the stops, accommodation and attractions:
In the Following you will find the costs for the accommodations, the rental car, as well as a few more information. The prices are per room.
- Les Terrasses de Niagara falls (two nights) 170 Euro
- Est Insolite (1 Night) 209 Euro
- Palm Spa Hotel & Spa (2 Nights) 540 Euro
- La Villa de la Plage (2 nights) 338 Euro
- Car rental on Rental Cars (8 days) 240 Euro
In total, 1.497 are in Euro, per Person 748,50 € for 8 days (without flight).
The prices in the supermarket I felt was very expensive, even more expensive than the Seychelles, although the selection is much better and bigger. The restaurant prices are average. Per dish, you can expect an average of 20 to 25 Euro per Person. The petrol costs (we had a Diesel) in the us for a total of 90 Euro for 1,200 km.
The choice of the accommodations of our La Réunion round trip was perfect. Next Time, I would not change in the southwestern part of the island, however, so often companies, of the agreements reached, but a longer time stay in one place.
The eight days were much too short. Many of the planned excursions and activities we could not do for lack of time. The helicopter flight was cancelled on the last day, unfortunately, due to bad weather. But here, too, I learned something: Put a helicopter flight on the last day of travel – you never know.
The routes and the travel times are not to be underestimated. Even though the island is small, takes a relatively long time, especially if you drive in the valley or to the volcano.
La Réunion Travel Guide
I had the following guide and can recommend it absolutely: