Réunion

3 things to do

All Places Réunion



Cilaos

Is a paradise for hikers of all abilities. With the circuit of the volcano, the most famous hike is most definitely the ascent of the Piton des Neiges. To make the most of the hike, be sure to be well-equipped: solid hiking footwear, water, cereal bars, dried fruits, an IGN map of the St-Pierre region, and a second pair of lighter sandals for severe weather or downpours. The tracks are very well marked-out and maintained, making it fairly difficult to get lost. The remaining hiking time (for the competent walker) is also marked on each signpost. To get warmed up first, start out with an easy walk (such as the Bras-Rouge waterfall) before tackling a visit to Mafate (Marla by the Taïbit pass) or the Piton des Neiges. Cilaos is also a passing point of the GR1 and GR2 hiking trails.

DO   —  Map

GR R2

The. This route crosses the island from Saint-Denis in the north down to Saint-Joseph in the south. Set aside about a week to cover the route's 130km trail.

DO   —  Map


GR R1

The is slightly shorter at around four days, and covers the Cilaos, Mafate and Salazie craters.

DO   —  Map

About Réunion

The Portuguese discovered the uninhabited island in 1513. From the 17th to the 19th centuries, French immigration supplemented by influxes of Africans, Chinese, Malays, and Malabar Indians gave the island its ethnic mix. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cost the island its importance as a stopover on the East Indies trade route. It remained a colony until 1946, when it became a département of the French Republic.

Locals take great pride in marking the anniversary of the abolition of slavery (which happened on the 20th December 1848), in a festival known locally as "La Fête Cafre" (a "cafre" being the name given to an indigenous dweller of the island, now widely used to address a friend). This gesture towards the past is still very much present in society today, and as such the word "slave" ("esclave") is a grave insult to a Réunionnais.

Today, the population of Reunion is widely varied in terms of ethnic origin, which each group inheriting its respective traditions.

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