Reunion is a fairly small island situated in the Indian Ocean to the east of the continent of Africa. Reunion is owned by the country of France, and is considered a part of the Eurozone despite its remote geographic location. Reunion has a total population of approximately eight hundred thousand residents, and covers an area of just under one thousand square miles. Reunion was nearly untouched until the middle of the seventeenth century, when French settlers began to arrive after the island was wrested from Portuguese control. Although Swahili and Arab sailors had previously landed on Reunion, the French were the first to establish a permanent port and settlement on the island. The geography and climate of Reunion are remarkably similar to those of the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Reunion is volcanic in origin, and is more than ten thousand feet above sea level at its highest point. This peak, Piton des Neiges, occasionally sees snowfall at certain parts of the year.
Similarly, Piton de la Fournaise, is a shield volcano that erupted as recently as last year, and is one of the most active volcanoes in the entire world. Like the Hawaiian Islands, Reunion has an extremely diverse population with an equally diverse selection of religions and cultural backgrounds. Reunion has a number of remarkable and rare flora and fauna, including the Panther chameleon, sea turtles, and the white-tailed tropicbird. Many of these species and others are found in the Reunion National Park and have become tourist attractions in themselves. Most visitors to Reunion arrive on the island by way of the Roland Garros Airport, although some regional flights arrive at Pierrefonds Airport as well. There are a number of sandy beaches and full service resorts on the island as well as shopping centers and restaurants.