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.
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.
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.