Reunion Island Travel Guide : the best things to do in la Reunion
We just came back from a 2 weeks road trip in La Reunion and we have been conquered by the intense island. So, what to do in La Reunion ? We reveal you our 2 weeks itinerary in Reunion Island, with all our good tips and must-sees.
What to do in La Reunion – 2 weeks itinerary?
If you hesitate about the destination and wonder what to do in Reunion Island, here is a non-exhaustive list:
- Marvel at exceptional landscapes. ❤️ If you are not a fan of very long hikes, do not worry, many places are accessible or in a short time on foot.
- Hike in the heart of the Reunionese nature. 🌿 The number of possibilities is infinite: there are some for all the levels and all the tastes.
- Bathing in all tranquillity. 💦 We reveal you in our 2 weeks itinerary in Reunion Island our favorite places for a little splash!
- To feast. 😋 Because eating is always important, right? Reunion Island benefits from a cultural diversity due to its history, which makes its gastronomy varied and delicious!
- Live unforgettable experiences : watch dolphins 🐬 and whales 🐳, fly over the island by helicopter, explore the cirques by canyoning …
The list of things to do in La Reunion is long! 😍 So, are you convinced? Let’s go for a 2 weeks itinerary in Reunion Island, we reveal you the stages of our road trip day by day. If you are looking for practical information to organize your trip (budget, dangers, car rental, etc.), go to the end of the article.
Itinerary 2 weeks Reunion Island : best things to do in La Reunion
Day 1 : Arrival on the Intense Island
Welcome to Reunion Island! You will land at Roland Garros airport in Saint-Denis. Put on your best shorts, get your rental car and let’s go.
We suggest you stop and start without waiting with the Niagara Waterfall, which is located at 10 minutes drive from the airport. There is parking at the base of the waterfall, so you can admire it without getting tired. Walk a few meters and get closer to the waterfall… the magic happens, right?
If you are motivated, go and discover the Bassin Boeuf, Bassin Girondin and Bassin Nicole. Here are the directions:
- Park at the Bassin Boeuf parking lot. Continue on foot for a few meters and then go down the small path on the left (the basin is 5 minutes downhill).
- If you continue, passing by the left side of the waterfall, you will find the Grondin Basin 300 meters higher.
- Return to the parking lot and then head in the opposite direction along the trail. You will find stairs just to the right of the signs. After about 5 minutes downhill, just before you reach the river, turn right and walk up the stream to Bassin Nicole. We didn’t see a single tourist! 😍
Where to sleep in La Reunion?
For your first two nights, the best thing to do is to book an accommodation around Saint-Andre. Check out the best deals and book on Booking.
Day 2 : The Cirque of Salazie
Reunion Island is composed of three natural volcanic cirques, which you must visit. They have been formed over time by erosion. They all surround the Piton des Neiges, the highest peak in the Indian Ocean.
Visit the Cirque of Salazie : what to do?
- Take the road around 8 or 9 am to enjoy the day. Do not stop immediately at the waterfalls because they are totally or partially in the shade in the morning. We will come there in the afternoon.
- Start by walking around the Mare à Poule d’Eau lake. This place is very peaceful. You will meet locals who have come to fish. There are lots of fish in the lake! Take the whole tour and take the time to admire the landscape. It is a good spot for a picnic! GPS coordinates of the parking
- Go up to Hell Bourg, a village classified among the most beautiful in France. Very popular in the past for its thermal baths, Hell Bourg has kept its authenticity thanks to its typical Creole houses. You can visit the Maison Folio and its garden to learn more about the Creole way of life in the 19th century (price: 5€ per person).
- Have lunch in one of the restaurants of Hell Bourg to discover the Réunionese cuisine. We chose the Villa Marthe for its nice shaded terrace and we enjoyed it !
- Many activities are proposed in the heart of the cirque of Salazie: canyoning, hiking with guide, climbing… We let you find your happiness here.
- On the way back, stop to admire the incredible Cascade du Voile de la Mariée. It is possible to go to the foot of the waterfall by a path but know that it is forbidden.
- So, we chose to approach the White Waterfall instead, 600 meters high! To do so, park at the parking lot of the restaurant La Cascade Blanche, just next to the bridge of the river of the Mast. Take the stairs and continue on the path to the left. You will pass a fenced-in garden with barking dogs, but do not worry. Then follow the trail for about 40 minutes to get a closer look at this waterfall.
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There are other hikes to do in the Cirque de Salazie. The bible of hiking in Reunion Island is the site Randopitons (only available in French language, sorry). You will find there all the necessary indications not to get lost and to choose your circuits. So, we let you choose according to your desires!
⚠️Before going for a walk, remember to take screenshots of the itinerary, because you will not always have access to the network!
Day 3 : East of Reunion > Bras-Panon
What to do in La Reunion: Visit the East
We recommend you to spend 2 days there.
If you stay 2 days in the East, choose the most beautiful day to go up to Takamaka. Ideally, get up early to reach this viewpoint. The earlier you go, the more chance you have to have good weather and to be alone… We recommend you to go and admire the sunrise. The alarm clock stings but we swear that it is worth it!
Hiking : Takamaka waterfalls
Then, it is possible to make a hike to admire the waterfalls of the Valley of Takamaka. We got lost 😆, but if you are not mistaken, you will have about 1h45 round trip. For those who do not want to walk, you can still drive to the viewpoint of Takamaka to take full eyes. From here you can start the trail on foot. See the RandoPitons itinerary (note: the site presents a big hike, just stop at the first 3 waterfalls on the map and turn around to avoid doing the whole proposed loop).
In the afternoon, you can go to the :
- Bassin Bleu, which is great for swimming. Park near the picnic area. The water is cool because it is a source, but what a treat! Be careful, it can be very crowded during the day. We went there around 9am during the week and there was no one there. Note: the best time to have the prettiest water color is when the sun is at its highest (so around noon).
- Bassin La Paix. Access was closed for us because there was a rockfall accident, in November 2019. But you can still have a look from afar, without taking the path.
- Bassin La Mer, it looks great! We did not go there because it started to rain. It is possible to make a great aquatic hike there. Infos and booking here
Where to sleep to visit the East of La Reunion?
“Le Quindio“, air-conditioned and comfortable guest house with swimming pool. The owners are adorable and open to discussion. ❤️
Day 4 : from East to South-West, passing by the Reunion Island Volcano
For this morning, we suggest you to wake up at 4:30 am for a sunrise at Takamaka, if you did not do it the day before because of the weather or because of lack of time. The second option for the sunrise is to go and admire it at the Plaine des Sables or at the top of the Piton de la Fournaise. It is up to you and your motivation! ☀️
Before going up to the Plaine des Sables to enjoy the volcanic landscapes, take a walk on the road to the Plaine des Palmistes. This is the opportunity to taste the famous American sandwiches of Reunion Island. Then, you can have a picnic up there.
The Piton de la Fournaise
The Plaine des Sables can be reached by car, but also by foot. This road allows you to get closer to the Piton de la Fournaise and to reach many steps. The volcano wakes up regularly. If you have the chance to see it in activity, it is incredible! Visit RandoPitons for a list of possible hikes.
🌋 If you want to climb the Piton de la Fournaise with a guide, book now
🥙 Our picnic in the heart of the Commerson crater will remain engraved in our memories. The clouds were beginning to rise over us, it was magnificent. After this day rich in emotions, we headed south to continue our 2 weeks itinerary in Reunion.
Where to sleep to visit the wild South of Reunion Island?
We highly recommend the Palm Hotel & Spa. Ideally located between Saint-Pierre and Saint-Joseph, this luxury hotel is perfect for resting. You will overlook the beautiful beach of Grande Anse.
Beyond the welcoming and professional staff, the Palm’s setting is incredible. The two swimming pools are sublime, the Jacuzzi with sea view also. If you have the opportunity to go there, go without hesitation!
Day 5 : South of Reunion Island
There are many beautiful places to visit in the South:
- Cascade Langevin. The ideal time for the most beautiful light is around 10:30 – 11:00 am. Do not stay on the platform, go down to the bottom to swim. The water is… stunning.
💦 If you are interested, there is a family-friendly canyoneering trip in Langevin. Bookings here
- Cascade Jacqueline. Go there around 1pm to get the sun. Access is very easy and is a 10 minute walk. Parking is available at the Langevin Marine.
- A beautiful naturally formed arch is next to the parking lot, open your eyes. 👀
- Natural pool with corals. 💜 Our little secret spot that we found by chance… a wonder of nature. You can go and admire it (see on the map), but please do not walk on the corals. Even better : please do not swim.
- Sunset on the beach of Grande Anse. This beach is beautiful at all hours. Take a Dodo Beer 🍺 and enjoy !
Day 6 : Cirque de Cilaos
Take a morning of rest after this intense trip, it is important.
What to do in La Réunion during your 2 weeks itinerary? Visit the “cirque de Cilaos”
Cilaos is one of the three natural cirques of Reunion. Its nature is surprising. To get there, you will have to face the road with 400 curves. Beware of those who have motion sickness. Take the time to stop on the way to contemplate the landscapes which are offered to you…
Where to sleep in Cilaos?
We stayed two nights at the hotel Le Cilaos. Our room overlooked the pool and was modern and comfortable. If you can, ask for a renovated room because the others are a bit worse. We recommend that you choose a hotel with a pool so that you can relax after the hikes on day 7.
Day 7 : cirque de Cilaos
Hike : Bras Rouge waterfall and Bassin Roche (⏱ 2h30 round trip)
Plan to leave early to take full advantage of the Bassin Roche without anyone and to have more chances to have good weather. Do not forget your bathing suit, sunscreen and of course one or two bottles of water!
📍 Park at the Source Piment bus stop. Take the trail down to the Bras Rouge waterfall. This is a fairly easy walk that will take you 30-40 minutes. Once you reach the waterfall, cross the river and take the path that winds up. After a few meters you will see a huge ratchet and a flat area. It is at this point that you should pay attention and not miss the path that leaves on the left (photo below). Then, the route becomes a little more complicated. There are passages under tree trunks and with a rope, but it remains accessible. If you follow us on Instagram (@amoureuxdumonde), you know that we are not great sportsmen (especially me). Link of the itinerary on Randopitons just in case
If you are afraid of getting lost, we recommend you to take a tour with a guide. The advantage is that the guide can also help you discover other treasures in Cilaos 😍. Click here to book your guide!
Canyoning in the cirque of Cilaos
Cilaos is a good place for canyoning. We did not have the opportunity to test it but we recommend it to all those who are fond of beautiful landscapes and sensations.
Randonnée : Bassin Fouquet (⏱1h AR)
This hike has the best effort/beauty ratio of the place. 😜
📍Park at the Bois Rouge bus stop. Take the path and go down for 30 minutes. You will not be able to miss the Bassin Fouquet, it will be at the foot of the waterfall that you will see on your left when you arrive. To relax and enjoy the pool, cross the stream to bypass the waterfall and descend on the other side. For the adrenaline junkies, there is enough bottom to jump off the top of the waterfall! If you want to see the beautiful blue color of the water, do not come before 9am.
❤️ A total favorite is the Bassin Fouquet and its waterfall, perfectly aligned with the majestic Piton des Neiges.
Day 8 : West Coast
It is time to leave the cirque of Cilaos. We continue this itinerary of 2 weeks in Reunion to join the West coast. It is the most seaside place of the island. It is ideal to finish its trip on a quiet note.
Head to Saline-Les-Bains and its surroundings by taking the 400 bends road again.
Where to sleep to visit the West of Reunion Island?
For the last 4 nights, we stayed at the Dina Morgabine hotel. In addition to being nicely decorated, the establishment is hyper modern and its swimming pool is top! We recommend it to you 100% for its quality-price ratio.
Day 9 : West Coast
Best things to do in La Reunion Island : where to swim
The Hermitage Lagoon is ideal for a quiet swim in crystal clear water!
- Do not forget your mask and your organic sunscreen for snorkeling. The whole lagoon is suitable for swimming, enjoy this huge playground.
- Rent a transparent kayak to admire the depths or a paddle. Click here to book online!
If the sea is not too rough, head to this secret spot: a pretty natural pool. It is only a 5 minute walk from the parking lot. You will probably be alone!⚠️We weigh our words, BE CAREFUL with the swell. If a wave comes at you while you are in the water, you will be thrown against the volcanic rocks. This can end very badly so take your precautions. Do not swim there if the sea is not calm and flat!
Day 10 : believe you can fly
A must in la Reunion : the helicopter tour
Flying over Reunion Island in a helicopter is, according to us, an unmissable activity. This moment is one of those memories that are engraved forever. We had been looking at it since the beginning of the trip but, seen from the sky, it is just incredible! Advice: Plan a flight in the morning! Around 7 or 8 am is ideal. The clouds are normally not very present and the sun is high enough to have a beautiful light.
It represents a big budget, but if there is one thing you should not miss it is this activity. You can also fly over the island by microlight! It is much less expensive and more ecological too.
Then enjoy the afternoon relaxing at the beach.
Day 11 : enjoy the water
Another incredible moment during this trip: swimming with cetaceans. Reunion Island is one of the best places in the world to observe marine mammals.
🐋 Depending on the time of the year, you can see whales and/or different types of dolphins. Whales can only be seen during the southern winter, from June to October. You can even see them from the coast. For our part, in December, we opted for a boat trip to observe different species of dolphins.
According to the provider, you have a 95% chance of seeing these cetaceans on an outing. So it is not guaranteed, but it is rare when the dolphins do not show up! Getting in the water to swim with them will depend on the water conditions – good visibility – and the behavior of the animals. There is a great respect for cetaceans. Indeed, once a family of dolphins is spotted, the guide cuts the engine and lets them choose to come and see us if they are curious or to continue their way. They are not at all in a “hunting” aspect as it can exist in other destinations. We were amazed during nearly 3 hours of stroll on the water.
Day 12 : West Coast of Reunion Island
If there is a sunrise to do during your trip, it is the one from Le Maïdo !
🚗 From La Saline-Les-Bains or Saint Gilles, count 1 hour of very winding road to the parking of Le Maïdo. Then, 5 minutes of walking will be enough to bring you on the observation platform. We advise you to arrive on the spot around 5:15 am. Yes, it stings! But once the show starts you will quickly forget the difficult awakening.
⚠️You will probably have guessed it but 5:30 am + 2 200m of altitude = cold.😆Plan your clothes accordingly. The view on the Piton des Neiges and the cirque of Mafate is breathtaking!
Hiking : view on the Cirque de Mafate
We chose to skip the cirque of Mafate and to observe it from the outside. It will give us a good reason to come back to Reunion Island, to see it from the inside.
If you want to have a better look at the cirque of Mafate without too much difficulty, we recommend the hike of Roche Verre Bouteille from Dos d’Ane. It is a 3 km loop with several viewpoints, doable in 1h30 – 2h. The walk does not require a great effort, but there are passages with ladders and you should not be afraid of heights. See on Randopitons
Waterfalls and natural pools in the West
On the road, if you are not too tired, you can stop at Bassin Cormoran, Bassin des Aigrettes and Bassin Malheur. They are located near Saint-Gilles.
📍Park near the Snack des Cormorans and take the trail that starts just above. There are prohibition signs at the entrance, but they have been there for years and many people go there every day. The walk is not difficult. See directions on Randopitons
Days 13 & 14
The intense island is well named! But do not let your trip exhaust you, vacations are also meant to rest. So, plan 1 or 2 days of quiet time. We also left these two days free in case you need to postpone visits due to the weather.
- If the timing is good, take advantage of the fairground market on the Saint Paul waterfront which is held on Friday all day and Saturday morning with more than 300 exhibitors. It is the most touristic market with the one in Saint Pierre.
- Take some time at the natural swimming pool on the beach of Boucan-Canot. Be careful, the place is very crowded on weekends! One Friday at 9am we were alone.
2 weeks Itinerary Reunion Island : how to prepare your trip
➡️ How to come to Reunion Island?
We have tested the company Frenchbee in the framework of a collaboration (our opinion remains honest). Frenchbee is the first French low-cost company on long distance flights. The starting prices are low, which allows you to add a la carte services according to your needs: meals, luggage, premium seat etc. Book your flight here
➡️ When to go to Reunion Island?
☀️The best period for your trip to Reunion Island is during the southern winter, i.e. from June to September. The months of May and October are also favorable. However, we went to Reunion Island in December and had great weather for 14 days with very little rainfall. The sky was sunny every morning, with clouds arriving in the early afternoon and leaving in the evening (just before sunset😍).
🌧 The rainy season is usually from December to April.
➡️ How to get around during your trip in La Reunion Island?
Having your own means of transportation seems to us to be essential to realize this 2 weeks itinerary in Reunion Island. There are buses, but we advise you to be autonomous for more ease. Compare and book the best car rental offers
➡️ What is the budget for 2 weeks itinerary in Reunion Island?
- Rental car : 20€ per day for an economic car
- Gasoline : 80€ for our 2 weeks itinerary in Reunion Island with a diesel car
- Accommodation : 90€ per night with breakfast for a mid-range hotel
- Food : 50€ per day for 2 people with a snack at noon and a restaurant at night
Total : 2 320€, soit 1 160€ per person.
Budget to which you have to add the airfare and the activities you wish to do.
🍚 Culinary specialties not to be missed ?
We cannot write a travel guide on Reunion Island without talking about the food! It is simple, we loved ALL the meals we tasted. Here is a non-exhaustive list of meals not to be missed:
- Rougail saucisse
- The bouchons
- The cari chicken or fish
- The bread bouchon au gratin
- The American bouchon
- Palmetto salad
- All tropical fruits.
And of course, do not forget to taste the local beer: La Dodo! 🍺 It is good, available everywhere and the price is very affordable.
➡️ What are the essentials to have in your suitcase?
Shoes for hikes that can get wet. Water shoes to avoid getting hurt on the rocks. Sunscreen, if possible organic to preserve the natural environment. Anti-mosquito product, special for tropical areas. Masks and snorkels for snorkeling. A sweater or a jacket for sunrises and evenings in altitude.
➡️ The dangers?
- We did not have any particular vaccine for this trip to Reunion Island. However, as in any tropical destination, it is preferable to protect yourself from mosquitoes with an effective product, day and night. 🌙
- During your hikes near water, be careful to watch the weather. If you see the sky getting cloudy, turn around and go back: the water level can rise very quickly and you could get stuck. Many cases of landslides have been reported on the island, especially after heavy rains, so be sure to follow the safety instructions. Finally, the waterfalls, although heavenly, can be dangerous. Just one piece of advice: when you go swimming, do not get too close to the waterfall because it is here that the currents are stronger and whirlpools can form.
- Is it possible to swim in Reunion Island? As you have seen in our 2 weeks itinerary, there are many places where you can swim in peace in Reunion Island. Basic safety rules apply as everywhere. Also, do not walk on the corals. Not only to preserve the biodiversity, but also not to hurt yourself. Read the signs and watch out for the flags: places where swimming is forbidden are indicated.
We hope to have helped you in the organization of your 2 weeks itinerary and to have answered your questions about what to do in Reunion Island. Have a good trip to the intense island. ❤️
Do you want to visit another French island? Find our travel guides here! LIEN !!!!!!