Beaches and jungles
Mauritius can thank its popularity as a holiday destination to the paradise beaches that wouldn't look out of place in the Caribbean. Powdery white sands gently shelve towards the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. When lying on your sunlounger facing out to sea, look behind you to witness Mauritius's impressive landscape of green-clad mountains.
The mountains sit 800-metre high and are covered and surrounded by forested areas that are filled with exotic and rare wildlife. Adventuring through the nature with a tour guide can take you to breath-taking places like the waterfalls of the Black River Gorges, the huge lily pads at Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens and miles of jungle terrain.
Discovered by the Dutch
The island was first inhabited by Dutch sailors who gave the island its name. Mauritius then came under French and then British rule who handed it over in 1968 and it has since been an independent nation. The history has left a blend of cultural stamps on the island with Chinese, European and Indian themes spotted in the buildings, food and retail items.
Throughout the larger areas like Port Louis, Grand Baie and by the Riviere Noire there are plenty of cultural, spiritual and historical sights to see. Temples, museums and other notable landmarks are all leisurely alternatives to the exciting activities offered throughout Mauritius.
Active by day, lazy by night
Coastal areas are filled with exciting opportunities to ride the waves of the Indian Ocean. Boat trips can take you out to search for whales, dolphins and sharks or you could head out to safe waters and go snorkelling or scuba diving. The luxury hotels also offer exciting facilities to get you active with catamaran cruises, kayaking, windsurfing and mountain biking just some of the fun on offer.
By night the larger hotels offer entertainment within their bars and dancefloors. Some, like the Lux Tamassa in Bel Ombre, even offer their own lively nightclubs. Outside of the hotels there aren't too many vibrant night spots. Instead visitors are offered serene surroundings by the beach where you can drink, dine and socialise underneath the starry sky.
By the shores of Mauritius there are plenty of opportunities to purchase beach gear and sports equipment. Throughout the shopping centres and markets you won't be required to barter, it is usually a take it or leave it offer.
A popular purchase on holidays to Mauritius is the locally made sugar cane rum. You can take a tour of where it is made and taste some vanilla-spiced liquor at the Rhumerie de Chamarel, 20 minutes from Bel Ombre.
Restaurants in this country are filled with Asian and European flavours. Indians brought over curry, Chinese migrants made rice and noodle dishes popular while the French influence is felt with bouillon and tuna salad.
Of the hundreds of Mauritian restaurants, some of the best are based by the beaches and rivers, providing visitors with opportunities to dine outside by the water.
Mauritius's main airport is the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport. Direct flights from the UK will last around 12 hours in total. The transfer time to your accommodation will depend on your chosen resort. The northern resorts take an hour and 20 minutes while southern ones take around 50 minutes to reach.
Buses and metred taxis are available to help you get around in Mauritius but the island does feature a comprehensive highway which makes getting around in a hire car easy and efficient.
Best time of year to visit
Mauritius enjoys its summer while the UK experiences its winter making this destination a perfect escape from the wet and cold. Average highs of around 30°C are seen from November until April.
Horseracing is a popular pastime in this country and the Champ de Mars Racecourse attracts tens of thousands of people during racing season which lasts from late March until early December.