Reunion Island Paradise

A superb trekking holiday on the Reunion Islands




From $2,100 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Distinctive Creole flavour and Indian Ocean beaches
  • Summit Piton des Neiges (3070m), Reunion Islands highest mountain
  • Proper volcano walking and overnight in mountain refuges
  • Sunrise on the summits and stunning mountain scenery

Wild and tropical trekking adventure holiday walking in the mountains of Reunion Island. Eight hundred kilometres east of Madagascar, the French overseas department of Reunion Island is a walking destination - par excellence! The far-flung volcanic Reunion Island, with its intriguing mix of African and French cultures, rises to over 3000m and its rugged interior boasts a network of walking trails which would not look out of place in Nepal. Three vast eroded cirques, Salazie, Mafate and Cilaos, dominate the centre of Reunion Island and provide the backdrop for this surprising walking adventure holiday. Walking through forest and farmland, our trekking takes us across high passes, descending to spend time in and explore friendly villages. Luxuriant vegetation, exotic bird species, towering waterfalls and hot springs to are all part of the scene on the endearing paradise of Reunion Island. Trekking to the summit of Piton des Neiges (3070m) at dawn, we can look across to our final objective, the active volcanoe of Piton de la Fournaise (2632m). Having ticked off many of the best walking trails on Reunion Island, we will be ready for a day of R&R at the pleasant coastal resort of St Gilles, a great way to end our walking holiday adventure to Reunion Island.

Is this holiday for you?

This is not a long or sustained walking holiday and the altitudes that we reach are relatively modest. The first 3 days of walking take the form of a continuous trek, walking for 4 or 5 hours each day, as we cross from the cirque of Salazie, through Mafate to Cilaos. We then have a free day, before making a 2-day ascent of Piton des Neiges. Climbing this peak and then descending to the refuge at Belouve, will provide us with our longest day - possibly 7 hours of walking. We have 2 further day hikes, including the 5-hour return trip to the cratered top of Piton de la Fournaise. Although most of the paths that we follow throughout the trip will have way-markers (in the French style - blobs of paint) we will encounter a wide range of underfoot conditions. There will be forest trails, including potentially muddy conditions at Trou de Fer, as well as zig-zag tracks on volcanic scree and rough, rocky sections on each of the peaks. Whilst trekking for 2 nights / 3 days between Salazie (day 2) and Cilaos (day 4) and during the 2-day ascent of Piton des Neiges (3 nights/4 days), we will carry everything that we need in our daysacks. Our main luggage will be transferred to the following hotel. We do not need much as the refuges supply all bedding etc, backpack should be kept light, under 8kg. Carrying our few belongings over the walks makes it seem much more adventurous and exciting on this rural island.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in St Gilles. A single transfer from St Denis Airport is provided.
  • Transfer to the Cirque of Salazie. Trek via the Col De Fourche (1942m) to the village of La Nouvelle.
  • Trek downhill to riverside beauty spot of Trois Roches. Hike upstream to Marla (1645m).
  • Trek up to Col du Taibit (2200m) and cross into the Cilaos Cirque. Descend to town of Cilaos.
  • Free day for independent exploration or relax at the hot springs of Cilaos.
  • Hike through Mare a Jospeh forest. Ascend Coteau Kerveguen Ridge and trek to refuge (2480m).
  • Pre-dawn start for the ascent of Piton des Neiges (3070m). Descend to Belouve (1500m).
  • Forest walk to the Trou de Fer. Return to Belouve and transfer to Piton de al Fournaise.
  • Trek to the active summit of Piton de la Fournaise (2632m). Descend and transfer to St Giles.
  • Free day for rest and relaxation at the paradise coastal hang out of St Gilles.
  • Departure Day. A single transfer to St Denis Airport is provided.
Tue 20 Oct - Fri 30 Oct Code RUN /07/15/ Adult$2,100 Status Limited Availability Book now
Sun 20 Mar - Wed 30 Mar Code RUN /01/16/ Adult$1,940 Status Available Book now
Sun 01 May - Wed 11 May Code RUN /02/16/ Adult$1,940 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 03 Jul - Wed 13 Jul Code RUN /03/16/ Adult$1,940 Status Available Book now
Sun 07 Aug - Wed 17 Aug Code RUN /04/16/ Adult$1,940 Status Available Book now
Sun 11 Sep - Wed 21 Sep Code RUN /05/16/ Adult$1,940 Status Guaranteed Book now
Thu 06 Apr - Sun 16 Apr Code RUN /01/17/ Adult$1,940 Status Available Book now
Sun 30 Apr - Wed 10 May Code RUN /02/17/ Adult$1,940 Status Available Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in St. Denis, Reunion. For clients making their own flight arrangements, St Denis Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in St Gilles. A single transfer from St Denis Airport is provided.

    Meet at the group hotel in St. Gilles. A single timed transfer from St Denis Airport is provided in the morning. The local guide will assist with this short transfer. St Gilles is a small town on the west coast of the island and one of the most popular resorts on Reunion. Known as the 'St Tropez of the Indian Ocean', it has a pleasant port and marina, several sandy beaches fringed by palm trees and low basalt cliffs and a very relaxed atmosphere. The day is free for independent exploration and sightseeing. There will be a full trek briefing with our local guide before dinner. KE Land Only services begin with overnight at the group hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

  • Transfer to the Cirque of Salazie. Trek via the Col De Fourche (1942m) to the village of La Nouvelle.

    Setting off into the interior of the island, we drive into the cirque of Salazie, possibly the greenest of the 3 huge cirques which dominate the northern end of Reunion Island. Salazie was formerly the home of escaped slaves and almost inaccessible from the coast. Today, there are several small villages, including Salazie, Grand Ilet and Hell-Bourg which occupy small level areas (known as 'ilets') within the otherwise precipitous landscape. Arriving at the highest settlement of Le Belier (1600m), we leave our transport and set off on trek. There are great views of the many waterfalls which tumble into Salazie, as we climb for an hour to the Col de Fourche (1942m), our gateway into the cirque of Mafate which is the wildest part of the island, reachable only on foot. From the col, we drop down into a forest and follow a good trail across the Plaine des Tamarins to the largest settlement in the valley at La Nouvelle (1450m) stopping off for a picnic lunch en route. We overnight in a mountain refuge close to the village shop and 'bar'.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

  • Trek downhill to riverside beauty spot of Trois Roches. Hike upstream to Marla (1645m).

    Surrounded by basalt cliffs and peaks, which glow pink at sunrise and sunset, Mafate is a dramatic place, completely cut off from the rest of the island and from the sea, which cannot be seen from here. Several hundred people live in the Mafate Cirque in about a dozen small hamlets, many of them unseen amongst the hidden folds of this rugged terrain. Today, we hike downhill to the settlement at Plaine aux Sables which is the biggest in the valley and occupies the site of an old crater. From here, we continue to descend on the GR R1 path through a ravine to the riverside beauty spot of Trois Roches, where the river flows across a smooth bed of volcanic lava and drops into a sheer-sided fissure. We stop for a picnic here, before heading upstream through a rocky valley for a couple of hours to the high plain at Marla (1645m) and our overnight refuge accommodation.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

  • Trek up to Col du Taibit (2200m) and cross into the Cilaos Cirque. Descend to town of Cilaos.

    Today we head south towards the crest on a well-marked path which is taken by both the GR R1 and the GR R2. Passing a reservoir, we soon leave the plateau area behind and begin a steep climb which eventually relents as we enter an area of shading acacia forest. After approximately an hour's climb, we reach the last zig-zag before the pass, where a short diversion from the trail takes us to a promontory which affords superb views back across the Mafate depression. We can see the route of our last 2 days hiking, as well as the village of Marla below us. Crossing the often windy Col du Taibit (2200m), we drop down quickly into the Cilaos Cirque on a zig-zagging path and by way of a lower col with some steep sections through forest to the Plaine des Fraises. Another diversion from the path takes us to the deserted village at Ilet des Salazes, where we can stop for lunch. After lunch, it is a short descent to the road which links l'Iet a Cordes with the town of Cilaos. We cross the road and continue our descent to Cilaos, which we can see far below, by way of the old pathway. Arriving in Cilaos, we check in to our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Free day for independent exploration or relax at the hot springs of Cilaos.

    We spend a free day in Cilaos, with the option to relax by the hotel pool, or do some independent exploration on foot or by mountain bike. The Cilaos Cirque has the most development of the 3 that we have visited and yet remains stunningly beautiful. The region around the town of Cilaos is known for its lentils, wine, embroidery and for hot springs. We spend a second night at our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Hike through Mare a Jospeh forest. Ascend Coteau Kerveguen Ridge and trek to refuge (2480m).

    We have chosen to take 2 days for the 1700m ascent to the summit of Piton des Neiges, the highest point on the island and the Indian Ocean's biggest peak. So, with no need to get away too early, we spend the morning at leisure and have lunch before setting off. We walk up through the town and turn off on a path which climbs abruptly through the Mare a Joseph Forest, zig-zagging up to the Coteau Kerveguen Ridge with many sections of trail which have been 'improved' by the emplacement of often slippery log steps. After around 3 hours effort, we arrive at our overnight accommodation at the Caverne Dufour Refuge (2480m), where the views extend eastwards to the sea.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

  • Pre-dawn start for the ascent of Piton des Neiges (3070m). Descend to Belouve (1500m).

    Clouds tend to build up mid morning and obscure the views at Piton des Neiges's summit and for this reason, we make a very early (pre-dawn) start from the refuge. The well-marked path leads away to the north-east across a broad shoulder of the mountain, before entering a small cirque which we climb on its left side to reach the summit ridge. The Indian Ocean will also be visible if the weather is clear. Returning by the same route to the refuge, we will have breakfast, before trekking along the Cap Anglais Ridge to the Belouve Refuge. Following a well-marked trail, with great views to our right across the Bebour Forest, we drop down steadily, with some steep and zig-zagging sections which can possibly be muddy and slippery, passing the Caverne Mussard and the Cap Anglais, to finally arrive at our overnight accommodation.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

  • Forest walk to the Trou de Fer. Return to Belouve and transfer to Piton de al Fournaise.

    At an altitude of around 1500 metres the Belouve Refuge is a great place from which to explore some of the island's finest primary forest. We have a morning's walk on forest paths, with a chance to see some of the many tree, plant and bird species that make this place so special. Tree ferns thrive in the humid environment on this windward side of the island and the forest has the feel of a tropical jungle. The highlight of the walk is at the viewpoint for the Trou de Fer waterfall, looking down into a deep and forested chasm, with the fall itself dropping away out of sight. After returning to the refuge, we meet our transport for the drive to our next overnight stopping place, at the Gite du Volcan (refuge), high on the slopes of Piton de la Fournaise. The exciting drive up to this refuge, close to the Pas de Bellecombe take us on a poor road across a landscape of bare volcanic rock, in marked contrast to the lush forest we have left behind at Belouve.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

  • Trek to the active summit of Piton de la Fournaise (2632m). Descend and transfer to St Giles.

    We have another early start this morning for the long trek to Piton de la Fournaise (2632m). This is a very active volcano and periodically erupts, although usually in a fairly predictable and non-destructive way. The whole of the peak above the Pas de Bellecombe is bare rock and volcanic scree, with a marked path heading almost directly to the summit from our refuge. After an initial descent into the caldera which surrounds the central peak, we start our ascent, gradual at first, passing close to the cone of volcanic slag known as Formica Leo. As the angle of ascent steepens, we pass the rock formation of Chapelle de Rosemont and then fork left to the Crater of Domolieu, which is much bigger than the highest crater Bory and now about 300m deep, an impressive sight. There are good views across to Piton des Neiges and our route of descent from that mountain. We will eat our picnic lunch and then descend to the refuge, where we meet our transport mid afternoon for the drive to the group hotel in St Gilles.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Free day for rest and relaxation at the paradise coastal hang out of St Gilles.

    A day for rest and relaxation at this pretty coastal resort. Spend the day on the beach or find alternative amusement. A helicopter flight over the island, for instance, can be arranged here.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Departure Day. A single transfer to St Denis Airport is provided.

    KE Land Only services end with breakfast at the hotel. A single group transfer to St. Denis Airport is provided in the afternoon.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Experienced local leader
  • Single timed airport transfers
  • Accommodation as described
  • Meals as per the Meal Plan
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary

  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers other than those described
  • Meals as per the Meal Plan
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A single group transfer will be arranged, normally the morning of Day 1 of the trip itinerary. At the end of the trip there will be a single group transfer from the group hotel in St. Gilles to St. Denis Airport. This transfer will normally be in the early afternoon of Day 11. The KE local guide or a representative of our local agent will assist with the transfers between the airport and group hotel.

If you are unable to take advantage of these group transfers, we can provide you with a price for private transfers. Clients must provide the KE office with full details of their flights and should let us know if airport transfers are not required.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

A typical day starts with breakfast at our overnight refuge, after which we set off on the day's walk. We will usually walk for about 3 hours and then find a picturesque spot to stop for our picnic lunch. A further couple of hours walking in the afternoon will take us to our next overnight accommodation. On arrival, there is plenty of time for exploring around the refuge and for catching up on your diary or for reading. Dinner is served in the refuge at around 6 p.m. This is a great time of day for relaxing and for discussing the events of the trip so far. During the day you are free to walk at your own pace, enjoying the scenery and stopping to take as many photographs as you wish.

During this holiday the group will spend 3 nights at a comfortable tourist hotel in St Gilles and 2 nights at a similar establishment in Cilaos. The other 5 nights accommodation will be in a variety of mountain houses, gites and refuges, which usually have dormitory-style rooms and shared bathroom facilities. Bedding and pillows are provided at the refuges. Whilst in hotels, accommodation is allocated on a twin sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. For 5 of the nights, single rooms are available for a supplementary cost. Additional hotel nights in St. Gilles are also available. For single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website. Hotels are subject to availability and prices may vary.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The plethora of races and nationalities has contributed to the integration of cuisines from India, China, France, Madagascar and the African mainland making the local food, interesting and exotic. Eating is one of the favourite activities of Reunionese and mealtimes are family occasions. The regional specialty is 'cari', a truly Creole dish in which many ingredients are simmered together. The cari is made using Indian spices and local ingredients like meat, poultry, fish or seafood and contains garlic, onion, plenty of tomatoes, turmeric, cloves and ginger. Caris are best eaten with boiled rice. The favourite special dishes of the islanders are carri bichique, carri tangue and wasp larvae served in a dish called rougail. Traditional Indian, Chinese and French food is available at the many restaurants and cafes in Reunion that also serve good local and French wines. Of course one must not forget the beer "bourbon" which is more often called 'dodo'. Our packed/picnic lunches we need to purchase at the local shops, and on day 1 we should buy some lunch items for the following day’s walk.

All breakfasts and 5 dinners are included in the holiday price. All lunches and evening meals on 5 days will need to be purchased directly. Some lunches will involve buying snack items for a picnic lunch and some will be taken in a café, restaurant or other food outlet. Meal prices on Reunion Island are similar to those in the UK. Allow €10 - €15 for each lunch and €20 to €30 for each evening meal. A total of €300 will be more than sufficient to cover these meals.

Approximately €400 should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses, including around €300 for non-included meals. Soft drinks, bottled water and wine are slightly more expensive than in the UK. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly. The unit of currency on Reunion Island is the Euro. Your travel money should be carried in Euros. Cash can be obtained from ATM machines in St Gilles and in Cilaos. Credit cards can be used to purchase goods and services and it is a good idea to carry one in case of emergency.

The group is led by a first-rate local guide. You will also have the services of a support vehicle and driver.

Tips are the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ to your local guides and porters. They do not form part of their wages. KE always pays local crews the best rates of pay, no matter what country they are in and any tips they receive are seen as a personal thank you from group members. For our part, we advise local teams that tips are not a duty or a prerequisite but are a bonus and entirely dependent on the service that was given. For your trek crews we recommend that you give a tip if you feel that their services have met your satisfaction. As a rough guide we suggest you allow a total of €30 for tipping your crew. More detailed guidelines on tipping will be provided with your final joining instructions.

You should make every effort to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. During the 3-day trek from Salazie to Cilaos and during the 4 days from Cilaos back to St Gilles, you will carry your personal equipment in your daypack. In practice, you should not need to carry more than about 8 kg. Surplus items of gear, will be packed in your trek bags.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday involves going to moderately high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 2500 metres. Most people will have no difficulty with this level of altitude but before coming on the holiday, we recommend you read the advice on trekking at altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

A passport with 3 months remaining validity is required. Passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any EU countries do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the respective consulate in their own country.

Whilst we keep our information up to date, you should be advised that visa requirements can change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in case of recent amendments.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots
  • Trainers / sneakers or sandals for beach use
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers / rainpants
  • Shorts
  • Long johns (thermal underwear)
  • Thermal baselayer shirts
  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Sunhat or cap
  • Warm hat
  • Eyewear - sunglasses
  • Lightweight thermal or fleece gloves
  • Daypack 40 litres/ 2400 cubic inches
  • Headtorch / headlamp and spare batteries
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose, etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 litre / 1 quart (x2)
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Basic First Aid Kit, including: A broad spectrum antibiotic; insect repellent (DEET); antiseptic cream; throat lozenges; diarrhoea treatment (Diocalm or Immodium); painkillers; plasters and blister treatment; and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are a good idea.

The following items are optional:

  • Spare laces
  • Travel clothes
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Beach wear
  • Towel
  • Trekking poles
  • Camera, media, spare batteries
  • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Small padlock (to lock your KE kit bag)


  • During the holiday you will have time away from your main baggage and will need to pack your rucksack accordingly. You will not have access to your main bag from Day 2 to Day 4 (3 days, 2 nights), and from Day 6 to Day 9 (4 days, 3 nights).

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. We suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise plan. Regular hiking in hill country is the best preparation. Running, cycling and swimming are also good for developing cardio-vascular fitness as well as improving stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of walks factoring in plenty of ascent and descent.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

From May to October is the winter season on Reunion Island and the climate is generally cooler and drier than other times of the year. This is the best season for trekking in the mountains. From November to April it is hotter and wetter. Daytime maximum temperatures at the coast at the time of any of our departures are likely to be around 22°C to 26°C. High on the mountains, temperatures will be pleasantly cool, averaging between 12°C and 18°C. Early morning at the summit of Piton des Neiges, we might encounter frosty conditions.

Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles. Lonely Planet Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles. Insight Guide Mauritius, Rodrigues and Reunion. Bradt Guide

Reunion. IGN 1:100,000

Reunion on a detailed map at 1:100,000 from the Insitut Gographique National in Paris with a vivid presentation of the islands topography, hiking routes, places of interest, tourist facilities and GPS coordinates, plus a satellite image street plan of Saint-Denis. The map has well-drawn relief shading to provide an excellent picture of the islands topography, with plenty of names of geographical features, plus colouring and/or graphics to show forests, brushwood, marshland and areas liable to flooding. Boundaries of protected areas are marked.

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