Reunion is a par excellence Eco-tourism destination.
For many, the Reunion is an undiscovered pearl located in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is located near Mauritius Island (less than one hour by plane). It is 9200 kilometers from the home country of France. It is 800 kilometers from Madagascar. This is the smallest French overseas territory. Arabian seamen discovered this island in 1153. They entered it on a naval chart called Dina Morgabin. They did not then land on the island. The island was first explored by the Portuguese Pedro de Mascarenhas in the early 16th century. He called it Santa Apolonia. The French came to the island in 1642. They give it the name Bourbon Island. Historically, the island has always been the subject of fighting between the British and the French. The name Reunion was given in 1848.
This is where tourism has started to develop in the last decade. Reunion is particularly distinctive in that it is part of the French territory (hence part of the European Union). It is located in the southern part of Africa. Its inhabitants are Creoles or a mixture of French settlers and former Negro slaves. There are quite a few Indians and Chinese in recent times. The reunion is known worldwide for its production of rum, vanilla and lychee, as well as sugar cane cultivation. The vegetation of Reunion is specific and gives you the feeling that you are pervading a large botanical garden. Hell-Bourg and Cilaos mountain resorts are ideal for tourists at over 1000 meters above sea level. Cilaos is a picturesque place full of beautifully decorated houses. On the roads you meet street vendors of “bibasse” (local fruit of extremely good taste). Local wine is also made here from a rare type of grape with a wonderful aroma. The wine has a specific taste. It’s sweet, drinkable with the smell of baked chestnuts.
The main food on the island is “chouchou” (shu-shu). It looks like a round barbed pumpkin. The taste is similar but fuller. The famous movie “Seraching for Nemo” and its heroine Vanda and all her friends explored the underground coral reefs of the reunion submarine. For this experience you will need a mask, fins and snorkel. The sea current is strong so it is safest to stand with your head underwater and enjoy the unusual underwater scenes. It is a true experience to embark on a twilight boat (off the coral reef) in search of whales. You can see the whales and their games at sea by driving down the road from the capital of Saint Denis to the south of the island. The climate is tropical. The dry season runs from March to November. The rainy season runs from December to the end of February. Between April and November, cyclones are a common occurrence on the Reunion.
The capital city of Saint Denise has a population of about 200,000. It is the largest non-French city in the country of origin (France). The city is the center of government and commerce, an international airport port and market. In Saint Denise is a monument to aviator Roland Garros, after which the airport was named. Here you will see the Catholic Church, the mosque, the Hindu temple next to each other. Colonial architecture will leave you breathless. Beautiful houses with landscaped gardens full of flowers and surrounded by tall wrought iron fences. You will be served rum everywhere in all variants.
The peaks of the mountains of over 3000 meters (the highest peak is the Piton des Neiges 3069 meters high) are a paradise for all lovers of hiking. The hiking trails are well marked and pass under numerous waterfalls through forests and picturesque Creole sites.