Cilaos, Mafate and Salazie offer exceptional places to start your hiking adventure. Every year, thousands of visitors to the Cirques, soar on countless trails, In the centre, the Piton des Neiges, notably the highest point of the island, is also a decisive playground for hikers.
Cirque de Cilaos located in the centre of the island is one of the natural wonders and hikers will enjoy the great drive that leads them towards this stunning cirque, with all its bends and turns and numerous tunnels. When you reach the start of Cilaos Cirque, you'll be spoiled by colourful fields of flowers, forests of indigenous trees, and soaring walls and pounding waterfalls that attract the most avid canyoners.
If canyoning or climbing is too strenuous, hiking and trekking are excellent ways to see this Cirque. You'll find plenty of hiking and natural mountain biking trails for the energetic ranging from easy to difficult, all with breathtaking photo opportunities. Hike up and down hills, past stunning waterfalls, and perhaps stop at the village of Cilaos, where you can visit a vineyard and sample the local wines.
Include a walk to La Roche Merveilleuse, where you have a fantastic view of the village and forests below, and take time out to see the thermal baths where those from the French mainland came to make their home.
Located in the northwest portion of Reunion Island, the beautiful Cirque de Mafate is surrounded by rugged mountains. Considered the wildest Cirque its only one of three natural amphitheatres accessible on foot or helicopter.
The lack of paved roads makes this Cirque a favourite destination for hikers. Here you can explore this unspoiled wilderness, unencumbered by automobiles or crowded tour buses. Hikers can reach Cirque de Mafate on tracks that lead from the other two Cirques, and once there, a number of mountain gites are available to accommodate those who wish to stay overnight.
Visit, La Nouvelle, the Cirque’s main village, and other hamlets, located on flat-lands known as ilets. The local forest service manages the Cirque and residents are required by the government to pay a rental fee, and without a mains electrical supply rely on solar panels for daily activities.
Forty-Five kilometres from Reunion's capital city of St-Denis, Cirque de Salazie is the largest and greenest of the island's three natural amphitheatres. This Cirque is both rugged and beautiful and is best described as a long, deep canyon, lined with more than a hundred superlative waterfalls and hills and valleys ripe for exploring.
A must see is the towering waterful known by its French name of Le Voile de la Mariée; its trickling water is said to resemble the tulle fabric of a wedding gown.
Take a well-earned rest at the cozy village of Hell-Bourg and the recipient of France's coveted Most Beautiful French Village award. This enchanting little mountain town and its Creole culture boast enchanting Creole houses and colourful flower gardens delighting the eye. Mansion Folio is now open to the general public and provides an excellent example of Creole architecture and Salazie lifestyle.
Find a sunny day to explore Cirque de Salazie, as it can be difficult at times and is often covered by fog and mist. Indeed here is the most beautiful of all the Cirques.