Mauritius may be not a big island but it is packed with awesome places, great beaches, green areas, stunning views and a whole arrays of activities that it is important to know what not to miss during your stay. Reaching the island from Europe or US isn’t a short flight so you’ll want to maximize your time there by not wasting visiting places that are nothing less than marvelous.
Luckily for the locals, Mauritius offers plenty of them. Unluckily for the tourists, not missing any requires some planning. These are the top 8 places not to miss in Mauritius.
The most famous view, a postcard of Mauritius as a whole and a truly stunning image that you’ll keep in your mind for years to come. The massive Le Morne mountain is just mere metres from the coast and a long beach, a public one too. Bathing under its shadow is a must for anybody coming to Mauritius.
The beach is facing westward so you’ll have the mountain right on your back. On the northern and southern coast of the small peninsula Le Morne is on there are private, hotel’s, beaches. It may be worth choosing one of the hotels here if your main reason for a trip to Mauritius is staying on a beach as it is one of the best spots you may lay down to suntan on the island. None of the hotels here are cheap though so be ready to splurge.
Be aware that the sea currents here are really strong and none should try to swim more than a few meters off the coast unless an expert swimmer. I didn’t dare to go farther than a dozen metres, as the water was carrying me away very quickly as soon as I stopped swimming. No place for little children then.
It is also possible to climb Le Morne itself. The path begins on the southern side of the mountain and it is perilous towards the end. Not advisable to attempt on a rainy day (and regardless, the view from the top will be minimal anyway, obscured by thick clouds). It is possible to pay a guide to climb with you but I didn’t ask as it was a very dark day nor I’m a fan of climbing in general. It is absolutely advisable to hire one though. Most definitely at your hotel know of an agency that can organize a hike up Le Morne.
Being positioned on the southwest corner of Mauritius, the view from Le Morne encompasses both the western and the south coast at the same time. A 360° picture is due here. The coral reef isn’t very far from the beach, if you want to pay a boat trip to snorkel there.
Ile aux Cerfs
Speaking of great places to take a swim and relax on a beach, Ile Aux Cerfs has nothing to envy to Le Morne. There are no mountains here, just 2 small, flat, islands, covered by trees. Both can be reached with a short motorboat trip from the nearby Trou D’Eau Doce: no more than 5 minutes of crossing the Indian Ocean and you’ll be dropped on a postcard of an island, whether it will be the proper Ile Aux Cerfs or the northern companionship, Ilot Mangenie. Both are typical tropical luxury.
You can walk all around the islands but for a few parts that are occupied by hotels. Technically you are allowed to walk on the beach of the hotels too but it is frowned upon by the owners. Still there’s plenty of space to walk around, interact with the fauna (turtles can be spotted here, along with hundreds of birds). Unfortunately it is a meta for many tourists and if you stay close to where your boat brought you, you’ll share the beach with a crowd. Not all of them are respectful of the environment and I fear in future the island will go from one of the “places not to miss in Mauritius” to one of “places that are ruined by mass tourism in Mauritius”. I do hope to be proven wrong.
Go then before it is too late and the island lose the wild feeling it has.
You may remember this place by the red rooftop church nearby the sea. It is not one of the most popular places in Mauritius, which means it is very quiet. The church is picturesquely demodé but being it mere metres from the sea, on the north-west side of the island, it means it is one of the places not to miss for a picture at sunset over the sea.
The bay is devoid of shops and hotels, with just a couple of bars and food vendors around. It is all relatively secluded, calm and relaxing. The place has a beauty of the past eras that makes it one of the places not to miss in Mauritius, especially as an escape from the nearby mass tourism of Grand Bay.
Next to the more famous Grand Bay, there’s Pereybere beach. Similar, same round-shaped bay, but way less crowded and without the noise and crowd that frequents Grand Bay, which I personally found off-putting. I am not travelling thousands of kilometers just to find fast food joints, casinos and cheap clothes shops. Anyway.
Waters are as clear as the bigger neighbor but there are far less boats anchored in the bay. For some reason the local government allows a lot of private boats to populate Grand Bay, despite being available a lot of other safe bays nearby. That detracts from its beauty and makes me suggest to come here, to Pereybere beach, for your needs of a good beach on the northern coast of Mauritius.
L’Aventure du Sucre
Sugar has a long story of production and exporting in Mauritius. In Pamplemousses, right in the center of the island, there’s an ex sugar farm converted in museum of sugar, L’Aventure du Sucre. Here you can learn all about sugar, from the origin of the plant to its growing, production and distribution. At the end, a small shop sells copious amounts of it, with the chance of tasting all the flavours, from the whitest sugar to the extremely dark ones. This sugar tasting experience alone is worth the price of the ticket. But there’s not only that, obviously.
If it was only a museum about sugar, it could be interesting only to a limited audience and I would not put in this list of what not to miss in Mauritius. Instead, L’Aventure du Sucre has a wealth of information about Mauritius’ history, with old photos, clothes, tools, books, old maps and multimedia games to learn a great deal about the island. It is a trove for historians or curious that can easily keep you busy half a day.
I’d strongly suggest to spend at least 2 hours here to come back home having learnt about the island that hosted you for the vacation. It is the best place to do so as it is also fun and not a classic museum. The fact that the visit concludes with a very good souvenir shop, with sugar and rum tasting (for free) makes it all the more worthwhile. You won’t regret coming here 🙂
Mauritius has great beaches all around: in the north there’s Pereybere and Grand Bay, in the east Ile aux Cerfs, in the west Flic en Flac and Le Morne. And in the south there’s Blue Bay.
Mostly renowned for its namesake blue water, it is also the most famous place to spot dolphins as here they come closer than anywhere else to the coast. I personally didn’t see any but there’s plenty of fishes that come mere meters from the ground and have no issues swimming around you. Water is indeed very blue and the coral barrier is at its nearest, making it an easy trip by boat if you want to see it closer. A paradise for snorkeling.
The bay itself is big enough to host many swimmers and you have the possibility to take a glass bottom boat or a short ferry to the other side of the bay. The only disturbance may be the occasional airplane landing at the airport but if you don’t come during high season it will be truly minimal (I spotted 1 airplane landing in 3 hours). Thus, relax can be had here.
Chamarel and the Black River Gorges Park
All the most photographed (and Instagrammed) places of Mauritius are in this area: the Chamarel Waterfall
the Seven Coloured Earth
Alexandra Falls, Ganga Talao. If you add the nearby Le Morne, basically all the unmissable places are in this south-western corner of the island. Choosing an hotel in this area is your best bet if you’re planning to extensively exploring it.
Small word of advice for the waterfalls: visit them on a sunny day. Whereas weather in Mauritius can be unpredictable and make any moment of your trip a wet experience, try to plan your visit of the Black River Gorges Park and Chamarel area when there is hardly any cloud in the sky as it is enough to have a drizzle to ruin the view of both waterfalls. The cloud and humidity in the area will block the view that you need to have clear across the fall to admire the waterfalls.
That’s what happened to me when visiting Alexandra Falls. You have your explanation why there’s not a picture of it in this post, unfortunately.
The Seven Coloured Earth are less affected by the eventual rain. They are way bigger than I imagined from the pictures. I suggest you to take a drink, the espresso here is good, at the bar overlooking the area and take your pictures from it, in the highest point that is still close to the coloured terrain. You may take some time caressing the couple of Aldabra tortoises that are kept nearby the unavoidable souvenir shops but they look pretty derelict, to be honest. Showing some appreciation may enlighten their day though.
The whole Chamarel area is full of trekking paths that can take days to be explored in full. It is THE place to go trekking in Mauritius. I sadly had no time to indulge in such activity but, again, on a non-rainy day it would be splendid to spend hours walking among the tropical forest. There are clear signposts for the paths to take if you enter the Black River Gorges Park from the north or east. Following them is straightforward.
If time allows you, setting aside 2 full days to explore this area is a great idea. Mauritius is not just beaches but has a large biodiversity and an amazing tropical forest; spending the right amount of time wandering around the forest is important to have a full idea of what Mauritius is made of. Another activity not to miss in Mauritius.
As you may be aware, Mauritius is a multicultural nation, with people of European, Indian, Chinese, African and Arab descent living all together, mostly without issues. The relative majority of the population (48,5%) is Hindu, due to the vast labor importing and immigration from India that happened during British rule of the island.
It is then of no wonder that there are hindu temples all around the island. Ganga Talao is simply the most spectacular one.
Its name meaning “lake of Ganga” due to a supposedly connection with the Gange River back in India, Ganga Talao, also known as Grand Bassin, is a lake in the middle of the Black River Gorges Park. It has a large temple on its shore, reachable from the road that cuts west-east the park, after a few short staircases. On the horizon from the temple you can see two huge statues, of Lord Shiva and Durga Mata Murti, by far the tallest statues on the island.
The amount of animals, fishes, dogs and cats, roaming the temple and the lake, the quietness of the atmosphere of the park, the luxuriant vegetation of the tropical forest enveloping the temple, the smell of incense and the large statues as the backdrop of it all makes Ganga Talao one of the most unexpected places you can find on the island and surely one of the ones not to miss in Mauritius. If anything, it is a good detachment from the more touristic and beach-oriented places and a dive in the local culture.
These are my top 8 places not to miss in Mauritius. Some didn’t make the cut because they weren’t that impressive, and others were a let down. But these are for another article 🙂