The Essential Road trip
Day 1 Hell Bourg - Grand Ilet
Collect your vehicle then hit the road, direction le Cirque de Salazie. Here you can visit Hell Bourg and Maison Folio, the local history musuem (payable locally). Explore this timeless village where giant bamboos and lush vegetation thrive. Continue towards the small hamlet of Grand Ilet, nestled at the foot of the famous cirque de Mafate where your accommodation awaits. Note: We recommend collecting your vehicle as early as possible to make the most of today.
Driving time: 3 hours
Day 2 The Cirque de Mafate
Take the aptly named forest road, the 'Hauts de Mafate' or the 'heights of Mafate' to Col des Boeufs for the start of your first day hiking in the Cirque de Mafate. The heart of this historical area is only accessible by foot. Leave your car in Col des Boeufs car park (10€/day payable locally), pack an overnight bag and enjoy a beautiful hike to La Nouvelle and the delightful village of Marla. Alternatively, you can choose to climb Trois Roches to unlock a strange volcanic world and surprising waterfall top view - 7 hours of walking; +700m/-900m.
5 hours of walking
Accommodation: Gîte (Night without vehicle)
Driving time: 45 minutes
Day 3 Marla - Col des Boeufs - Plaine des Cafres
Continue your exploration of the iconic Cirque de Mafate - return to the Col des Boeufs via the Plaine des Tamarins plateau and the Bois de Couleur, 'the colourful forest'. Cross back into the Cirque de Salazie to collect your vehicle, then head East along the coastal road to your accommodation at the Plaine des Cafres plateau.
4 hours of walking
Driving time: 3 hours
Day 4 Climbing the Piton de la Fournaise
We recommend an early start to your day exploring the most active volcano in the world, the Piton de la Fournaise. Cross the alien landscapes of the la plaine des Sables and join a strange landscape of recently formed calderas. A rich world of strange colours, surprising minerals and warped shapes awaits you as you begin your volcano hike. Fumaroles and sulphur reveal glimpses of the intense activity of this unique sheild volcano. We also recommend visitng the Volcano House Museum (~11€/pers. payable locally) before returning to your accommodation in la Plaine des Cafres.
6 hours of walking
Driving time: 50 minutes
Day 5 Saint-Pierre via the road of lava
Join the Route des Laves, 'the road of lava' via Sainte-Rose. As the road winds along solidified lava flows revealing a rich and beautiful world of minerals, you will find yourself in the natural spillway for most of the volcano action in Réunion Island. You can explore vanilla farms and the Grand Galet waterfall near Saint-Joeseph on you way to St-Pierre and your hotel.
Dinner not included
Driving time: 3h30
Day 6 Visit Saint-Pierre - Road to Cilaos
Visit Saint-Pierre coastal town and beach before taking the road to the Cirque de Cilaos. Follow the wiggly road to the mountain village of Cilaos where the Piton des Neiges (3070m), the Islands highest peak dominates the skyline. Wine tasting to sample the famous wine of Cilaos is possible. Check-in to your hotel for two nights.
Dinner not included
Driving time: 1 1/2 hours
Day 7 The Cirque de Cilaos
Why not have an active day hiking, river walking, canyoning or climbing? The Cirque de Cilaos is an outdoor activity lovers paradise. We also recommend taking the D 242 to Cordes, a winding road with many little settlements to explore and sumptuous panoramic views.
Dinner not included
Driving time: 1 hour
Day 8 Black sand beaches - The Cap de la Houssaye - Saint Gilles
Leave Cilaos, direction: The West Coast and discover the Cap la Houssaye with its black sand beaches and basaltic cliffs. This beautiful place is a fragile savanna with a rich array of flora and fauna. Return your vehicle in Saint-Gilles this afternoon.
Dinner not included
Driving time: 2 hours
Period & budget
When to travel?
The best period for travelling is during the following months:
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.
- Gîte accommodation with shared facilities Day 1 to Day 4
- Half-board from dinner Day 1 to breakfast Day 5
- Hotel accommodation with breakfasts Day 5 to Day 7
- Vehicle hire for 8 days - category B, basic insurance and unlimited mileage
- A detailed roadbook including, local tips, vouchers and your comprehensive itinerary
- 24/7 phone support during your trip
- Lunches (approx. 8 to 10€/pers. for picnic lunches or 15 to 20€/pers. for restaurant meals)
- Dinners Days 5, 6, 7 and 8 (approx. 20 to 25€/pers.)
- Accommodation on Day 8
- Fuel and parking costs
- Transfers to collect/drop-off your vehicle
- International flights
- Repatriation insurance
- Museum entry fees
- Double room supplement in Gîte accommodation (3 to 4€/pers. per night, subject to availability)
- Single room supplement in hotel accommodation (prices vary, subject to availability)
Terms and conditions
- 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.
Changes to travel contract
- Additional driver, from 50 €/rental
- Child seat, from 30 €/rental
- GPS, from 30 €/rental
Budget & exchange
- 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 casual shoes for evenings
- Thick walking socks
- Warm gloves, hat and scarf (forJune - September trips and for those which climb up to the cirques or high mountains)
- A swimsuit
- 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
- A rucksack (35-40L or 45-50L) for use as a day bag when hiking. 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 daytime.
Health information & recommendations
- 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.