Heart of the Indian Ocean
Located 210 kms from Mauritius, Reunion Island has a tremendous mixture of wild nature and authentic culture.
With 40 per cent of its 2512 sq kms territory classified as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the culture-rich island has Asian cuisine to creole markets, from Buddhist traditions to Tamil, Islamic or Christian rituals. The contrasting experiences are unique in that, in only a few hours, you can be in the expansive volcanic lunar landscapes, then in the translucent waters of the lagoons or enjoying the feeling of being on top of the world in the lush green vegetation of one of the picturesque craters.
In 2010, UNESCO included Reunion Island's volcanic peaks, cirques and ramparts in its list of natural World Heritage Sites. Reunion Island is synonymous with Piton des Neiges (Snow Mountain) - the volcano which has been dormant for 120 centuries, is the origin of the creation of two thirds of the island, more than three million years ago. Eroded by time and the absence of volcanic activity, it still remains the highest summit in the island, at 3,071 metres above sea level. However, its name is deceptive, because this island rooftop is rarely covered in a white blanket of snow: there is no permanent snow cover and snowfall is in fact very rare. Nonetheless, it is cold and hikers who want to climb it must ensure they are well equipped.
With its ‘Gay Friendly’ label, Coral Helicopters offers various sightseeing flights as well as private and business travel from the airport at Saint-Gilles-les-Bains and Pierrefonds, and is a must to do activity for tourists. Coral Helicopters has a fleet of five Squirrel Eurocopters, including two new EC130B4s.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air Austral, the French airline of the Indian Ocean, is the only airline to offer direct flights between Reunion Island and Chennai with connection from various cities in India in code share with Air India. It operates two flights per week on Reunion to Chennai - Tuesday & Friday and vice versa on Wednesday & Saturday.
For passengers travelling to Reunion Island from India, there is a 15 days free visa on booking package through tour operators or local DMC.
The best and most affordable way to explore the island is to drive, and car hire is readily available. Drivers are required to produce an international or French driver's licence. It's a left-hand side drive and French rules of the road apply.
If you are interested in discovering the bottom of the ocean, you can go diving into the deep blue sea and admire the exceptional undersea world. The Reunion National Park is home to the most amazing landscapes and spectacular views. If you are a plant lover, you shall not miss a visit to the Gardens of La Reunion. Start with the Botanical Gardens of Mascarin and follow with the Domaine du Grand Hazier. The Garden of Perfumes and spices will enchant you and will guide you through a discovery of Reunion’s endemic species that form part of the island's unique flora.