Dominated by the Piton de Neiges volcano (3,071 metres high), Cilaos is the sunniest and driest of the three cirques. Its name derives from Tsilaosa, a Madagascan word meaning “the place you do not leave”. Cilaos was, like the island’s other cirques, a hiding place for runaway slaves known as the “Noirs marrons”. After the abolition of slavery, the white communities found themselves penniless and took refuge in the cirques, especially Cilaos, where they lived in perfect harmony with the former slaves. Until the completion of the main road in 1932, Cilaos was only accessible by foot, or by sedan chairs, on a very narrow path. The only path leading to the heart of the cirque is a spectacle in and of itself. The “Road of 400 Turns” snakes around the foot of the slopes.
· thermal spa
· harvest festival
Find out more by visiting the tourism office and the city hall’s website.