Reunion: Clearance and Cruising Information
Published 8 years ago, updated 4 years ago
SUBMITTED BY: Jason Trautz, s/v YOLO (You Only Live Once, life is not a rehearsal)
The following port clearance and cruising information is provided to help sailors visiting Reunion.
This information is based on two U.S.A. citizens on the 42-foot catamaran YOLO with no pets.
ARRIVAL DAY/ DATE: Monday, August 24, 2015
ARRIVAL PORT: Le Port, Reunion
DEPARTURE DAY/DATE: Sunday, August 30, 2015
DEPARTURE PORT: Le Port, Reunion
Consider the navigational information noted below as suggestions, and rely on your own sailing skills for accuracy and safety.
Most cruisers really enjoy their visit to Reunion, an island country of 844,000 people. However, limited marina space and a lack of anchorages mean many yachts have to give Reunion a pass.
After spending a year or two in Southeast Asia and hopping across the Indian Ocean, most cruisers find the civilized first-world goods and services of Reunion a godsend. Pricey, but refreshing. How civilized is it?…you can drink the water out of the tap, the lights stay on 24/7, all cities and towns have sidewalks, bicycles have dedicated lanes, motorized vehicles yield to pedestrians, and drivers adhere to the rulesoftheroad (versus treating them as suggestions).
The topographical eye candy of the island is outstanding. Three thousand plus meter high mountains, an active volcano, over a 1,000 kilometres of hiking trails, and huge national parks will hook you into staying longer than you planned.
PASSAGES TO REUNION
Most yachts are running with the southeast trade winds from late April to September. They approach Reunion from the east northeast after departing Port Louis, Mauritius. Yachts typically leave Mauritius at about 1200, enjoy a wonderful beam reach sail of fewer than 24 hours, and arrive at Reunion after sunrise the next morning. The distance between the two ports is about 140 nm, and the favourable current and trade winds will probably push you along at near hull speed.
Caution: My Navionics chart noted a “Red Lateral Buoy (conical shape)” at approximately 20.49.3 South and 055.25.9 East, which is over 3 km off the north shore of the island in 1,000+ meters of water. The purpose of the charted buoy is unknown. I passed very close to this location early in the morning and did NOT see the buoy. It was definitely not light, and I believe it was not at the charted location. Perhaps the buoy has been moved or removed.
REUNION PORTS OF CALL
For practical purposes, there is only one port o fcall, Le Port, Reunion. The city of Le Port is located on the northwest corner of the island just south of Pointe Des Galets. This area of the island has two ports. The new commercial eastern port (Port Est) is located east of Pointe Des Galets and is used by large cargo ships. You want to enter the old western port (Port Ouest) which is just south of Pointe Des Galets.
The approach to Port Ouest is at lat/long 20.56.10 S and 055.16.55 E. Enter the port on a heading of 102.6 degrees. This all-weather port is easy to enter and well marked, leave the red navigational aids to port. As normal, approach the port with your yellow Q flag flying.
If you call the “Reunion Coast Guard” or “Le Port Port Control” on your VHF radio, you will be wasting your time. During my stay at Reunion, all yacht and sailing vessel radio traffic were ignored by the Coast Guard and Port Control. The commercial port monitors channel 12. The marina and pleasure crafts monitor VHF channels 9 and 16.
NIGHT TIME APPROACH
I approached the island and port in the early morning, with no problems. I believe you could safely enter the old port (Port Ouest) at night because it is well marked and has deep water. However, locating an open slip in the old or new section of the Plaisance Pointe des Galets marina would be very difficult outside of marina business hours. Most visiting yachts simply float in the ocean, just west of the Port Quest entrance which is usually on the leeward side of the island, if they arrive outside of marina operating hours.
You are NOT required to have a shipping agent when clearing into and out of Reunion. See my comments about marina reservations below, do NOT assume that you can simply show up at Reunion and have a safe anchorage spot or marina berth.
VISA AND BONDS
Most visitors do NOT need a visa for visiting Reunion. Upon arrival, you can stay up to 90 days as
WHERE TO STAY
Good news, Reunion has six marinas, with a total of about 2,000 slips. Bad news, most are for small boats and all of the marinas are often packed full. You might have three options on where to park your boat when visiting Reunion.
1. Anchoring in Saint Paul
If the weather is settled and you can take your dinghy to shore, anchor near the wharf at Saint Paul. This is where the tall ships anchored hundreds of years ago before there were Reunion cargo ports. Saint Paul is about 10 nm miles south of Le Port on the west side of the island. This is a common day anchorage for local sailors.
Note: If you quickly glance at a navigational chart of Reunion, you might conclude that there are many anchoring spots along the coast. However, the continuous southern and southeastern ocean swells really beatup the coastal areas 24/7.
2. Marina in Saint Pierre
Located on the southwest corner of the island, Saint Pierre has a marina with a few local sailboats in it. This marina is typically overflowing with boats and the approach to the marina has a lat/long of 21.21.00 S and 055.28.59 E. Contact the Port de St. Pierre Harbour Master on VHF channels 9 or 16 before entering the marina, or call him on the phone at 0262323265 or 0692911721 to see if he has room for another yacht. It may be prudent to contact them before leaving Mauritius, as yachts have been turned away for lack of room.
3. Plaisance Pointe des Galets Marina
Almost all foreign yachts stay at this marina which has over 800 slips. The marina provides excellent protection from wind and waves. The marina has two sections, and are managed by the same team. You must contact the marina PRIOR to departing your last destination. The marina is often full and has turned away some walk-in visiting yachts!
The contact information for the marina is:
Plaisance Pointe des Galets
Jerome Belhuerne, Maitre de Port (port manager)
1 Rue Berthier, 97420 (the ZIP code), Le Port, Reunion
EMail: [email protected]
Marine Office Phone: 0262711470
Jerome Belhuerne, Marina Manager, Phone: 0692313666
Pierre, Marina Assistant Manager, Phone: 0692313665
There are only three employees at this large marina, which creates an impossible workload for the small team. There is only one office that services both the old and new marinas. The marina is open Monday through Friday, 0800 to 1500, and Saturday & Sunday from 0800 to 1200. Jerome is the manager and speaks good English. Pierre also works in the office and speaks very little English. Johnny works outside the office. Call “Plaisance Pointe des Galets marina” or “Le Port Marina” on VHF channel 9 or 16 prior to entering the old west port. You will be advised to proceed to the “old” or “new” marina. If you arrive at the marina outside of business hours you can proceed to an open slip on your own. However, almost all “open” slips are rented by local sailors per annum, and they are probably cruising nearby. So, you will probably have to leave the slip when they return to the marina unless a marina employee assigned you to the slip. A marina employee MIGHT be available to catch your lines when you arrive or depart but don’t count on it.
Your fenders should be about a foot above the water. The new floating docks sit high in the water.
Plaisance Marina Old Section: The old section of the marina was built in the 1960s. It is located in the Bassin P. Gueze, which is located directly south of the entrance to the Ouest Port. Enter the port motoring east and when you are in the harbour basin immediately turn south, then travel west and complete a button hook turn. After making the Uturn you will turn south and head towards the entrance of the old marina. You have to motor through an 8 meter (26 feet) wide concrete wall opening at the south end of the Bassin P. Gueze to access the slips in the old marina. Most foreign yachts ended up tied to the walls here, and once the wall was full, they started rafting yachts.
The marina office is in the old marina area. It is the small Sydney Opera House looking building on the northeast corner of the property. This section of the marina has water and electricity (220 volts) on the docks, bathrooms, showers (no hot water), WiFi, and a clothes washer (6 Euros/load).
According to the marina manager, “In the future foreign yachts will rarely be assigned to a slip in the old marina.” This section of the marina is further from town (Le Port city centre is a 15-minute walk away), however, most of the extensive number of yacht servicing companies are located on the western side of the marina. The old marina houses the fuel (petrol and diesel)pumps. The old marina is surrounded by a high fence and the access road has a locked gate at night. i.e., you are likely to enjoy a quiet and safe night.
Plaisance Marina New Section: The new section of the marina has 85 slips, and I was one of the first customers to occupy a slip in it, on its opening day August 24, 2015. Like anything that is brand new, it has opportunities for improvement, many of which will hopefully occur in the coming months. Visiting foreign yachts will likely be put in the new marina versus the old one, from now on.
Within a week of opening, the new section of the marina is almost full! Slip demand certainly exceeds supply on this island. The manager of the marina has petitioned the owners of the marina to have 1% of the slips set aside for foreign yachts. Mathematically, that means only 8 yachts will find “room at the inn.” When speaking with the marina manager I sensed that the 8 reserved slips would be a goal, which might easily give way to annual rental agreements for slips by local boat owners.
Since the new section of the marina was recently land (dirt/soil), it is NOT noted on charts. I’m located in a slip at lat/long 20.56.40 S and 055.17.26 E. Enter the Ouest Port on a heading of 102.6 degrees (as usual), enter the harbour basin, and then look east southeast for the 8 flag poles on top of the tall concrete wall. The flag poles are in the sailing club compound, which is directly north of the new marina area. Look to the right (south) of the flag poles and you will see one green and white pole and one red and white pole on top of high concrete walls. The concrete walls disguise the entrance to the new marina which is located in the southeast corner of the harbour basin. The water in the marina and entrance is about 3 meters deep and you have to be 20 meters from the narrow hidden entrance before you can see it.
The new marina is located near the Le Port city business district, has bathrooms with showers (hot water was only in the sinks so far), water and electricity is on the dock, a large trash bin is located on the northeast corner of the property, and many city park-like benches surround the marina basin. Most of your shopping needs will be within walking distance.
Opportunities For Improvement: Le Port city officials want the new marina area to be open to the public and managed like a public park. The owners of the marina and the marina manager view the marina as private property and wish to manage their investment (20+ million Euros) accordingly. At the close of the first week of operation the WiFi system has not been installed, the longest finger piers are 9 meters (30 feet) long, there are no plans for clothes washers or dryers, the hot water in the showers don’t work, toilet paper holders dispense air, the showers have no place for your towel or clothes, waste bins don’t exist, the bathrooms have not been cleaned in seven days, and the security measures for the property are a joke. Some of the electronic security doors and gates do not work.
After work, locals pour into the marina on foot, bike, motorcycle, and car, and picnic on the surrounding marina basin. BarBQ fires are common on the walkways and nearby lawns. Loud radios, screaming children, and barking dogs are audible from three sides of your yacht for hours each evening. After about 20:00 the families often depart the marina area and the young and wild crowd arrives. They back their cars up to the marina basin, open their car doors, and trunks (boots) and play extremely loud rap music. Often
until 0300. You can feel the subwoofers in your cabin most nights. The 2000 to 0300 crowd engage in heavy alcohol drinking, singing, dancing and yelling, kind of like some cruisers! Revving engines, screeching tires, and drag races in the nearby parking lot add to the mix. After 0300 most of the drunks have left and the only people left around the marina’s edges are the hookers and their John’s. The early morning fishermen arrive with the sunlight. Piles of bottles, cans, spent pizza boxes, used toilet paper, dog droppings and other garbage must be sidestepped when you go to the bathroom in the morning.
This Le Port marina social cycle has been repeated for seven days in a row. I’m hopeful that the marina owners will allow the marina manager to hire a night time security guard to curb the behaviour of the night owls. And, the marina property can be surrounded by a fence and gates. Time will tell. Jerome appears to be the right guy to get things sorted out, given time and owner approval.
CLEARING IN PROCEDURE
Prior to sailing to Reunion, you must contact the Plaisance Pointe des Galets marina manager, Jerome Belhuerne, via an email or phone call. His contact information is noted above. He will do two things:
1. Confirm that there is room at Le Port for your yacht. In many instances, a foreign vessel will have to leave a Reunion before another foreign vessel is given the green light to come to the island. Feel free to give Jerome the suggestion of “rafting up.”
2. If Jerome has an opening in his marina or will “wait for list” you for a slip, he will send you the Declaration De D’Entree (Arrival Notification) form. Fill out the form and email it back. Make sure Jerome acknowledges the receipt of the Arrival Notification form AND gives you permission to come to Reunion PRIOR to departing for Reunion.
When you arrive at the Plaisance Pointe des Galets marina you will be assigned to a slip and the marina staff will telephone the Douane (Customs) and ask them to come to the marina to clear you in. Shortly after arrival, the marina personnel will hand you three copies of the typed Declaration De D’Entree (Arrival Notification) form, which is like the form that you emailed to Jerome. Review the typed forms to make sure that they are error free.
You should remain on board your vessel until the clearance officials arrive. Historically, you might wait for hours for their arrival. Douane is the ONLY officials you need to deal with, since they also fill the role of Immigrations, Health, Coast Guard, etc.
The Douane clearance process takes one or two minutes. The three officials will stamp your passport and the three Declaration De D’Entree (Arrival Notification) forms. They retain one copy of the form and give you the other two copies. Good news, you are free to roam the country for 90 days!
The Douane working hours are from 05:00 to 20:00 Monday through Saturday. They do NOT work on Sundays. The Douane refused to give me their office phone number, despite my three requests. Ah, the perfect governmental organization, unreachable, out of sight, and on the payroll.
After the Douane has left your yacht, go to the marina office. The Plaisance Pointe des Galets marina does NOT require any paperwork, payment, or proof of insurance upon arrival. They want a copy of your stamped Arrival Notification form and a rough idea on how long you will be staying at the marina. During your initial meeting, you will get a key to the dock gate and bathrooms. One key for each. Jerome has asked the owners of the marina for more keys, which they must approve before the additional keys are created in France and shipped to Reunion. While in the marina office it is also a good time to get a road map of Le Port and the island and grab a few tourist brochures from the display. If you are going to use the marina’s WiFi, ask for a handful of Connexion Internet slips which provide access IDs and related passwords. You may also want to ask for a key to the old marina toilet block if you want to use the washing machines, of which there are two. They require tokens you buy from the old marina office, 6 Euros for a wash.
During my stay in Reunion, not a single yacht was inspected. While clearing in I was not asked about guns, ammo, spearguns, or pets.
CLEARING OUT PROCEDURE
Two business days prior to departure contact the marina manager and tell him that you want to clear out of Reunion. He will give you three copies of the Declaration De Depart (Departure Notification) form to complete. Fill out the simple one-page form three times and hand them back to the marina manager. He will fax one copy of the Departure Notification form to the Douane and request that they visit your boat to clear you out. At this time the marina manager will prepare your invoice and make arrangements to pick up your marina keys.
A 42-foot catamaran is charged $40 USD per day, which is 1.5 times the rate of a monohull. Local island boats visiting the marina pay the same rates as foreigners. Annual slip holders get a discount. The daily charge includes Parking for an auto, water, electricity, WiFi, toilets and shower facilities, trash bins, and clearance assistance. You can pay with cash or credit card.
The marina typically calls the Douane several times in hopes of getting an acknowledgement that they will be visiting your yacht in the near future. Sometimes the marina will have you hoist your Q flag prior to clearing out. This is done in hopes that a Douane official driving by the marina will stop in and clear you out and it helps the officials locate the appropriate yacht upon arrival.
According to the marina manager, the Douane often ignore requests to clear out yachts, and in some cases never complete the exit clearance process. When the Douane fails to appear and clear you out, the marina stamps the Departure Notification form to make it look kind of official, and asks you to ignore the fact that your passport will never have a Reunion departure stamp.
When in France, do as the French…
FYI, if your next stop is Madagascar, the Malagasy officials could not care less what type of exit papers you have from your last port, a copy of an old checking account statement would probably do.
If the Douane does appear, the clearance process is swift. Again, Douane (Customs) are the ONLY officials you will see. They will stamp your passport and all three copies of the Departure Notification form. They will retain one copy of the form and wish you a good voyage’.
I cleared out one day prior to departure. None of the three officials reached for their 9mm Glocks, nor did their shallow breathing pattern change, when I declared my intentions to leave the following day.
Pets are welcomed at Reunion, with no prior paperwork. During the clearance procedure, state that you have a healthy pet on board. End of discussion. There is no charge for pets.
Monday through Friday, during normal business days:
Clearing in costs: zero, nada, zilch…
Clearing out costs: Nothing.
Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays:
Same as the above, but you CANNOT clear in or out with the Douane on Sundays, they are
The tides max out at about half a meter. There are floating docks in the marina. FYI, some foreign yachts have tied up to concrete walls near the old section of the Le Port marina in the past.
French is the official language of the country, spoken by everyone. English is spoken by only a few residents, most of whom work in the tourist or technology industry. There always seemed to be someone who spoke English available for clearance purposes. My “French For Cruisers” book by Kathy Parsons really came in handy.
Payoffs are unheard of in Reunion. In fact, getting a governmental official to visit my yacht was difficult during my stay in Reunion. They ignored the first four clearance requests by the marina to clear YOLO and her crew out of Reunion.
TOURIST OFFICE AND MAPS
Get a Le Port and island map of Reunion at the marina office. Jerome distributes a detailed map of Le Port which has all of the key merchants on it. In his office grab the free Mer & Ports booklet which has a great map of Le Port and excellent coastal charts which include all of the Reunion marinas. The publication also lists many of the local marine services businesses. Also get an Ile De La Reunion Tourism and Leisure Map, at the marina office. It shows all of the major roads, tourist attractions, and dozens of hiking trails.
The Reunion tourist office is located next (south) to the large Catholic church in downtown Le Port. I stopped by the office three times during their posted business hours, and they were never open to the public. I suspect they were in a closed meeting with the Douane.
Touring The Island: Keep in mind the following when touring the island. Many of the scenic mountains and valleys become encased in clouds at 10:00 each morning. You can literally set your watch by the formation of the clouds, which then obscure all views. Reunion is a big island, the roads are excellent, and the highest mountain is over 3,000 meters high. This means plenty of mountain driving with hundreds of curves and switchbacks. The prized natural beauty spots are spread out, so pick a high altitude activity for early in the morning, and a low altitude venue for the afternoon. Most cruisers start their rental car engines at 0500 to see the stellar attractions.
High altitude activities require warm clothing, multilayers being the best. When I visited the volcano I could see my breath and frost covered the ground. The exploding volcano, even when viewed and heard from a distance, was world class. If you organize your tour schedule, start early, and return to the boat at about 16:00, you can see many of the island highlights in three fully packed days.
If you want to spend days hiking, your schedule will be extended. FYI, much of the island topography is vertical, and one company offers a hiking trip from the north shore to the south shore. It takes 13 days to complete the journey!
Reunion has many large cities, most starting with the word “Saint.” Their roads (city streets, highways, and expressways) all turn into large parking lots during the commuting hours. Plan accordingly.
IMPORTING YACHT PARTS
You can have mail and packages sent to you, care of the marina address noted above. If you are getting boat parts sent in, make sure “Yacht In Transit” is stated on the address label for duty-free treatment. Sometimes Customs requires you to write a letter stating that your package contains parts for a yacht in transit before the package is released to your custody.
YACHT RELATED SERVICES
Yachts can find just about any type of support they need, you just have to poke around the merchants located near the old marina. You can get hauled out by a sling hoist or if your yacht is around 80 meters long you can use one of the railways!
MEDICAL AND DENTAL CARE
High-quality health care facilities are spread throughout Reunion. Just bring your wallet.
There are green cross pharmacy signs in every city, town, and village.
The yellow and blue Le Port Post Office is located in the northwest corner of the Le Port business district. Consult Jerome’s city map for the exact location.
BANKING AND CURRENCY
The Euro is the only currency accepted at most establishments in Reunion. Banks are everywhere. Their ATMs will gladly accept plastic and regurgitate Euro bills. During my visit, one Euro was worth $1.12 US dollars. On the flip side, $1.00 USD equalled .89 Euro. Credit cards are accepted just about everywhere for everything.
To be honest, governmental offices tend to be open when they want to be open. Their posted work hours should be treated as an optimistic goal. As a carryover from ancient times in Europe, many businesses are closed on Sunday AND Monday. In Le Port, business hours vary. The Muslim businesses open and close according to a schedule only known by Allah. The Christian business owners unlock their doors at about 09:00 and serve their last customer at around 16:00. The hardcore French businesses knock off for a long lunch (often starting at 12:00 or 13:00) and continue business into the early evening.
The open market is located near the large Le Port Catholic church on Wednesday mornings. The church is noted as a mosque on Jerome’s city map.
The trash cans/bins are located in both sections of the marina. Reunion and the marina has an outstanding recycling program which accepts about 10 categories of materials…glass, paper, plastic, metal, light bulbs, motor oil, batteries, etc. There are several recycling centres in the old marina area.
Drink the water off the dock or out of any Reunion tap.
You are living among the masses again, where homes, boats, businesses, cars, bicycles, and just about everything else is locked. Most homes and businesses are surrounded by walls and fences, and many city residences have metal bars over their windows. Metal shutters cover the doors and windows when businesses are closed.
TRANSPORTATION – BUSES
Buses travel within and to every city, town, and village in Reunion. The transportation system is outstanding. The one-way fare is often around 2 Euro, $2.40 USD per bus. Most cruisers skip the bus routine for several reasons. One, renting a small car is cheap, by just any body’s standard. Two, Reunion is large and the attractions are often far away. This requires coordinating the routes of many buses. Probably doable for a local who is fluent in French. Challenging and expensive (time and money) for tourists. Travelling to/from/between the coastal towns is quite doable using the public buses.
TRANSPORTATION – TAXIS, AUTOS, AND AIRPLANES
There are very few taxis in Reunion. Le Port’s central business district is near the marina and
easy to walk to.
In Le Port, there are four (Enterprise, WestCar, AVA Location, and Garcia Location) rental car agencies. I completed your homework assignment and shopped all of them. By far, Garcia is the cheapest and best deal. Garcia is located across the street from the large Score grocery store.
Garcia’s contact information is 12 (building number) Avenue Du 14 Juillet 1789 (street name), Le Port, 97420 (ZIP). Call Gilles (“Jhill”) at 0262540404, email [email protected], or consult garcialocation.com for more details.
A subcompact car splattered with Garcia signage rents for $27 USD per day (21 Euros/day) which includes insurance, taxes, A/C, and unlimited miles. I drove their peppy like-new Nissan Piko over 900 kilometres in three days and spent more on petrol than the car rental fee. Reserve a car in advance since the cheap models are often on the road. Garcia is open 0800 to 1800, and closes for lunch from 1200 to 1400, seven days per week. An 800 Euro security/damage deposit is collected up front and refunded if the car is returned unblemished. A valid driver’s license is required.
The European Union has cut, carved, paved, and paid for just about every road in Reunion. In fact, the latest project is the building of a 2 BILLION Euro road around the cliffs on the north side of the island, which is the most expensive roadway ever built in France! The goal of the new overtheocean road (bridge) is to avoid landslides and falling rocks which have killed motorists in the past. The roads are supreme and the superb signage gives you directions to the next town or nearby attractions. Local street signs do NOT exist or are very hard to find. You will find it easy to navigate the island in a rental car. “Please drive on the right side of the road like the locals,” was the mantra from my wife on many occasions. FYI, when the volcano is active the major road around the southern end of the island is closed to traffic. This means you can’t circumnavigate the island on the main road.
Jets fly into and out of Reunion daily, connecting the island with all of the major airports of the world. The primary routes are to/from Europe (Paris).
The major international courier’s service Reunion. Most items arrive via Europe.
I did not get a cell phone during my brief 7-day visit to Reunion. The old marina offers free WiFi. Go to the office and get a couple of Connexion Internet slips which note the appropriate login ID and passwords. You will need a Connection slip for each device on your boat, and the ID and password expire after 7 hours of use. You have unlimited data usage on the marina’s routers.
FSR Telecommunications was used by some cruisers in Reunion as their Internet service provider. You can sign up at one of their retailers in Le Port with a long term program or pay $18 USD for the 2G SIM card and 5 days of unlimited usage. After the initial 5 days has expired, you pay another $2.50 USD for each five-day extension. No passport or ID is required for the short term payasyougo program.
TELEPHONE COUNTRY CODE
The country code is +262 when dialling long distance.
The clothes washer is located in the old section of the marine and it requires a 6 Euro ($7.20 USD) token per load. Get your tokens at the marina office.
Le Port has three large grocery stores (Leader Price, Score, and L’Eclerc) within walking distance of the marina. All are noted on Jerome’s maps. Across from Score is a fresh fruit and veggie market. There are several other fresh markets stores in the central business district. The largest discount food store is Jumbo, which is located on the far east side of the city, near the freeway/highway. You would need a vehicle to shop at the Jumbo store.
Reunion prices are near the top of those experienced at other Indian Ocean countries. Some select items are cheap (sugar, rental cars, beer, local rum, wine, cheese, pork, and bread). A large wedge of brie is $2.80 USD, 750 grams of sliced ham goes for $6.00, $1.80 buys you a kilo of bananas, 2 kilos of sugar costs $2.50, a large baguette is 80 cents USD, 40 cents is paid for a cup of yoghurt, a country farm fresh egg is 25 cents, and a can of potato chips is $2.15 USD. Access to national parks is free. See the Booze, Transportation, and Fuel section for more prices.
You are in the Frenchlite part of the world, where wine, sugar cane rum, and beer are very affordable. A 1-litre bottle of red table wine can cost less than $3 USD, a half slab of 12 beers runs $10.00 USD, and local rum by the litre is a little over $7.00 USD. These prices are for cruiser grade spirits, not top shelf liquors.
UTC +4 is local time in the winter and +5 in the summer. Mauritius clocks mirror those in
Petrol and diesel prices are basically fixed at all of the land-based fuel stations on Reunion. All of the major brands have stations throughout the island, and most include a bakery which cranks out hot fresh bread and pastries. Non-duty free fuel prices are:
Gasoline/petrol is $ .1.75 USD per liter (1.45 Euros/liter)
Diesel is $1.30 USD per litre (1.05 Euros/litre)
Propane is also available in very large bottles. Nobody fills American/Australian/New Zealand style propane bottles. Decanting is an option if you have the necessary connections.
Duty-Free Fuel: After you clear out with the Douane you will receive two copies of the Departure Notification form. If you want duty free petrol or diesel at the marina fuel station, present the attendant with one of the stamped forms. You can motor the mothership over to the fuel dock or carry jerry cans. Duty-free gasoline/petrol costs 1.00 Euros ($1.20 USD) per litre and diesel is.90 Euros ($1.08 USD) per litre. The marina fuel station is open Monday through Friday, 0830 to 1200 and 1500 to 1700. The Saturday and Sunday open hours are 0900 to 1200. The fuel dock is next to a barge on the wall just near the narrow concrete entry to the old marina slips. Its access may become easier if local boats move into the slips now that the new marina is open.
They are too numerous to list and they are located everywhere. A sit-down lunch will cost about $15 to $20 USD per person. The price jumps about 30% for dinner, drinks excluded. If you get your grits from a takeaway vendor where many of the locals eat, you will pay $4 or $5 USD for a simple lunch meal that does not include a drink.
After travelling the bargain basement Southeast Asia cruising grounds, you will probably feel the sting of the high prices in Reunion. Many cruisers cut their visit short to save a few hundred or thousand bucks. However, the Reunion western standards, last experienced in Singapore, New Zealand and/or Australia, are often gobbled up by many cruisers circling the globe. Reunion drips with Marquesas/French Polynesia-like beauty.
If you enjoy outdoor sports (hiking, biking, river rafting, rock climbing, hand gliding, mountain biking, bird watching, etc), as a casual participant or Olympic level pro, then you have achieved Nirvana, Reunion.
Those who enjoy surfing will have to sit on the beach and watch the waves since surfing is outlawed in Reunion. Bull shark attacks in the past have claimed lives and body parts, which isn’t a good thing for the tourist trade.
Make sure you stop in at Reunion if you can get a marina slip. You won’t be disappointed.
SUBMITTED BY: Jason Trautz, s/v YOLO (You Only Live Once, life is not a rehearsal)
Thank you very much for the detailed and objective ‘information which is much appreciated by the Indian Ocean cruises. We would just like to add that most if not all of the problems of the new marina are now resolved. There is a security guard on premises 24 hours a day, the access to the pontoons are locked, the keys given open the pontoon doors and the toilets as well as the barrier to the car park.
No cars other than boat owners’ are allowed inside the premises. There is continuous ample hot water in the showers all the time. Lots of trash cans have been installed, and there is no trash anywhere. The marina is very clean, quiet and pleasant. Jerome is very helpful, and we could rent a car for 19 euros a day for a month with his advice. He can also advise on the hiking trails.
Walking the Cirque de Mafate is exceptional, the crater and the villages called let’s are unique in the world, so plan to spend some time doing this, even if for one night only. La Reunion is a beacon of civilization in the midst of the Indian Ocean, and it is very pleasant to be here.
Nadire Berker & Selim Yalcin, SY Keyif, Istanbul, Turkey