Reunion island, the intense island as it is called, has many assets and extremely contrasted landscapes with its lagoon beaches and its black sand beaches, its majestic peaks and cirques which were included in UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites in 2010, its spectacular lava flows in the south or its unique primary forests. It also has many historic buildings, breathtaking gardens and colorful and fragrant markets.
Saint Leu is not outdone and offers a great range of outdoor activities et cultural visits.
Find a sélection below of activities you can do within 15 min by car from RéOcéan. Also, feel free to ask Jérôme, your host, who will happily share his favorite places and most beautiful walks around.
A first small beach can be found in the heart of Saint Leu. Though it is supervised, it has no shadow. Beware!
Out of the city heading south, there is a second beach. This latter one is shadowed by many filaos, typical coastal trees. There, you can sunbathe and discover the wonders of the lagoon. Along the beach there are many small restaurants and cafés where you can refresh and taste local specialties.
Le musée du sel
A little further after the beach, in the locality of Pointe au sel (Salt point), you will find some active saltworks and a salt museum. The saltworks were brought back to activity in 1996 and the museum presents all the history of the place and the salt production process. The area around is rather wild especially on days when the sea is rough and great waves come crashing with spectacular water plumes. From mid-June to mid-September you may also have the chance to spot whales. They're quite fond of the place!
de Saint Leu
Next to Pointe au sel, the "blower" is worth the retour. Depending on the days and the state of the sea, this natural phenomenom can be very impressive and the water spray rise several meters high. This happens because of the magmatic nature of the coast and the presence here of an underwater volcanic cave which has a small opening in its roof. When a wave gets in, the air in the cave is pressurized and escapes forcefully trhough the opening carrying along thousands of water droplets. The site is signposted and there is a car park.
On saturday mornings head to Saint Leu seafront , where the farmers market takes place! Less touristy and less crowded than the famous Saint Paul market, you will definitely have the chance to enjoy a little chat with the local producers and craftsmen. It's time to try "bonbons piment" and spicy pickles! Make sure to bring back some real Bourbon vanilla and dried tropical fruit!
Let's get high !
Saint Leu is a world famous paragliding spot. The take-off is a few hundred meters above RéOcéan. From there you will jump in the air and fly over the slopes of Saint Leu and the barrier reef to land on the beach not far from the turtle farm. There are many paragliding centers in Saint Leu where you can book your first flight for a truly memorable experience!
Kélonia, the turtle observatory
At the same time an aquarium, a museum and a care center for turtles, Kelonia offers an attractive and interesting educational and scientific journey around the history of an endangered species and its relationship with humans. Il also raises awareness about the fragile balance of marine ecosystems.Four of the five different turtle species that live in the Indian ocean can be seen on the spot.
Mascarin botanical garden
Around a beautiful colonial mansion, the national botanical garden displays an incredible collection of trees and flowers over 8 ha. Eight theme gardens showcase more than 4000 plant species : the endemic plants garden, the global collection of coffee trees, the tropical orchard, the palm trees garden, the bamboo cathedral, the cacti garden and the fern and orchids one. It's a wonderful and quiet place and it's located just a few tens of meters above RéOcéan.
Stella Matutina museum
The museum opened in 1991 on the site of a former sugar cane factory. It was completely renewed in 2011 et now takes the visitors on a journey into the intertwined story of sugar and Bourbon island (now Réunion island). You will learn a lot about the people that made the island and the Réunion identity through testimonies, archive documents and unusual objects. A powerful place!