All other nationalities require a visa, which can be obtained from a French embassy or consulate. Ensure that you are applying for a Reunion visa - French and Schengen visas are not valid for travel to Reunion. The vast majority of intercontinental flights arriving at Reunion come from France, with a handful of other airports through the Indian Ocean.
Airlines flying to Reunion are the following:. As Pierrefonds is a small airport, and seems to have a lot of staff, you can expect a thorough security interrogation and bag search on your way in and out of the country. It can be much cheaper to fly into ZSE airport. However, unless you have business in the South, it is best to avoid Pierrefonds as an arrival point because it is quite a small airport very far from the main tourist hubs like Saint-Denis one-hour drive and Saint-Gilles 35 minutes drive.
It will cost you between Euros by taxi to get from this airport to your hotel in the North and there is no guarantee you will be able to find one waiting outside: So factor airport transfer costs into your budget when deciding which airport to use. You can hire a car directly from the airport arrivals lounge which is also the departure lounge! Upon departure you may leave your rental car keys at the help desk of the airport, provided you make the necessary arrangements with the car hire company in advance.
Pierrefonds is also a hub for plane and helicopter tours of the Island, and it's quite likely you will end up here if you book a flyover of the Volcano, for example. It is often said that Reunion has more than its fair share of cars, and it's true. At certain times, the road networks can become jam-packed with vehicles, but in order to overcome this, all a visitor needs to know is when to travel and how to travel.
The national road route nationale which goes round the island is double-laned for each direction in many places. The rest of the roads are usually tarmacked, with one lane in each direction. Intercity bus travel around the island is served by Car Jaune "Yellow Bus", buses are easily recognizable by their yellow color. There are 13 lines. Apart from these buses there are also local buses.
Most of lines operate between 6AM and 6PM. You can get schedules and details on their official website . Click on "Plans et tarifs" for a map of the network. There is one main road around the island 74km of it is four-lane and another road from Saint-Pierre to Saint-Benoit route des plaines through the interior of the island. Due to the high number of cars, traffic jams often occur so you should avoid travelling during peak times. The four-lane highway between La Possession and Saint-Denis, known as the route du littoral , runs between an unstable cliff and the sea.
Expect traffic jams in such circumstances. Do not underestimate driving times, even if the island seems small. The main roads, especially on the west coast, tend to jam; so do the streets of Saint Denis. The roads in the interior are mountain roads, some with many turns and steep slopes. Reunion Island has almost one thousand kilometers of hiking trails, with an astonishing variety of landscapes for an island. The cirques , plains and volcano have been classified as a French national natural park. The best hikes are probably in the Mafate cirque and on the volcano see Piton de la Fournaise.
The exceptionnal Mafate circus has no roads, and about inhabitants. Some helicopter and airplane companies specialize in guided tours by air around the island and throughout the nearby islands. These depart very early in the morning in order to avoid clouds and fog at altitude.
They are reasonably priced, and will refer to other companies on other islands as needed. Mafate is a popular destination. An alternative is to walk in Mafate , without marked-out footpaths. This can be accessed from Saint-Louis by the road of bends route aux virages. About halfway along, be sure to stop and appreciate the views, above a sheer drop of metres. It is possible to get here by helicopter from St-Denis or St-Giles as well. The main villages are Salazie the administrative centre , Hell-Bourg a pretty, flowery village and Grand-Ilet.
The eastern side of the caldera is carpeted in lush greenery through which slice a multitude of waterfalls. The area can be reached by crossing the river on a suspended footbridge, and by continuing alongside fields of watercress and chayotes a green, pear-shaped fruit.
The hosts are nice people and, after a traditional rum-based fruit punch, a simple meal will take your mind off your exhaustion from the climb. At the crack of dawn at around 3: Walk by torchlight along marked-out paths leading to the summit, where the sunrise will leave an indelible mark upon your memory. Words cannot begin to explain the magnificence of this experience. The natural surroundings make it clear that you are on an extinct volcano. Take the Route de Bras-Sec where the paths leave off from.
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The view is completely unobstructed, and the wilderness is staggeringly beautiful. A good place to take a halfway pitstop would be at the "Grand matarum" cabin. For very good climbers only! Maison de la Montagne Tel.: The journey back to Cilaos can be made in a single push descending metres in altitude — try to take it easy on those knees! The final route is to approach from Hell-Bourg passing through the cap Anglais: This plain of black sand from volcanic activity gives us a hint of what is to come. A path or more precisely, a dusty track , riddled with potholes, takes us to the " Pas de Bellecombe " m.
A short walk of just a few metres from the car park takes you up to a lovely view over the "Fournaise". A path which is the only way of getting to the Fournaise goes down about metres in altitude in about steps we counted them! Nevertheless, the descent along the wall of the caldera leads you through tamarind trees and is not an all unpleasant.
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The entire journey is well marked out with white markers. These white markers, about every 2 metres apart, are essential in case of a sudden spell of mist — they will guide you back to the starting point. Be careful not to stray too far from them, if you get lost there is very little chance of being rescued before the next morning, and nights up there are pretty cold!
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From then on, the track goes on through a more lunar-like landscape, and the long ascent begins, crossing more recently produced lava. Getting your bearings is no problem, all you have to do is follow the throngs of fellow visitors. The sun, even through mist, is very strong, so protect your head and use sunscreen copiously on all of you that is exposed to the sun.
Otherwise, be prepared for a few difficult days of sunburn. After the 2 hours of walking from the car park, you will finally arrive about a third of the way along the route at the summit of the Bory crater, at metres above sea level. This small crater, only metres in diameter, has been inactive since Still following the white markers, the walk continues towards the Dolomieu crater 1km in diameter , which is still active, as the fumes will verify.
This itinerary covers the crater, and the route traverses recent lava flows. A few signposts remind you of the danger of climbing down the rock face to get closer to the crater. French is the official language of Reunion.
Reunion Island - a French tropical island
French spoken with the local Reunion accent, intermingled with Creole, can be difficult to understand for native French speakers. Metropolitan French are locally nicknamed z'oreilles "ears" for their tendency not to understand and ask people to repeat. As is mainland France, English fluency is rare. English speakers meet every Monday evening between 7: If you speak English, it is a good place to share your culture and language while meeting travelling and resident couch-surfers.
The bar allows people to bring take out food. Reunion is part of the Eurozone, so as in many other European Union countries the currency used is the euro symbol: It is compulsory, for the large majority of businesses, to post prices in windows. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval.
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