Spend Your New Year In Reunion
Reunion Island is a popular tourist destination known for being intense and unforgettable. It uniquely blends natural and urban environments, including mountains, lagoons, volcanoes, forests, and cities. Visitors to this paradise come back repeatedly because there is always something new to discover. For instance, in winter, one can see whales and their babies or enjoy the guava trees, whereas summer is perfect for canyoning and rafting in the Porpoise River. Additionally, the island is home to the Piton de la Fournaise volcano, which can erupt unexpectedly. And what better way to spend New Year's Eve than on the sandy beaches of Reunion Island, where the temperature is around 30°C, and the party is in full swing on the other side of the world.
Reunion's Colourful Nature
The air and water temperature is around 29°C, making it the perfect climate for flourishing exuberant vegetation. Unsurprisingly, Reunion was considered a paradise by the first explorers. However, human influence has shaped the island's landscape, with most of the fruits found in the market being planted by people. The island is decorated with coconut palms and filaos that sway in the trade winds, orchards filled with mangoes and letchis, and cascades of jacarandas and frangipani trees that perfume the air and add colour to the green valleys. You can enjoy a vibrant display of colours and scents anytime. Although the western beaches, colourful fish, and coral seabed make it an ideal seaside destination, Reunion Island is much more than just a tropical paradise. These southern lands offer almost every landscape and climate that nature can create, except snow and glaciers. The natural beauty of Reunion Island lies in its interior, where you can witness its rugged mountains, which are the highest in the Indian Ocean, its primary forests, its endemic fauna and flora with no dangerous species, its pebbled rivers, its deep ravines, and its lunar plains.
Taking A Hike Through Reunion
Reunion Island offers the best experience when explored on foot. Hiking is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the island's rich traditions, go back in time, and discover a way of life that is in harmony with nature. The island is home to three natural amphitheatres, Salazie, Cilaos, and Mafate, which are recognised as UNESCO World Heritage sites. These cirques feature cascading waterfalls, verdant walls, mountain villages, and extensive hiking trails. Many towns, known as "îlets," are only accessible on foot.
The Piton des Neiges, the highest peak in the Indian Ocean, is located in the centre of these cirques and offers an awe-inspiring view. The surrounding areas feature savannahs, marshes, cliffs, peaks, and fields that stretch as far as the eye can see.
The outskirts of the Piton de la Fournaise are dominated by sandy and desert expanses. This active volcano erupts about once a year, producing a spectacular show of incandescent lava from the depths of the earth. Its most recent eruption occurred in September and October 2022. The island has over 1,000 km of ONF-maintained trails, making it an excellent destination for hikers of all skill levels. Before hiking, check the ONF website for the trail conditions.
A Beautiful Culture
Reunion Island is a beautiful place to visit if you want to get to know the Reunionese people and their rich culture. The island was uninhabited until 1649 and was only populated in 1665 when the first governor, Etienne Regnault, arrived. The migratory flows throughout its history shaped the island's identity. Today, the island is home to a mix of different ethnic groups, including Cafres (descendants of enslaved Africans), Malbars, Tamils and Zarabs (originally from India), Gros Blancs (descendants of white settlers) and Petits Blancs (or Yabs, descendants of the many whites ruined by the hazards of history), Zoreilles (from metropolitan France), Chinese, Mauritians, Comorians, Mahorais and Malagasies. Despite the different backgrounds of its inhabitants, the Reunionese society is united and tolerant, making it an excellent example for the rest of the world.
The population is a mix of different cultures, religions, and ethnicities, but no single group dominates them. The people of Reunion Island are proud of their heritage, but they also respect the traditions of each community. There is a wide range of religious buildings on the island, including Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Christian, and Muslim places of worship.
The island has many traditional Creole huts from the great plantations of the past, as well as historical monuments inherited from the East India Company and rum distilleries. You can enjoy a variety of cuisine and an authentically Creole culture that cheerfully mixes curry (the reference dish), retail, gratin couches, jujube pie, and even cheeses and local wines! There are also Indian, European, Chinese, Malagasy, and American culinary inspirations in the music and dance. You can join a kabar (a large convivial party) and dance the sega or the Malaya. Reunion Island's cultural life is rich and dynamic, subsidised mainly by the Department, the Region, and the State, ensuring quality museums, well-maintained historical monuments, quality gastronomy, and varied shows.