Off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean lies a beautiful island with pristine beaches, gorgeous lagoons, and jaw-dropping landscapes. Just 500 miles from its more popular neighbor Madagascar, Mauritius is volcanic in origin and is entirely surrounded by coral reefs. With a population of 1.2 million that are a mix of Indian, Chinese, French, and African, the island has the largest Hindu presence on the continent of Africa.
The country is very popular among European tourists, but when mentioned to most Americans it’s not as widely known. Although many people think Mauritius is only for the luxury traveler with a large budget, the island can be quite affordable if done right. There are many attractions that can be done either for free or at a low cost, and lodging can be as low as $50 per night. Taxi fares can be very high, so by renting a car you can easily cut your expenses.
With a warm climate throughout most of the year, there is no bad time to visit Mauritius. If you’re a beach bum, an adventurer, or somewhere in between, Mauritius is a must visit.
Here are 10 things to do on this amazing island:
1. Le Morne Mountain
Le Morne Mountain is a popular hiking attraction in the southwestern region of the island. There is a parking lot which makes it convenient to drive yourself and the hike itself is free. In total, the hike is about three to four hours depending on your pace.
The first half of the hike is a clear trail with some hills. In the second half, it gets intense with a lot of rock climbing. The trail isn’t as clear, so it is not recommended to do the second half of the hike alone.
2. Le Morne Beach
To reward themselves for the hard work of hiking Le Morne Mountain, most people visit Le Morne Beach to relax and cool off. One of the most popular beaches in the southern region of Mauritius, it’s a 15-minute drive from the start of the mountain.
3. Blue Waterfalls
These crystal blue waterfalls are arguably one of the island’s best kept secrets. You can get to the Blue Waterfalls by car and there is no hiking involved. You can simply walk down to them while maneuvering through the rocks and dirt.
If you want to take this adventure, the waterfalls are free to enter. It is recommended you bring bug spray to avoid mosquito bites.
4. The Seven Colored Earth
One of the most popular attractions in Mauritius is the Seven Colored Earth National Park. This natural phenomenon is very impressive and only costs about $6 to enter.
It’s a relatively small area of sand dunes consisting of multiple colors of soil. The geological formation was due to volcanic eruptions and the colors evolved through the conversion of lava to clay minerals.
To get the best view of the Seven Colored Earth, it is suggested to visit just after sunrise and to avoid going on a rainy day because the soil loses its colors when it’s wet.
5. Chamarel Waterfall
This waterfall is conveniently located in the same park as the Seven Colored Earth. Unfortunately, you can only see it from afar. Nonetheless, the view is beautiful and worth the walk.
6. Beach Hopping
Mauritius is known for its pristine beaches, so one cannot visit without doing some beach hopping. There are quite a few beaches on this beautiful island, but some favorites are Pereybere, Mont Choisy, and Trou de Biches, all located in the northern part of the island and about 15 to 20 minutes apart from each other by car.
Flic En Flac is a 5-mile long white sand beach located in the south and is one of the liveliest beaches on the island especially on the weekends.
On each of these beaches you can expect to find locals fishing or even camping on the sand in their tents. They are also great for trying the authentic street food sold on the trucks. You can expect to get a full meal and drink for about $6.
All public beaches in Mauritius are free to enter and don’t have official closing times so feel free to stop by at night and hear the peaceful sound of the Indian ocean waves.
7. Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
This botanical garden has a collection of plants from all over the world. You can wander around aimlessly for an hour or two and cool off from the scorching sun. With an entry fee of just $5, you will see all kinds of spices, sugar canes, and palms. When visiting the garden, it’s a must to stop at the famous long pond full of giant water lilies.
8. Ile Aux Cerfs
This ultimate island day trip is just a short (30 minutes) ferry ride from Mauritius. Known in English as “The Deer Island”, Ile Aux Cerfs is famous for its white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons, and water sports.
You can enjoy parasailing, banana boats, and glass bottom boats to name a few. Also, if you’re into underwater life, this is the perfect place for snorkeling as the coral reef is full of sea creatures.
In recent years, Ile Aux Cerfs has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mauritius. The island also has several restaurants for all kinds of taste buds. Visiting here is a guaranteed day of fun and relaxation.
9. Black River Gorges National Park
If you only have time to visit one national park in Mauritius, let it be this one. Black River Gorges is the largest park in Mauritius. It’s full of lush green rain forests, rolling hills, 300-plus species of plants, multiple species of birds, monkeys, deer, and a large colony of giant fruit bats.
The park is best explored on foot and some of its highlights are Alexandra Falls, Gorges Viewpoint, and the highest mountain of Mauritius, Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire. You can visit the park on your own or join a guided hike.
10. Port Louis Markets
When visiting any destination, it’s always nice to take a small (or large if you have enough room in your luggage) souvenir home with you. The central market at Port Louis is full of vibrant street life and has stalls on every corner.
Things to buy include home cooked food, handcrafts, refrigerator magnets, and other authentic souvenirs. When shopping at any of the stalls be prepared to bargain. Locals recommend you start at least 40% less than the original quoted price.
The markets are open Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 5 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
No matter what your interests are, you are guaranteed to find it in Mauritius. From amazing white sand beaches and stunning blue water to lush plants and wildlife, Mauritius has it all and is a trip you will never forget.
Last Updated on May 1, 2020