Having worked your way to the summit under your own power, the satisfaction of the view extends beyond your direct perspective. Sure the surrounding landscape is pretty, but everyone can pay to get to an elevated lookout.
Make sure to earn your panoramic pictures by hiking to the highest points on Reunion Island.
Located to the east of Madagascar, the island of Reunion is considered an overseas department of France. Covering an area of around 970 square miles (2,512km2), the terrain consists of rocky peaks and green valleys, making independent exploration an enjoyable and accessible experience.
With a variety of routes and circuits, adventures are available for all ability levels and ambitions. If you’re looking for a casual afternoon walk or hoping to complete a multiple day trek, Reunion has you covered.
Hiking Around Reunion
Whether going at it by yourself or hiring a guide, even the simplest trails will require a reasonable amount of preparation. And if you’re looking to tackle some of the more difficult routes through the mountains, bring along a cell phone with the rescue team’s number.
La Roche Merveilleuse
Situated just outside of the the small town of Cilaos, the trail up to La Roche Merveilleuse is an appropriate hike for novices looking to get catch the view from above. Running a one-way distance of around 1.6 miles (2.6km), the summit of the trail will give hikers an elevated perspective of both Cilaos and the surrounding landscape.
If you want to spend the night on the hill, consider staying at Gîte de la Roche Merveilleuse, a quaint wooden lodge with space for 25 guests. Look to shell out around $60US for your own private room with ensuite. If a bed in a dorm room is sufficient, you’ll spend only $20 per night.
Piton des Neiges
As the nation’s largest peak, Piton des Neiges requires more than a little walk for those who hope to conquer it. Taking somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 hours to complete, the hike is best split up over two days. Many trekkers opt to spent the night at the Gîte de la Caverne Dufour, offering basic shelters and warm meals, before catching the sunrise on day two.
Though not technically difficult, the trail will be physically demanding, rising to a total height of 10,069 feet (3,068m). Hikers should make sure to pack warm clothes as nighttime temperatures towards the summit will be fairly chilly.
Guides are available for the trek, however the well-marked trail makes for a fairly straightforward trip.
When To Go
Weigh your priorities when planning a hiking trip on Reunion. May through November offer a dry climate, however, if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, take on the slippery conditions of the off-season.
Temperatures in the town of Cilaos will be at their coldest from June to August, with lows of 61°F (16°C) and highs of 66°F (19°C). February and March will provide temperatures between 72°F (22°C) and 77°F (25°C).
Getting There & Around
Look to get into Cilaos using Reunion’s network of buses. Getting to the base of La Roche Merveilleuse will require a 15 minute drive out of Cilaos while Piton des Neiges’ base is around 1.9 miles (3km) out of town.
- Mid-range accommodations: $120-160
- Meal: $7-20
- Beer: $1
- Take a helicopter ride up towards the peaks if you aren’t keen on climbing.
- Call the island’s weather hotline before you begin your trek.
- Camp at the lodge sites to complete the full outdoor experience.
- Go at the hike alone. Bring along a travel partner.
- Expect the best of views from the top of Piton des Neiges. The peak will often be covered in clouds.
- Plan on clear driving across the island. The road is often crowded with vehicles.
- The two main sources of income on the island are sugar and tourism.
- The French first colonized Reunion in 1662.
- Piton de la Fournaise, one of the island’s two volcanoes, last erupted in 2010.
Feature Image Credit: Simon-And-You