Reunion : Travel Information before you go!
970 sq mi
15 hours. London is approximately 6, 060 mi from Saint Denis.
Roland Garros airport is 7 miles from Saint-Denis. Allow ?25 (£22) for the taxi fare into town and roughly?5 (£3) for the shuttle service which is available.
The brand new Saint-Pierre-Pierrefonds airport provides flights to Mauritius and Madagascar and specially arranged flights to Saint Denis.
Reunion is a safe destination, as far as the safety of goods and people is concerned, as long as you respect basic rules of caution (avoid displaying jewellery and leaving objects on show inside cars).
The unemployment level is close to 40 % in Reunion and a few years ago, riots in the Chaudron district in Saint Denis were widely talked about in the news. More recently, there have been some 'lively' demonstrations, just make sure you keep up with the general state of affairs in the country.
When hiking, make sure to wear appropriate clothing and
respect signposting. Beware of hurricanes and in case of a red alert, it is
highly recommended that you do not go out. It is also highly recommended to get information on the hurricane season if you are travelling to Reunion during that season.
When you go swimming on the beaches, the waves can be dangerous for inexperienced swimmers, in particular on beaches such as Boucan-Canot. Beyond the coral barrier, beware ofthe presence of sharks.
French is the official language but most inhabitants of Reunion use Creole, a language created by the African slaves.
Required travel documents for
British visitors obviously need to have their passports with them, but French visitors only need a valid identity card to visit.
Catholicism is the first religion, but the melting pot means that other religions now exist, beginning with Hinduism which provides the opportunity for great celebrations every year: there is 'cavadee', during which the penitents pierce their cheeks and tongue with silver needles; 'teemedee', which consists of fire walking; 'dipavali' (the light festival); 'holi' (the colour festival) and 'pongal' (thanksgiving). Islam is also practised.
The currency is the Euro, which splits into 100 cents. Credit cards can be used everywhere and automatic cash machines are widespread (Visa and Mastercard). Traveller's cheques are also widely accepted. Banks are open Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Discovering the island in a helicopter or squirrel (a small plane called an 'écureuil' in French) is one of the basic excursions that you can do in Reunion. The unmissable excursion consists of discovering the three cirques from above - Piton de la Fournaise, Trou de Fer, the plains and the lagoon - and even taking lunch in the cirque de Mafate.
Driving, however, is the ideal way to explore the island at your own pace and you will find all major car rental agencies at Roland Garros airport. The roads are generally in good condition, particularly along the coast, but be aware of traffic jams in Saint Denis and between Saint Denis and Saint Gilles les Bains, when townspeople rush to the beach. Roads within the cirques are unsuitable for cautious drivers as there are numerous bends and vertical cliffs.
You can always opt for a taxi (roughly ?200, £183 a day) or take a collective taxi, which is cheaper.
No particular vaccine is required before entering Reunion (except for yellow fever, if you are coming from an infected country). Usual recommendations concerning tropical climates are to be followed: hydrate yourself to avoid heat-stroke and protect yourself from the sun. In contrast, do nto forget to bring woolen clothes and rain clothes, because hypothermia can also affect the imprudent traveller.
Reunion hosted 279,000 tourists in 2006, most of them from mainland France.
Taxes and tips
Tips are usually included and bargaining is not local practice. However, prices on the market can be negotiated.
To call Reunion from the UK, dial: +262
To call the UK from Reunion, dial: +44 + the number you wish to call without the inital zero.