Reunion Island? Oui! Oui!

by Sandy Salle on March 20, 2012

Image above is copyrighted by Philippe Mathieu and is taken from Panoramio.com

With neighbors such as Seychelles and Mauritius, Reunion Island is a hidden, tropical gem, located off the coast of Africa. This French island—settled by the French in 1642—is one of the world’s most stunning and secluded locales, and is visited by travelers looking for a unique experience that differs from all other trips. Home to miles upon miles of untouched beaches, rolling mountains and lush forest, and a legendary volcano, Reunion Island is not only perfect for travelers seeking sheer luxury, but also for those interested in adrenaline-pumping adventures.

What I love most about this fascinating and truly eclectic island is its serene waterfalls. Here, travelers can find pure peace in the harmonious sounds of running water indigenous bird songs and storybook visions. It’s so enchanting that I wouldn’t be surprised if you started seeing sirens and Greek mythical creatures!

In addition to the tranquil waterfalls, visitors to this magnificent island will also have the opportunity to enjoy nature walks / hikes / treks where you’ll witness a plethora of endemic bird species and exotic mammals and plant life at close range. In fact, some of the birds that you might witness in the lush forests of Reunion include the mascarene swiftlet, zebra dove, Reunion stonechat, and the white-tailed tropicbird. In regards to the mammals that you might witness on a nature walk throughout the island, you might discover the endangered pteropus edwardsii (a flying fox!), deer, rabbit, and even the rown maki lemur, which is found in Madagascar.

The diversity of the island’s terrain is another highlight for avid trekkers. With two volcanoes and three ancient cirques (craters) to explore, you will never find a dull day on Reunion. And, if you love to climb, don’t miss out on climbing Piton des Nieges, a volcano with a summit that reaches 9,840 feet above ground.

The other volcano, Piton de la Fornaise, is another great climbing option. Slightly smaller than Piton des Nieges, this active volcano is one of the world’s most active, spewing vibrant lava on a regular basis. Erupting approximately 180 times since 1640—with the most recent eruption in 2004—Piton des Nieges is a popular attraction among visitors, and can be explored on guided walks and even helicopter rides.

In addition to its two volcanoes, Reunion is also home to three cirques, or craters, which include Cirque de Mafate, Cirque de Salazie, and Cirque de Cilaos. Each of the cirques is unique from the next and can be explored in a variety of different ways—one of the most exhilarating of which is canyoning. This physically demanding sport requires a great deal of physical stamina because it requires you to hike, climb, and rappel to the base of a canyon. You can also trek through the cirques, taking in the breathtaking scenery and journeying through quaint mountain villages.

For even more adventure, don’t miss out on hang gliding, paragliding, sea kayaking, whitewater rafting, and skydiving! But if you’re looking for something a little less heart pounding and a little more relaxing, then embark on a private catamaran or luxury yacht, or take some time exploring on the waters on jet skis or water skis. And of course, deep-sea fishing is a great option if you want to try your hand at snagging marlin, sailfish, blue fin tuna, and sea bream.

Stay tuned for Thursday’s blog post, which discusses how to explore the cultures, towns, and villages of Reunion Island!

 

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