As mentioned in my previous post, La Réunion has proven to be a very difficult destination to plan, especially as a native English speaker and non-driver.
I have finally solidified my plans. I’d prefer to have more flexibility, but with limited information and infrastructure, settling on a solid itinerary seems to be the way to go.
The biggest resource in planning was not the Lonely Planet or Routard, but the tourist board of La Réunion. Their website does have a lot of information but it is one of their employees who helped me the most. I talked to her about my trip dates, my wish list and she advised me not to hike alone, especially if more than a day. She said she would inquire about potential plans and I thought she would find day trips, but she found a 6-day tour that sounds just wonderful.
Day 1 – Hellbourg
Day 2 – Hike in the Haut Mafate. Night in a gîte.
Day 3 – Hike the Cirque de Cilaos. Another night in a gîte
Day 4 – Hike the Piton des Neiges. A night in a limited cabin with no shower facilities.
Day 5 – More hiking towards Cilaos
Day 6 – Hike Piton de la Fournaise
A lot of the guides will not take a solo person and require 2+ people so I feel fortunate to have found a group to go with. The group will be speaking French though, and although I really wanted to practice my French, I’m worried my brain might explode and that my embarrassment on the trip will be very high since it’s been so long since I’ve spoken French regularly.
The downside of this tour is I won’t be spending as much time in Cilaos and Hellbourg as I’d have liked and so I find myself with 4 extra days to spare but I’m so happy that I will be able to do the longer treks in the Cirques which was the main thing I wanted to do.
The remaining days will be spent lodged at a hotel in Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains, from where I plan to do a mountain biking tour of Le Maïdo, spend a day reading/relaxing and maybe do a day tour of La Sud Sauvage or Cilaos.
Plans are finally coming together!