Stunning beaches, striking volcanic mountains, delicious food and diverse culture makes Mauritius an Indian Ocean gem and well worth a visit. With so many attractions it hard to choose what to do, but my complete guide to Mauritius will point you in the right direction.
You can swim with dolphins and if you’re lucky enough, you might get nudged by a hawksbill turtle like I was! You can climb mountains, look for rare birds in the ebony trees and of course dive or snorkel. There is an abundance of outdoor activities that will appeal to everyone.
Luxury here is more affordable than you would think. The main tourist area is centred around the Grand Baie area in the north. The southern part of the island is more tropical and wilder in nature. The east coast has some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Black River Gorges and the rainforest are found in the mountainous interior.
The Complete Guide To Mauritius
Have fun on the beach
Mauritius has a long coastline of around 330 km. It is an island paradise in so many ways. The beaches have beautiful sparkling white sand; the water is a deep azure in colour and palm tree sway gently in the breeze.
There are any number of water sports to choose from and it is easy to hire equipment on the more popular beaches like Grand Baie, Belle Mare, Trou aux Biches and Pereybere. You can also rent snorkelling equipment and diving gear.
Take one of the many catamaran cruises. Gabriel Island is famous for its unspoilt beaches and crystal clear water. Swimming out in the bay we were surrounded by turtles that surfed the waves and dived under us. It was the highlight of the trip. Snorkelling is also a must here as this area is a marine reserve.
Head to the Jungle
If you have had enough of the ocean make your way to the hills and the tropical forests. There are a number of awesome waterfalls throughout the island. Most of them are set in spectacular spots and the paths to reach them are not easy.
The Chamarel Waterfalls are one of the most popular island attractions. With a sheer vertical drop of around 100m, it is an impressive sight.
The seven coloured earths of chamarel
I had to include this in the complete guide to Mauritius but honestly, I was disappointed. I expected the area to be a riot of colour spread over a vast area, which was not the case. It is relatively small but is still worth a visit if you are in the area. The colours in the earth have developed naturally with the passing of time due to the tropical climate which has removed all the water-soluble elements of the earth leaving a reddish coloured oxide.
Oddly enough, if you mix all the different colours together they will eventually separate into layers. You can buy test tubes of the soil that shows the stripes quite well as a souvenir. The seven colours are: red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow.
Visit Bois Cheri a 250-hectare tea factory and museum about 12 km north of Riviere des Anguilles. Aim to go in the morning as most of the activity happens then. Don’t miss the tour and tea tasting in a beautiful pagoda styled restaurant on the top of the hill with spectacular views. I loved the vanilla tea. Any hint of vanilla now and I am right back, standing in the factory.
Rhumerie de Chamarel
Also worth a visit is the Rhumerie de Chamarel Even if you are not a rum drinker, and I must admit it’s not my favourite, it is still worth a visit either to do a tasting or lunch at the restaurant. The meal and the presentation were stunning and of course, it was accompanied by a number of delicious rum cocktails.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens
Also known as the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden. If you love the thought of majestic trees and exotic spices then this is the place for you. I was fascinated by the giant amazon lily pads. I kept looking for a frog, but sadly there were none to be seen. The Lotus flowers were in bloom and the wading birds were having a feast paddling around the pond that the lilies were growing in. It was very relaxing to just sit and watch them. Remember to take a hat and some water as it gets really hot strolling around.
Visit Ganga Talao
The lake is in a crater at Grand Bassin and is one of the most sacred places on the island for Hindus. A priest once dreamed that the lake was part of the holy Ganges River in India. Since then it has become a site of pilgrimage. It can get very busy over the weekend and religious holidays so you might like to check before you visit.
Although Port Louis is a small capital city in some ways I was reminded of India. It was the noise, the traffic jams, the loud hooting and of course the smells of spicy food that brought back the memories for me.
For all the shopaholics, and I must admit to being one on occasion, head to the Cauden Waterfront in Port Louis. There are a myriad of shops and restaurants to satisfy your needs. You will find duty free shops, craft shops, designer labels, textiles and more. Look out for the small kiosks selling divine local fast food treats.
The Central Market
The Central Market is simply called the Bazaar Port Louis by the locals offers up a variety of fresh produce, souvenirs and street food snacks. Try as gâteaux piments (chilli cakes) or dhal puri(thin pancakes served with spicy sauce). I also like the pineapple doused with chilli, although it might sound strange, is delicious.
Be prepared to bargain. Like most markets in Asia, the price you start with is not what you end up paying.
When to visit
Although Mauritius can be a year-round destination there are definite seasons.
- January – March: Cyclone season
- February: Is the warmest month of the year
- May – September: Dry, with temperatures around 24 degrees C, and evening temperatures of 18 degrees C. There is also less rain, and fewer mosquitos around.
- June – August: If you are a surfer, then this is the best time for you.
- October – Easter: High season. Days are sticky and hot. An ideal time to hit the beach. It is also the time for game fishing.
- December – March: Great for diving as the waters are at their clearest.
Where to stay
There is accommodation available to suit all budgets.
On this visit, we rented a villa. It was fabulous and had everything we needed. It was a short walk to the beach, and about a 10 minute walk to Grand Baie. It was a pleasure to be close to the action, but also to be in a wonderfully tranquil space. Christophe, the owner, was extremely helpful and a pleasure to deal with.
Eating in Grand Baie
La Rougaille Creole
This restaurant is tucked away, in a busy little street, just off the main drag in Grand Baie. The food was fabulous being a wonderful fusion of flavours as well as some stunning seafood. More details and reviews can be found on Tripadvisor
The Happy Rajah
If you love Indian curry then you must visit this restaurant. You can choose from authentic Indian styled curry as well as local versions. It is in a shopping complex, about a block and a half back from the main road in Grand Baie. There is another branch in Phoenix.
For something a bit more special this is the place to go. We had a fabulous modern lunch which was beautifully presented. The views over the ocean were sublime.
Mauritian Rupee (MUR). Obviously, currency fluctuates. ATMs are found all over the island and can be used to withdraw cash. At the time of writing 1 US$ = 35.5 rupees, and 1 € = 37.8 rupees
Discover: City Guides
- Draw/change some money at the airport on arrival.You will get the exchange rates here.
- When visiting religious places ladies remember that you need to cover up. I usually carry a sarong.
Have you been persuaded that Mauritius is paradise? Once you are there, like my husband, you won’t want to leave.
If you enjoyed this post please PIN it !