We hired a car on the internet from Air Location (near the airport at St Marie) and found on arrival that it was a 12-year old banger in a very poor state. It was dangerous to drive as the clutch was sticky and the steering wheel cover kept slipping. It was also dirty and uncomfortable. The air conditioning didn't work. Take care!!!! Don't go into the mountains with a car like this as the roads are very steep and there ate lots of hairpin bends.
Go and rent a car on reunion island. thats , besides by hiking the only good way to discover the island.
There are 1000s of car rentals on the island. so you dont need to get your car from expensive rentals like AVIS, BUDGET at the airport.
One good company is STOP VO , located in St.Denis and St.Gilles-les-Bains
..but take care , sometimes there fall rocks on the road or roads get closed due to heavy rainfall, especially route litoral between le port and st denis =)
If you are going to spend more than a day or two on Reunion, then renting a car is a must. The island's interior has spectacular scenery, and it has an extensive road system that makes most of the best scenery easily accessible by car. All of the major rental car companies have outlets at Roland Garros, the island's main airport. We rented from Europcar, which also had a branch near our hotel in St.-Gilles-Les-Bains.
Reunion follows French road rules, and driving is therefore on the right side of the road, unlike nearby Mauritius, which drives on the left. Most rental cars on the island are manual transmission. If possible, get an automatic, because you will be doing a lot of shifting with the winding and hilly roads. Focusing on shifting will detract from the driver's ability to enjoy the island's great scenery (and stay out of the deep ditches which line many of the back roads).
Like to cruise around?
If so, great! Rent a car. Try out the zig zag shaped routes that you see on those mountains! "La Montagne" as an example. (At night, it's an impressive view) *Check out picture: breathtaking view once you get to the resting/lookout point.
Mind you: most cars in Reunion are standard cars. Therefore you will have a good practice going uphill and good workout driving up those roads if you are not used to driving stick. La Reunion is known for steep mountain routes. There are a lot of turns, and if one is not used to it, watch out, you'll get a huuuuugeeeeeee headache by the time you reach turn # 20 (believe me, i've been there, done that, it's horrible! Especially when the driver is accostumed to driving those routes everyday and drives really fast around those sharp curves. It gets pretty scary I tell you)
Also try out: Route de la corniche. Highway by seashore that leads from Saint Denis to le Port/la Possesion. You will see nettings on the rocks (beside the highway) because during heavy rain/cyclones rocks may fall on the road.
There is 4 airlines going from France to Reunion. These are:
- Air France (http://www.airfrance.com)
- Air Austral (http://www.air-austral.com)
- Corsair (http://www.corsair.fr)
- Air Bourbon (http://www.air-bourbon.com)
Of course, if you are in Mauritius, you have a direct flight to and from Mauritius. These are operated by Air Austral and Air Mauritius.
Air France, Air Austral and Corsair have 70% market share, so there is not really a lot of competition. The new one, Air Bourbon with its Airbus A340-200 is trying to offer a new alternative, by offering a constant price throughout the whole year.
The price to and from Paris is around 1100 euros return ticket.
Reunion has a fairly efficient bus system that runs around the island. If you are on a backpackers budget this is probaly the only real way to get around. They have very good bus schedules available for free and you can pick them up at the main bus terminal in St. Denis. Be aware that these buses don't run very late into the evening.
La Reunion and particularly St Denis is very congested, roads are too narrow and cars are too many.
It become OK when you leave St Denis.
However, transport is no so easy on the island, so it is better to rent a small car at the airport.
There was a company very cheap, renting Peugeot 106, 900cc.
You were paying something like 10 USD per day.
On your doors you had their nice ad: "I rented this car very cheap".
This is the easiest way to travel on the island.
I even could sleep in when I did not find a guestroom.
28 rue du Lagon, Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains, 97434, Reunion Island
Good for: Business
31 Rue Juliette Dodu, Saint-Denis, 97400, Reunion Island
Good for: Solo
44,route de Boucan Canot, Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains, 97434, Reunion Island
Good for: Couples