Electricity

The electrical current is 220 volts, and the standard frequency 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.

Language

French is the official language but the most widely spoken language among locals is Reunion Creole. English is taught at school level.

Money

Reunion is an overseas department of France and uses the Euro as its official currency. There are plenty of banks and ATMs on the island, and most shops and hotels accept major credit cards.

Tipping

Tipping is not necessarily expected but is usually appreciated in Reunion. Some restaurants do add a service charge to the bill but if they don't a tip of about 10 percent is appropriate for good service.

Health

There are no real health risks associated with travel to Reunion. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. There is no chance of contracting malaria but precautions should still be taken against mosquito bites, as there are occasional outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever and chikungunya.

Reunion's medical facilities are very good. Most towns have doctors and clinics, while the principal hospital is in Saint-Denis. Tap water is usually safe for drinking, though visitors should take care immediately after a cyclone or cyclonic system, as main water supplies can become infected by debris washed into the system. There is a reciprocal health agreement with the UK and most EU countries, whose citizens are entitled to emergency medical treatment on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Safety

Most visits to Reunion are trouble-free. Crime levels are low but visitors should still be vigilant and avoid extravagant displays of wealth. Swimmers should be aware of currents and riptides; take note of signs on the beaches and, if unsure, ask the locals. Shark attacks are a concern off the island. The cyclone season is from November to April and travellers in Reunion during this time should keep track of storm alerts. The Piton de la Fournaise volcano is still active and an eruption is always possible, but volcanic activity is carefully monitored.

Local customs

Broadly speaking, Reunion follows French tradition and culture, although the island is influenced by its many different population groups. There is a mix of Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam on the island and visitors should respect the different religious groups and their customs.

Doing business

The business culture is quite relaxed in Reunion and only the most formal of occasions will require suits. French is the language of business and an interpreter should be brought along if needed, as there are few professional interpreters on the island. Business hours are generally 8am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Duty free

There are no restrictions on the import of local or foreign currency but amounts exceeding €10,000 or equivalent must be declared if arriving from a country outside the European Union.

Travellers over 17 years of age entering Reunion can bring in the following items duty-free: either 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; one litre of spirits, four litres of wine and 16 litres of beer; perfume for personal use; and goods up to the value of €1,000 if arriving from an EU country, and €430 if arriving from a non-EU country.

Communications

The international access code for Reunion is +262. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). Hotels, cafes, restaurants and tourist offices generally offer wifi access, usually without charge.

Passport & Visa

Passports must be valid for the length of the intended stay. Travellers must have proof of return or onward tickets, sufficient funds or lodging certificates and all travel documents needed for onward journey. Schengen visas are also valid if endorsed "also valid for Reunion". It is highly recommended that visitors' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Entry requirements

US nationals need passport valid for the period of intended stay. US nationals do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

UK nationals do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. A passport valid for period of intended stay and endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British National (Overseas)', or 'British Overseas Territories Citizen with Right to Abode' is required.

Canadian nationals do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. A passport valid for the period intended stay is required.

Australian nationals do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. A passport valid for period of intended stay is required.

South African nationals require a passport valid for period of intended stay. A visa is not required for touristic stays of up to 90 days.

Irish nationals do not require a visa. A passport valid for period of intended stay is required.

New Zealand nationals do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. A passport valid for period of intended stay is required.

Useful contacts

Official Reunion Tourism Portal: en.reunion.fr

Emergencies: 17 (Police); 15 (Ambulance)

Embassies / consulates in other countries

French Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 944 6000.

French Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7073 1000.

French Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 789 1795.

French Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (02) 6216 0100.

French Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 425 1600.

French Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 277 5000.

French Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 384 2555.

Embassies / consulates in Reunion

United States Embassy, Paris (also responsible for Réunion): +33 (0)1 4312 2222.

British Embassy, Paris (also responsible for Réunion): +33 (0)1 4451 3100.

Canadian Embassy, Paris (also responsible for Réunion): +33 (0)1 4443 2900.

Australian Embassy, Paris (also responsible for Réunion): +33 (0)1 4059 3300.

South African Embassy, Paris (also responsible for Réunion): +33 (0)1 5359 2323.

Irish Embassy, Paris (also responsible for Réunion): +33 (0)1 4417 6700.

New Zealand Embassy, Paris (also responsible for Réunion): +33 (0)1 4501 4343.