There's a little appreciated travel fact that we at Original
Travel are trying hard to overcome - Brits tend to travel in former
British colonies, while French and Spanish tend towards their
former dominions. Not surprising, really, given common languages
and the fact that there are far more direct flights between
post-colonial chums. What it does mean, however, is that some
seriously spectacular destinations often slip under the radar for
the British traveller. A classic example of this is the delicious
island of Réunion, a former French colony.
As mentioned earlier, if you're keen to do some walking while on
holiday in Réunion, a particular favourite route of ours takes in
Cilaos, a beautiful village that is only accessible on foot. The
town is taken from the Malagasay phrase for 'the place one never
wants to leave', a sentiment first employed by runaway slaves who
thought they were safe from recapture in such a remote spot.
Unfortunately for them that proved not to be the case, as they were
recaptured soon afterwards. The village later became a spa retreat,
and is one of several isolated and extremely atmospheric
communities hidden away in the interior that are well worth
exploration. And there are plenty of ways to explore the
surroundings, be that by helicopter, paraglider, canyoning or on
Coastal activities on offer include snorkelling, diving (which
is far better here than off Mauritius) and surfing, or just
lounging about on one of the beaches (some black sand) that
encircle the island. The food on the island, as you'd expect from a
French prefecture, is uniformly excellent from the hotel croissants
to some excellent restaurants serving creole cuisine.
All in all Réunion is a perfect little holiday destination in
its own right, or even better as a perfectly dovetailing
combination with neighbouring Mauritius, just half an hour away by
plane and a more indolent destination.