Mauritius is an incredible place for a trip to remember as, basically, it has it all! This island, off the coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, an independent republic since 1968, is a successful mix of different tastes and cultures you definitely don’t want to miss!
In fact, the official languages are French and English, but everyone speaks Creole, the streets are lined with churches, mosques, and pagodas, and the diversity of represented cultures includes Indian, European, African and Chinese.
The sea is a different story: that’s as tropical as a postcard. And, perhaps, the sea is the only thing that is exactly how it appears at first glance—Mauritius sure is diverse and multifaceted!
The cliché is that Mauritius only attracts rich vacationers and couples on their honeymoon, but that’s a mistake: this place deserves to be discovered by everyone because everyone can find something special in its beautiful nature and witty blend of Indian, African and European influences.
The golden rule when planning for what to see in Mauritius is to go for all the incredibly authentic, cultural and traditional features beyond the common touristic paths and itineraries. As always, when it comes to traveling the world, try to find out what is hiding beyond that touristy beach and be constantly surprised by how long the list is of what to see in Mauritius!
Let’s begin then learning something more about all the amazing things Mauritius has to offer to its visitors!
What to see in Mauritius: starting from Grand Bay
We start from the north. The almost obligatory point of reference is Grand Bay, the place that, with the boldness that comes with optimism, many define as the local version of Saint Tropez.
Well, do not believe it. It’s better. Grand Bay is pretty, the sea is beautiful and there are many bars, restaurants, and hotels. And the atmosphere, fortunately, is Mauritian and you will never be overwhelmed by the clamor. This is a perfect choice for accommodation with luxurious options not too far from the small and beautiful local hotels at more affordable prices.
From here it is easy to embark on an adventure of the island that almost always starts with Cap Malheureux, the point further north of the island. It is here that commander John Abercromby landed with his troops when the British attacked the island for the second time in 1810, but today it’s famous for the little church that is seen in every catalog of the island: it is called Notre Dame Auxiliatrice, but all they know it as the “red-roofed church”. A selfie here is almost mandatory.
If nature and gardening is your secret passion, you can get your fix by stopping off at Labourdonnais for a walk through the anturio, bougainvilleas, and hibiscus. Check out the video below to see all the other great things you can do here.
What to see in Mauritius: tropical gardens
Less naîve but always present in every guide that tells what to see Mauritius is the botanical garden of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, more simply known as Pamplemousses. It is a famous place among botanists all over the world for the large collection of exotic plants growing there, including the giant Victoria Amazonica water lilies and numerous palm species.
Like all other mysterious places, there is an old saying and a legend here: a palm tree that is said to flower only once every fifty-seventy years. If you see it, you’ll know you’ve been lucky. Tired? We’re just getting started.
So let’s turn our backs to the sea and aim toward the plateau that is between 400 and 600 meters above sea level. And it offers unexpected discoveries. One of these is Trou of Cerfs, an extinct volcano that offers a splendid view of the interior of the country.
But it is not the only volcano that sleeps: there is also Ganga Talao which is also considered to be a sacred place by Hindus. The lake born in the cone is special for the Hindus who come here on a pilgrimage. Every year, in the month of February, during the week in which the feast of Maha Shivaratri is celebrated, thousands of faithful walk several miles on foot, arriving from every corner of the island to offer their gifts.
Then the routes multiply: if you want to discover the colonial past of the island, stop at the Maison Creole Eureka, built in 1830 which is proud of its 109 doors. It’s proof that the settlers were really doing well as the Tea Route developed here, a path in the green hinterland between plantations from which the five-ounce drink is made for the English. The point of arrival is at the Bois Cherì plant where you can watch all the processing from harvesting in the fields to the finished tea bag, as well as taste all the variations.
But do not worry: if you don’t like tea there is much more on offer. And if the list of what to see in Mauritius is long, the list on what to taste is even longer. Here it is, in fact, possible to make similar routes dedicated to vanilla, sugar, or even rum: the Rhumerie de Chamarel is one of the rare distilleries still active in this part of the world that grows its own sugar cane to produce liqueurs.
What to see in Mauritius: the beaches
It’s time to soak in the sun, bathe, and head back to the blue. The choice falls on the area of Le Morne Brabant, the heart of high-level tourism in Mauritius. There are multi-star hotels, beautiful seas, golf courses and everything you could ever dream of including a peninsula that has become a UNESCO heritage site for its beauty, of course, but also for its history: here, escaping into the woods, slaves made a dash for freedom—which also makes this place a symbol of a terribly dark past.
But one last effort will take us to see one of the areas symbolizing the beauty of Mauritius: the Chamarel area hosts spectacular landscapes nestled between hills. The famous lands of seven colors are only the first stop and you cannot miss a stop to admire the centuries-old giant turtles that live right next door.
But we are on a paradise of an island, after all, and while we want to find out what to see in Mauritius we—at this point above all—really want to find out what to see around Mauritius, namely its gorgeous beaches: our ultimate destination is the Ile aux Cerf, an island within the island just five minutes from the coast.
You arrive by boat and then you can stay immersed in snorkeling, playing golf, or by visiting one of the many excellent restaurants. There is only one hotel: it is five-star and is considered among the best in the world. But, at the end of the day, just one day is probably enough to discover this particular beauty of sand, nature and sea and so, come evening, you can head back to the main island.
To explore more of Ile aux Cerf, check out this video:
Mauritius is an incredible place where you can both explore and relax while keeping things original and fun. It’s definitely worth a visit!
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