Just east of the great African region of Madagascar, exists an island so small people usually have to squint to find it on a map. It is a place where fruit grows abundantly and wildly, a land of spectacular sunrises and sunsets where the water is sapphire blue, and the lush jungles are emerald green. A place that echoes with the calls of monkeys, and birds and insects, reverberates with the sound of its tropical choir.
Mauritius. Called “the island where God practiced creating Eden,” few places on Earth remain as unknown, and as undeveloped as Mauritius – and of those, none are equal in beauty. The magic of this island cannot be exaggerated. And there is so much for visitors to do, see and experience. Here are some of our favorites.
Black River Gorges National Park
Located in the hilly southwest region of Mauritius, Black River Gorges protects the country's rainforest. An incredible jungle full of biodiversity, you’ll see flying foxes, pink pigeons, and parakeets among many other curious creatures and insects. The air is thick with humidity and the refreshing odor of photosynthesis as plant and animal life flourish.
See by Sea
You can't truly appreciate the majesty of Mauritius until you get on the water and see it from the coast. As you bask under the warm rays, you’ll look back at the forest cover and the breath will be stolen straight from your lungs. It’s only on the ocean where you can take in the spectacle from afar, and it is a tremendous view.
Pieter Both Mountain
The second tallest peak on Mauritius stands a respectable 820 meters above sea level, surpassed only slightly by Petite Riviere Noire by a mere 8 meters. The mountain is named after the first Governor General of the Dutch East-Indies and is no walk in the park. If you intend to ascend, realize you'll be starting at sea level and once you see how steep the peak is and how intense the humidity hangs in the air, it will take your breathe away -- literally. The hike usually takes about an hour if you follow the main ridge, ending in a scramble (bringing a rope is advised).
The tallest falls on the island, the pummeling water from Chamerel drops a full 95 meters over a cliff before crashing down into an oval pool below, kicking up a cloud of freshwater mist in the aftermath. Verdant jungle carpets the area, but the falls are visible from quite a ways away thanks to their immense size. Less than a mile from the charming village of Chamarel, make sure to stop at the local distillery pumping out sugarcane rum to explore the museum that narrates the process.
With skies that are almost always clear, calm winds, and vivid oceans, Mauritius is genuine eye-candy. The aerial view may be brief, but wholly unforgettable. There are a few different skydiving companies to book with, but single dives will set you back just about $370 (13,000 MRs), which is pretty standard for destination skydiving, and an experience you'll remember forever.