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During my 4-month stay on the small island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean, hitchhiking was my main means of transportation. The island is mostly not suitable for cycling due to very narrow, narrow roads that often rise. I would classify it as very dangerous, because the driving behaviour of the locals is often very fast and careless.
Bring time if you considering taking the bus
Without your own car, another option for getting around is the public bus network. However, you should definitely not expect a German standard here. The bus timing is designed in such a way that long waiting times are totally normal. The island is indeed small, but if you not only want to move on the motorway around the island, but also want to get to the starting points of many hikes, then you have to go into the interior of the island.
In order to get there by bus, you have to bring time with you! For 30 km, 3 h are not uncommon. Depending on the region on the island, there are different bus companies, for each of which you need a ticket individually. In addition, the buses that for example go to Cilaos are sometimes full, so that you have to wait for the next one (which can be around 60 minutes)
Hitchhiking in La Reunion works better than in many other countries
Compared to my other hitchhiking experiences in different countries of the world, I can say that hitchhiking in La Reunion works very well. The waiting times were never long and the people were very friendly. I almost always reached my destination much faster by hitchhiking than if I had taken one or more buses.
In my time there the yellow vest movement was just active. This led to immense road blockades and a complete breakdown of public transport for several days. During this time, hitchhiking worked better than ever before. I often waited less than three cars, could get off before the blockades, walk through them and was then taken directly behind the blockade by a next car.
The people in La Reunion show a lot of compassion because they are aware of the difficulties to get around without their own cars. Tourists are always welcome.
People in La Reunion are less afraid
I also noticed that people in La Reunion are less afraid of hitchhiking. From Germany, I was used to women taking you with them less than men and young people are afraid of taking you in general. There all people, no matter which sex or age, collected me with pleasure. Very often I was even driven home because of a nice conversation, although it sometimes meant a long detour for the people.
Especially to popular hiking starting points or after the hike from the final destinations back to the cities it works without problems. Even if only very few cars were there, most of them took me directly with them when I asked them.
But the weather is a little bit stressful. In case you have to wait a little and you stand close to the sea, the temperatures in the sun rise to very unpleasant heights. But this compensates the unbelievable friendliness of the people.
By hitchhiking in La Reunion I made lots of contacts, some of which I can now call friends.