Month by Month
Tamil New Year, April
Grand Raid, October
Abolition of Slavery, December
School holidays mean lots of locals travel around Réunion and make the most of beaches and gîtes. Warm temperatures are guaranteed, but rain and even cyclones are possibilities. Hotel prices soar over Christmas and New Year, but taper off after mid-January.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year falls in late January or early February. Expect plenty of firecrackers on New Year's Eve as revellers ward off evil spirits.
Fête du Miel Vert
Agricultural fairs are very popular in Réunion, and Fête du Miel Vert, held in Plaine-des-Cafres, really draws the crowds. Expect music, dance, culinary workshops and animal attractions.
February's weather is fairly similar to January with generally humid conditions and the chance of rain (and even cyclones). However, because it's ski season in France, crowds are much smaller and it's fairly quiet around the island.
The trend of rain and warm temperatures continues. Cyclones are still a possibility, but less so than January and February.
April is typically the last month when cyclones affect weather patterns across the island, with the chance of rain receding and temperatures falling to more pleasant levels.
Tamil New Year
The large Indian communities in Réunion mark the Tamil New Year with great gusto, with dance displays often forming the centrepiece of the celebrations. The New Year can ensure that things grind to a halt in predominantly Tamil areas, including St-André and Ste-Anne on the east coast.
May is usually a great time to visit – there are fewer tourists (except during the French school holidays), temperatures are mild, and wind and rain aren't likely to be problems. It's a great time to walk around the Cirques.
Cross du Piton des Neiges
The Cross du Piton des Neiges (www.avalasse.fr), held in mid-May, is a tough race that starts from Cilaos up to the island's highest point. The best runners cover it in less than two hours.
Winter has arrived, but this season in the Indian Ocean is far warmer than what you'd expect in Europe or North America. Hotel prices are lower. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy this month, which is predominantly dry.
St-Pierre, on the south coast of Réunion, is the island's most vibrant town, and it's the perfect setting for Sakifo, the island's premier festival of Creole music, with an eclectic program that might include styles as diverse as maloya, salsa, blues and African.
Little rain, mild temperatures and fairly empty beaches are the norm this month. Only school holidays in France can boost numbers. It's a good season for various outdoor activities, including hiking and canyoning. Humpback whales also make their appearance.
August is one of the driest months, and neither temperatures nor humidity reach the heights of later in the year. It may even be cold in the Cirques and around the volcano. French school holidays often push prices upwards.
Pèlerinage à la Vierge au Parasol
On August 15, the site of the Vierge au Parasol, which is located by the coastal road about 10km south of Ste-Rose, attracts hundreds of pilgrims. The statue is said to provide protection from volcanic eruptions.
September remains generally dry but temperatures are getting warmer. The European school-holiday crowds have largely gone and those of later in the year have yet to arrive. It's also the core of the whale-watching season.
October is a transitional month and the best time of the year to visit if you're serious about hiking, with ideal temperatures – not too chilly, not too warm, not too humid.
Réunion marks the Tamil festival of light Divali (Dipavali), in late October or early November, celebrating the victory of Rama over Ravana. Countless candles and lamps are lit to show Rama the way home from his period of exile. Celebrations take place in St-André and other locations.
The Grand Raid (www.grandraid-reunion.com) is one of the world's most challenging cross-country races. Covering some 165km, it traverses the island from St-Pierre to St-Denis, taking in parts of the Mafate, Salazie and Cilaos Cirques.
Fête des Lentilles
Cilaos is renowned for its production of lentils, which are celebrated through various exhibitions, conferences, tastings and recipe contests.
It's a great time to visit the island. Temperatures are climbing, the rains have yet to start, and the larger numbers of visitors seen in December have yet to board their flights.
The first half of December is much like November, although the rains can make an appearance to dampen things a little. As Christmas approaches, prices soar. Gourmands, rejoice: it's the beginning of lychee season.
The grim colonial history of slavery is a particularly poignant memory for the region's Creole communities and Réunion marks the Commémoration de l'Abolition de l'Esclavage (Abolition of Slavery Day), with much Creole music and dancing on 20 December.
Teemeedee is a Hindu and Tamil fire-walking ceremony held to honour various gods. Held throughout the year, celebrations peak in December and January, when participants walk over red-hot embers scattered along the ground.
Christmas is an important celebration, both at a family level and publicly. Most accommodation providers will put on some form of Christmas celebration.