Hi travellers! My name is Cedric Boyer (@flyingprod) – a 39 year old digital consultant, aerial explorer and the founder of FlyingProd. I was born on Reunion Island but I didn’t grow up here. At the ripe age of one, my parents decided to move to French Polynesia. We spent 20 years living in Tahiti.
All of my passions for travel come from my parents. I had the chance to discover tropical places at a very early age. Photography has been a part of my life since I was young too. But it wasn’t until late-2013 that I picked up aerial photography. I try to capture beautiful moments and epic places that inspire humans to consider their relationship with nature.
I decided to move back to Reunion in September, 2018. Before that, I lived in Mauritius for three years and Paris for 13. I wanted to move back because my parents live here and I needed to be with them during a tough period.
Life on the island is definitely low stress! During my days off, I wake up early to fly my drone at a beach or waterfall, then join my friends for some drinks and depending on the weather we might enjoy a SUP session at sunset.
Why Reunion Island should be on your Bucket List
Reunion is known as the “intense island” (rather than just a tropical island) because of the many different landscapes on offer. Everything from natural pools and waterfalls, to beaches and jungles, to our famous mountains and volcanoes! It’s a genuine paradise for nature lovers and photographers.
I have explored 60% of the island and spend most of my time at the beach since I’m a fan of the ocean. There are many secret hikes and hidden gems to discover further inland. I plan on doing the Piton des Neiges soon – one of the most difficult hikes in Reunion. The king of all trails is to hike this volcanic peak which is known as the “roof of the Indian Ocean”.
Another awesome thing about Reunion is that the population is diverse. People from Asia, India, Africa and Europe have co-inhabited this island for years now and the result is a harmonious mix. I have had the chance to make lots of friends here mostly through Instagram which has been great!
My Favourite Place in Reunion – Secret Natural Pool at Saint-Leu
I have many favourite places in Reunion but my number one for now is a secret natural pool at Saint-Leu. This is an epic little area with crystal-clear waters that will make you speechless. The magic of this pool is that it’s exposed during low tide and submerged at high tide. It’s beautiful and dangerous at the same time. Fishermen have died here due to the swell.
Top 10 Things To Do in Reunion
As well as trying to find the secret natural pools of Saint-Leu, I recommend the following 10 experiences for your visit to Reunion. From epic hiking trails, to scenic helicopter flights, to whale watching tours and more – there is never a dull moment on this beautiful island in the Indian Ocean.
1. Hike the Awesome Three Cirques Trek
The Three Cirques Trek consists of hiking through three large calderas (Mafate, Cilaos and Salazie) which were formed by the collapse of a volcanic crust. These calderas are technically sinkholes/craters which drop away from the slopes of the volcanic cone. A great hike for first time visitors.
2. Take a Scenic Helicopter Flight over Reunion
Seeing the lush and volcanic landscapes of Reunion from the sky is a truly breathtaking experience. There are a few helicopter companies to choose from – each of which offer different flights with different lengths. Expect to see volcanic craters, majestic waterfalls, remote villages and epic coastlines.
3. Go on a Paragliding Adventure in Saint-Leu
Another fantastic way of seeing Reunion from the sky! Saint-Leu is a small town and fishing port which is known as being a surf and paragliding hub. Choose from a range of different companies and their various paragliding options – some taking you to bigger heights than the other ones.
4. Enjoy Stand-Up Paddleboarding at the Lagoon
The Reunion lagoon located on the west coast is blessed with crystal-clear turquoise waters and a beautiful coral reef. This lagoon is 22km long and is around two metres deep in most parts – making it a phenomenal place to go swimming, snorkelling and stand-up paddleboarding.
5. Canyon and Rock Climb in the Reunion Mountains
Reunion is considered by many to be a Garden of Eden for canyoning and rock climbing. The mountains mixed with the tropical rainfall means that adventurers have waterfalls to abseil under, natural pools to explore and mountain cliffs to scale. This island really is an adventure playground!
6. See Marine Life on a Dolphin/Whale Watching Tour
There is nothing more exciting than seeing dolphins and whales up close. Reunion is blessed with an abundance of pantropical spotted dolphins, sperm whales, fin whales and humpback whales. These creatures can be seen at different times of the year, so do your research before coming.
7. Explore the Landscapes of Piton de la Fournaise
Visit Piton de la Fournaise where the scenery looks like Mars. Standing at 2,631 metres, this volcano is the most visited tourist attraction on the island and it’s easy to see why. One of the first natural wonders that people see when they arrive on the shores of Reunion is Piton de la Fournaise.
8. Experience Lava Tubing through an Old Lava Flow
Touring the old lava flows of Piton de la Fournaise is an incredible journey – one that is both invigorating and scary! You will be transported into an underground world (with the support of specialist volcanologists and guides) and get to explore lava tunnels, stalactites and frozen waterfalls.
9. Wander around the Saint-Paul Market (Seafront)
Located on the west coast, the town of Saint-Paul offers a wonderful market which runs every Friday morning to Saturday morning. Here you can shop at dozens of seafront stalls, pick up fresh fruit and vegetables, try the local Creole cuisine, and browse through arts and crafts.
10. Tour the Saga du Rhum Museum
The Saga du Rhum museum is the only museum of its kind in Reunion dedicated to rum. Visitors can learn about the history of the island, the local cultures which make up this beautiful place and also find out how rum was manufactured here over the years. Of course, you can pick up some rum!
Bonus Experience: Enjoy the Local Cuisine
Foodies to Reunion will not be disappointed. The island has an eclectic mix of cuisines which originate from Europe, China, India and Africa. Some of the local flavours have a spicy kick to them! My favourite traditional dish is Sausage Rougail (rice, grains, tomato sauce and smoked sausages). If you are looking for a bar to enjoy a few drinks then SAUVAGE is the place to go.
Need to Know Before you Go
Some of the best accommodation can be found in Saint-Gilles, located on the west coast. If you can afford it, try the Palm Hotel & Spa which is perched above the glistening sands of Grande Anse beach on the southern coast.
Remember to protect yourself day and night from the Tiger Mosquito (Dengue Fever). Use repellent creams and sprays to protect your skin. Lastly, if you plan on taking a few hiking adventures in Reunion be sure to book your gites in advance for overnight stays and meals. Thanks for reading everyone! I hope to see you in this French paradise one day soon.