Réunion Island hut-to-hut traverse

Are you a seasoned hiker looking for a new challenge ? Discover a legendary trek which follows the iconic Grande Traversée (Great crossing or GR R2) long-distance footpath across Réunion Island. Explore the islands three cirques, conquer the highest peak in the Indian Ocean (3070m) and climb la Piton de la Fournaise - one of the most active volcanoes in the world! Discover a volcanic world of enchanting forests, rugged mountains and bright blue waters on this simply unforgettable 11 day trek...

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Le Brûlé - Plaine des chicots

    Le Brûlé - Plaine des chicots Welcome to Réunion Island! We will meet you at St-Dennis. Morning transfer to Le Brûlé followed by a little preperation time. Then the hiking begins; you will quickly find yourself deep in the humid rainforest climbing up through enchanting dense vegetaion. Take time to enjoy a picnic lunch under the acacia heterophylla trees when you reach your accommodation. 300m up from here you can escape the undergrowth and find particularly spectacular views to the ocean.

    3 hours of walking
    Elevation: +680m/-60m
    Accommodation: Gîte
    Night without luggage - you will be reunited with your bags tomorrow at Dos d’Âne.

  • Day 2 Roche Ecrite - Dos d'Ane

    Roche Ecrite - Dos d'Ane Early morning departure for the summmit of Roche Ecrite (2 277 m) - a rugged peak which dominates the cirques of Mafate and Salazie. Return to last nights gîte to collect any belongings before continuing towards Dos D'Ane. The path neanders through a beautiful tropical forest which is home to the last Réunion cuckooshrike (Coracina newtoni). The route continues along rugged ridges to Roche Vert Bouteille and Dos d'Ane.

    7 hours of walking
    Elevation: +560m/-1430m
    Accommodation: Gîte
    Your lugagge will be waiting for you.

  • Day 3 Dos d'Ane – Rivière des Galets- Grand Place

    Dos d'Ane – Rivière des Galets- Grand Place Prepare yourself for three nights without baggage and a challenging days hike. Todays trail follows the exposed riverbed of Galets river towards the Cirque de Mafate, a very different route to the rainforest canopy covered paths of before. Continue past the Deux Bras where 'two arms' of two different rivers merge and cross the river, a challenge which may involve taking off your shoes... The entry to the cirque de Mafate, with its fabulous views, is superb. From here you leave the river bed and begin a steep climb to Grand Place where you can relax and enjoy a show of changing colours as the light dims and the sun sets.

    7 hours of walking
    Elevation: +960m/-1050m
    Accommodation: Gîte
    Night without luggage - you will be reunited with your bags in Cilaos on Day 6.

  • Day 4 Grand Place - Roche Plate

    Grand Place - Roche Plate Todays hike features Cayenne and the hamlets of Les Orangers and Les Lataniers. The route crosses the Galets river via a footbridge and then begins to climb. This uphill section has some steep slopes and sunny stretches so be sure to carry plenty of water - water sources can be few and far between on Réunion Island. Discover a natural window at the edge of a cliff and pass through (there is a handrail) for a breathtaking clifftop view.

    6 hours of walking
    Elevation: +1200m/-870m
    Accommodation: Gîte
    Night without luggage - you will be reunited with your bags in Cilaos on Day 6.

  • Day 5 Roche Plate - Marla

    Roche Plate - Marla Discover Trois Roches and a surprising waterfall top view of the river and its distant, inaccessible waterfalls. With this angle overlooking the riverbed it is easy to imagine how the stream can transform into a torrent during cyclonic flood. Explore volcanic features at the base of a 1000m cliff which forms the cirque and follow the riverbed up to one of the roadless region of Réunion Islands delightful settlements, Marla (1630m). This route involves crossing the river two or three more times.

    5 hours of walking
    Elevation: +900m/-380m
    Accommodation: Gîte
    Night without luggage - you will be reunited with your bags in Cilaos tomorrow.

  • Day 6 Marla - Cilaos

    Marla - Cilaos Today you hike through the col du Taïbit (2083m), the passage which links the Cirque de Mafate to the Cirque de Cilaos. The views from up here do not disappoint, on a clear day you can expect a spectacular display of the surrounding cirques, the south coast and Grand Bénare volcanic peak. The route continues down through the thick vegetation of the 'Bois des Couleurs' to Cilaos. From here, it is a 15 minute local bus or a 2 hour walk via the Bras Rouge (Red Arms) waterfall to your accommodation.

    4 hours of walking (or 6)
    Elevation: +495m/-850m
    Accommodation: Gîte
    Your lugagge will be waiting for you.

  • Day 7 Cilaos - Piton des Neiges Refuge

    Cilaos - Piton des Neiges Refuge This morning, you can take a 15 minute bus to the beginning of your hike to avoid around 45 minutes of walking along the road. The shaded path up to tonights refuge is steep. ALong the way there are many beautiful view points to admire Cilaos from. You should find shelter and water halfway up but beware, this water point is not always refilled in times of drought. The climb continues up to rewarding views and around 2500m of altitude.

    4 hours of walking
    Elevation: +1140m/-50m
    Accommodation: Refuge
    Night without luggage - you will be reunited with your bags tomorrow.

  • Day 8 Piton des Neiges - Plaine des Cafres

    Piton des Neiges - Plaine des Cafres Nightime departure for the summit of the Piton des Nieges at 3070m above sea level, the highest point in the Indian Ocean. The views from here are truly amazing and, as your surroundings are illuminated by the first glow of the morning sun, we are sure you will agree that this is a very special place. Return to the refuge for breakfast. Todays route then continues down to the muddy Mare à Boue, along the passage of the eery la Caverne Bras Chansons to the enchanting Piton Tortue and lush green pastures below (amazing for these latitudes). Short transfer from Bourg Murat to your accommodation in la Plaine des Cafres.

    8 to 9 hours of walking (we recommend bringing snacks for this mornings summit of the Piton des Nieges)
    Elevation: +800m/-1670m
    Accommodation: Gite
    Your lugagge will be waiting for you.

  • Day 9 Plaine des Cafres - Gîte du Volcan

    Plaine des Cafres - Gîte du Volcan Short transfer to re-join the GR R2 path which leads up to the Piton de la Fournaise volcano. This gentle route ventures into a totally new and different natural environment via the Plaine des Sables. A plateau which, formed by a volcanic eruption roughly 1000 years ago, has an alien, desert-like feel to it. Night in the Gîte du Volcan (Volcano Lodge).

    6 hours of walking
    Elevation: +1000m/-250m
    Accommodation: Gîte
    Your lugagge will be waiting for you.

  • Day 10 The Piton de la Fournaise

    The Piton de la Fournaise Today you conquer the Piton de la Fournaise - one of the most active volcanoes in the world. A rich world of strange colours, surprising minerals and warped shapes awaits and fumaroles and sulphur reveal glimpses of the intense activity of this unique sheild volcano.

    6 hours of walking
    Elevation: +630m/-630m
    Accommodation: Gîte
    Your lugagge will be waiting for you.

  • Day 11 Gîte du Volcan - Basse vallée - St-Gilles

    Gîte du Volcan - Basse vallée - St-Gilles The last hike heads around the volcano and down to the coast through the rainforest. Walk along the caldera with its numerous viewpoints of the volcanic surroundings and contrasting bright blue ocean before diving into the rainforest. From mineral rich rocky ridges to the dense flora and fauna of the tropical forest, this is a fine trek to end the trip showcasing Réunion Islands striking contrasts. Transfer to Saint-Gilles to finish.

    7 hours of walking
    Elevation: +240m/-1850m

The details in this indicative programme are updated regularly but imponderables and unpredictable circumstances may result in inaccuracies. In order to provide the adventure which is best suited to your demands, the weather and the operational conditions, changes to the programme may be made. For safety reasons, we reserve the rights to interrupt your participation in this programme at any time if your technical level or fitness are deemed unsuitable or if you are seen as a danger to yourself or to those around you. This will in no case give rise to refunds or compensation.

Period & budget

When to travel?

The best period for travelling is during the following months:

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Price

From 990 € per person (price based on 2 participants)

The budget is an indication of the price per person, subject to availability. Your local agent will send you a customized quote with the exact price. The price can vary according to availability, level of services, period of travel, number of participants, booking time frame and other items.

Included

  • Gîte accommodation with shared facilities
  • Half-board from dinner Day 1 to breakfast Day 11
  • All in-country transfers by private vehicle as detailed in the itinerary
  • Luggage transportation as detailed in itinerary
  • Secure baggage storage
  • A detailed roadbook including, local tips, vouchers and your comprehensive itinerary
  • 24/7 phone support during your trip

Not included

  • International flights
  • Lunches (approx. 8 to 10€/pers. for picnic lunches or 15 to 20€/pers. for restaurant meals)
  • Dinner on Day 11 (approx. 20 to 25€/pers.)
  • Accommodation for the last night (Day 11)
  • Transfer to meeting point in ST-Denis on Day 1
  • Repatriation insurance
  • Bus tickets

Additional options
Private double room upgrade (3 to 5€/pers./night. Subject to availability)
Hotel accommodation in Cilaos or the Plaine des Cafres (Prices vary. Subject to availability)
Accompaniment by a qualified Mountain Guide for one day, several days or for the whole trip

Terms and conditions

Booking conditions

Booking a trip with us implies acceptance of the terms and conditions of sale. Each customer is required to complete a registration form and, subject to availability at the time of registration, travellers are expected to pay a deposit of 30% of the total price to complete their booking. You will then receive an e-mail with your booking confirmation. In case of late bookings – within 30 days prior to the travel departure date – the full travel price is due immediately. Payments can be settled via bank transfer or made online on our website. You will receive an email with a booking confirmation as quickly as possible.

Invoice procedure

Once your booking is registered, you will receive an email with the invoice. Full payment is required at least 30 days before the departure date. If this payment is not settled within the period agreed upon, Altaï Réunion reserves the right to cancel your registration without compensation.

Cancellation policy

If for any reason you have to cancel your trip, we require written confirmation of your decision so please contact us by e-mail, fax or letter. The money you have paid will then be refunded according to the following deductions:
  • Cancellation received more than 30 days prior to the departure date: No cancellation fees.
  • Cancellation received 30 to 21 days before the departure date: 30% of trip price will be retained.
  • Cancellation received within 20 days of the departure date: 70% of trip price will be retained.
Please note if you decide to cancel your trip having agreed, in writing, to pay for additional tailor-made services (hotel, additional flights or activities...), these services are usually non-refundable.
If we have to cancel a departure due to an insufficient number of participants, you will be informed no later than 21 days before departure and a full refund will be issued, you will not be entitled to further compensation. We reserve the rights to cancel departures due to exceptional circumstances which may impact the safety of participants. Such circumstances may include those amounting to 'force majeure' in which case participants will receive a full refund but they will not be entitled to any compensation.

Changes to travel contract

If you wish to make a change to your booking please contact us in writing; you will be expected to pay any fee which might arise from this change. In the event of unforeseen external events, Altaï Réunion may change some aspects of the travel contract. If any changes are necessary you will be informed as quickly as possible.

Pricing

The prices on our website are updated regularly. Our advertised group travel prices have been calculated in accordance with the indicated number of participants for each trip. We reserve the rights to make changes to any of our prices if neccessary, for example in case of exchange rate changes or modifications in fuel costs. Before you make a booking we will give you the up-to-date price of your chosen holiday including any supplements, upgrades, additional activities and/or facilities you have requested. A small group surcharge may be applied if the total number of participants is less than indicated. For each trip, the price per person valid for the minimum number of participants is outlined as is a detailed explanation of the services included/not.

Contract transfer

If you are unable to travel for any reason, you can transfer your booking to another person in which case our modification conditions apply. Both the transferor and transferee will be jointly and severally liable for payment of the total holiday price and other associated expenses. Some airline carriers treat name changes as cancellations and you may be required to pay for the cost of a new ticket.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you take out personal travel insurance for your trip with Altaï Réunion as soon as your booking is confirmed. We advice you to purchase a travel insurance policy which covers flight cancellations, luggage loss and emergency health care. Please look carefully at which activities are covered by your insurer and do not forget to bring all necessary documents and information with you (name of the company, name of the contract, insurance policy number, telephone number...)

Practical info

Staff

This trip is not necessarily a guided adventure. You will be assisted by one of Altaï Réunions trusty drivers, responsible for your transfers and luggage transportation.

Food

Breakfasts:
Continental style breakfasts are served at your accommodation each morning. You can expect tea, coffee, fruit juice, bread, butter, jam and maybe meats and cheeses.
Lunches:
Not included in the trip price. You can purchase pre-prepared picnic lunches from your accommodation during your stay to carry with you each day. These meals include fresh seasonal produce, cheese, meat, salad and fruit. Please be aware that, due to the inaccessibility of the Réunions remote communes, grocery stores are not always well stocked. We recommend purchasing snacks to carry with you whenever you can.
Dinners:
Hot, hearty, home cooked meals of local cuisine are served at your accommodation. Supplies in this remote area are delivered by helicopter so evening meals may not vary greatly but you sure to love the mix of French, Indian, Chinese and African flavours that is Creole cuisine. The traditional dish is a curry with tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger and spices served with either chicken, duck or fish and accompanied by rice, grains (beans or lentils) and rougail, a spicy condiment flavoured with tomato, lemon and pistachio.
Drinks:
Drinks, including mineral water, can be purchased at your own expense. Options include local rums, beer or fruit juice. The rum is made by soaking fruits, aromatic herbs and spices in white rum and are served as an aperitif before dinner or as a digestive after a hearty meal. A beer called Dodo is brewed by the same local company and you will have the chance to try succulent fruit juice, freshly made from seasonal fruit.

We recommend purchasing an adaquate supply of suitable snacks before  your trip to bring with you to avoid be hungry  on hikes during the day. We also advice that you bring a good water bottle which can be refilled at your accommodation reducing our collective plastic waste. Please let us know about any dietary requirements when you book this trip and we will work with you to cater for your needs.

Accommodation

Usually our travellers sleep in mountain accommodation with shared bathroom facilities and dormitories of 4 to 10 people (with the exception of one dorm. in a refuge at the Piton des Neiges which sleeps 8 to 16 people). Hot showers are not always free, notably in the Piton de la Fournaise area where water is a rare commodity or in the refuge at the Piton des Neiges where there is no running water.
On certain trips you will be accommodated in bed and breakfasts or 2* and 3* hotels for some nights, including in Cilaos, to maximise your comfort.

Transportation

In-country travel and baggage transfer by private minibus.
On certain trips, due to the absence of roads on Réunion Island, you may not see your larger bags and have to keep your important personal belongings on you for one or more days. This is notably the case when crossing the cirque de Mafate of climbing the Piton des Neiges.

Budget & exchange

The currency is the Euro, € (EUR)
Visit http://www.xe.com for the latest currency converter and exchange rates. You can withdraw euros from in-country ATMs and credit cards are widely accepted except in isolated areas like small villages or mountain refuges which are generally cash only.
Please budget for lunches, drinks, tips, bus tickets, museum entry fees and other personal expenses. Please be aware that hot showers are not always free.

Tips

Although the custom is not widespread here, tipping is always appreciated - it is not obligatory and should be left to the discretion of each individual.

Vital equipment

From head to toe:
  • A cap or sunhat
  • 1 or 2 sets of thermals: long-sleeved thermal tops and full-length long johns
  • Long sleeved and short sleeved t-shirts, preferably in quick-drying technical material
  • 1 light fleece or equivilent (plus extra warm layers for austral winter months)
  • A breathable wind proof, waterproof jacket (Gore-Tex...)
  • Lightweight waterproof over trousers
  • 1 pair of long suitable shorts
  • 1 pair of walking trousers (detachable legs ideal)
  • A pair of high-rise walking boots with vibram soles - Réunions trails can be rocky and muddy
  • A pair of trainers or equivilent casual shoes for the evenings
  • Thick walking socks
  • Warm gloves, hat and scarf (forJune - September trips and those which climb up to the cirques or high mountains)
  • A swimsuit

Helpful equipment

  • Sleeping bag liner. Sheets and blankets are provided except in the refuge at Piton des Neiges where there are only blankets
  • A tupperware box or bowl and cutlery for picnics
  • Your personal toiletries - think to use as many biodegradable products as possible.
  • Fast-drying microfibre towel
  • Water bottle(s). Min. 2 litres, light and isothermal
  • A good pair of sunglasses (think min. category 3)
  • Sun-cream, face and lips
  • Head torch and spare batteries
  • A pocket knife
  • A pair of hiking poles
  • A waterproof bag cover (or plastic bags) to protect your belongings

Luggage

Your luggage must be divided into two bags:
  • A rucksack (35-40L or 45-50L) for use as a day bag. This will contain your (vital) personal belongings for the day, or sometimes for several days.
  • A larger bag (60-80L) containing the rest of your belongings, those which you do not need with you in the day. This bag will be transported by our driver to your accommodation each day. Sometimes, as detailed in your itinerary, you will not see this bag for one or more nights. Please bring is a soft bag like a ruckack or holdall rather than a hard cased suitcase because it is more practical for our drivers.

Medicine

Your guide is a trained first-aider and will carry a full first aid kit at all times during the trip. We recommend that you bring a small personal first aid kit containing any medication you may need such as inhalers, plasters, antiseptic and painkillers.

Passport

To go to Réunion Island travellers may need a passport which is vaild for at least three months after the last day of their stay, EU travellers may use passports/ID cards valid only for the duration of their stay.  It is your responsibility to confirm your specific passport requirements and please be aware that proof of onwards travel may be required.

Visa

Most travellers staying less than 3 months in Réunion Island do not need to obtain a visa. It is your responsibility to confirm your specific visa requirements.

Mandatory vaccines

No mandatory vaccinations are required. Recommended vaccines include Hepatitus and Typhoid.

Health information & recommendations

It is your responsibility to check that your personal health insurance covers everything in this trip. A consultation with your doctor is a prerequisite for any trip. 

Weather

Réunion Island has a tropical climate with two different seasons: The cool, dry austral winter from April to September and the austral summer from October to Mars, the hot, humid season.
April to June - temperatures remain a comfortable average of 20°C during the day and 10°C at night. It is at this time that the flora and fruits are at their most bountiful.
July to September - temperatures are cooler and perfect for hikers who suffer in the heat. It is on average 16-20°C during the day and at night, temperatures drop much lower, often below 0°C. It is not uncommon to see snow on the Piton des Neiges.
October to December - average temperatures are around 25°C in the day and 18°C at night.
January to Mars - the hurricane season which brings heavy rainfall and trekking is disrupted.

Electricity

European-style plugs with two round pins. Voltage is normally 220/240 V, 50 Hz. Please be aware that some mountain huts use solar electricity which is only 24V and very limited when it comes to charging batteries.

Local time

Réunion Island uses the Réunion time zone (RET). Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)/ Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +4. Daylight Saving Time (DST) is not observed here.

Topography

Surface area: 2,512 km²
Population: Nearly 850,000 inhabitants
Currency: The Euro
Status: French overseas region and Special Member of the European Union
Religions: 72% Catholic. Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist religions are also popular.
Language: French and Créole
Fun fact: More than 40% of Réunion Island is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Sustainable tourism

Altaï always aims to have as little impact on the environment as possible. As adventure and wilderness travel experts who run trips to some of the most remote parts of the world, we take responsible tourism very seriously.

Since the beginning, we have advocated for responsible tourism and the importance of equitable and sustainable principles. Harmonising these fundamentals ensures a fair distribution of economic benefits, improved working conditions for local teams and an increased awareness of the importance and practice of environmental protection.

We kindly request that you adopt the following simple actions when travelling with Altaï Réunion in order to support our ethical, sustainable and responsable tourism policies:
  • Avoid dropping litter - use bins or carry your rubbish with you.
  • Use drinking water sparingly - avoid wasting water, take showers not baths, report leaks, etc..
  • Support the preservation of cultural sites - resist the temptation to touch statues, moves stones etc..
  • Exchanges are prefarable to donations - generations gifts can destabalize the local economic balance.
  • When walking, be aware of fragile ecosystems, observe wildlife from a distance, stick to trails, limit trampling and do not steal from the nature - resist the temptation to pick flowers, collect fossils or stones...
  • Some hotels have air conditioning - to avoid excessive energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, please use sparingly and remember to cut the aircon when you are not in the room.
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Didier

My local agent
Didier

  • Native to Réunion Island
  • Higher Diploma in Tourism Management & Engineering
  • Qualified mountain guide
  • Diving instructor
  • Known ambassador for cultural heritage
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Region
Cilaos Mafate Piton de la Fournaise Piton des Neiges Salazie
Activity
Hiking Tailor-made adventures & road trips
Duration
11 days
Code
RUNGTFIT
Price
From €1,190
Level
4/5
Comfort
3/5

Strengths

  • Conquer the legendary Grande Traversée trek
  • Relax and enjoy our smooth logistics and luggage transportation services
  • Discover the three cirques: Mafate, Cilaos and Salazie
  • Climb the Piton de La Fournaise volcano
  • Summit the highest point in the Indian Ocean, the Piton des Neiges
Réunion Island hut-to-hut traverse

Required level

This trip has been designed for experienced hikers and good quality hiking equipment is required. The tropical climate and rugged terrain of this volcanic island can present challenges. Regular sport in the run up to your trip is recommended. Average walking times 6 to 7 hours a day; average elevations, +/-1000m a day.
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