Draft Reunion Island Itinerary 17 Dec – 3 Jan

Update: I did finally visit Reunion Island in December 2015. Some expectations were met, but the trip was not without its challenges. Here’s my article on it: Reunion Island as a summer destination?


Initial Travel Plan:

St Louis / Cilaos / Mafate / Hell Bourg / Cilaos / St Pierre / St Gilles / St Denis

Arrive in St Denis Airport (north of the island) and take a bus to St Pierre in the south-west. 2 nights in St Pierre. Leave some luggage in St Pierre and then begin the GR R1 hiking expedition in the central part of the island.

3 Days Hiking from Cilaos through Mafate to Hell-Bourg. then 3 more days of hiking from Hell-Bourg to Cilaos where I ascend/descend Volcano Piton Des Neiges on the last day. Two nights in Cilaos. Then I head back to the ocean town of St Pierre for 3 more nights. In St Pierre I plan a day trip to the active volcano Pite de la Fournaise (not sure how?). I also plan to experience canyoning in one of the rivers (perhaps Cilaos on 26 Dec). I then head to St Gilles Les Bains for 4 nights. I’ve selected a location near La Saline-les-Bains which is near the lagoon that is open for swimming. My final night will be in St Denis, near the airport.


Start End Accommodation Distance / Route Info / Description  
17-Dec Thursday Johannesburg / St Denis St Pierre Lindsey Hôtel

R1180 p.n (booked)

Depart JHB 1130, arrive Reunion 1720. Shuttle to St Denis L’Ocean Terminal.
Get on Car Jaune Line 02 from St Denis to St Pierre, 1 hr 30 min.
18-Dec Friday St Pierre St Pierre Lindsey Hôtel

R1180 p.n


Day in St Pierre.

Attya Boul Masjid

19-Dec Saturday St Pierre/ Cilaos La Nouvelle Relais de Mafate (Le)

R255 per night dorm or EUR40 double (booked)

Line 60 St Louis to Cilaos or GR R1/R2 (D242).

Buses depart St Louis 05:30 06:30 07:35 09:15… (1h21m journey to Cilaos Ville)
Hike 8hr Cilaos Ville (or 6hr from the D242), 12.5km, 620m descent, 870m ascent, from Cilaos to La Nouvelle (Mafate)

20-Dec Sunday La Nouvelle Hell Bourg

(No accommodation in Grand Illet)

Booking in Hell Bourg, L’Orchidee Rose, $78 (booked)

(no accommodation available in Grand Illet)

La Tourte Dorée B&B (La Nouvelle), R525 per night

Hike 2 hours, 4.6km La Nouvelle to Col des Boeufs.

Hike 3 hours, 10km Col des boeufs to Grand Ilet.

Hike 5 hours, 18km Grand Îlet  to Hell-Bourg or 5 hours Grand Ilet to Salazie


Alternative: Bus from Col des Bouefs to Le Belier (3km from Grand Ilet) at 10:35am and 4:50pm on Sunday. See Line 82C schedule.

Alternative Bus 82 from  Le Belier / Grand Ilet (10 mins later) to Salazie (Times: 05:47 07:02 08:37 09:20 12:17 14:07 05:47 16:57 )

Bus 83 from Salazie to Hell-Bourg (times: 6:45 8:05 10:10 12:10 13:55 15:05 16:50 18:20)

21-Dec Monday Hell Bourg Hell-Bourg Le Relais Des Cimes – Hell Bourg
R1053 per night (booked)


22-Dec Tuesday Hell-Bourg Belouve Mountain Gite de Belouve

R270 per night


Hike: 2 hours, 3,6km Hell-Bourg to Gite Bélouve, +600m altitude.
Hike 3-4 hours.  13 km return trip from Belouve to Trou Der Fer to Belouve
23-Dec Wednesday Belouve Cavern Dufour Mountain Gite Cavern Dufour

R285 per night



Hike 3hours, 6km  Gîte de Bélouve to l’intersection de Cap Anglais (Caverne Mussard).
Hike 1h30, 4km From l’intersection de Cap Anglais to Gîte de la Caverne Dufour.
24-Dec Thursday Caven Dufour / Piton Des Naiges Cilaos Otroiza Hotel



Hike 3 hours, 6km (ascent/descent: 600m), Cavern Dufour to Piton Des Naiges summit and back.
Hike 3,5hours, 10km Cavern Dufour to Cilaos.
25-Dec Friday Cilaos Cilaos Hotel Des Neiges

R1384 p.n.


Cilaos Masjid: Rue des Bons Enfants
26-Dec Saturday Cilaos St Pierre Lindsey Hôtel

R1180 p.n.


 ? Canyoning tour in Cilaos
27-Dec Sunday St Pierre St Pierre or

Gite Pite de la Fournaise

Lindsey Hôtel / Gite Volcan

R1180 p.n.


Line 60 Cilaos to St Louis.
Line 02 St Louis to St Pierre.Car Jaune Line S2: From St Pierre, Piton de la Fournaise via Bourg Murator Helicopter Tour (180 EUR to 259 EUR) of Piton de la Fournaise
28-Dec Monday St Pierre St Pierre Lindsey Hôtel

R1180 p.n.

29-Dec Tuesday St Pierre St Gilles  

St Gilles Beach flat  (AirBnB)

-R1200 p.n.

30-Dec Wednesday St Gilles St Gilles Beach flat  (AirBnB)

-R1200 p.n.

St Gilles Les Bains market
31-Dec Thursday St Gilles St Gilles Beach flat  (AirBnB)

-R1200 p.n.

01-Jan Friday St Gilles St Gilles Beach flat  (AirBnB)

-R1200 p.n.

St-Paul’s fairground market.

Masdjid St Paul.

02-Jan Saturday St Gilles St Denis Hotel Austral

R1380 per night


Spend day in St Denis.

Noor-e-Islam mosque (oldest on the island)

03-Jan Sunday St Denis Johannesburg  – Shuttle from L’Ocean Terminal St Denis at 0600am.
Depart St Denis Airport 0805am


  1. To get to Piton de la Fournaise I will take the bus S2 (schedule here) from St Pierre to Bourg Murat). How far (distance / time) to the trail to Piton de la Fournaise? I am not sure how to get there with public transport and what routes to take….. Do I have to stay in Gite Volcan? Or should I consider a helicopter tour instead (are there operators with discounted rates?)
  2. Will the Bus 80 from St Louis to Cilaos stop along the D242 route for the trail to Marla / La Nouvelle, or do I need to get another bus (82?) from Cilaos? Which stop do I get off at?
  3. To get to La Nouvelle from D242 do I stick to the GR R1 trail (go past Marla)?
  4. Is the water safe to drink on the trail?
  5. Does the hiking itinerary (with distances and timings) seem correct – Belouve to Trou Der Fer seems to be long. Also uncertain if Cavern Dufour to Cilaos is 5km or 10km.

Estimated Cost

Flight Cost: R7103

Accommodation Cost for 17 nights: Estimated at R19000

Buses are approx EUR 5,00 per trip (I may be able to purchase 5 tickets for EUR 20). Budget 12 trips approx R1100.

Food cost budgeted at EUR 35 per day. Total for 17 nights: R10000 (estimate)

Other Activities: Canyoning: EUR 50 (or R950)