Mauritius – a paradise island. With great weather year round owing to its location right near to the Tropic of Capricorn, it offers such incredible nature in a relatively small area – from tropical beaches, to lush vegetation, to waterfalls.
You can’t go wrong with Indian Ocean islands for tropical beauty, but Mauritius is much cheaper than its pricey rivals the Maldives or the Seychelles. The cost of living is actually quite reasonable, and because the island is so small, you’re not tied in to staying at one resort, paying resort prices for each meal.
Mauritius is reachable from the UK in about 11 hours on a direct flight with British Airways or TUI. That makes it much easier travel wise than The Maldives, which usually involves a change and then a sea/air transfer as well. That’s not to say other islands aren’t worth the visit (they certainly are), but it also means Mauritius is a good option.
So, what are the main reasons to visit this island?
We stayed in the north of the island, with the stunning Troux aux Biches right on our doorstep. We also visited the famous Flic en Flac and Ville Valio. The sand is perfect, the sea a turquoise blue and perfect for paddling, and the sun loungers quite private and perfect for a day (or a few) reading with ocean views.
TWO. The tortoises
Mauritus is home to giant tortoises. You can see the tortoises two ways – the first is by day trip to Rodrigues Island which has a special tortoise reserve covering 20 hectares. There is also a museum there to learn about the history of the island, as well as an underground maze of caves which you can do guided tours around. It makes for a nice day trip from the main island.
If you don’t have time for this, The Maritim Hotel has a tortoise park (but on a much, much smaller scale) or you could visit La Vanille Nature Park which is also home to the tortoises.
I personally recommend the first option so you can see them in more of a natural habitat, roaming free and happy. However you choose to do it, look how amazing they are!
THREE. The nature on offer
In the South West of the island is a hilly part of the country which is home to the Black River Gorges National Park. Here you can find waterfalls, beautiful views and hiking trails through the rainforest.
The National Park’s main attraction is the beautiful hiking routes – you can follow paths which take you to Alexandra Falls, volcanic fields and through the rainforest. If you’re more adventurous, you can also book mountain biking with Yemaya Adventures, or try zip lining!
We chose the hiking option, and a trail which took us about 3 hours, reaching from a beautiful gorge look out to the waterfall. We also saw lots of wildlife including a wide variety of birds, and even the famous flying fox.
We then headed to La Vallee des Couleurs, which is a unique geological formation where the sands are different colours. Here you can quad bike, buggy, zip line and walk your way round the formation. The online photos show the colours as a rainbow, with bright purples and oranges. The reality is slightly less overwhelming and I personally preferred the hiking trails within the Black River Gorges.
FOUR. The rum
Probably my favourite part of the trip. I was SO tipsy by the end of this day, but it was worth it. We visited the Rhumerie de Chamarel Distillery, surrounded by huge sugar cane plantations. We came here on a half day visit, which involved seeing the distilling process, a nice lunch in the restaurant using local produce, and of course the rum tasting itself. In total we probably tried about 5 to 10 different rums, and I needed rolling in to the car to get back to the hotel.
FIVE. The salt
Salt is a big thing in Mauritius. Unfortunately there is only one remaining location where they still produce the salt in the traditional, 200 year old way. This is at the Tamarin salt pans. Sea water is fed in to the massive salt ‘pans’ and left to evaporate – leaving just the salt. This is then gathered using brushes and put in to wicker baskets. It’s then put in to a hut to completely dry out until it’s ready for consumption.
Mauritius really does have a lot to offer. I’ve not even spoken about the amazing sea food, it’s vibrant and diverse capital city, Port Louis, or Le Morne Brabant where you can hike the slave route. I think there is more to do in the country than in other Indian Ocean locations where the beach and sea is the only draw. The people of Mauritius are also so friendly, welcoming and go out of their way to make sure you’re happy. I couldn’t recommend a trip more!
Thank you for reading – I hope you’ve found this post helpful!