Heart of the In­dian Ocean

Lo­cated 210 kms from Mau­ri­tius, Re­union Is­land has a tremen­dous mix­ture of wild na­ture and au­then­tic cul­ture.

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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.


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.

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