Discover the Island of Bourbon

Are you looking to explore Réunion Island with your family? If so, this trip has been carefully designed with you in mind, discover a simply unforgettable family holiday! From the Cirque de Salazie to the volcanic Fournaise massif; from the Cirque de Mafate to the varied coast of this rugged island. A complete adventure designed to match the pace of family life. On foot and/or by bike, follow hidden footpaths through rainforests, dive into crystal clear lagoons and journey to the centre of the earth through lava tubes! This trip includes something for all the family (minimum age 7).

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Cirque de Salazie

    Cirque de Salazie Welcome to Réunion Island! We will greet you at Saint-Denis and travel together to the Cirque de Salazie. This lush green cirque with its tropical climate is home to towering cliffs and countless waterfalls which tumble down into the thick vegetation below. Afternoon arrival in the small hamlet of Grand Ilet, nestled at the foot of the famous cirque de Mafate, where our accommodation awaits.

    1 to 2 hours of walking
    Transport: Private minibus
    Accommodation: Gîte chez Liliane

  • Day 2 Cirque de Salazie - Cirque de Mafate

    Cirque de Salazie - Cirque de Mafate Today we head to upper Salazie to the col des Boeufs which links the Cirque de Salazie with the Cirque de Mafate. We cross into Mafate where historically, escaped slaves found refuge and peace. We dscend on foot, enjoying a picnic lunch in the forest of Tamerins on the way. The view from the ilets of Mafate are spectacular, afternoon arrival in the small village of la Nouvelle.

    3 hours of walking
    Elevation: +150m/-150m
    Accommodation: Gîte

  • Day 3 Cirque de Mafate - Salazie - le Sud Sauvage

    Cirque de Mafate - Salazie - le Sud Sauvage Short morning detour to la Nouvelles village school before returning to Salazie via the col des Boeufs. From here, we take the route East to le Sud Sauvage 'the savage south', a wild coastal region to the south of the island. Ancient lava flows, suspension bridges and small fishing ports are waiting to be explored. Evening and night in Saint-Philippe.

    2 to 3 hours of walking
    Elevation: +550m/-150m
    Accommodation: Gîte

  • Day 4 Le Sud Sauvage - Volcano

    Le Sud Sauvage - Volcano An exceptional morning travelling to the centre of the Earth ! Today, a specialist guide, an expert in volcanism, will accompany us on an underground adventure through lava tubes... Equipped with a helmet and head torch, unlock a mysterious and beautiful hidden universe. Lunch en route to the coast where we can enjoy the shade of the palm trees and swim in the Indian Ocean, in a naturally sheltered cove. Night near the Plaine des Cafres.

    2 hours of lava tubing
    Transport: Private minibus
    Accommodation: Gîte

  • Day 5 Plaine Cafres - Plaines des sables - Étang Salé - Perfume creation

    Plaine Cafres - Plaines des sables - Étang Salé - Perfume creation Discover the volcanic lunar landscapes of la Réunion. Explore the foothills of the Piton de la Fournaise - one of the most active volcanoes in the world. If we are lucky we may be able to witness some of this action today! We further explore the mineral rich lands of the volcano by hunting for olivines, green crystals classed as semi-precious stones. We follow the ridges of the caldera to Étang Salé, a village found between the sea, forests and mountains. On the way let's stop at Tampon village to participate in an olfactory workshop, discover the essential oils of the island and to create our own perfumes!

    2to 3 hours of walking
    Elevation: +150/-150
    Accommodation: Farm

  • Day 6 Étang Salé - Recumbent bicycles

    Étang Salé - Recumbent bicycles Today is dedicated to outdoor activities. This morning we try cycling on recumbent bicycles along the wooded coast of Étang Salé with its long black sandy beaches. We visit the place known as the chasm, a long rocky corridor where waves break, smashing against the rocks. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure at the stunning lagoon - you can choose to go horse riding or clear bottomed sea kayaking in Trou d'Eau (payable locally, subject to availability).

    Accommodation: Farm

  • Day 7 Étang Salé - Géranium Distillery- The Aquarium - Saint Gilles

    Étang Salé - Géranium Distillery- The Aquarium - Saint Gilles This morning we hit the road to Maïdo, keep your eyes open for the extraordinary views of Mafate and the islands peaks along this route. Next, we go hiking along the ramparts at the edge of the forest, admiring the views of the cirque. Afterwards, we pay a visit to the distillery of Géranium where essential oils crucial for deterring mosquitoes, soothing bites and burns, are made. Journey to the west coast and explore the educational aquarium of St Gilles. The coral reefs and marine life surrounding Réunion Island are incredible. Evening sunset boat trip amoung dolphins possible (payable locally).

    2 hours of walking

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.

Dates & prices

Departures for English-speaking groups:

No departure for now

Trip code: QREUFAM-EN

Included

  • Full supervision by an experienced English-speaking professional Guide
  • 4 nights' Gîte accommodation with shared facilities
  • 2 nights farm accommodation in Étang Salé
  • Full board from lunch Day 1 to lunch Day 7
  • All transfers by private vehicle, as detailed in itinerary
  • Lava tube exploration supervised by a qualified specialist
  • Introduction to Créole music
  • A olfactory workshop and perfume creation session
  • Cycling on recumbent bicycles
  • Géranium Distillery visit
  • St-Gilles Aquarium visit
  • Luggage transportation as detailed in itinerary
  • Secure baggage storage

Not included

  • An evening meal on Day 7
  • Accommodation for the last night (Day 7)
  • International flights
  • Transfer to meeting point in St-Denis on Day 1
  • Repatriation insurance

Additional Options
  • Small group option for 2-3 participants: prices vary
  • Horse riding in Étang Salé (prices vary, subject to availablity)
  • Gorge walking in the waterfalls of Langevin (prices vary, subject to availablity)
  • Clear bottomed sea kayaking in Trou d'Eau (prices vary, subject to availability)

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

Armed with an abundance of experience and a wealth of knowledge, our professional guides are all experts in their domaine. Our qualified leaders are all English speaking, all practicing outdoor practitioners and they are all besotted the magnificent Réunion Island. Your guide will be assisted by one of Altaï Réunions trusty drivers, responsible for 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:
Picnic lunches will be provided each day. These will include fresh seasonal produce, cheese, meat, salad and fruit. Please be aware that you will be expected to carry your lunch and water with you each day.
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.

Please let us know about any dietary requirements when you book the 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.
This trip also includes farm accommodation with shared facilities.

Transportation

In-country travel and baggage transfer by private minibus.

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 drinks, tips 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.

Supplied equipment

If you choose to participate in any of the outdoor activities, all technical equipment will be provided.

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 (or appropriate trail running shoes)
  • 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
Mafate Piton de la Fournaise Salazie The Coast
Activity
Family Volcanoes & Lava tubes
Duration
7 days
Group
5 to 12 people
Code
QREUFAM-EN
Price
From €1,250
Level
2/5
Comfort
3/5
Language(s)
English

Strengths

  • Ride recumbent bicycles through beautiful woods along a black sand beach
  • Create your own perfumes at an olfactory workshop
  • Explore the lava tubes of the Piton de la Fournaise
  • Visit the Géranium Distillery and St-Gilles Aquarium
  • Different landscapes and activities everyday
  • Full supervision by an expert English-speaking guide
Discover the Island of Bourbon

Required level

Minimum age 7. Previous hiking experience is recommended and please be aware that the tropical climate of la Réunion can be tiring.
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