For thirty years now, Mauritius has built itself a dream destination image. Ignored by all until then, this little piece of land in the south of the Indian Ocean, a former British colony, became a luxury exotic holiday destination. It is the dream destination for all retired stars, lottery players and newlyweds seeking the ideal Honeymoon destination.
Mauritius in a Nutshell
Whatever you hear about Mauritius is real. The exquisite beaches of Mauritius keep their promises: sun, palm trees, white sand and turquoise lagoon! Yet the country has much more to offer, and the tourist who leaves the hotel for one or two organized excursions will not perceive what makes the charm of Mauritius and distinguishes it from other Indian Ocean destinations.
The curious traveler will realize, in the early days, that the greatest wealth of the island lies in its people. Mauritians always smile: They are naturally serene and welcoming. Is it the ability to share and live together in spite of the extreme diversity of their origins (African, Indian, Chinese and European) which allowed them to acquire such wisdom? Wherever you are on the island and whenever you cross the gaze of a passerby, you will never read animosity or disdain on their face. It is not uncommon to be invited to a meal or a big Sunday picnic on the beach…
In Mauritius, one learns to open up to each other, but also to nature, lights, scents and sounds: unmissable scent of frangipani flowers, light rippling cane leaves in the breeze and rustling dry coconut palms. Mauritius is the ideal destination for the pleasure of the senses: The Tropical island is nor too wild nor too civilized.
Visit every corner of the Island!
The first thing to do when you are in Mauritius is find time to visit every corner of the island. Each part of the island is unique and will deliver unparalleled experience to each visitor. Here is what you should not miss when visiting:
South Coast of Mauritius
This corner of the south of the island offers a breathtaking and wild beauty; the view over the ocean is incredible and the land is lapped with sugar cane fields. Authentic fishing villages follow each other. They are sparsely populated but all travel guides recommend a visit to those beautiful spots where the best villas of the island are nestled.
Souillac is a typical village whose population consists of fishermen and cane workers. This modest fishing villages with colorful flower boxes is nestled between mountains and sea. Along the coast, you reach the cliffs of Gris-Gris, where the raging waves come crashing to jump on steep rocks. The road from Souillac to Morne Brabant winds along the coast.
Le Morne Brabant
This imposing mass of basalt, rising to 558 m, jutting into the ocean at the extreme southwest of the island is surrounded by several kilometers of beaches lapped by a turquoise lagoon. The seabed teeming with a rich aquatic fauna will convince those passionate of diving. Le Morne has recently been enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage. After the abolition of slavery in Mauritius, on 1 February 1835 a police expedition traveled there to inform the slaves that they had been freed. However, the purpose of the expedition was misunderstood and the slaves leapt to their deaths from the rock. Since then the date is celebrated by Mauritian creoles as the Annual Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery.
West Coast of Mauritius
The west of Mauritius is wild and beautiful since this area has not been overly developped. Beautiful white sand beach bordering a shallow calm and protected lagoon await you there. You can also find many hotels and villas in this corner or the island at very good prices.
This small preserved village of Tamarin becomes the surfing capital in July and August with its world famous waves. If you are passionate of surfing, this is the place to be.
Flic en Flac
Flic en Flac is bordered by a beautiful golden sandy beach that stretches to infinity. Planted casuarina trees provide shade for picnickers. The village itself still has an authentic atmosphere. The coastal plain that dates back from the shore to the central plateau is an agricultural land. Large tracts of canes are lined with small roads with blazing bloom from November to January.
North Coast of Mauritius
Enjoying a particularly mild climate and a calm, warm and welcoming sea, this coastal area has become over the years the tourist mecca of the island. Beautiful beaches dotted with black rocks follow one another to offer all the pleasures and joys of beach holidays.
Once a small fishing village with colorful boats, Trou-aux-Biches now extends over several kilometers between lagoon and casuarinas. Along the long beach of coral sand, you will contemplate beautiful villas and big hotels. It is now one of the main coastal village of the island.
When you go further north of Trou-aux-Biches you will come across Mont- Choisy, one of the most beautiful beaches of the island. The beach here opens like an arc and offers nearly 3 km of white sand to enjoy sunbathing and swimming.
This once small quiet town has now become the tourist mecca. Many shops and trendy restaurants now occupy almost the entire city center. The quiet and bright waters of the bay are home to a marina of popular browsers. At night, Grand Bay never sleeps, it is also the mecca for those party lovers- nightclubs and bars are the only thing you come across all along the main road.
The village of Pereybere has preserved a bit of authenticity, although it is currently under development. The public beach is a popular and lively place where you can enjoy the atmosphere of good-weekends barbecues.
Cap Malheureux is recognizable by its red roof church bay front. A real postcard landscape! It enjoys stunning views of the Coin de Mire, an island a few kilometers north of the main island. The view over the lagoon is incredible: a small sandy beach with fishermen docking their boats.
East Coast of Mauritius
Huge bougainvillea with multiple shades of pink, yellow and orange punctuate this coastal area stretching from Poste de Flacq to Trou d’Eau Douce. Quieter than the villages of the north, the coast is a tourist center of the highest order. Sumptuous luxury hotels line the beaches shaded with casuarina trees and lapped by crystal clear lagoon waters. The Village of Trou d’Eau Douce is also the meetup point for a visit of the famous Ile Aux Cerfs.
Domaine du Chasseur
This private estate is home to one of the last primary forests of the island. Out of nearly 1,000 hectares, you can stroll amid ebony, eucalyptus, cinnamon, or trees of the traveler. This lush forest is inhabited by an important fauna: deer, wild boar, monkeys and especially some rare endemic birds like the kestrel.
Must visit places
When you are spending holidays in Mauritius, renting a car can prove very useful. This will allow you to visit those must visit sites anytime you want at your own pace. Here is a list of must-visits you should do while visiting the island of Mauritius.
The Pamplemousses garden is famous around the world for the large collection of indigenous and exotic plants that grow there, including giant water lilies, Victoria Amazonica and many species of palmiers. Letalipot or coryphe umbrella is of particular interest : legend has it flourish once every sixty years before dying.
Chamarel- The land of seven colors
A winding road brings you to the land of the seven colors of Chamarel. This volcanic curiosity that bequeathed a hill in color contrast of blue, green, red and yellow will surely amaze both the young and the old. The neighboring waterfall of Chamarel emerging from the moor and natural vegetation is surprisingly beautiful. Also do not miss a visit of the village of Chamarel to discover the products of artisans and local restaurants.
Chinatown in Port Louis, is quaint, folkloric and surprising. It surprises with its teeming neighborhood merchants of “boiled noodles” and “fish balls”and its shops selling everything you can buy. Strolling in this neighborhood is a pleasure because the surprise is on every street corner. Do not miss the printer who always made his newspaper using the ancient method. Do visit the various Chinese pharmacies that heal … everything!
Grand Bassin, also called Ganga Talao, is a lake nestled in an old volcanic crater. It is in the heart of Mauritius, in the district of Savanne. It represents the most sacred Hindu place and best known in the country. There you will find a temple dedicated to Shiva and other gods like Hanuman and Lakshmi. During Maha Shivaratri (the big night dedicated to Lord Shiva), many Mauritian pilgrims walk barefoot from their home to the lake. This procession is truly impressive.
The place is beautiful with its lush greenery and small monkeys swinging from tree to tree. On site, one can feel a certain spiritual energy that emanates from this place of worship. You will also have the chance to contemplate one of the tallest statue in the world there- this will surely impress you!
The journey that leads to Grand Bassin is remarkable: it allows to travel the heart of Mauritius, beyond the beautiful beaches and resorts.
Naval Museum of Mahebourg
A must to discover! Visiting the naval museum will allow you to discover the rich naval history of the island of Mauritius. Relics of the largest naval battle won by the French against the English and the Saint Geran, made famous by the novel by Bernardin de St Pierre.
Visit the Neighbouring islands and Swim with the Dolphins.
Ile Aux Benitiers
What slender as flat Morne facing it, the island Benitiers is one of the best-kept secrets of the south coast. With the pace characteristic of a font, elongated shell, this small piece of land is hemmed by splendid beaches that sink in translucent waters. Largely preserved, the island does not allow water sports, but it offers however idyllic conditions to relax in Robinson. On the Mauritian coast, from the village of Tamarin, fishermen will be happy to make sure the crossing to the island. There you will also have the opportunity to swim with the dolphins and at times you can even spot whales during the trip!
Ile Aux Cerfs
Located inside the lagoon of Trou d’Eau Douce, Ile-aux-Cerfs is a beautiful island where Mauritians flock in large numbers every weekend. The island has an extraordinary panorama with its large palm trees and clear waters. There’s really no reason to leave this little paradise because you can find everything there, from restaurants to water sports.
In order to reach the island and enjoy its paradisiacal setting in peace, just get there early in the morning and walk a little, because the further away from the pier, the more chance there is to find deserted beaches. Boarding is at Pointe Maurice, in a small boat. The island is covered with dense vegetation that gives it an air of Eden. No development of tourism infrastructure here, apart from Touessrok, one of the most famous five star hotels in Mauritius.
There you will have the opportunity to taste fresh fish there, exciting and delicious lobsters that contribute to wonderful experience you spend on the legendary Ile-aux-Cerfs. This is the ideal place to enjoy the holidays.
Ile aux Aigrettes
Ile aux Aigrettes is a small coral island (25 hectares) located offshore from the town of Mahebourg. The island was declared a natural site and is preserved today by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. The tour of Ile aux Aigrettes takes about 15 minutes. As part of this tour you will discover the island and enjoy an original nature with an experienced guide at your side.
Discover endemic plants and animals- some of which are close to extinction such as the Pink Pigeon, a bird that was in danger of extinction for many years. Visit also the native plant nursery. Then, go in search of rare pigeon, the kestrel, the endangered skinks and of course giant turtles.
The island is a small jewel of biodiversity and history, placed a stone’s throw from the northeast shore of Mauritius. This is one of the last wild lands of the country with its dense mangrove belt. Sea kayaking is the perfect way to enter and understand the role of mangroves in a fragile marine ecosystem it takes more than ever to protect.
Flat island is located near the ilot Gabriel, separated by a lagoon of approximately 200m. Most catamaran trips head to the islands surrounding but the island is also a nice site. It is quieter since it is less visited. Laze, picnic lunch or barbecue, dive and snorkel- enjoy the island! Also enjoy the new restaurant “The Governor’s House” installed on Flat Island, for a gourmet meal!
Ilot Gabriel is located near Round Island and Flat Island, at the extreme north of Mauritius, about 10 kilometers north of Cap Malheureux. The distance between Gabriel Island and Flat Island is just 750 meters. The Gabriel Island is a protected nature reserve. The island is famous for its beautiful beaches and crystal clear water that surrounds it.
It is an uninhabited islet, 22.5 km north of Mauritius. It has an area of 1.69 square kilometers and a maximum altitude of 280 meters. The island is a nature reserve under the jurisdiction of the Mauritian Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The rare reptiles, endemic to the Island include the gecko and Round Island boa.
Visit The Local Markets
Colourful and convivial, the markets are to be visited in the morning, when the animation is in full swing. There you will come across Mauritians who come to do their daily vegetable shopping. The market of Port-Louis is close to the seafront of Caudan. The market is divided in various parts, it includes a section devoted to food, another to clothing and a third to souvenirs. If you have a sensitive stomachs avoid visiting the opposing market where meat and fish is sold: the smell is a bit strong. However, displays of fruits and vegetables are a treat for the eyes. There is even a market for traditional herbal corner which offers all kinds of teas to cure various ailments.
Taste the Mauritian Cuisine
Mauritian cuisine has undergone the influences of all the populations that make up the island. Nevertheless, it is essentially based on curry that comes with most meat dishes, fish and even vegetables. The rougaille can also serve as accompaniment for all dishes. This is a sauce prepared from tomatoes- Love tomatoes (variety of local tomato), onions, garlic and other condiments. The specialties also come from other horizons such as the Indo-Muslim kitchen with briyani (prepared with rice) and Chinese cuisine with fried noodle. As side dessert, you must taste the Napolitaine, with two jam filled biscuits. The whole is topped with a pink icing! Last but not least do not miss the famous dholl puri- it a must taste on the island!
Try the Various beverages of the Island!
Mauritius has long been known for its sugar cane industry and when there is sugar cane there is Rhum. Do not miss the opportunity to taste the local rhum while visiting Rhumerie de chamarel or Rhumerie de St Aubin or the Rhumerie at Chateau Labourdonnais. You will find rhums with various flavours- Vanilla, melon, coconut… You should also taste the local beer which have been winning various prizes since its existence on the island.
Try Fishing – Big Games Fishing
Fishing is an art practiced mostly by the people of Mauritius. The activity is not well developed in tourism. One can observe fishermen boats on all coasts of the island. This resource allows the tourists to enjoy delicious fish like Marlin, Dorado or the Emperor. However, big game fishing is much more prevalent in the tourism sector. Many companies and hotels offer this sport activities around the island.
Does trekking tempt you?
The mountains on the island of Mauritius cannot compete with those of Reunion island. Yet, they nevertheless allow beautiful walks accessible to all. Near Port Louis, Peter-Both, Le Pouce and the Signal Mountain form a protective circus around the capital. Lost among the hill you will come across many waterfalls where it is safe to swim. Rochester falls, near Souillac, will marvel you with its rocks carved by water stairs. In the south, the road of Black River Gorges offers unique views of the south of the island. If you love nature then you’ll love walking through Mauritius to discover its mountain scenery of the center, its exotic vegetation and rich fauna.
Practice Water sports in Mauritius
As for sports, Mauritius obviously attracts water sports lovers: diving, windsurfing, kite surfing … gliding enthusiasts are found on this island in the Indian Ocean to enjoy the trade winds blowing all throughout the year and particularly favorable in winter.
Diving in Mauritius
The passionate of diving can discover the underwater spots of Mauritius of exceptional beauty. Whether you are a beginner or already have your PADI level, you can make diving trips on the various sites of the island. For the more cautious, you would not be able resist to snorkel the Mauritian lagoon … Equipped with fins, masks, snorkels … One spot you should not miss if you love snorkeling is the Blue Bay Marine Park! You will be subjugated by the breathtaking scene that will extend in front of your eyes under water.
Winter sports in Mauritius
If you prefer skiing, the island is full of kite surfing spots known worldwide … among others the famous waves of One Eye spot …
With its protected lagoons, the trade wind regime provide a steady wind almost all year and its waves generated by the island’s Barrier Reef is now a sports stage appreciated for windsurfing, accessible even to beginners.
Water skiing is also a very popular activity in Mauritius and offered in all hotels and on all the beaches. Besides skiing, the range of activities proposed in Mauritius extends to sports such as windsurfing, sailing (hobby cat, lazer, dinghy, catamaran) but also canoeing, kayaking, pedal boating, glass bottom boat … activities to discover during your stay in Mauritius.
Cruising around Mauritius
To complete your holidays on this paradisiacal island, a catamaran cruise along the coast of Mauritius is a must. There is nothing better to discover this island in a completely different light and visit the various islets surrounding this floating gem of the Indian Ocean.
Swim with the Dolphins!
Explore the spectacular lives of these magnificent marine mammals in their natural aquatic habitat. Immerse yourself in the adventure of a lifetime and swim with dolphins in crystal clear waters. Swimming with dolphins is an incredibly moving experience which will bring you into contact with strikingly beautiful scenery, unspoiled landscapes and wonderful animals
You’ll plunge into the remarkable world of these powerful marine mammals and come face to face with the dolphins. Unlike many other dolphin facilities that limit a swim with dolphins program to pools or shallow water encounters, we provide the unique opportunity to enter the dolphins’ natural environment and enjoy an encounter with the dolphins in open sea.
Once you get on board the speed boat, the skipper will brief you on the experience you are about to have.
Reserve your Dolphin Trip here: http://nager-dauphins-maurice.indian-ocean.com/
Golf in Mauritius
An activity holding the upper hand in Mauritius remains golf. Enthusiasts from around the world compete on the greens mowed between mountains and sea, in paradisiacal sites near the lagoon or the famous Ile aux Cerfs. No less than eight 18-hole courses (the ninth is underway) and four 9-holes can be found on the island. Something for all golfers, who canpleasantly occupy their stay in Mauritius!
Discover the Flora and Fauna of Mauritius
Many “adventure” Parks settled on the most beautiful endemic ecosystems of Mauritius. Activities proposed in the various parks are very well secured and supervised by competent and attentive staff. They welcome young and old, athletic or not.
For lovers of nature and its wildlife, it is possible to visit beautiful wildlife parks in Mauritius such as Casela Adventure Park or Vanilla Crocodile park. Besides the spectacle of thousands of birds, you can approach crocodiles, monkeys and giant tortoises. Go as a family to feed Bengal tigers and walk with lions during your stay in Mauritius.
Without getting wet, you can admire many species of fish in a submarine at Pointe aux Biches. Always dry, you will walk on the seabed aboard a small submarine comfortably in a transparent cabin, heated and at atmospheric pressure. You will enjoy ideal conditions to discover and admire the extraordinary underwater landscapes of Mauritius outside the lagoon.
In calm and shallow water, a unique and exciting experience is offered to all: walking underwater. Ideal for children and those who cannot swim to observe aquatic life.
Enjoy Wellness in one of the Mauritian Spa
Whether you opt for Givenchy spa or the Six Senses Spa, Mauritian hotels abound of wellness center. All as beautiful as the other. Mostly using Clarins products, those temples of wellness offer a range of impressive care and ayurvedic reflexology. Well-being is no longer restricted to five-star hotels. Even the lower categories hotels have such infrastructure today. However, the often so called “spa” is often only a massage room – beware!
Enjoy your holidays to the max!
We hope you loved our ideas for excursions, sports and walks around Mauritius. There’s something for everyone. Do not miss our article giving you tips about how to spend perfect holidays in Mauritius.
Enjoy wonderful holidays in Mauritius!