Saint-Denis Travel Information
Local time is GMT +4.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.
French is the official language but the most widely spoken language among locals is Reunion Creole. English is taught at school level.
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. Public water sources are unsafe if labelled 'Eau non potable'. 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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). City/area codes are not in use. Three local mobile phone companies provide service, and some international roaming agreements exist but these tend to be expensive. Internet cafes are available in the main centres and hotels generally provide internet access but it isn't always 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.
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