Imagine an island with an active volcano, a beautiful lagoon, a 3000 m. summit, and endemic vegetal species…
Region per region
Saint-Denis and the north
Saint Denis is the Island capital, it is inviting the visitor into the Reunion way of living. A city full of Contrast, cosmopolite, and colorful, in the mean time French, Indian and African.
Out of Saint Denis, the visitor can experience the contrast between the city and the mountains, and found some real sanctuaries to rest from the urban activity.
The "côte au vent"
Exposed to the swell and the trade winds, the coast is humid and green, suitable for the sugar cane and vanilla farming.
In Saint-André, a town dedicated to sugar, you will find the most beautiful "Tamoul" temples, and some religious ceremonies followed by numerous people. In Saint Benoit Hights, enter into the "strong water" land till Ravenales forest. The road to "Grand Sud" drives on the volcano slopes in the "Grand Brulé" land.
The "côte sous le vent"
This is the land of tourists, where most of the beaches are concentrated. Along a very long black sand beach, Saint-Paul kept a very colonial charm. From there to Saline-les-Bains, visitors can enjoy wonderful beaches such as Boucan-Canot, Hermitage, Trou d'eau...
Last but not least, "Les Hauts de Saint Gilles", where cane and geranium plantations are replaced by the forest. Even Higher, after cryptomerias and tamarins forest, the place called "Maïdo" offers to the visitors a magical sightseeing on the Mafate cirque.
The "Grand Sud"
Saint Pierre is the south Capital. With an international Airport, a beach in the centertown, a harbour recently restored, and a very active center, Saint Pierre is the well being place.
After Saint-Pierre, houses are more and more colored, and vegetation becomes denser. We enter into the savage south, a land of spices and solid lava. The classified village of "Entre-Deux" worth a visit to discover its typical Reunion creole houses. In Saint-Pierre South, go to "Plaine-des-Grègues", the land of the "Safran-pei". In between a jagged lava coast and a primary forest, Saint Philippe Town is the most Southern town in France.
Drizzle, icy winds (on winter time), pasture lands and mountain houses, this vast natural corridor in between the 2 main Reunion mountains (Piton des neiges and Piton de la fournaise) gives the visitors a unique and original tropic picture.
In Tampon, the "Cafres plain" is a kind of tropical Alps. This is breeding land.
The "Piton de la fournaise" offers all mysteries and mineral beauties of an active volcano that can still be approached.
Bébour-Bélouve forest is a botanic treasure, one of the most luxury primary forest of the island. A lot of pathes are open to visitors.
Around the "Piton des neige" mountain, the 3 big island cirques have all their own interest.
Salazie is the most open and farmed one. It is where Reunion people produce the famous "Chouchou", an essential vegetable of the Reunion gastronomy. Salazie has numerous rain world records, develops and optimizes its agricultural tradition : Porc and chiken breeding (Grand Ilet), fruit farming (bananas, Bibasses, citrus...) and vegetables (Chouchou). Facing touristic development, the Salazie unhabitant propose to the visitors authenticity, and a unique way of life.
Cilaos offers a great mineral landscape on the walk to the "Roche Merveilleuse" and its sightseeing on the whole cirque, or for a walk to the "Piton des Neiges". The village is known for its economic and touritic dynamism, in the respect of its traditions (mineral water and lenses wine production). Cilaos develop its mountain reputation and became a top level nature activity center : mountain guides, material and services renting, and a lot of guided circuits dedicated to walkers, bikers, climbers, canyoning...
By walking, climbing or even aroud a cheminey… These tropics are surprising and wonderful.
Mafate, the deepest and the most jagged of the 3 cirques, with its small pathes that drive to the "Ilets", these small villages where farmers live out of the civilisation and its modernity. Surrounded by unaccessible mountains, dominated by the highest peaks of the Piton des Neiges (Gros Morne in the south, the Roche Ecrite in the North, and the Grand Bénard in the west), the cirque bottom appears like a rock chaos crossed by deep gorges made by the river (most of the time dry). On flat parts, like island in a mineral ocean, the roofs of the village houses. Apparently dry, the cirque offers a quite wide diversity of grounds : the dry gorges botton contrasts with the fertile flat parts exposed to daylight, the same as the savage forest of Tamarins on the Kerval flat, compare to the Trois roches gorge.
Mafate is only accessible by walking thru pathes, from Dos-d'ane, Sans Souci, Le Maido, Cilaos (from Taibit path) or salazie (from Bœufs path or scout Path). It is recommended to sleep one or two nights on site to experience the so particular athmosphere of this cirque.