Your guide to being an expatriate in Réunion

Caffeinate Your Réunion Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Réunion, officially the French Department of Réunion, is a volcanic island in the Indian Ocean that has been a French territory since 1638. The island is known for its stunning landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and diverse culture. With a population of around 870,00, Réunion is home to a range of ethnic groups, languages, religions, and industries that contribute to its vibrant and dynamic economy.


Expat destinations in Réunion

Demographics of Réunion:

Ethnic groups

Réunion's population is predominantly of Indian, Creole, and African descent, with a small white minority. Creole refers to the distinct culture, language, and identity that has evolved from the fusion of African, Indian, and European traditions.


French is the official language of Réunion, but Creole is widely spoken, particularly among the population of African descent. Creole is a creole language that incorporates words and phrases from various African, Indian, and European languages.

Religion Overview

Réunion has a predominantly Christian population, with Roman Catholicism being the most widely practiced religion. However, there is also a significant Muslim population, which makes up around 25% of the population.

Major Religions


Réunion has a tropical climate with hot and humid conditions throughout the year. The island is subject to strong winds and occasional cyclones during the summer months (December to March).

Economy Overview

Réunion's economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and tourism, with the former accounting for around 40% of the island's GDP. Typical agricultural products include sugar, vanilla, and tea. The tourism industry is growing rapidly, thanks in part to the island's stunning landscapes and wide range of activities, from hiking and scuba diving to surfing and whale watching.

Key Industries

  • Agriculture
  • Tourism
  • Information technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction

Major Companies

  • Tropical Décor
  • Société des Aéroports de l'Océan Indien
  • Société Capital Informatique Réunionaise
  • Alizés Voyages
  • La Signature

Culture and Language Overview

Réunion's distinct culture is a result of its unique history, which has been shaped by the island's isolation in the Indian Ocean, as well as its diverse population. The Creole language is a key component of the island's culture, and is used in music, literature, and everyday conversation. Traditional Creole music includes sega, tamour, and maloya.

Cultural Highlights

  • Sega dance: Sega is a traditional dance that originated in Réunion, and is characterized by its energetic movements and lively music. It is often performed at festivals, weddings, and other cultural events.
  • Museé de la Reunion: This museum in Saint-Denis celebrates the history and culture of Réunion, with exhibits covering everything from traditional Creole crafts to the island's scientific discoveries.

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Réunion's volcanic landscape is dominated by the Piton des Neiges, which stands at 3,070 meters and is the highest mountain in the Indian Ocean. The island is also home to numerous exotic plants and animals, many of which are unique to Réunion. Pointe des Galets is a rocky headland that is famous for its stunning sunset views, while Cirque de Salazie is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular hiking destination.

Notable Landmarks

  • Mafate plateau: Mafate is a remote, uninhabited plateau that covers around 10% of Réunion's land area. It is home to a range of rare and endangered species, as well as some of the most stunning scenery on the island.
  • Piton de la Fournaise: This active volcano is located on the east coast of Réunion, and is one of the most accessible volcanoes in the world. Visitors can hike to the summit, which stands at 2,632 meters, and witness the incredible force of nature.
  • Salé circus: This stunning landscape is characterized by its steep cliffs, dense forests, and spectacular waterfalls. It is a popular destination for hiking and nature photography enthusiasts.

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Labor Day (May 1)
  • Ascension Day (Thursday, 40 days after Easter)
  • Whit Sunday (Last Sunday in May)
  • Bastille Day (July 14)
  • Assumption Day (August 15)
  • All Saints' Day (November 1)

Political Stability

Réunion is a French overseas department and thus benefits from the stability that is characteristic of the wider French political landscape. The French government provides significant funding to Réunion, which has allowed for the development of a modern and prosperous society. However, there are some key issues that the island is currently grappling with, including rising costs of living, high levels of unemployment, and declining birth rates.

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