You can plan a trip to Reunion all year round. Even if the period from April to November, during the southern hemisphere winter, is often recommended, the idea of ‘season’ should be put into perspective due to the number of microclimates on the island. Even during the rainy season, from December to March, pleasant weather is the norm. Here are some tips to help you decide when to visit, as well as some information about various sporting and cultural events held throughout the year.
Climate considerations: ‘winter’ or ‘summer’?
The year can be split into two periods: southern hemisphere ‘summer’, which corresponds to the rainy season, and ‘winter’, which is much drier.
During Reunion’s summer, rainfall is highest and the risk of cyclones is greatest; if a cyclone affects the island, wind speeds can reach more than 200km/h. This is also the period when temperatures are warmest, often exceeding 30°C on the coast. If you enjoy fresh tropical fruit, you’ll be able to find a wide variety such as mangoes, lychees, and longans.
During winter, temperatures can fall below freezing in the mountainous areas of Reunion. It’s also the period when the island’s mountain peaks are most likely to be cloud-free: hikers prefer this time of year for that reason. On the coast, temperatures average around 25°C, but the water in rivers and natural pools – and even in the ocean – is cool. Winter is also the ideal time of year for whale-watching. Humpback whales come to Reunion to mate and give birth before returning to the Antarctic with their new-born calves.
According to specialists, Reunion has a hundred or more microclimates. For example, the East is generally rainier than the West, and the climate of the island’s highlands is more akin to a temperate climate than a tropical one. Sometimes you only need to travel a few miles to find sunshine again, or on the contrary, enjoy milder temperatures.
Highlights of the year
There’s always something to do in Reunion, whatever the time of year: festivals, sporting events, or a religious holiday celebrated in a unique way on the island. Here are a few highlights.
Sports and cultural events: THE sporting event of the year is Le Grand Raid, which always takes place during the second half of October. This legendary ultramarathon actually consists of four trail running races, and the flagship event is nicknamed the ‘Diagional of the Lunatics’ due to its extreme difficulty and the fact it crosses the island diagonally from north to south. Other noteworthy annual events are the Tour Cycliste road race in August, and the Mégavalanche, a mountain bike race held in December.
Several cultural festivals showcase local products and crafts. These include Miel Vert (literally ‘Green Honey’) in January, Fête du Choka (a type of agave plant) every July in Entre-Deux, and the Florilèges flower festival held in the town of Le Tampon every October.
Main religious festivals: Reunion’s Tamil, Chinese, Muslim, and Christian communities observe various religious holidays throughout the year that are often the occasion for major celebrations in which the whole island takes part. Tamils start the year with ‘fire walking’ ceremonies. The Chinese community celebrate Lunar New Year in early February and Guan Di in August. In September Eid al-Adha is celebrated by the Muslim community, and the same month Christians commemorate ‘Notre-Dame de la Salette’, the most important Catholic pilgrimage of the year in Reunion. Every November Diwali brings together thousands of Tamil artists and performers for the colourful festival of lights. And in December, nativity scenes, Christmas markets and decorations can be found all over the island.
School holidays: To make the most of your stay, check the dates of Reunion’s school holidays, which differ somewhat from those in the northern hemisphere. For example, Reunion’s schools are closed from late December to late January, and then again from early July until mid-August. There are also shorter, half-term holidays in March, May and October. You may find during these periods, especially the long school holidays, that the price of plane tickets and accommodation is higher, so do bear this in mind when booking your trip and planning your activities.
Let us be your guide as soon as you land at Roland Garros or Pierrefonds. For more information about our airport transfers in air-conditioned and wifi-equipped vehicles see https://elitetourreunion.com/airport-transfer/?lang=en