I did the treck in one day up and down from cilaos . The starting point for the route is a parking lot around 4 km from our hotel/hotel des neiges/ .I would definitely recommend to go there by car so you do not waste time and energy to walk on the tarmack.
I was at the parking lot at 6 Am it was pitch black,so make sure you had a torch or better a head lamp.
It took me 2 hours and 40 minutes ,relatively fast and without too many breaks walk to the hut .Mind you there were 2 guys that were running uphill which is quite funny when you struggle to catch your breath haha.Its like 2 hr 40 minutes "stairs" climbing through teh forest ,everyonce in a while you get a nice panoramic view of the Cirque de Cilaos. make sure you have water and warm clothes the temperatures could and most probably will drop the higher you get.
From the hut to the top i trecked for almost 2 hours.
The path is very well marked ,
There is a lto of loose rock so make sure you have good shoes ,or boots.
Once on top the view was very good.I wanted to get there before the cloud kicks in and i managed to do it.
In total with very few breaks i got to the top in 4 hrs and 30 minutes and the way down which is very ennuying around 3 hrs.I did not bring my walking poles since there was no place left in my suitcase so i found a wooden stick which was very helpful espacially on teh way down,Walking poles are highly recommended as well.
So if you are relatively fit and a good walker it is not a problem at all to go to piton des neiges and back to cilaos in one day.
Enjoy it! It is worth the effort.The views are very rewarding!
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