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Thematic Tours 5 nights

Day 1 – Welcome and sunset cruise

Welcome at the airport. Hotel transfer.

Lunch without drinks in an hotel on the west coast.Saint-Gilles harbour transfer for a Grand Bleu sunset cruise. If you’ve always wanted to discover the west coast, see dolphins, admire the underwater world, experience a sunset over the lagoon and the mountain, this “Grand Bleu” Cruise trip is for you.
This fast cruise-boat can offer to 55 people a marine tour in the historical St.Paul’s Bay or a view of Saint-Leu and its famous surf spot in the south part of the island.

Shaped by the volcanic activities, the west coast offers astonishing and varied views such as steep cliffs, white and black sand beach, lagoons and also breathtaking views of the peaks of the Grand Bénard and Maïdo’s hills. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Plage de la côte Ouest
Balade en bateau de croisière, ile de La Réunion
Coucher de soleil de la côte Ouest Réunion

Day 2 – Maïdo Peak and Kélonia

Leaving for a picturesque drive to the lookout point of Piton Maïdo.

It gives the opportunity to admire along the road the characteristic vegetation of the western upper reaches and of course the Cirque of Mafate from Maïdo lookout point. In one-hour driving time, you start from 0 to more than 2200m high crossing a multitude of enchanting landscapes! Savannah, mango plantation, sugar field, gully in bloom, Rosat geranium field, pasture land, primeval forest and at least the beauty of the higher summits of the island. It’s for sure one of the most spectacular Reunion lookout point.

Mafate is a huge collapse formed when the pockets of magma were emptying out during the numerous Piton des Neiges’s eruptions. There’s no road at all to get into Mafate. It can only be reached on foot or by helicopter. Mafate is a major attraction for mountain lovers. This amphitheatre is dominated by a tens summits over 2000m with incredible sheer cliffs. From the Maïdo Peak: a difference in level of 1000 metres for a bird’s eye panorama!

Maïdo, vue sur Mafate
Route forestière, Maïdo
Tortue, naissance de tortue marine

On the way back, you have a stop at “La Petite France” with its sweet climate and balmy air. There is an invitation atmosphere to dream. You discover the “firing” of geranium, a homemade activity carried out in copper stills. Geraniums leaves are distilled and its downs give fragrance oil. . Typical creol lunch on the way. Then direction to Kelonia. Kélonia is an observatory of sea turtles whose goals is to: raise awareness of the conservation of natural and cultural heritage associated with turtles, participate and develop programs of conservation of marine turtles and their habitats. Restoring sea turtle’s natural habitats helps us to learn more about these 110 million year-old marine reptiles.

The visitors reach the site through a beach and discover the different habitats occupied by turtles during their life cycle. The course gradually reveals the turtles living in a basin of 500 000 liters. They will finally be able to enjoy an underwater view through acurved glass of nearly 20 square meters. The second space explains the deepbonds that still exist between these mysterious animals and the human societies. The human sciences help us understanding turtles through two approaches: A thematic approach that presents the cultural value of marine turtles, and also their use as a food and raw material and a geographical approach that puts into relieve the places or communities where sea turtles have a real importance.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 3 – Cirque of Salazie

Departure to the north of the island, taking the coastal road to Saint-Denis, the capital.

Thereafter, you discover the real face of the East coast: it’s an intensive farming of sugar cane district, its population in majority of Indian Tamil origin stems from thousands of volunteers, “imported” for harvest after the Abolition of Slavery in 1848.

One of the evocative signs of this Tamil culture is the number of the colourful temples built here and there. You can admire the outside architecture of the “Temple du Petit Bazar” in Saint-André. On the way you’ll stop at the Niagara Cascade, a real open-air theatre.
You also discover the fantastic story of the famous “Bourbon Vanilla” by visiting a vanilla plantation.

Cirque de Salazie
Guétali de Salazie
Guetali Maison Folio, Salazie

This orchid grows from St-André to Sainte-Rose. Then, you’ll enter in the largest, the greenest and the wettest cirque of the three (owing to its windward position). Salazie, a refuge of fugitive slaves or “runaways” was late colonized. Inviolate for a long time, this cirque is accessible by the only hemmed road running along Rivière du Mât”.

You find very quickly an imposing garden of verdure and cascades, in particular the “Voile de la Mariée” (wedding veil). Its charm derives from the existing harmony between its waters flowing down a hundred cascades, its omnipresent lush vegetation, its imposing relief made softer by all the greenery, and the man-made buildings that blend in with the landscape.

Everything grows there, but you’ll notice in particular banana trees, bamboos and various vegetables cultivation like watercress, and the most well known is “chouchou”, imported from Mexico in 1840. Arrival to Hell-Bourg: the village was awarded in 1998 the title for one of the most beautiful village of France for the quality and genuine character of the place. It has been built up around hydropathical sources, which brought to this cirque its fame until its permanent closure due to mass fallen rocks in 1848. After a Creole lunch, you may visit this village of ancient times, real museum of Creole architecture and the “Folio House” with its impressive garden. Return to your hotel around 5.30pm.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 4 – Canyoning at Cilaos

Early in the morning, departure for the Fleurs Jaunes in Cilaos Rappelling,small steps, and swimming.

A safe combination of emotions and intense pleasures. Supervision is provided by qualified instructors (one per 12 participants). Around noon, the two groups will share their impressions over a meal (Creole picnic or restaurant depending on the weather). At the end of the day, you will go back to the west coast by bus and arrive atyour hotel in the late afternoon.

Technical Information
This program allows you to discover several means of transport: Hiking, rappelling, driving on the roads of Cilaos. The hike is for everyone with a relatively low altitude. Initiation sites are accessible to all; they are fun and not sporting.

Provide walking shoes, warm clothes, water, hat, sunscreen, small backpack, and protection against the rain. Maximum 60 people.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Vue sur Cilaos
Vue sur Cilaos, Ile de La Réunion
Descente en rappel, canyonning Cilaos

Day 5 – The Volcano and the Wild South in 4WD

Departure around 7:00 am in direction of the Volcano via the South and Le Tampon. Crossing la “Plaine des Cafres”, a market garden and a cattle-breeding area, the first stop is at the viewpoint of “Nez De Bœuf” (2070 m) for the forming cirque “La Rivière des Remparts”: a huge canyon and a difference in level of 1000m!

You stop secondly at “Le Pas des Sables” for the impressive view over “La Plaine des Sables”, the exceptional lunar landscape. Arrival at “Pas de Bellecombe” (2311m), from where you have the unique view over the “Piton de la Fournaise Massif” (one of the most active red volcano of the world).

Balade en 4x4, plaine des sables
Route du volcan, La Réunion
Volcan Piton de la Fournaise

Continuation to the windward coast called the “Wild South” because of the contrasts with the blue (ocean), the green (tropical vegetation) and the black (lava flows). The discoveries continue with the rivers of lava that crossed the national road several times during the past decades, especially in the “Great Burnt Land”. Stop at “Manapany” to discover this small charming village with its natural creek. Traditional Creole lunch. Afterwards, you take a forested trail across the rich coloured woods where you can discover various endemic plants, some medicinal and sacred ones. Then you take the direction of “Langevin River” where you can admire a beautiful waterfall before the return to your hotel.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 6 – Lay day and departure

Lunch at the hotel.

In the late afternoon, transfer to the airport and departure.

Balade en bateau Ouest Réunion
Voir les dauphins à La Réunion
Vol en hélicoptère, route de la plaine des sables