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Introducing Cirque de Salazie

If you need a break from beach-bumming and want to cool off in forested mountains, head to the Cirque de Salazie. Like the Cirque de Cilaos, the Cirque de Salazie has bags of natural panache, with soaring peaks, soul-stirring vistas, thundering waterfalls, tortuous roads and a spattering of rural hamlets thrown in for good measure.

The winding mountain road that slithers into the Cirque from St-André on the northeast coast offers awesome views and is reason enough to make the trip. Yet the prize at the end of it is golden too: with its Creole colour, Hell-Bourg is the crowning glory of the Cirque.

The Cirque de Salazie is a bit 'flatter' (although 'flat' is not the first word that will spring to mind when you see it!) than the Cirque de Cilaos, but the scenery as you approach is nearly as awesome. The vegetation is incredibly lush and waterfalls tumble down the mountains, even over the road in places – Salazie is the wettest of the three Cirques.