Your first day is in fact quite calm – get a room at the Alamanda**, a Hotel with Creole architecture in a tropical garden with pool, where you’ll be able to enjoy lunch at one of the two restaurants Le Vieux Tamarin or the Grain de Sable. Mid-afternoon, make your way to the Trou d’Eau for a kayak trip on translucent seas, and explore the coral areas of the Natural Marine Reserve without even having to get wet. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
The second day is all about the thrill of speed! Enjoy Speed Flying from Dos d’Âne to the Rivière des Galets – you’ll fly in a two-seater, gliding through the air over land including acrobatic feats close to the land… thrills and strong sensation guaranteed for 10 to 15 minutes! This is a new free-flying sport that has been designed for fans of sports that involve sliding and gliding and outdoor activities. Lunch, and free afternoon. At around 4pm, make your way to the horse-riding centre, Shai Ena at Saint-Gilles-les-Bains and take a sunset trip riding the Quarter Horses and the Appaloosas. The two and a half hour walk through the heart of the Reunionese savannah is a great opportunity to explore some unique sites, in particular the Cap La Houssaye. Nature lovers will of course be enchanted by the walk, led by a horse enthusiast. Dinner and overnight at your Hotel the Alamanda**.
The third day: you’re on your way to a thorough exploration of the lava tunnels at Saint-Philippe at the level of the 2004 Grand Brûlé lava flow – three and a half hours underground! You don’t need special equipment to make your way through, nor are there any narrow crawling passageways, and you’ll gradually be exploring more and more behind the scenes of some unusual formations, covering a distance of 1.2km. If you’re feeling peckish after all this then why not have lunch at Tremblet at Chez Moustache or at the Joyau des Laves at Sainte-Rose? Then head for the La Cayenne guest house for the night, where Joëlle will give you a taste of her traditional dishes prepared using seasonal and local produce, with organic food coming mainly from the farm.
The next day, meet at Bassin la Paix at the Rivière des Roches for a water-themed excursion with Réunion Aventures - one of the best things you can do in Reunion. The idea is for you to explore running water in an entertaining way – jumps, water-slides, walkways under waterfalls, swimming and Jacuzzis: all of these are on the menu against a remarkable backdrop of basaltic rock !
Have lunch by the water, and then enjoy the thrills and spills of rafting in the afternoon, travelling down the Marsouins River in an inflatable raft: a perfect way for first-timers to enjoy running water in complete safety, as well as for more racy descents around a lot of water. Hold on tight - and later on recover at the Villa des Cannes located on the heights of Sainte-Marie in the north. This is a sophisticated and comfy guest house that blends a contemporary feel with a Creole charm of days gone by, and it also has a tropical garden fragranced by palm trees and fruit trees in a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. The dinner promises to be a tasty one: the food is sophisticated and colourful, giving the dinner table a delicious Creole accent.
Enjoy your fifth day flying over the island in a microlight aircraft leaving from Gillot! This is a special, magical time as you experience the beating of the waves and the mountain peaks. Then make your way south for a free lunch, and dine and overnight at the guest house La Corbeille d’Or at Saint-Louis, located in a tropical garden with stunning views over the coast.
On the sixth day, head off for a climbing session at Cilaos. Leave early in the morning and head for the Cirque of Cilaos. Transfer with the tour professional to the Fleurs Jaunes (‘Yellow Flowers’) picnic area, and start climbing the Pain de Sucre (‘Sugar Loaf’) from the end point of the Fleurs Jaunes canyon. The rock is located right in the heart of the Unesco world heritage site, and the view across the Cirque of Cilaos and the Piton des Neiges (‘Piton of Snows’) is breathtaking. This is an unmissable climb graded 5 to 7C! The Reunionese ‘pearl of the rocks’ is a columnar basalt behemoth that’s 250 metres high and is split in two by the Fleurs Jaunes Canyon – not to be missed if you are an independent climber for its sweeping views! Dinner and overnight at the Vieux Cep**, a delightful, authentic and charming hotel in the heart of the Cirque de Cilaos.
The next day is spent descending all the way down the Fleurs Jaunes canyon. It might just as well be called The Vertical, and this is certainly the memory you will have of it. Located in the Cirque de Cilaos (an hour and a half from Saint-Gilles-les-Bains) and done in a day this canyon, with its sumptuous landscape, is not particularly hard to do in itself, though is should only be undertaken by people in good physical condition and ready to take it on with little fear of empty spaces. The rope descent of the Chapelle (90m) is one of the canyon’s high points! Return to the village of Cilaos at the end of the day and head west, where you have dinner and sleep at the Hotel Iloha Seaview***, above the bay of Saint-Leu, a place dear to the hearts of paragliders. This is a little corner of paradise amongst skies and seas, a perfectly authentic place to be. You choose where to dine, and you might also want to try out the Caz'Akéa well-being space, not forgetting the two pools.
On the eighth day, the hills of the west call out to you, and you’ll make your way down them on a mountain bike along the Mégavalanche: the one mountain-bike descent of Reunion that simply has to be experienced! It’s a difficult descent, but a dream for those wanting to take in a view worthy of a picture in magazines! The course is laid out, so you are sure to be safe. During the descent you’ll enjoy views over the Cirque of Mafate and then of the deep blue ocean, and the forests – this is as good as it gets! Lunch is at Saint-Gilles, and at the end of the day give those muscles a break during an outing on a stand-up paddleboarding – an hour and fifteen minutes on the lagoon at sunset. Inspired by the islands of Hawaii, stand-up paddleboarding is increasingly becoming well-suited to Reunion Island, being accessible to all and a great way to travel. Dinner and overnight at your Hotel Iloha Seaview***.