Sugar cane fields, beef tree lined lagoons, lush green forests and vast moon-shaped open spaces... Reunion offers a great variety of landscapes. The difference in altitude is as much as 9842 ft from sea level to the highest point on the island; as a result the relief displays surprising formations, like crenellated summits, gorges and vertical cliffs next to hills and high plateaus with softer outlines.
With a 128 mile long coast, Reunion should, logically, offer more swimming and diving possibilities than its neighbour Mauritius, which isn't as big. However, geology decided differently. With a volcano in the sea, the island displays very indented and often very narrow coastlines, which do not leave much space for beaches. The beaches that there are stretch over 18 miles and they are all in the west between Boucan-Canot and l'Etang-Salé-les-Bains. In Boucan-Canot, the sand is white, but the waves are not for inexperienced swimmers, likewise in l'Hermitage-les-Bains and Saline-les-Bains, south from Saint-Gilles-les-Bains. The black sand on L'Etang-Salé-les-Bains and on a part of Saint-Leu is of volcanic origin.
The exuberant flora of Reunion boasts some natural and cultivated species which transform the island into a true Garden of Eden. As for the island's wildlife, its variety depends on the altitude There are no dangerous animals like snakes and scorpions, but there are some very unusual and unexpected species such as the famous chameleons which display bright colours in the various shades of green of the vegetation.