Passports or ID cards are required for French citizens and people from the rest of the European Union, the European Economic Area, Andorra, Monaco and Switzerland. A visa is required for citizens of all other nations, except for nationals of South Africa, China and India that are now exempt from visas.
Note : Reunion is not in the Schengen Zone, which means visas for mainland France are not valid. Contact an embassy or the French consulate.
As rabies does not exist in Reunion, all animals must be vaccinated before being brought in.
For long-haul and regional flights: Located in the north of Reunion in St Marie (10 minutes from the city centre of St Denis, when not in rush hour). The airport has a meeting point and a café near the exit of the luggage reception area.
The car park, vehicle rental services and taxis can be found just outside the airport building. The bus stop is fifteen minutes’ walk away and there are shuttle services between the airport and the city centre.
There is nowhere to exchange money at the airport but there are cash points.
Plane timetables and other useful information are regularly updated on the answer phone (tel. 0262 28 16 16) and on the Roland-Garros Airport website.
Only for regional flights
Located in St Pierre, in the south.
Cash points / ATMs
There are cash points all over the island.
What to pack
Bring light clothes, but don’t forget a warm jumper or fleece depending on the season, and a good anorak if you’re planning on trekking in the mountains, spending the night at altitude or getting up to see the sun rise at the Piton des Neiges or the volcano at dawn…
Indispensible : sunhat or cap, sunglasses, sun cream, swimsuit (topless sunbathing is allowed on the beaches) trainers or hiking boots.
Recommended : loose-fitting clothing which covers arms and legs to avoid mosquito bites as the austral summer nights fall.
Do not pack too much : anything you don’t have you’ll be able to find locally.
Importing fresh fruit, vegetables or seeds is strictly prohibited, so don’t bring your hosts any flowers!
When you travel, liquids and sharp objects must be stowed in the hold.
Tip: trousers with legs you can unzip are a good idea, especially when changing from one climate zone to another!
In the air
Flights from mainland France last over ten hours. Make sure you drink enough water and remember to move around during the flight in order to encourage circulation of the blood. Tights or support stockings can add extra comfort. Scuba-diving is to be avoided in the 24 hours preceding your flight.
Children fly with little difficulties and, for some babies, it can be the very first time they sleep right through the night.
Tip: If you don’t want a baby on your lap for the whole flight, make sure you book a cradle with your airline company beforehand. Baby bottles, sweets and chewing gum for children can help to protect those sensitive eardrums on take-off and landing.
On the ground
There are no specific health risks in Reunion. No vaccinations are necessary before coming, except for those passengers flying in from a country currently affected by cholera or yellow fever.
There is no malaria in Reunion, but it’s still advised to protect yourself well from mosquito bites.
The advanced medical and pharmaceutical network means that it’s easy to get your hands on all kinds of medicine and hygiene products.
Protect your children from the sun, especially on the beach and up in the mountains (sun cream, long-sleeved t-shirts and headgear). For long drives up in the mountains, it is prudent to take preventative measures against carsickness.
In Reunion, the weather varies a great deal depending on the area and altitude.
Here is the website for Meteo France’s regional office in Reunion:
http://www.meteo.fr/temps/domtom/La_Reunion/ (in French)
Weather forecasts: Tel. 32 50
Cyclone updates: Tel. 08 97 65 01 01
Here is the website for the Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory:
http://ovpf.univ-reunion.fr/ (in French)
Observatory answer phone : Tel. 0262 27 54 61