Plaine Des Palmistes19 Grand Etang Femme Credit Irt Michel Vespasien Dts 07 2021Plaine Des Palmistes19 Grand Etang Femme Credit Irt Michel Vespasien Dts 07 2021Plaine Des Palmistes19 Grand Etang Femme Credit Irt Michel Vespasien Dts 07 2021© Michel Vespasien
© Michel Vespasien

Tips for travelling responsibly

10 eco-friendly tips for your trip to Reunion,

the ultimate island

Since 2007, 2nd June has been World Responsible Tourism Day, an opportunity to communicate on best ethical practices and encourage travellers to join the trend towards a tourism that is more mindful of the planet and of the beings that live on it.

How can you adopt a responsible approach on Reunion Island? Here are 10 tips in favour of sustainable practices on the island:

1.    Take the time

There’s a whole art to taking the time to enjoy an alternative way of travelling, and that’s just what slow tourism is all about. Whenever possible, try travelling off-season and, for your next holiday, stay on Reunion a little longer. The etymology of the word “vacation” suggests a sense of freedom, having time at your disposal. We recommend you take the time to explore our ultimate island. To enjoy your slow holiday to the full, remember to opt for local sources when it comes to purchases, eating and accommodation. The whole idea is to take the time to admire and fully appreciate your surroundings, to reconnect with nature, interact with the people of Reunion, and savour the local cuisine. Take our advice and travel the Reunion way.

2.    Reduce your carbon footprint

When packing for your trip to Reunion Island, we recommend you keep your suitcase as light as possible, to reduce its impact on your travel-related energy consumption. You might also want to offset the carbon footprint of your trip by volunteering in an environmental project.

Once on the island, you can visit Reunion on foot on the hiking trails that cover a total of around 900 kilometres. There are paths to suit every preference and walking level, from kids’ trails and family walks to the great GR hiking trails suitable for experienced hikers. The ultimate island boasts three GR hiking trails officially approved by the French Hiking Federation: the GRR1 (60km) around the Piton des Neiges via the three cirques, the GRR2 (130km) which crosses the island from north to south via the Piton des Neiges and the Piton de La Fournaise, and the GRR3 (47,5 km) which visits the Cirque of Mafate, a cirque that can only be reached on foot. Reunion can also be explored by bike, on over 200 kilometres of cycle paths that will take you around the entire island. On foot, by bike, or even by bus! Car Jaune operate Reunion’s interurban bus network which covers the whole island. On Reunion Island, the people have an original way of requesting the bus driver to stop – they clap their hands twice! But you can also opt for the more classic way – and simply press on the button.

3. Meet the Reunion Islanders

Reunion is a piece of France in the Indian Ocean. Just like other French regions, the ultimate island has its own specific traditions and customs, handed down through generations from a diversity of origins. If you’re curious about the island’s history, culture and traditions, the Reunion way of life and the different languages and religions, don’t hesitate to approach the local people and engage in conversation. A simple “koman y lé?”, is sure to launch a discussion, and don’t forget to say hello to anyone you meet on the hiking trails, for example.

4. Show respect for places of worship and religious practices

Practising Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and others enjoy a harmonious coexistence on Reunion Island. Some people on Reunion are even followers of two religions! We invite you to embrace this unique and deeply respectful sense of togetherness. Observe the guidelines when visiting churches, temples, pagodas and mosques, or when attending religious festivals such as Dipavali and Guan-Di, or the fire-walking events.

5. Protect the environment

The place for litter is in the bin and not amid nature. Waste has a heavy impact on ecosystems and is enemy no. 1 to our natural spaces. Handy tip: Always carry with you a reusable bag, a pocket ashtray, an airtight container or other item in which to take your rubbish away with you. Also, choose your sunscreen products carefully, as they often contain chemical substances. You can opt for sun protection that is more nature-friendly, to enjoy the sun without polluting!

6. Respect animal and plant life

On the sea and in the mountains, it is vital to respect the fauna and flora. The biodiversity of Reunion Island is teeming with endemic species that are protected and deserve to be cherished. Adopt the essential gestures for a holiday that respects the wildlife and vegetation of the ultimate island. You can admire the beauty of jumellea fragrans, a wild orchid, and the lovely colours of the panther chameleon, but it is forbidden to remove plants or animals from their natural environment.

Reunion Island has various charters for a durable approach to tourism and eco-friendly behaviour. Before your trip, don’t forget to consult the charter for the responsible approach and observation of whales, dolphins and turtles, the charter for La Réunion National Park, and the Mafate Attitude charter for an eco-responsible exploration of the Cirque of Mafate, a UNESCO World Heritage site. To be aware is to act for the future.

 

7. Stimulate your senses

Your holiday on the ultimate island is a great opportunity to go green. Forest walks, mountain hikes and dips in the lagoon are but a few of the ways you can feel at one with the natural elements. Awaken your senses by touching the sun-bleached sand, smelling the aromas of Bourbon vanilla, admiring the sunset over the Indian Ocean, listening to the call of the Reunion cuckooshrike, or savouring the flavour of guavas in the heart of nature. Be mindful of nature by keeping noise to an absolute minimum. Switch lights off in the evening, to avoid disturbing nocturnal creatures. Mother Nature will reward you for it.

8. Eat local

Reunion offers plenty of delicious local products! Don’t miss a trip to the markets where the stalls offer a whole assortment of colours and flavours. You’ll find seasonal fruit and vegetables such as Victoria pineapples, mangos, lychees, green leaves, chayotes, palm hearts, star fruits, guavas, passion fruits and papaya: to enjoy without restraint! Before leaving the island, you’ll be able to stock up on products to take home and share with your loved ones, to give them a taste of your travels and prolong your holiday a little. Click HERE for more information on transporting fruit from Reunion Island.

 

9. Immerse yourself in the local way of life

There’s no better way of learning more about the Reunion way of life than participating in activities to mix with the islanders. The ultimate island has no shortage of traditional craft activities and cookery workshops for you to join! Sign up for a few hours or a full day, and enjoy a unique and immersive experience in the life of the Reunion Islanders. You’ll become an expert in the art of making curry, infusing rum, opening coconuts or weaving palm leaves!

10. Travel mindfully

Slow the pace for a mindful journey. Put your smartphone in flight mode and your life in slow mode, at least for the duration of your holiday on Reunion, and always see the sunny side. We particularly recommend travelling unplugged if you want to be at one with nature. The whole point of going on holiday is to enjoy a sense of freedom. Don’t hesitate to soak up the sun of the Southern hemisphere to stock up on Vitamin D and recharge those batteries. And don’t forget that Reunion is close to the Tropic of Capricorn, where the seasons are the opposite to those in Europe!