How do you get around in Saint-Denis, Reunion?

    Dec 11, 2018 @ 08:58 AM / by Eugene Kobiako

    A Carrefour parking lot in Saint-Denis, Reunion

    A Carrefour parking lot in Saint-Denis, Reunion. Photo taken by AIRINC surveyor Eugene Kobiako.

    A fascinating mélange of French and Creole cultures

    This past quarter I surveyed Saint-Denis, Reunion, an isolated island that was a fascinating mélange of French and Creole cultures. Reunion Island is an overseas department and region of France located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and southwest of Mauritius. Its capital and economic center is Saint-Denis. Since Reunion is officially part of France, everything functions on the island almost exactly like it does in mainland France. Driving is on the right, the official currency is the Euro, and shops and businesses are closed on Sundays. A major difference I noticed, however, is the way public transportation functions, as well as the prices of taxi rides.

    Public Transportation in Reunion

    Taxis are incredibly expensive on the island, and no mobile rideshare application exists. Upon arrival to Saint-Denis, I took a metered taxi from the airport, which charged me 35 euros for a 15-minute ride to the hotel. For comparison, a similar trip in Paris would cost half the price. Based on advice from previous surveyors, I rented a car to limit costs during my travels around the city. Although an international driver’s license is required, I was able to find an automatic transmission vehicle for 45 euros per day, which still came out to be significantly cheaper than taking taxis or hiring a driver.


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    Slow Traffic and Limited Parking 

    Traffic moves slowly in the city as there are many one-ways and roundabouts, and the drivers tend to be very courteous. The speed limit in the city is 50 kilometers-per-hour (kph), and 110 kph on highways. Most vehicles are light, two- or four-door sedans, which are typically hybrid or come with environmentally friendly functions, like automatically turning off during stops longer than 3 seconds. Gas prices are nationalized, so there is consistency at every gas station. The only difficulty I encountered was parking in the city center, which can be an issue due to a lack of parking lots and spaces.

    Overall, transportation in Saint-Denis is straightforward if driving oneself. Relying on public transportation can limit one to certain areas and an irregular schedule. Taxis are very expensive so either rent a car, bike, or walk when on the island of Reunion! 


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    This post is taken from On-site Insight, AIRINC’s in-house global mobility blog. On-site Insight provides AIRLinc subscribers with an exclusive “behind-the-surveys” insight into new and existing expatriate locations based on commentary and photos from our global research team. Included is information on general living conditions as well as changing costs for both goods and services and housing and utilities, along with much, much more! To find out more, click here

    Topics: On-site Insight, Transportation, Insights and Experience, Transportation Data, expatriate transportation, Reunion, Saint-Denis

    Eugene Kobiako

    Written by Eugene Kobiako

    Eugene joined AIRINC in 2016 as a surveyor and analyst in the Cambridge office, and is currently a client engagement representative for the Asia-Pacific region. A native of Seattle, he received his B.A. in European Studies and B.S. in Biology from the University of Washington in 2012. During his studies he spent two semesters abroad: one in Copenhagen, Denmark and one in Ottawa, Canada. Prior to AIRINC he has worked for the governments of Mexico and the European Union. He has been to over 80 countries for both business and pleasure. In addition to English he speaks Russian and Spanish fluently as well as some French, Danish, German, Swedish, and some basics in a few other languages. In his free time he plays the guitar and bass guitar, enjoys football (soccer) and hockey, studies foreign languages, and is an avid vexillologist. He is based in Hong Kong as of February 2020.