Reunion is fairly safe. You must, however, respect some simple principles:
Don't walk around alone at night in big cities.
Be careful of signs of riches cameras, too many jewels, ....
Don't resist in case of aggression.
Most crimes are family-related and linked with alcoholic behaviors.
The major attraction of Reunion is the stunning scenery, with impressive walks on cliffs and, obviously, the volcano. Be aware that in some high altitude areas, especially the volcano, mid-day fog may really hamper orientation; also, temperatures may drop significantly. In foggy weather, do not stray from well-marked paths. Carry layered clothing. Even on this tropical island, in high altitude locations, in humid weather, you can really catch a bad cold.
In 2006, Reunion experienced an epidemic of Chikungunya virus. By April, 230,000 people had been infected, which amounted to almost 30% of the population. The epidemic eventually ebbed, and by the summer new cases had dropped to near zero. Travelers should still take precautions against mosquito bites.
Caution should be taken when spending time in the sun. High altitude areas may be scorchingly hot when the sun is high, and cold when it is foggy. Prepare layered clothing.
Sanitary and medical facilities in Reunion are very good.
As in the rest of France, French and EU residents get most of their health care costs covered by the compulsory health insurance plan sÃ©curitÃ© sociale. This plan does not cover nonresidents, who will be expected to pay full price. A travel health insurance is thus advised. Full price costs are significantly lower than in the United States.
Visitors from European Union should bring an EHIC European Health Insurance Card - obtained in their own country before departure. The E111 form is no longer valid. Ask for details at your local health care organization.
The major hospital is in Saint-Denis but there are various others in important cities. There are doctors in almost every village.
Tap water is usually safe for consumption. Public sources of water are unsafe if labeled with "Eau non potable" Water not drinkable.
French is the official language of Reunion, although Creole is widely spoken. Everyone understands French, but few people understand English.
French spoken with the local Reunion accent, intermingled with Creole, can be difficult to understand for native French speakers. Metropolitan French are locally nicknamed z'oreilles "ears" for their tendency not to understand and ask people to repeat.
English speakers meet every Monday evening between 7:30PM and 11:00PM including during holidays at the Moda Bar, 75 rue Pasteur, in Saint-Denis. Infoline 0692 560220. If you speak English, it is a good way of sharing ones accent, culture and language to meet travelling and resident couch-surfers. Ten to twenty people attend each week. The bar allows people to bring take out food.
See also: French/Creole dictionary (http://www.creole.org/dic...)
Country code: 262
Dialing within Reunion: all numbers have 10 digits. Landlines begin by 0262 and mobile phones by 0692 and with 0693.
Dialing to Reunion: international prefix + 262 + phone number without the first 0 this leads to dial twice 262 which is normal. If you dial from France, just use the 10 digits number.
Dialing from Reunion: the international prefix is 00.
Calling to a mobile phone is more expensive than to a landline. Number beginning by 0800 are free phone. Number beginning by 089 are premium-rate.
Few foreign mobile phone companies offer international roaming to Reunion so double-check before leaving. Your company should provide specific roaming to Reunion since it has different mobile phone companies from mainland France.
Alternatively, you should be able to get a Pay-as-you-go SIM card from various locations. There are two companies offering wireless services: SRR (http://www.srr.fr/) and Orange RÃ©union (http://www.orange.re/).
During the cyclonic season November to April, you should check cyclone warnings shown in newspapers or broadcast by the radio or TV. There is three state of warning:
Vigilance cyclonique cyclone watch: cyclonic risk in more than 24hrs, you should buy in advance enough food and water as well as batteries and candles;
Alerte orange orange alert: cyclonic risk in the next 24hrs, schools are closed, try to avoid getting around;
Alerte rouge red alert: cyclonic risk in the next hours, don't move from your home and avoid using the phone, stay calm.