The diversity of landscapes on Reunion is simply bewildering. It is due to this variety that there is such an assortment of activities available and why the island holds such a great draw for the more adventurous traveller. These are the top activities on this “paradise island”;
1. Scuba Diving
Thanks to the coral reef bordering its western coast, Reunion has a lagoon which provides the perfect environment for divers to discover the abundant riches of the world below. Over 1,000 species of fish and five species of sea turtles can be found in the rich coral landscapes. From June to October, the west coast also enjoys the passing of marine mammals such as dolphins and humpback whales. A Marine Natural Reserve that was created in 2007 stretches across 3,500 hectares and protects more than 3,500 species of coral within this rich ecosystem.
Due to the varied terrain of this fascinating island, hiking is incredibly popular. The calderas and volcanoes are the main attraction which hold magnificent waterfalls, lush forests, hills and valleys ripe for exploration. The walks range from easy to difficult which allows something for every type of hiker.
The calderas, known as cirques, are ancient craters where volcanoes once stood and offer the best hiking routes on Reunion. All three cirques offer different activities and landscapes. Mafate is the most isolated with its jagged contours, Salazie possesses the most impressive waterfalls and Cilaos has the most peaceful walks. One of the most stunning sights of the Salazie cirque is the towering waterfall known as Le Voile de la Mariée, its many trickles of water is said to resemble the fabric of a wedding gown. For those interested in tackling the taller volcanoes that is also possible with the two standing at heights of 3,000 and 2,600 metres.
Canyoning is the new buzzword when it comes to adrenalin and adventure sports. Although it has been around for years it is only now becoming widely popular. It’s best described as the process of a combination of hiking, climbing, or rappelling to the bottom of a river canyon, then following that canyon to a spot where it’s fairly easy to hike back out. Reunion Island is one of the world’s premiere canyoning destinations, thanks to its diverse and rugged interior terrain.
4. Mountain Biking
Mountain biking on Reunion can tend to be on the extreme side of things – the trails are often steep and the volcanic terrain rough and uneven. For the intense trails, it is recommended that riders are experienced. There are, however, a number of trails that are appropriate for novice or intermediate riders. A viewpoint called Le Maido is the island’s best spot for downhill biking. The area boasts more than 100 kilometres of marked trails, some quite difficult and others manageable for those with a minimal amount of experience.