Eco-friendly travel guide to Réunion advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Réunion, Africa.
- Air quality: 5/ 5
- Bus connections: 4/ 5
- Train connections: 0 / 5
- Hitchhiking: 3 / 5
- National parks: 5/ 5
- Outdoor activities: 5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2.5 / 5
- Safety: 4 / 5
- Accommodation: US$60 - $180
- Budget per day: US$50- $200
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 Regions
- 11 Cities
- 12 Getting There and Moving Around
- 13 Sustainable Shopping
- 14 Recycling
- 15 Work and Study Abroad
- 16 See Also
There are many places worth exploring in the world, and Réunion is one of them. It is one of the French departments, and tourism plays a significant role in this island’s economy.
French is the official language of the island. Thus, it would come in handy if you understand bits of the language.
As a foreigner, it is easy and straightforward to enjoy yourself on this island. However, you must also be a responsible traveler. It doesn’t take much to be a responsible traveler.
You can start by visiting the local bars and restaurants on the island. Being a responsible foreigner entails that you are opening to learning about the culture of these people.
Air Quality and Pollution
People have different concerns when visiting a new place. It is normal to seek answers to your problems. One of the worries people have centered on air quality and pollution. It is essential to know this information, so you won’t be caught by surprise.
Visiting Réunion is perfect for those looking for a place with ideal air quality. People on this island are concerned about their atmosphere. Thus, they do not engage in activities that cause air pollution.
Since the air quality of this island is perfect, you have lesser worries when visiting it. People are usually happy to know that there will be no triggers to their health.
Respect the Culture
We would say that the best way to show respect on Réunion island is by being friendly. The locals are not hostile to foreigners, so you should also be open to them.
The locals of this island believe in boundaries. Thus, they ensure that their activities do not hinder others. It is vital to ensure the comfort of those around you in whatever you are doing.
It is helpful to know that these people are protective of their culture and heritage. It is in your best interest not to say any demeaning thing about it.
You are respectful if all these are in place. We can assure you that you will enjoy your stay on the island.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Ideally, it would be best if visit places when you are in a new location.
Here are some of your top options in Réunion:
• Forêt de Mare Longue: There is no better place to admire lush vegetation than in a forest. Some people have fears about visiting a forest in a new area as they have concerns if it is safe. It is why you should have a tour guide or go in the company of the locals. We know that you will enjoy the exploration as it is something new and things will get your attention.
• Piton de la Fournaise: It is one of those big volcanos you will see on the island. Interestingly, it is still active. Some people may have never seen an active volcano before. However, you should be careful at this place since it is an active volcano. The area is also perfect for hikers.
• Mafate: It is easy for people to overlook this place because it is in a remote location. However, it is one of the top places to visit. The story surrounding this place is intriguing, from the journey of the slaves to the poor white laborers. It is also one of the volcanos in the area and a perfect location for hikers.
• Maïdo: Why not challenge yourself to climb to one f the peaks on this island? Look no further as you can do it at this place. It is helpful to know that it is also a volcano. However, it is suitable for climbing. If you have doubts, you can go in the company of a local. The views from the top of this place are a beautiful sight for the eyes.
• Trou de Fer: There are many exciting things to do at this place. The waterfalls are the first thing that will get your attention. People get giddy at this place and try to take many pictures for the sake of keeping memories. For those who love hiking, you will see that the area has a hiking trail. It is always fun visiting this place.
• Kélonia: It is a public aquarium on the island. If sea animals fascinate you, you should not hesitate to visit this place. You get to see sea turtles and other sea animals. Some people may have never seen these animals up close before. It is always blissful to visit this place as it adds to your memory bank.
• Voile de la Mariée (Salazie): Some stories surround this place, and we know you will love to hear them. It is also a waterfall, promising a lot of fun. Some people visit this place to have a quiet time while others want to admire the waterfall view. Whatever might be your decision, this place is there for you.
• Forest Bélouve: Have you ever been to a rain forest before? This place gives you the opportunity when you are on the island. People get more excited when they see that there is a waterfall in the forest. We can assure you that it is fun and conducive to visit this place.
• Rivière des Galets: It is a river on the island. Some people may say that nothing is exciting about visiting a river. However, it has a conducive environment that allows people to relax. There are also different hiking trails at this place.
• Taïbit Pass: If you want to get panoramic views of this island, it is the best place to visit. Some people may say that this place is spooky. However, others love seeing it.
There are many things to see and many places to visit in Réunion. We do not expect that you would do everything within one holiday. However, it is best that you try to cover as much as you can.
Exploring a new area is something that is on many people’s wish list. Thus, it would help if you not dull yourself when in Réunion.
As you explore, you get to learn new things about the region, and it can also be a way for you to bond with the locals.
It is best not to remain copped indoors when you are in a new place. It hinders the chances of exploring properly.
Some of the city parks in Réunion are:
• Croc Parc: There is a lot to expect from visiting this park, and the name will give you an idea. It serves as a crocodile park, zoo, and garden. We do not know if you have ever seen a crocodile before. You can do so at this park. The flowers in the garden will make you smile as you appreciate their beauty. The zoo also has other animals except for crocodiles. Visiting this place gives you an encompassing experience, and it is a great way to whirl away time when on the island. We can assure you that it is worth visiting.
• Parc akOatys: Want to have fun and meet new people? You should visit this water park!
If you expect that Réunion should have national parks since it has city parks, you are correct. However, it is only one national park on the island.
The national park in Réunion is:
• Réunion National Park: It was established in 2007, with France government being its managers. Visiting this place allows you to take a walk up the mountains. You can also take a cable car ride, giving you exquisite views of the island. This park is always clean. It is why some people are always in awe of its beauty. It will not be a complete visit to this island if you do not see this national park.
Some of the beaches in Réunion are:
• Grande Anse: There is no better place on the island t get a view of the ocean than at this place. The atmosphere is usually soothing, making it perfect for hanging out and relaxing. There are cliffs at this place, and you can challenge yourself to climb to its peak.
• Plage de Boucan Canot: It is one of the famous beaches on the island. Thus, you are sure of seeing many people when you visit this place. You get the opportunity to mingle and associate, making new friends. There are lots of restaurants where you can get tasty meals at this beach.
It is usual for anyone to ask about landmarks when they are visiting a new place. It helps them locate and navigate different areas. A foreigner will learn the routes around a place faster when it has landmarks.
We know that you expect us to highlight the landmarks in Réunion to help those traveling to this area.
Typically, a person would expect a landmark to be a high or tall building or something profound to get attention.
Allow us to tell you that all tourist attractions on this island can classify as a landmark. Instead of making a list, we would say you should be on the lookout for these places.
Some of the museums in Réunion are:
• Musée Stella Matutina: You get to know the history of many things concerning the island when you visit this place. The museum places focus on the sugar factory and the importance of sugarcane to the island. It also lets you in on the history of the island. You cannot visit this place and leave without learning something new.
• Muséum d'histoire Naturelle de la Réunion: It is helpful to know that all displays at this museum are in French. It is either you understand the language or take along a translator. It is a small and interesting museum with Indian Ocean collections. Entrance to this place is free.
Since Réunion is a French department, it has similar local meals to France. We do not know if you have ever tasted any of these meals.
They are usually prepared and appealing to both the eyes and tummy. It is almost impossible for one to resist eating the traditional local meals in Réunion.
One of the top meals you can get on this island is Cabri Massalé. It is a form of spicy goat dish that leaves you craving for more. There are many meal options on the island, and we cannot wait for you to tell us your favorite. Thus, ensure that you are open to trying them.
There are many restaurants on this island, and you can see them in places you never expected, such as the beach. Thus, it is not hard getting a place that serves traditional local meals.
Stating the prices of these meals will be difficult as it differs depending on the restaurant. It is helpful to visit these restaurants with the mindset of getting satisfaction.
Some people end up sticking to one restaurant throughout their stay on the island. Others have a swell time exploring the different available options. We cannot dictate what you should do in this case. However, we can say that you should patronize the restaurants closest to you because of ease.
There is also the case of vegans getting satisfaction when they are on this island. It comes in handy that there are vegetarian restaurants in Réunion.
Some people may argue the possibility of having vegetarian restaurants on this island, especially as most of their meals have meat and other proteins. However, the fact that not everyone has the same food preference is recognized here, birthing these restaurants.
As a vegan, you should not have any worries as you can get many places that serve your meal preference. We can assure you that the meals are tasty and they put considerable effort into the preparation process. Eating at these places is something that many people anticipate.
We can help but also talk about street foods as they are a part of the meal options you can get on this island.
There is an array of available street food options in Réunion, and we know that this will make many people happy.
You can get Samoussa on this island. We know that you would already know what this is, and you would be happy to see something familiar. It comes in different varieties, including beef and tuna.
There is also the option of Croquette de poulet as street food. It is either to eat it with either chili or soy sauce.
There are numerous street food options on this island.
Wine should be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about traditional local drinks in Réunion. Globally, everyone must have heard a thing or two about French wines. Thus, the anticipation of tasting it when in Réunion is high.
Allow us to tell you that there are many drink options on this island. You can also get fizzy drinks.
What you will notice is that you can get both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on this island. It is best not to pass up an opportunity to drink beer as they have many excellent options.
We give high commendations to the drinks in Réunion
There is no cause to have second thoughts about drinking tap water when visiting Réunion. We have noticed that the view of the portability of tap water bothers many foreigners.
In places where their tap water is unsafe, you need to plan on buying bottled water or boil your water before drinking. All these do not come to play when visiting Réunion.
On this island, everything is based on preference. However, it would help if you do not fear when it concerns drinking tap water as there are no effects. You can drink this water and also use it to brush.
However, it would be best to be careful when there is a cyclone or cyclonic storm because the water gets contaminated with debris and dead animals.
It is normal to ask questions about activities you can do when in a new place. Thus, we will help to highlight some of these for those traveling to Réunion.
Some of the activities you can do on this island are fishing and kayaking. It should not come as a surprise as these are water activities and water bodies are in Réunion.
We recommend these activities because it helps you bond with the locals and we know that you would have fun while doing them. It is easy to lose track of time while fishing or kayaking. You might want to engage in these activities many times before leaving the island.
Another activity you can do on this island is yoga. It comes in handy for those who have a phobia of water and might not be able to partake in fishing or kayaking.
Yoga is a simple activity that takes on the form of a meditating process. Thus, you are sure that it is a healthy activity.
It could be that you are already familiar with this activity or have some experience in it. There are yoga studios on the island for those who wish to engage in yoga while in Réunion.
It is also another great way people can bond, and we encourage you not to sideline this activity.
We know that you might already be hyped about visiting Réunion. However, it should not take away your sense of reasoning as there are processes you need to follow before arriving on the island.
One such process is to ensure that you are knowledgeable about all the available accommodation options. It is the only way you can make a perfect choice.
Imagine not knowing the available options and having to go with one higher than your initial traveling budget. The goal is not to finish all your funds because you are going on holiday.
Sorting out your accommodation is essential for any foreigner.
Réunion is an excellent place to visit for many reasons. One of them is because it offers fantastic accommodation options.
When traveling to this island, it is helpful to remember that you can get a green hotel. These are eco-friendly hotels.
When staying in one of such hotels, you know that you are helping the island by protecting its environment.
Some of these hotels are in perfect locations and give pleasant views. It helps to relax the mind and ensure your comfort during your stay. We are sure that you will not complain about staying in a green hotel when in Réunion.
Hostels and Guest Houses
If you are looking for an accommodation option that takes on a boarding house kind of style, you can decide to stay in a hostel or guesthouses.
These options are perfect for those traveling in a group. If you did not know, the rooms in these places have bunk beds. This means that it can accommodate more than one person per room.
Staying in a hostel or guesthouse also has its advantage. Some people say that it helps you bond with others due to its close-knit style.
We can assure you that the rooms in these places are comfortable, so you should not hesitate to choose them as your accommodation preference.
What do you think about staying in a serviced apartment when you visit Réunion? Some people are used to this option and would prefer it to others.
The apartments in Réunion are conducive, and we have not seen anyone who complains about them. Due to the island’s conducive environment, it is safe for us to say that you can also get amazing views from most of the apartments in Réunion.
The services when staying in an apartment are top-notch. Some people will say that you get the royal treatment when you stay in an apartment.
It is always helpful to remember that it is one of the accommodation options in Réunion.
If you do not have a high accommodation budget, you should consider the Couchsurfing option when visiting Réunion.
Since one does not have to pay for this option, it comes in handy. The idea here is to stay with a local for free.
How it works is for an individual to connect with a local in the area from the Couchsurfing website. This solves the question of knowing how you will meet willing locals.
It is normal to feel skittish about staying with a foreigner since they are strangers. However, the people of Réunion are free-birds, and you would not have much difficulty living with them.
Camping can occur in different forms when you are in Réunion. You can decide to go camping during your stay on the island or visit the island for camping purposes alone. What matters is that there are camping facilities.
Réunion has a good number of campgrounds. One can also convert some conducive spaces to campsites. Thus, there should be no worries when it concerns camping on this island.
The campgrounds on this island have all the necessary things that a person will need to be comfortable. Camping on this island is never a bad idea as you can also make friends in the process.
Getting There and Moving Around
One of the stressful processes that come to play when traveling is knowing how to reach your destination. It may not seem like it initially, but it gets challenging when you do not know all the essential details.
When traveling to a new place, it is essential to know how to get there. You might love using flights to travel, but your destination does not have an airport. Thus, you need to know other means of transport that can get you into the area.
As a tourist, knowing how to get to your destination is vital information that you should not joke with to have a stress-free journey.
The knowledge about transport means also extends when you get to your destination as you need to understand how they move around in the area.
It is out of place to think that you would not need this information as you would need to move from one point to another.
Some places have a complicated system of moving around, which becomes challenging for tourists. It is why you need information on moving around so that you do not get confused or get missing with the area.
Once you know how to move around, you will have a smooth stay as life will be easier.
It is safe for us to say that walking is a means of moving around in Réunion. After all, hiking is one of the top activities on the island.
If you are going to a place that is not far, you can decide to walk. It is sometimes easier, especially when the road is jammed, obstructing other means of movement.
It will be wrong for us to generalize, but some people say that you can learn routes faster when you walk around in a place. You can decide to test if this theory is correct.
Waling around is also relaxing and gives ease. Thus, it is also recommended health-wise.
Since there are no laws against using a bicycle on this island, we can also say that cycling is a means of moving around. Once you know how to navigate to places on the island, you can use a bicycle for movement.
Even if you are not too sure of the way, you can ask the locals for directions as you are cycling. Adults don’t need to wear a helmet when using a bicycle on this island. Since Réunion is a French department, it follows the laws guiding France. In this case, wearing a helmet is not compulsory for adults, but children under 12 must wear one when cycling.
There is also the option of using a scooter to move around when you are in Réunion. You will notice that there are rental shops on this island where you can rent a scooter or bicycles. It is left to you to rent one which you can ride.
We encourage that people wear a helmet when riding a scooter to avoid mishaps. We also tell foreigners to ensure that they have studied the roads and how the drivers on the island act before riding a scooter.
It is also vital that you do not go over the area’s limits when riding a scooter to not get into trouble with the authorities.
Using air is a way of getting into Réunion. It makes sense as there is an international airport on the island. Thus, your concern should be getting a flight to this island from your present location.
Many airlines operate at this airport, and they come in from different locations globally. Since we do not know where you are coming from, you need to research and check if you can get a flight from your present location.
If you cannot, the next ideal thing is to check for the closest place where you can get a flight that takes you to Réunion. Using air is the fastest means of transportation.
We get questions asking if one can use air to move around in Réunion. Understandably, this is a viable option, especially in larger islands or cities. However, we cannot say that using air is an ideal means of moving around on this island.
Other means of transport can take you around when you are on this island. The idea of using air to move around in Réunion is not feasible.
Some people agitate for this option because they want to get to places faster. This can still be possible using other means as Réunion is not a big island.
We will highlight some feasible means of moving around on this island.
The feasibility of using a bus to a place depends on if there is a road connection that links your present location and your destination.
We get questions asking if one can use a bus to get into Réunion. This is not possible as there is no road connection from anywhere that links to this place. After all, it is an island.
Instead of seeing linking road connections, you will get water bodies. If you were thinking of using a bus to get into this island, you should rethink and stick to other feasible options. It is impossible to get a bus from anywhere that takes you to Réunion.
Although there might be no road connection that links this island and other places, there is a road connection within the island. Thus, if you are moving from one point to another, you can use a bus.
Yellow is the color of the buses in Réunion, making it recognizable. These buses usually have their schedules, and you can get this information at the bus stations or their website.
It is why we say that tourists should be friendly with the locals to get such information quickly. It is also vital to know that the roads in Réunion are usually congested as people are constantly moving around. Thus, it would help if you leave early when going somewhere.
Can you use a train to get into Réunion? Can trains be used to move around on the island?
The answer to these questions depends on the availability of a railway.
There are no railways that link this island to other places, neither is there a railway within the island. Thus, you cannot use trains to move around or get into Réunion.
It is best to stick to other available options.
The idea of hitchhiking entails that you get a free ride to wherever you are going. When it concerns getting to Réunion, the best option is to hitchhike a boat. Thus, you need to be at the boarding points and try to get a free ride.
Apart from that, the only way people can hitchhike on this island is when traveling intercity.
We are not saying that hitchhiking always works on this island, but you can try your luck.
You can also use a boat to get into Réunion. This should not be surprising since it is an island and there are many water bodies.
If you are in Madagascar, it is easy to get a boat to this island. We know that many people might not have traveled by boat before.
However, it is an experience that no one should miss as it is enjoyable, pleasant, and fun.
When foreigners are in a new place, they are usually hyped about buying things, especially souvenirs that they can take back to their home city.
There will also be the need to buy some essentials that help you survive when in the area.
The idea of sustainable shopping entails that you buy whatever you need from local vendors. It is a way of boosting and encouraging their business. Your support for their business usually goes a long way.
When it concerns sustainable shopping, you can start by buying things from the food market. Typically, you should expect to see the local ingredients and much more.
Visiting the local markets can be exciting as you get to see an array of items and learn more about them. Conversations with the vendors are also something you cannot afford to miss.
However, it is helpful to understand a bit of French when visiting the food markets.
Another way to engage in sustainable shopping when in a new place is to buy things from a second-hand store.
Here, you have locals putting up items that they do not need anymore for sale. Buying from a second-hand store does not mean you are something of low quality. It is a common misconception that many people have.
It is helpful to know that the items are well-sorted before selling.
Some clothes fall under the category of eco-fashion. Buying them also entails that you are engaging in sustainable shopping.
The idea here is that people use recyclable items to make fashionable wear. We cannot say that this concept is common in Réunion. However, it would be best if you are on the lookout for it.
If you see eco-fashion items on the island, you should purchase them. You are helping to protect the environment.
One can see many recycling centers when in Réunion. Thus, it is not out of place to say that recycling happens on this island.
Suppose you buy bottled water or have an empty plastic bottle. It is best to keep them and send them to the recycling centers. If you do not know how to go about it, it is best to ask the locals.
Doing this entails that you are a responsible traveler.
There are strict laws against littering and waste n Réunion. After all, it would not be appealing to visit this island if you can see trash around.
The island has companies and agencies that are effective in waste management, and it has given a positive light to the island.
When you visit this place, emulate the locals’ actions to not go against any waste management laws.
Work and Study Abroad
If you are an international student on this island, you must have a student permit. It shows that you are a legal student.
Once you have your permit, you are allowed to work while studying if you desire.
Some students choose this option to make money while in school. It could be for many reasons. What matters is that there are no restrictions ad you can work while studying on this island.
There are three educational institutions in Réunion. We cannot say it is much when compared to some other places. However, you can decide to do an exchange program that takes you to any of these schools.
Many available exchange program options are available, so you need to research.
One of them is SSCE. It allows you to do a part of your studies in France and the other half in Réunion.
Many people may not be aware that an au pair website exists or understand its function.
This website helps connect foreigners with jobs when they are in a new place, including Réunion. Once you have a profile on this website and input your location, you can see available jobs within that area.
It is always helpful to remember this information as you cannot tell when you would need it.
You may decide that you want to be a volunteer in Réunion. This is not out of place, and it is commendable.
What you need to do is check for sectors that need volunteers on the island and apply. You must be able to contribute meaningfully to whatever industry you are applying to.
If you meet their criteria, we are sure that you would get the job. We cannot start highlighting the requirements of each sector as it differs.