The Cirques, Saint-Denis - Stein Travel
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The Cirques

Réunion is a place of spectacular natural beauty and one of its must-sees are its three main cirques, Cilaos, Mafate and Salazie. A cirque (or caldera) is a natural amphitheatre, created by a volcano collapsing in on itself. Salazie is perhaps the most striking, covered with roughly 100 waterfalls, most notably The Bride's Veil ( Le Voile de la Mariée) near Hell-Bourg, as well as lush vegetation. Cilaos has long been the site of a spa resort, boasting thermal baths for the wealthy inhabitants of the area in the 1800s. It was also once a refuge for runaway slaves. Today it still known for the Irene Accot Thermal Centre; a must for weary hikers. Mafate is the most remote of the cirques and its name is derived from the Malagasy for 'lethal,' illustrating the difficulty of accessing the area. Mafate is dotted with tiny hamlets (the largest is La Nouvelle) and there are no proper roads, so the only access is on foot. The cirques provide unparalleled hiking opportunities and unspoilt wilderness, and are within a few hours of Saint-Denis.

Information & Facts

Language

French, as well as Reunion Creole and some English is spoken.

Money

Réunion is an overseas départementof France and therefore since 2002, the unit of currency is the Euro, divided into 100 cents. There are plenty of banks and ATMs on the island, and most shops and hotels accept major credit cards (though most require a minimum amount for payments). Travellers cheques are widely accepted, with Euros the preferred currency. Banks are open on weekdays from 8am to 4pm. Most businesses are required to display their prices in their windows and restaurants and hotels must have their rates visible from the exterior.

Time

Local time is GMT +4.

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