While travellers flock to the sandy beaches of Cuba, Mexico and Hawaii year-round, this stunning island is often overlooked when it comes to booking a tropical escape. Mauritius is an Indian Ocean island, once home to the extinct Dodo bird, and is renowned for its beaches, lagoons, reefs, culture and biodiversity.
From relaxing all-inclusive, five-star resorts to action-packed tours and organized adventures, this incredible destination has something to offer everyone. With that being said, we’ve pulled a few main attractions together to help you plan your next vacation. See our guide below to learn more about this beautiful island.
There is no shortage of unique sights to see in Mauritius, but it is most famously known for its underwater waterfall. This optical illusion can only be seen from a bird’s eye view over the southwestern coast of the island—the Le Morne Peninsula. While this turquoise lagoon gives the optical illusion of a waterfall underneath the water’s surface, this is actually caused by sand and silt sediments that slide off the coast’s slope, abruptly falling at a 4000-meter drop. Due to the movement of the sand and silt, and the various shades of blue off the coast, the optical illusion of an underwater waterfall is born. The best way to see this phenomenon is to take a helicopter ride above the peninsula.
Mauritius also offers dolphin watching, volcanic adventures, catamaran tours to explore the island, and underwater sea walking. This is an excellent opportunity for non-divers to immerse themselves in the wonder of an underwater world. The walk itself is usually about three to four meters deep, and tourists are led through coral reefs by experienced guides. Guests wear a helmet with a transparent visor that allows them to breathe underwater, and no prior knowledge of swimming or diving is required.
Visiting the Iles aux Cerfs and the Flic en Flac beach are also great ways to spend the day. The Iles aux Cerfs is a privately owned island off the east coast of Mauritius and Flic-en-Flac is a seaside village on the west coast, in the Black River district. Lastly, the Ganga Talao—commonly known as the Grand Bassin—is a crater lake located in the southwest district of Savanne. Here, a temple sits along the shoreline dedicated to Lord Shiva. Many locals and visitors come to the site to pray, meditate and explore the grounds. Note that feeding the fish in the lake is forbidden here.
Connect with Nature
For those looking to be immersed in towering mountains and lush green landscapes, hiking through the Black River Gorges national park is a must. This natural reserve covers 6,574 hectares of land and has a large variety of hiking trails to explore the indigenous flora and fauna. Visitors can see flying foxes, wild boars, deer and macaque monkeys here. Another incredible hike is Le Pouce, the third highest mountain in Mauritius.
The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam botanical gardens are another top-rated attraction in Mauritius for nature lovers. This national botanical garden is home to more than 650 plant varieties and hosts 85 different varieties of palm trees from all over the world. While walking through the garden alone is allowed, taking a tour with one of the guides is highly recommended.
Lastly, the Chamarel Seven Coloured Earth Geopark is an experience that you won’t want to miss. It is arguably one of Mauritius’ most unique attractions, and it appeals to those that have an affinity for geology, natural wonders of the world, and sustainability. While seeing the vibrant colors of the geopark is enough to curb your wanderlust, the park is also home to a tortoise enclosure, the infamous Chamarel waterfalls—the tallest single-drop waterfall in Mauritius, and a coffee shop. The tour, “The Authentic Chamarel” also combines a love for nature and cuisine, as visitors are guided to the Le Chamarel Restaurant to taste twelve flavors that reflect Mauritius’ culinary and ethnic history. Visitors are then led through the geopark and the waterfalls.
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By: Briahna McTigue