Good-looking island

Mauritius’ number-one pull is its beaches – imagine sweeps of silvery-white sand backed by slim palms and you’ll be on the right track. Away from the edges, you’ll find sugar-cane fields, waterfalls straight out of a Herbal Essences advert, and thick jungle that hides families of macaque monkeys. And the island is volcanic, which means you can count on an impressive backdrop of jagged, deep-green mountains.

Underwater world

Offshore, the textbook turquoise waters play host to Disney-esque creatures. Slip on a pair of flippers and you’ll come mask to face with rainbow-bright parrotfish, skinny trumpet fish and stripy, Nemo-like clownfish. Sea turtles and dolphins sometimes put in appearances, too.

Coast to coast

The star of the north coast is Grand Baie, where you’ll find a lively restaurant and bar scene. Short bus rides put this spot in arm’s reach of the peaceful beaches of Calodyne and Anse le Raie. This part of the island is a haven for wind and kite surfers, too. The east coast is best for beach lovers – the sands in Belle Mare are toothpaste-white and run for miles. Thanks to trade winds, it’s also a good surf spot. The island’s south-west corner is a family favourite, with resorts like Bel Ombre dishing up huge beaches and calm waters. Some of the best diving and dolphin-spotting sites are here, too.

Melting pot

On the culture front, Mauritius is a bit of a mish-mash – you’ll find a jumble of influences here, particularly French and Creole. It makes for a pretty interesting mix, especially when it comes to food – everything from coq au vin to rice and beans crops up on menus.

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Le Morne

Le Morne is a teeny village that sits on Mauritius’ south-west coast. It’s skirted by a turquoise lagoon and soda-white sands, and is looked over by Brabant peak – a dramatic monolith that used to hide the island’s runaway slaves.

Belle Mare

Belle Mare is a pint-sized village with a mammoth beach. Its stretch of serene sands spool right down to Trou d’Eau Douce in the south. This is unspoiled country – the snow-white beach is backed only by coconut palms, luxury retreats, and a clutch of championship golf courses.

Anse La Raie

Even by Mauritian standards, the peaceful village of Anse La Raie is a bit of a hideaway. Its rugged coastline creates tiny beaches that harbour pretty ocean views. Visitors come here for peace and quiet, as there isn’t much beyond the laid-back sands and chilled-out hotels. And even though it feels worlds away from tourist-centric Grand Baie, the harbour town’s only 10 minutes down the road.

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Top 5 resorts in Mauritius

Top 5 hotels in Mauritius