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Climate - Reunion

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go, what to pack

See also the US version (°F - inches - feet)

Flag - Reunion

Map - Reunion

In Réunion, overseas departments of France located in the Indian Ocean and south of the Equator, the climate is tropical, with a hot and humid season from November to April, in which the north-west monsoon predominates, and a cool season from May to October, ie the austral winter, when the south-east trade winds predominate. During the latter period, daytime temperatures drop to around 25 °C, and night-time temperatures to around 18/20 °C, but sometimes they can drop to 15/16 °C, especially in the coolest months, July and August. On the contrary, during the warmer period, the temperature hovers around 28/29 °C during the day, and around 24/25 °C at night.
Here are the average temperatures of the capital St. Denis.
St. Denis average temperatures
St. Denis J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°C) 23 23 23 22 21 20 18 18 18 20 21 23
Max (°C) 29 28 28 28 26 25 24 24 25 26 27 28

The rains occur in the form of brief but intense showers, called avalasses. The inner highlands enhance the formation of thunderclouds in the slopes exposed to the wind, while partially sheltering the leeward sides, so that in the inland areas the rainfall can reach even 6,000 millimetres per year, while along the coast, it hovers around 1,500 mm. However, the rains are most abundant from January to March, when generally more than 200 mm per month fall along the coast, and even 1,000 mm per month on inland slopes. Generally the rainiest month is January. However, some showers may occur even in the driest months.
Here is the average precipitation in St. Denis.
Average precipitation St. Denis
St. Denis J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (mm) 265 215 190 160 80 75 70 50 45 45 95 150 1440
Days 13 11 12 9 9 10 12 11 7 7 9 10 120

Inside the island there is a town, Cilaos, at 1,200 metres above sea level, inside the caldera of the volcano Piton des Neiges, where from 15 to 16 March 1952, even 1,870 mm of rain fell, beating the world record of the highest 24-hour rainfall.

Piton des neiges is 3,069 metres high, but despite its name ("the snowy peak"), it almost never sees snow. In the south-east of the island there is another volcano, Piton de la Fournaise, very active, 2,632 metres high.

The amount of sunshine is good all year round along the coast, because as we said the rains do not last long, while on the slopes of the volcanoes, the sky is often cloudy.

The island of Réunion is located in the path of tropical cyclones, whose season runs from November 1 to May 15, although they are most common from late December to mid-April.


The sea temperature is high enough for swimming all year round, however, it decreases to 23/24 °C between July and October.
Sea temperature Saint Pierre
Saint-Pierre J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°C) 27 28 27 27 26 25 24 23 23 24 25 27

When to go

The best time to visit Réunion is the austral winter, ie from mid-May to October, because it's cooler and drier, and out of the period of hurricanes. However, for beach life, during this period the weather can be a bit cool, also because of the south-east trade winds, which blow especially along the eastern and southern coasts. Therefore, you can choose the second half of May and the month of October, which are slightly warmer, and still choose the northern coast, where Saint-Denis is located, which is more sheltered from the wind. For the evening and for hiking in the mountains, it's better to bring a sweatshirt or jacket, especially for those who are sensitive to cold.

If you want to go in December and January, a period which in any case is not recommended because of the risk of cyclones, you can choose the southern coast, where Saint-Pierre is located, being less rainy.

What to pack

In winter (May to October): on the coast, light clothes, sweatshirt or sweater, a light jacket, a scarf for the breeze; in Cilaos, spring/autumn clothes, raincoat; to climb mountains, hiking boots, fleece, raincoat.
In summer (December to arch): along the coast, tropics-friendly, loose fitting clothing, light shirts and pants of natural fibres (cotton, linen), a light sweatshirt for the evening, light raincoat or umbrella; in Cilaos, light clothes, sweatshirt or sweater, a light jacket, raincoat.

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