Mauritius — Overview
The assertion in Mark Twain’s Following the Equator that “heaven was copied from Mauritius,” seems an apt description of this secret tropical paradise. The lush rainforests, mountains, waterfalls, sandy beaches, rich marine life, and colorful reefs draw tourists from all over the globe. Aside from natural wonders, Mauritius also has excellent golf courses, spas and world class shopping.
Diving, swimming and snorkeling are particularly popular vattractions, with reefs, wrecks and islets to explore. On the main island, the district of Le Morne brings all the main draws of Mauritius together from hiking through jungle coated mountains to relaxing on white sandy beaches. Mauritius is also known for golf, with a number of courses and resorts dotted across the island. Most visitors opt to stay in Port Louis, Grand Bay or Flic-en-Flac, where the bulk of the beach, shopping and nightlife is located. These places also make a good base for day trips sport fishing, diving, horseback riding or four-wheel drive.
Mauritius has much to offer animal lovers, whether it be snorkeling with turtles off Turtle Point or walking with lions at Casela Nature and Leisure Park. Birdwatchers flock to Black River Gorge National Park, which is home to a number of rare species including the endangered pink pigeon. Human activities have reshaped much of the island particularly through sugar cane farming, one of the island’s main industries. Visitors can learn all about the process of sugar refining at the L’Aventure du Sucre Museum, which ends with the opportunity to taste local sugar and rum.
It is a good idea to book accommodations and sightseeing trips in advance, particularly during December and January. Hotels in Mauritius run the gamut from five star resorts to mid priced holiday villas, all the way to backpacker hostels. Creole or Indian seafood dishes are amongst the most popular Mauritian foods, although there are restaurants covering most cuisines and catering to a variety of tastes.
Most travelers arrive via the main airport, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, although cruise ships do dock at Christian Decotter Terminal at Port Louis. Once on the island, it is easiest to get around by rental car, although Mauritius does have a reasonable bus service. The scenic route from Grand Bay to Le Morne is particularly popular.
- Go horseback riding along beautiful Le Morne beach
- Embark on a glass bottomed boat tour to Ile des Deux Cocos
- Take a four-wheel drive through the wilderness to Tamarin Falls
- Marvel at the giant water-lilies of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens
- Step back in time in aristocratic style at Eureka House Museum
- Witness some of the most valuable stamps in the world at Blue Penny Museum
- Get back to nature hiking in Black River Gorge