A jewel in the brilliant blueness of the Indian Ocean, Reunion Island is a rugged yet lush paradise that offers the perfect setting for a Hollywood film. Would it be a fantasy, adventure or romance is anybody’s guess for the island has both the oomph and tenderness to accommodate them all.
LIVING A FANTASY: there is nowhere like it
Reunion Island is exotica at its most exotic, a place that fantasies are made of. A lone island set deep in the heart of the Indian Ocean. A terrain of rainforests, mountain trails, volcanoes, craters, coral reefs and beaches. Inhabited as recently as the 17th century, the island is a motley of European, African, Chinese, Indian and insular traditions almost as exotic as the land it is bred in.
The island is an appeal to every person who has a fascination for being marooned on islands or a journey through the forest; only there is civilisation and comfort. A definite visit for adventurers and explorers at heart, those looking at fulfilling a fantasy that life tales are made of.
A PRISTINE EDEN: unparalleled natural beauty
A pristine Eden spread over 2512 sq km, Reunion Island is indeed God’s own backyard. A showcase of natural resources where nature has handpicked its finest and placed it at one spot, the beautiful island offers a bio-diversity which is unparalleled. UNESCO bears testimony to the fact and has classified 40 per cent of the isle’s territory as World Heritage.
Protected as a national park, at the heart of Reunion Island lie the three craters of ofCilaos, Salazie and Mafate, born of the collapse of the walls of Piton des Neiges, the highest peak in the Indian Ocean. The craters offer varied vistas along with rich fauna and flora upholding Reunion Island as one of the 34 hotspots of global biodiversity.
The volcanic isle of Reunion rose from the bottom of the Indian Ocean three million years ago and houses iton de la Fournaise, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Its spectacular shows with powerful eruptions vow spectators at regular intervals, without posing a threat.
Enthusiasts can hike up to the volcano through the strangely appealing lunar landscape. The route is spectacular as it is accessible, the magical sights of Plaine des Sables, Pas de Bellecombe, craters and Route des Laves make for dinner time tales that last years.
The southern part of the island with its rich lava outflows offers the beauty of a different kind steep cliffs, lush vegetation, the deep blue of the Indian Ocean, and not be missed black sand beaches.
The warm depths of the Indian Ocean are as fascinating as the island it houses. The white sandy beaches, turquoise waters protected by a 30-kilometre coral reef, the island’s lagoons and the promise of flamboyant schools of fish one can discover with a mask and a snorkel. As you reach out to the smaller fish, not far in easy sight, Humpback Whales return to warmer climes to mate and calf.
Paradise for ADRENALIN gushers
Be it the mysterious wilderness of the land, the serene seductiveness of the waterbodies or the pristine allure of the air all aspects of the striking natural beauty of this magical isle challenge men and women. Flirt with nature at its most thrilling under the guidance of experienced professionals.
Labyrinth trails through the picturesque mountains are a hiker’s dream. The choices are many with guided and unguided treks, lasting from a few hours to days to an end and 31 hiking lodges. Travelers are spoilt for choice with over 1900 kilometers of charming trails that one can explore on foot, horseback or mountain riding.
For those who prefer water to land, there is a myriad of waterfalls, rivers and lagoons. The water bodies provide the perfect playground for sports like airboats; kayak jumping, white water jumping, aquatic hiking and canyoning. If that isn’t dramatic enough, one can even abseil down a waterfall.
The blue depths of the Indian Ocean beckon scuba divers and deep sea fishers while the alluring shallowness of the lagoons invites stand up paddle boarders and snorkelers.
A journey by air could paradoxically take your breath away, as one catches the breath-taking beauty of this spectacular spectacle via a helicopter, glider or a paraglider.
A CULTURAL SAGA
Multiethnic magic: A virgin island where the first inhabitants came in in the 17th century and staked a claim and slowly for surely, brought in people of different ethnicities. The resultant is a culture that is like no other, at times a confluence and at others a peerless coexistence of traditions that people from Africa, Madagascar, Europe and Asia brought with them.
Churches, Tamil temples, mosques and Chinese pagodas jostle shoulders. The festival calendar reads like a world guide to celebrations. With those of different cultures falling on different dates, travellers are welcome guests. Tourists may also experience the unique Creole culture that exists equally in the magnificent colonial mansions of Saint Denis as in the distinct colourful huts in creole villages.
How can a culture that is repeatedly called a “melting pot”, have anything but an interesting mix of spices. The curries and sauces served with meat, fish and vegetables, accompanied by rice; reflect the multi-ethnicity of the cooking pan. Tomatoes, turmeric, garlic, onions and thymes along with unusual Indian and Chinese ingredients, make for a taste one shall remember for a long time. Each meal is finished with the Island’s special sugar cane rum, served neat or with honey, sugar, fruit juices and spices.
COUPLED WITH HARMONY
The perfect place for romance
Ranked among the world’s top 3 honeymoon destinations, Reunion Island has spectacular ocean and mountain environments providing exceptional honeymoon experiences. Also the luxurious resorts, a gentle multi-ethnic population and an environment designed to elicit deep emotions; Reunion Island is one of the most magical destinations to say the wedding vows.
Couples may soak up the sun by the serene laziness of the ocean disturbed only by schools of thousands of fish in myriad colours, exchange romantic nothings over Champagne as the sun dips into the ocean. Relaxing massages amidst abundant nature after an adventurous hike or a trip in a glider; the place is Eden indeed, God’s special garden created for couples in love.