Five Reasons to Visit Mauritius

July 6, 2015 by

Middle East & Africa, Places to Go, Things to Do, Travel Advice & Inspiration

 

The lesser-known, remote island nation of Mauritius offers visitors the ultimate island adventure, and then some–here’s why:

1. Mauritius feels like you’re getting away from it all.

Mauritius

Aerial view of Mauritius.

Along with Rodrigues and Réunion, Mauritius is part of the Indian Ocean’s Mascarene Islands, located about 1,200 miles off the coast of Mozambique in Africa’s southeast. Its location as well as its varied international history and multi-cultural population means that Mauritius is one of the few places left in this over-traveled world that genuinely feels exotic.

2. Mauritius is simply stunning.

The stunning natural phenomenon: the seven-layered earth

Mauritius’ stunning natural phenomena: the Seven Coloured Earth

Mauritius is one of those places that seems to have jumped fully formed from your desktop screensaver to real life. Only 787 square miles, this island nation packs a visual punch, with crystal-clear waters, pristine sandy beaches, the world’s third-largest coral reef, volcanic mountains, lush forests with waterfalls, and its air quality is ranked second in the world. It was once the only home of the now-extinct dodo bird, and today is home to some of the world’s rarest flora and fauna. And of course, the surreal Seven Coloured Earth is one of the planet’s most incredible natural phenomena.

3. Mauritius has plenty of outdoor fun for every age, ability, and interest.

For bring so small, this island really does have it all. Hike through the Black River Gorges National Park, where you’ll see monkeys, pink pigeons, and more as you make your way to the various observations points. Chamarel Waterfall is the nation’s highest, and can be seen from a spectacular viewpoint opposite the gorge. You can have a dolphin encounter in Tamarin Bay. Go snorkeling off of Bénitiers Island. Scuba dive through the Cathedral, which is located off the Flic en Flac. Take a quad bike through the Yemen Natural Reserve Park. Go parasailing, skydiving, kayaking, or waterskiing. Stroll through the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens of Pamplemousses. Or just swim laps in the pool at your resort!

4. Mauritius has amazing food.

We mentioned that it is multi-cultural, we weren’t kidding; over its history it’s been settled by Arabs, Portuguese, French, Dutch, and as with many countries, the Brits tried to take it over at one point. And when African slaves were freed, Indians came over to work the sugar cane fields. That’s a lot of culture, and you can find their influences writ large and small throughout the island – but nowhere more than in the cuisine. From native pineapples to Indian-inspired dholl puris to fried eggplant and potato croquettes from street vendors to Chinese dim sum to the seafood that comes from the Indian Ocean, there is a kaleidoscope of flavors and scents in Mauritian cuisine.

Two items of note: Sugar is huge on Mauritius, and there are different kinds; indulge in a sugar tasting to learn the subtle difference. Also, Mauritians love – LOVE – their spicy chile. And it’s hot, so start off slowly if you want to feel the burn.

5. Mauritius resorts have those awesome over-the-water bungalows you’ve been dreaming about.

Bungalows over the aqua-blue Indian Ocean.

Bungalows over the aqua-blue Indian Ocean.

The island is known for its luxury resorts, and yes – they include those amazing bungalows that are perched over the shallow waters just off the coastline. And they’re just as gorgeous and magical as you’ve always pictured. There are also infinity pools, beach cabanas, hammocks, and many other places to relax and soak in the Mauritian warmth and sunshine.

Contributed by Christine Cantera

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