I’ve had the opportunity to visit Reunion Island twice this year and I have to admit that I have fallen head-over-heels in love with this small, diverse island. Located in the Indian Ocean, just about 2000km’s from South Africa and right next to Mauritius, Reunion Island is basically the peak of a massive volcano that lies under the sea. The volcano isn’t formed by a fault in the Earth’s crust, but rather by molten lava pushing up through a hot spot.
The volcano is one of the most active in the world and erupts periodically, but because all the inhabitants live on the west of the island and inland, and the volcano erupts on the east of the island, it’s perfectly safe. Visitors can drive up to the Piton or peak of the volcano and have a look at the moon-like landscape – It’s something very special to see.
Reunion is a department of France, which means that even though it’s located thousands of kilometres away, it’s run as if it were in Europe. The language, food and currency is all French, with island influence and of course, a beach lifestyle. If you love France and you love the ocean, Reunion Island will be like dying and going to heaven for you.
Between my two visits to the island, I’ve experienced a lot of what the island has to offer, but there’s still a lot I want to go back for. From what I hear, New Year’s Eve on the island is a huge party, with most of the west (the beachy side) turned into one big party. Then there’s the Sakifo music festival, which sees French and African acts head to the island for their annual music festival. On my first visit to Reunion, I managed to catch the After Sakifo party at a local beach bar and it got me so excited for the festival.
10 Things To Do In Reunion Island
1. Swim in the warm Indian ocean
2. Take to the air
3. Eat the street food
4. Check out the street art
6. Hang out at the beach bars
7. Go canyoning
8. Check out the volcano
Obviously. It’s hard to explain just how cool it actually is up there. The landscape looks like Mars and the energy is very particular. Definitely one of the things you cannot miss out on.
9. Drink the rum
The local rum is made from sugar cane grown on the island and it has a very specific flavour. Nothing like the Bacardi rum we drink here. The locals drink it in two ways; in Tipunch or in Planter’s Punch. Tipunch is served with sugar and a squeeze of lime, traditionally before dinner. Planter’s Punch is served with fruit juice and is only slightly less potent than the Tipunch. After dinner, it’s customary to have a shot of rhum arrangé, which is Charette rum, infused with a blend of spices or fruit. Every bar or restaurant has their own blend, so you’ll just have to try them all.
10. Visit the Saint Paul’s Market
Open on weekend, the market is where you’ll get to eat the finest local produce, check out the locals and enjoy a bit of sunshine. I ate SO much while I walked through the stalls. Local Creole snacks, French cheeses, meats and olives. Fresh fruit… I was sensory heaven! The perfect place to spend a Saturday morning.
I wrote about my first visit for the Reunion Island Tourism blog here, so check it out if you want to read more about this incredible place.
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