On the leeward side of Reunion, Saint-Leu is a somewhere to get in touch with the island’s abundant nature. There’s a sanctuary for sea turtles, a botanical conservatory and rocky promontories on the coast. You can go underwater to see tropical fish, or watch whales and dolphins breaching above the waves and. And along the shore there are surf beaches battered by Indian Ocean’s swells, and placid lagoons where the water is transparent and warm.
Reunion is known for its stupendous volcanic landscapes, and you’ll approach the formidable Piton des Neiges and Cirque de Mafate on the Route du Maïdo road, which climbs more than 2,000 metres in just a few kilometres.
Lets explore the best things to do in Saint-Leu:
1. Conservatoire Botanique National de Mascarin
Reunion’s bountiful plant life is revealed at this three-hectare park in Saint-Leu.
The conservatory is free to enter and was gradually built up in the 80s and 90s.
It fulfils an important botanical research role, but for you and me is somewhere to be dazzled by Reunion’s natural splendour.
In this one garden there are 4,000 plant species that are endemic to Reunion and the regional islands of Rodrigues, Madagascar and Mauritius.
These are organised into sections, by orchids, bamboo, succulents, palms, orchards, agricultural crops and Reunion’s indigenous flora.