Recently I had the opportunity to go to Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean situated quite close to Mauritius. Even though its close to this very popular holiday destination most people I have spoken to know very little about this gem and that is such a pity. This little island held so many adventures and surprises I feel that one trip isn’t enough to experience the amazing things it has to offer. Not only is it a photographers heaven its also great for adrenalin junkies, outdoor enthusiasts foodies and basically just everyone that has a passion for traveling and seeing amazing sights.
A few facts about Reunion:
1. It was previously known as Bourbon.
2. It is one of the overseas departments of France.
3. The main exports of Reunion Island include sugar, rum, and vanilla.
4. Piton des Neiges, at 3,069 m forms the highest point in Reunion Island.
5. The currency they use is Euro
We stayed in walking distance of the lagoon in Saint Gilles and it was one of my favorite things to wake up in the morning and watch the sunrise colours in the sky. The beach is really peaceful and the lagoon is great for an early morning dip which I obviously took advantage of as well! This particular morning the ocean was quite rough and you can see some massive waves hitting the coral barrier far out. The amazing thing is obviously that the lagoon water so much calmer and still totally fine to relax and swim in.
We were lucky enough to do a full heli flip of the island while we were in Reunion and I would actually suggest that everyone experiences Reunion from the air like this. The volcano which is the second most active one in the world was also erupting while we were visiting so getting to see lava shooting up like ribbons into the sky while hovering above in a helicopter was pretty much one of the most epic things ever. The helicopter flip was also unlike anything I ever experienced with the pilot almost climbing into the sky and then dipping down into the vast cirques. It also wound its way between the mountains and did an amazing turn for us to see this gorgeous waterfall that you can only reach by intense hiking and canyoneering. If you are in need of a bucket list moment this is it!
Sunsets and sunsets were romantic and gorgeous affairs in Reunion which is why I probably have more than a thousand photos of just that from when we visited. When the lagoon is calm the reflections are insane and the sun sets right over the lagoon which makes for a pretty epic sunset picnic or stroll.
We didn’t spend every sunset at the lagoon and I absolutely loved the vibe and surrounding at the beach of Boucan Canot ( it has a pretty cool sounding name as well ) The beach has a natural lava rock pool as well as loads of cute little cafe’s and bars where we had to stop for a Bourbon ( aka Dodo ) beer or two! I took this photo from inside a volcanic rock cave and I just loved the isolated feeling of it. Almost like I went back in time when the island was first formed. The lagoon was just as great at night as it is during the day and we were spoiled with the whole milky way seemingly sinking into the ocean in front of us.
There are so many cool things to do in Reunion and I really do feel fortunate that I got to experience quite a few of them. Something that is another great way to see a bit of Reunion from the air is paragliding. I have never been paragliding and although a but nervous to start with it all disappeared as soon as my feet left the ground and all I could see was magical glistening waters, volcanic rocks and basically the awesomeness of Reunion down below. It gives you such an amazing perspective and we even got to spot a few huge sea turtles chilling in the ocean far down below us. I also swam in a crips rock pool while on a hike in an area where you cant get to with cars only a day long ( maybe even more ) hike which made it feel like I was basically swimming in a land that time forgot ( yes it really did! ) The hiking is spectacular btw, and you get to hike in extinct volcanoes called cirques which in my opinion makes it sounds pretty badass! I love it when someone asks me what I did in Reunion and I get to casually answer, “I just hiked some extinct volcanoes you can only acces by foot or helicopter…” Super awesome right?
Something else that fascinated me was the amount of waterfalls they have on the island. Apparently there are more than 200 of these beauties in the rainy season and you are sure to see at least a few if you visit the island. We went swimming in one and the surroundings looked like something straight out of Jurassic park! The cool thing is that they don’t have any dangerous animals or anything venomous on the island so you are pretty safe hiking or spending time in the lush surroundings. You can also do crazy things like canyoneering down waterfalls like the one above ( the crazy long one btw… )if you are into adrenalin activities and its definitely on my list for next time!
If you want the typical pretty beach holiday with a 5 star resort and all the trimmings you can also do that. The gorgeous LUX Saint Gilles looks out right over the lagoon and that is definitely the place to indulge in spa treatments, beach yoga and delicious food. They also have the largest pool on the island and I am pretty sure you can imagine the bliss of lying next to the shimmering pool sipping some fresh coconut juice right?
I really think Reunion has something for everyone and that is what makes it so special in my eyes. Who has been here? I would love to find out about your experience!