Reunion island #1 Must go places for tourists

 I’m not going to lie, I have definitely been in a writing block for quite sometime now (3 months to be precise). The irony is that my last post was about how to get out of a rut but then I applied my advice so much I ended up spending more time enjoying myself and less time being organised and making the time to focus on my various endeavours. Well done Marine. But call it a summer awakening of some sort, I woke up for a few days now with ideas floating in my head again of things I would actually enjoy sharing and writing about, not even to mention I have many new outfits to share over here so  I am giving myself a kick in the butt.

What better way to get back into the swings of things than to talk about my favourite place in the universe…. drum rolls…. I think everyone is sick of me talking about it already… REUNION ISLAND!  For those unaware, Reunion Island, a french island in the Indian Ocean is where I call home. My parents still live out there and I am lucky enough to go and visit them every year.

I want to make this a series on my blog as I have many things to share about the place but to start of with, I thought I would share the top 5 places you MUST check out if you go over there.  My most recent trip was in June and I took one of my good English friend who was coming for the first time which was the perfect opportunity to tick all the touristy spots to make sure she got the full experience. Consider this list places to see which are all easily accessible by car and where if walking is required, it is an easy level and all ages can enjoy. I will make another post about the best places to see if you are up for a bit adventure.

 

  1. Le piton de la Fournaise (Volcano):

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Piton de La Fournaise
Look of the day volcano 4
Volcanic rocks spot near the volcano “Piton de La Fournaise” in Reunion Island.

Look of the day volcano 3

 

Yes I am talking real live badass volcano which can be in eruption at least once a year. Now don’t worry about falling into a river of lava before you even hop on the plane, la Fournaise is actually a chilled volcano. Most like the population on the island, it is just happy to be there, entertains everyone once in a while with a cool spectacle but mostly makes the perfect spot for pictures. Picture driving up mountains, going through forests of green tall pines when suddenly you arrive on what looks like the set of the Martian. This is what the volcano is all about.

Deserted dramatic cliffs, lunar like valleys and rocks full of crystals glistening in the sunshine, it is definitely an eerie landscape and one Reunion Island is very famous for. Let’s be honest, when was the last time you could say you climbed the top of a live volcano ? Well back home you can, there are a few hikes that explore the area and the main one which goes all the way to the top should be at the top of every tourist’s list. They will close the paths if an eruption is near but otherwise you’re good to go as long as you follow the signs on the rocks (if the fog comes you don’t want to stray as everything looks the same). If hiking is not for you, you can still enjoy the view by car as the parking lot takes you as close to the volcano as allowed (remember, burning lava is not a joke and the volcano is always closely monitored so they will close the path as soon as something is brewing). As you can see from the pictures, the weather can turn so quickly between bright sunshine and torrential rain so make sure to check the weather before you head out and prepare for everything from strong SPF (there is literally no shade anywhere) to rain coats. And finally prepare to live your best Moon fantasy and walk across the valley pretending to be an astronaut (we have all done it so no judgment there).

Look of the day Volcano 2

Look of the day Volcano 1

2. Le sud Sauvage (the wild South):

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Climbing a palm tree in Grand Anse

 

Le sud sauvage is as the name suggests, the south part of the island. The drive all along the coast is so scenic and there are plenty of beaches and stunning spots to stop at for gorgeous scenery. My favourite one is called  “Grand Anse”, an unusual stretch of white beach in an area that otherwise sports volcanic rocks. If you think of a postcard of  tropical paradise, the blue of the water, the tall palm trees, the “treasure island” feels, this is the spot. I always imagine that before humans arrived on the island, a lot of the coast must have been like this (and god knows what treasures are hidden around). Beware though as the name suggest, this part of the island is WILD meaning deep waters and hard core waves which makes it a no swim beach, apart from the natural pool which actually a cool spot to go snorkelling and see some fishes if you are not a good swimmer (shallow water and pretty safe). But this spot is definitely popular among locals as well, we love a picnic and this is definitely swamped with families on a Sunday. Best time to visit is sunset and weekdays so you get the beach for yourself  and can get some awesome pics! 

Grand Anse, Reunion Island. Ile de la Reunion
Grand Anse, Reunion Island

3. Grand Etang

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Grand Etang
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Grand Etang, Reunion Island
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Cascades du Bras D’Annette 

A big part of the inside of the island is actually part of the Unesco World Heritage. The area is considered of outstanding beauty for more than one reason and is home of many prehistoric ferns which makes you feel like you are walking on the set of Jurassic Park. Not to worry though, you won’t be bumping into dinosaurs any time soon, but you are definitely in for a treat. One of the most known hike is called “Grand Etang” which goes around as the name suggests… a big lake. I know they were feeling inspired. The best part about this walk is that it takes you around the lake, and at the end of the lake stands many waterfalls under which you can actually have a swim. The water is cold but trust me it is so worth it and my friend loved the whole experience of feeling like being in one of those tropical scents shampoo ads. The walk is mostly flat and easy for everyone, and if you’re lucky (or not, depends if you like adventure), on days after it has been raining a lot, the lake might overflow and you might have to do some crossing in the water. Don’t worry there are no piranhas, just some gold fishes and probably a frog or two, but you definitely feel like you are on an adventure. Watch out for our local prey birds called “papangues”, small falcons which loves this place and often hover over the stunning scenery. 

Tropical flowers in Reunion Island. Ile de la Reunion
Tropical flowers in Reunion Island
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Prehistoric ferns 

4. The Lagoon 

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Turtle in Trou D’Eau
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Lagoon in Trou D’Eau

A few beaches on the west coast are enclosed by a natural coral reef  which has created a lagoon. The sand is white, unlike on some parts of the island where beaches have black sand due to the volcano and the water is turquoise and minimum of 20 ish degrees in winter…life is hard indeed.

The best part of going to the lagoon in my opinion is the opportunity to go snorkelling for free. Even not so strong swimmers can put on a mask and a tuba and discover all the tropical fishes and considering the water levels are always quite low (you can stand up in most places and be above water). Some parts of the lagoon are protected so no swimmers or paddle boarders can approach but trust me fishes don’t know boundaries and you will be able to explore Nemo’s world in real life. Prepare for fishes in all colours of the rainbow as well as all sort of other wildlife. If you are lucky, you might even spot a turtle as I did with my friend (see picture of the gorgeous one above). Number one rule though: Don’t touch anything. Corals can give you rashes and are VERY fragile (we have lost a lot over the years due to human activities before places started to be protected) so just like the museum, enjoy with your eyes not with your hands. After all we are pretty lucky considering the states of the ocean that there are still places like this where wildlife has survived. Blue Planet 3 is literally waiting for you, so if you can bring a Go Pro to take some aquatic pictures or films. My dad and I have a whole collection of all our swims and discoveries. 

So there you have it, 4 unmissable places in Reunion Island for any tourist. I hope you will find this post useful and that it will make you want to come visit the best island ever ( me ? biased? no way).  I still love exploring all of those places every time I come home and just writing this is making me want to book my next ticket over.

Till next time, 

Marine 

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