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Unlike Madagascar, where there is a profusion of indigenous wildlife, the island gem of La Reunion, its neighbour to the south-west, has very few; one of these is the spectacular Panther chameleon, a mini-kaleidescope-coloured monster which can grow to a length of 50 cm. Lying on the crossroads between Asia and Africa, fluorescent rivers of molten lava occasionally spew out of the earth's crust and plunge into the crystal waters of the Indian Ocean, searing everything in their path. This island -jewel, similar to Hawaii, insofar as both are located above hotspots in the earth's crust, is between Madagascar and Mauritius. And is 63 km x 45 km. There are three volcanoes here, one extinct, swathed in forests, where mountains, gorges, and spectacular waterfalls jostle shoulder-to-shoulder, vying for one's attention.

La Reunion is the southernmost French overseas departément; it has the same administrative status as those on France's mainland. French is the official language and the currency is the euro. The first Europeans to land here were the Portuguese in 1635, but it was soon annexed by the French in 1638, apart from a brief occupation by the British between 1810 -1814. After that it became an important stopover on the East Indies trade route, until the Suez Canal was opened. The ethnic mix on the island is a melting-pot of French, African, Chinese, Malay and Indian immigrants, and those who are born on the island, called Creoles, are the largest group.

There are numerous activities to pursue on Reunion, scuba-diving, surfing, deep-sea fishing, climbing, abseiling, para-gliding, riding, white-water rafting, mountain biking and walking. Rambling and hiking is one of the most popular pastimes on the island, through exhilarating scenery. A spectacular trek is to the live 2,633m Piton de la Fournaise volcano which erupted (safely) three times just last year. Guided tours around the island take the tourist to magical places, such as a village labelled "one of the most beautiful in France." This is Hell-Bourg, a jumble of candy-coloured houses surrounded by cascading banana trees and exotic blossoms.


The capital, St Denis, perches jauntily on the tropical north coast, well-removed from the mist-clad forests. The visitor will not be surprised by the familiar trappings of a French country town, as Renaults and Citroens chug past Carrefour supermarkets or a Monsieur Bricolage, alongside superb French restaurants, and other eateries of fusion cuisine. Whilst sipping an icy kir on the café-line beach resort of Boucau Canot one could easily be forgiven for imagining for an instant that one was on the beach at St. Tropez, gazing over the Mediterranean.

There are several daily non-stop 9-hour flights from Paris to La Reunion with easy connections from the UK.

The Reunion has many options for vacation accommodation. There are villas and apartments to rent on Reunion Island. You will need to contact specialists on the island or book your Reunion villa or apartment online. You can rent apartments and villas in St Denni, and most of the other holiday towns in the Reunion.   

About the Author:
Reunion Rentals: apartments and villas to rent in St Dennis on Reunion Island.
Article Source: - Reunion Island: Where Fire Meets the Sea
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