Mauritius sunrise © Smpadte
Mauritius Travel Guide
Mark Twain said, 'Mauritius was made first, then heaven was copied from it', and when you consider the natural beauty of the volcanic island, with its steamy forests and running streams, palm-fringed beaches and teeming coral reefs, it's easy to understand his sentiment.
Most visitors to Mauritius choose package-tour holidays and stay at one of the island's magnificent resorts. The capital, Port Louis, is the tourist hub of the island, but there are literally hundreds of excellent beach resorts lining the Mauritian coast. The pick of the bunch, The Royal Palm Hotel, has been hailed by Forbes as one of the best beach resorts in the world. Most of the resorts sport luxury amenities such as golf courses, spas and watersports like diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, sailing and fishing.
The one drawback to a holiday in Mauritius is the long flight time for British and American visitors. This is a shame because those who do brave the gruelling trip will be richly rewarded by one of the world's true island paradises, a place that somehow manages to be both comfortable and exotic, luxurious and pleasantly 'off the beaten track'.
Best time to visit Mauritius
The climate in Mauritius is hot and tropical, tempered by cooling trade winds. Winters are warm and dry and summers are hot and humid, but the merciful sea breezes keep things from ever getting too unbearable. Mauritius can be visited at any time of year, though bear in mind that it rains heavily from January to March and that this is also cyclone season. The peak tourist season in Mauritius is from October to April, so if you're planning on visiting during this period be sure to book accommodation well in advance. Read more about Mauritius Climate and Weather.
What to see in Mauritius
-The Ile aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve is a premier eco-tourism site, offering guided jungle tours of an island rich in endemic fauna and flora.
-The small town of Moka is the academic centre of Mauritius, and home to the Indian Folk Museum and a gracious manor house that offers interesting tours.
What to do in Mauritius
-Search the nooks and crannies of the open-air Flacq Market for great bargains and souvenirs.
Getting to Mauritius
Mauritius is perceived to be practically unreachable for British and American tourists, though in reality this is not the case. Direct cheap flights to Mauritius are available from a number of UK airports, with the flight taking a manageable 10 hours. American tourists will have to book a connecting flight, meaning they might be in transit for a full 24 hours. Get more information on Mauritius Airports.
Georges by Alexandre Dumas and The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian.
Creole rougailles, spicy biryanis or tandoori curry dishes are common mains, with gateaux or traditional Indian sweets for dessert.
Cane rum, Mauritius' main alcoholic product, which is delicious with coconut water and a dash of lime.
What to buy
Carved wooden figurines, home-made jewellery, perfumes made from essential oils, hand-woven rattan bags and local spices all make great souvenirs.
What to pack
Make sure you have a small backpack with you to take on day excursions, and always carry plenty of bottled water around. Pack sturdy shoes to protect your feet on some beaches, as there is a threat of sharp coral and stonefish stings.
What's on in Mauritius
The Festival International Kreol (November/December) is a celebration of Creole culture held in various venues across the island: poetry readings, Sega dancing, music performances, art exhibitions and epic parties characterise this jubilant event. Mauritius celebrates its Independence Day on March 12, prompting impressive firework displays and wild parties in the capital of Port Louis.
Did you know?
-The dodo, the famous flightless bird, was native to Mauritius until it was hunted to extinction by European settlers.
-Mauritius is the most densely populated country in Africa.
A final word
An enticing and exotic destination, Mauritius is a great choice for an island getaway packed with brilliant sunshine, beautiful beaches and unbeatable outdoor activities.
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