As a remote island paradise, spending time on the pristine beaches is one of the top things to do in Mauritius. However, there are more places to see in Mauritius than just the sandy shorelines! Boasting a diverse landscape, the island nation features a mountainous interior and an array of attractions that should not be missed!
Top Things To Do in Mauritius
Our tips of what to do in Mauritius are based on our personal experiences and include shoreline beaches, inland nature and local culture. The sights are not listed in any particular order. At the end of the post, we include a map of our top recommended Mauritius places to visit, as well as other tips for visiting Mauritius.
Without a doubt, the beaches are the best places to visit in Mauritius. The powdery white sand and unbelievably blue water is what lured us to travel to the isolated island in the Indian Ocean – and we were not disappointed! The top Mauritius destinations are the west-facing beaches…and we set our sights on Flic en Flac.
Best Beach in Mauritius: Flic en Flac
Visitors searching for the most beautiful places in Mauritius need to go to Flic en Flac Beach! Partially lined by upscale resorts, portions of the 5-mile-long stretch of beach still remain undeveloped. A protective offshore reef creates a tranquil lagoon of turquoise water that gently laps the beach. The inviting water, both calm and clear, is perfect for swimming.
Public Beach, Fishermen and Resorts
The long stretch of beach at Flic en Flac (one of the longest beaches on the island) attracts both locals and tourists. The public beach is lined with pine trees, rather than palm, which offer shade from the intense sun. Although most locals bring their own picnics to the beach, food trucks set up along the road selling kebabs and ice cream.
The rocky outcrop north of the public beach is a popular spot for local fishermen. Both young and old, the men stand waist-deep in the sea with their lines in the water – a reminder that Flic en Flac was once a quiet fishing village.
The south end of the beach is home to all-inclusive resorts and upscale hotels. Palm trees, lounge chairs and umbrellas line the shore. Watercraft – like windsurfs, stand up paddle-boards and jet skis – are available for guests to use for water sports.
Snorkeling in Flic en Flac
The reef that protects Flic en Flac, which sits about a half-mile from the mainland and contributes to the overall beauty of the beach, is also a destination. Teeming with sea life, snorkeling on the Flic en Flac reef is one of the top things to do in Mauritius.
Resorts offer boat rides to the reef and snorkel gear to their guests (and will sometimes take non-guests for a small fare, too!). We hopped a ride out to the reef and were astonished by the abundance of fish we spotted while snorkeling.
We saw bright red, large-eyed crown squirrel-fish, a spot-fin porcupine fish and swam with a colossal school of yellow-striped goatfish. The coral tips were neon blue and reefs as big as satellites provided shadowy spots for shy fish. Not all the fish were shy, though – some were so inquisitive of our presence that they charged straight at us, bumping into our masks!
Flic en Flac Sunsets
Although there are numerous west-facing beaches, we think Flic en Flac is one of the best places in Mauritius to watch the sunset. Perhaps it is because of the gently rocking boats or the Le Morne mountain rising from the sea to the south that seem to frame the sunset so perfectly.
Other Popular Beaches in Mauritius
After extensive research, we determined that Flic en Flac was the beach that best fit our style. In fact, it is where we decided to stay on Mauritius (more on exactly where we stayed at the end of the post!). However, there are many Mauritius beaches to choose from. Other popular beaches in Mauritius include Grand Baie, Trou aux Biches, Ile aux Cerfs Island and Le Morne (which we talk more about in a minute!).
MAURITIUS EXCURSIONS BY BOAT
Surrounded by the Indian Ocean and islets and islands, it’s easy to understand why boat trips are one of the top activities in Mauritius. There are numerous excursions that explore the area by sea – and we were most intrigued by the popular all-day tour that included swimming with dolphins, snorkeling and a beach BBQ lunch.
A Full-Day Mauritius Boat Trip
Our excursion began in Tamarin Bay, a large cove just south of Flic en Flac that is frequented by dolphins. After swimming in the bay, we traveled to the Outer Reef where we had two snorkel stops – and then we spent the afternoon on an island indulging in a traditional beach feast.
Swimming with Dolphins
Although more crowded and chaotic than we thought it would be, watching the wild dolphins glide over the surface right next to our boat was an incredible scene. When we were allowed in the water (the number of swimmers is regulated – and there are strict rules about in-water behavior), I caught sight of the lightening-fast pod swimming beneath me. Rather than chase after them, I watched from afar and was delighted when they came even closer, playfully swimming and spinning as they zipped right past me.
Snorkeling the Outer Reef on Mauritius
Leaving Tamarin Bay, we motored to the Outer Reef in search of a secluded snorkeling spot. When we found the perfect place, we were in awe of the sea life. Large, protruding reefs housed an array of exotic fish – which were much bigger than we had seen in the shallow lagoon. It was a cloudy day, but when the sun broke through, the reef lit up in a rainbow of colors. We made a second stop at the famous Crystal Rock before heading to Benitiers Island for a local BBQ lunch.
LE MORNE, MAURITIUS
Le Morne, Mauritius, a UNESCO World Heritage site, occupies the windy southwestern corner of Mauritius. Surrounded by shallow lagoons, a 556-meter-high monolith, called Morne Brabant, can be seen from afar. Sitting on the peninsula, the lone mountain has a storied past.
In the early 1800s, escaped slaves found refuge on the rock, creating walking trails and making caves their homes. When slavery was abolished in 1835, soldiers climbed the mountain to spread the news. The slaves didn’t understand and, fearing the worst, many jumped to their death rather than being recaptured. The mountain is now looked upon as a symbol of freedom.
Le Morne, Mauritius Things To Do
Although a sleepy fishing village, there are a few fun things to do in Le Morne.
Hike Le Morne with a Guide
Portions of the mountain are private property and therefore it is best to climb with an official guide. Learn more about the region and mountain as you trek up the mountainside. From the “V”, take in the spectacular views. Book this hike!
Beaches and Kitesurfing
The beaches facing south are breathtakingly beautiful (but not really ideal for swimming, unfortunately). The sun lights up the golden sand under the translucent water and fades into shades of green and blue further out to sea. Kite surfers take advantage of the windy point and their colorful sails stand out against the blue skies.
The shallow lagoon is more like a sandbar; I waded out about 100 feet and was only in ankle deep. Volcanic rock and pine trees edge a long stretch of windblown shoreline, providing a gorgeous and rugged landscape.
Le Morne Resorts
At the base of Brabant, there are several beach resorts. The three poshest 5-Star resorts are the St. Regis Mauritius, LUX Le Morne and Dinarobin Beachcomber Mauritius. (Check availability for these luxury resorts on Booking.com!)
BLACK RIVER GORGES NATIONAL PARK
Designated a national park in 1994, Black River Gorges is one of the last remaining forested areas of the island. Covering rolling hills and deep ravines, the nature reserve park is home to native birds, the Mauritian Flying Fox (a giant fruit bat), Macaque monkeys and miles of hiking trails. We visited the park (and other southwestern Mauritius sights) with a private driver.
Black River Gorges Lookout Point
An essential stop in the park, the Black River Gorges Lookout Point offers stunning views of the gorge and distant hills. After taking in the phenomenal view that stretches on for miles – all the way to Flic en Flac, as a matter of fact – we headed off on a trail to the right of the viewing platform. The path leads deep into the forest to a creek that flows into a cascading waterfall (which is visible from the lookout point).
Top Tip: Pack a picnic lunch or snacks and enjoy your mid-day meal on the large boulders in the middle of the creek!
Not far from the Black River Gorges Viewpoint is Alexandra Falls. Two waterfalls flow down the side of a sheer rock cliff, that is otherwise covered in foliage. An elevated platform provides a nice view of the beautiful falls – as well as a view across the valley and out to sea.
Near the platform, we discovered a path that leads to the top of the waterfall. Although we had to hop-scotch our way across the creek using stones as steps, the path continues to an impeccable viewpoint over the top of the second waterfall.
Hiking in Mauritius
Unfortunately our time was limited in the park – and we would have loved to explore more of the hiking trails! Visitors who want to join a guide can learn more about the park, its inhabitants and the region while trekking through the lush landscapes. Find out more!
CHAMAREL, MAURITIUS SIGHTSEEING
Touted as one of the top attractions in Mauritius, Chamarel Village features intriguing geology and breathtaking nature. For a small entry fee, visitors can access a waterfall viewpoint, naturally colored earth and giant tortoises.
Marking the spot where volcanic lava once flowed, water now pours over the edge of a 100-meter cliff. The two streams crash over rocks below and fall into an unseen pool. Two viewing platforms offer the best vantage point of the remarkable waterfalls (and the viewpoint is popular with birdwatchers, too!).
The 7 Colored Earth
Perhaps not as enthralling as the brochures made it sound, the 7 Colored Earth is naturally occurring oddity. The phenomenon began more than a million years ago with lava, which has decomposed into iron and aluminum oxides that display colorful stripes.
Long ago, tortoises were plentiful on Mauritius, but an 18th century belief that they had the power to fight scurvy resulted in them becoming extinct. The tortoises at the 7 Colored Earth were brought from Aldabra. The enormous reptiles live to be 150 years old and grow to one meter in length. We watched two very active tortoises as they stretched their long necks and feasted on grass, while they slowly – and only with great effort – moved about their area.
GRAND BASSIN TEMPLE: A MAURITIUS MUST-SEE
Visitors seeking out cultural places to visit in Mauritius should go to the Grand Bassin Temple. The Hindu pilgrimage site has a history that dates to the late 1800s. Devotees come with offerings and to light incense, but visitors are invited inside to observe, view the architecture and statues and receive blessings.
Mangal Mahadev Statue
The can’t-be-missed gigantic statue of Shiva, a Hindu deity, stands at the entrance to Grand Bassin. The statue is more than 100 feet tall. Ranking as the tallest statue on Mauritius, it is also the third-tallest Shiva statue in the world.
Ganga Talao Lake
Identified as a holy lake by a Hindu priest in 1897, several temples were built around the lake’s perimeter. Since then, holy water from the Ganges River in India has been added to the lake, making it even more sacred to Hindu believers. Shrines and statues decorate the lake’s edge. We watched several families come to the lake to pray, making offerings to the water (where we also saw giant eels swimming just below the surface).
Inside the main temple, a holy man offered to give me a Hindu blessing. As he marked my forehead with red paint, he blessed me with happiness, prosperity and good health. He then put his hands on my head as a blessing for a good mind and long life.
Top Tip: Although Grand Bassin is a Mauritius tourist attraction, its main purpose is a place of worship. Be mindful of the people who are there to pray, dress appropriately and remove shoes before entering the temples.
Tourist Map of Mauritius
Use this link to Google Maps for an online version of our Mauritius Map.
Sightseeing Mauritius: Car, Driver, Tour
While deciding what to see in Mauritius, visitors also need to consider how to get there. Many of the top things to do in Mauritius are in the south, but getting between the sights requires a vehicle.
Rental Car Mauritius
We don’t like driving in foreign countries, so rather than rent a car, we hired a driver for a day. We made our list of the top things to see in Mauritius, planned our route and had our driver take us exactly where we wanted to go. For groups of two or more people, hiring a driver can be very economical.
For the most part, it went off completely without a hitch. Our driver did try to steer us toward commission-earning tourist traps, but we politely declined. Before booking a driver, we recommend reading fellow traveler reviews.
There is a public transportation network on Mauritius, which is an inexpensive way to get around the island. We used the public bus to get from Flic en Flac to Le Morne. However, the routes are not designed for tourists and the buses are slow and hot.
Book a Day Tour
Several of the top places to go in Mauritius can be seen on a full-day tour. See the sights of Chamarel, taste local rum from a distillery, visit Grand Bassin and enjoy a traditional meal on a one-day tour of Mauritius. Read the rave reviews!
More Amazing Mauritius Attractions
Our list of Mauritius places to see is based on the attractions we were most interested in during our trip. Other travelers may be interested in these activities recommended by other travelers.
Port Louis, Mauritius Attractions
Port Louis is the busy capital city of the island nation. Built up during the 18th century when it was a French colony, the city features historic architecture, the main island port and the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.
Top attractions include the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, the Blue Penny Museum, the Citadel and Central Market. Horse racing in Mauritius is also popular – and the Champ de Mars racetrack in Port Louis is one of the oldest tracks in the world.
Located in the north of Mauritius, Grand Baie (or Grand Bay) is a popular resort town and one of the top Mauritius destinations. A hub of tourist activity, visitors have ample choice when it comes to things to do in Grande Baie. Sea activities, shopping and a vibrant Mauritius nightlife attract visitors from around the world.
Where To Stay in Mauritius
When we were searching for the best place to stay in Mauritius, we set our sights on Flic en Flac. Not only is the beach picture-perfect, but the location in the middle of the west coast of Mauritius is ideal for reaching other parts of the island. Some of the best resorts in Mauritius sit on Flic en Flac Beach – but we were seeking a more local experience. Rather than staying in one of the Mauritius beach hotels, we opted to stay in an apartment.
Start your search for Flic en Flac, Mauritius West Coast Hotels and Apartments on Booking.com – like we do!
How To Travel to Mauritius
Travelers can reach the island of Mauritius by boat or by airplane, with most visitors arriving via plane. Flights to Mauritius land at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, which is (inconveniently) located on the southeast side of the island.
The national airline is Air Mauritius, which services numerous destinations – such as Cape Town, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London Heathrow, Paris, Perth and Singapore (but no US cities). We flew on Air Mauritius – arriving from Perth and departing to Cape Town.
Top Tip: On arrival, be sure to have the complete address of your accommodations. We had arranged for our host to pick us up at the airport and, therefore, never asked for the specific address. Unfortunately, without the information, we were held up at immigration for more than an hour.
Search for the best prices on flights to Mauritius on SkyScanner!
Visitors looking for money-saving deals can find hotel and flight packages for Mauritius holidays on Expedia.com.
Facts About Mauritius
A few more tips for your Mauritius trip!
Mauritius Currency Rate
The official currency of Mauritius is the Mauritian Rupee. Check current currency rates before your trip on XE Converter.
The Mauritius climate is a mild, tropical oceanic climate. The island has two seasons: Summer and Winter, although the temperature in Mauritius remains fairly steady year-round.
- Summer: Hot and humid, the summer season in Mauritius is from mid-October until mid-May. February is the wettest month and October is the driest.
- Winter: Cooler and dry – but still very warm – “winter” lasts from mid-May to mid-October.
Best Time To Visit Mauritius
We visited in November – which we think is the best time to go to Mauritius. The weather was ideal, with low humidity and sunny skies.
What You Will Need
Before you take off for your trip to Mauritius, make sure you have everything you need!
Pack plenty of sunscreen – you will definitely be using it! You can buy sunscreen once you are there, but expect it to cost a bit more than at home!
Sunglasses, Hat and Swimwear
Don’t forget your beach gear! I love wearing polarized Maui Jim sunglasses at the beach, but I also recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat to protect your eyes and face. Beach towels take up too much room in luggage, so inquire if your hotel provides them. If not, bring a sarong or wrap that can double as a beach towel. Top Tip: While the sand is like powder, sea urchins are found along the shores of Mauritius – so water shoes are recommended!
Camera, Dry Bag, Underwater Action Camera
You will definitely want to bring a camera to capture the beauty of the beach. We recommend using an actual camera, rather than relying on your phone. We use a Canon Rebel with an 18-135mm lens, which can be a bit clunky on the beach – so we also carry a slim and lightweight Canon PowerShot that takes excellent photos.
Whatever digital devices you will be carrying, be sure to have a dry bag they can all fit into! We use the reliable Sea To Summit cases to keep our electronics dry at the beach.
We think Travel Insurance is essential! While we hope to never have to use it, travel insurance can protect against a wide range of unfortunate events – like lost luggage, delayed flights and injuries and illnesses abroad. Check rates and coverage for your trip on World Nomads.
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