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  • Last Updated: 24th May 2017

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Mauritius - Indian Ocean

Mark Twain famously summed up Mauritius when he said, “Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius.”

Few who have visited this lush island would disagree. Located 2,000 kilometres off the east coast of Africa, Mauritius is renowned for its beauty. Encircled by the world’s third-largest coral reef, this tropical paradise is surrounded by crystal-clear lagoons and pristine white beaches.

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Mauritius

A cultural crossroads

Although the beaches and lagoons of Mauritius are its primary tourist attraction, the small island nation has more to offer than lazy days by the sea.

At different points in its history, Mauritius has been a Dutch, French and finally British colony. Over the years, it became a cultural melting pot, with a population made up people from Africa, India, China and Europe. The interaction of these diverse cultures has created a distinctive Indo-Creole culture, which is an interesting fusion of different religions and customs; French, Indian and Chinese cuisine; and laid-back island living.

The island’s popular Sega music and dances capture the soul of Mauritian culture, and are certain to be a highlight of your stay.

Mauritius

Tropical paradise

Mauritius encompasses a series of islands on the Mascarene Island chain in the Indian Ocean. The majority of the Mauritian population inhabits the Mauritian mainland, which is a mere 65 kilometres long and 45 kilometres wide. Smaller populations inhabit the islands of Rodrigues and Agalega.

Despite its tiny size, Mauritius boasts a surprising diversity of landscapes. The south of the island is home to many of the country’s luxury resorts, thanks to the powdery white sand beaches that border a lagoon. In the north and east, dense vegetation gives way to rockier beaches, which open onto smaller lagoons teeming with colourful sea-life.

The variation in the colour and texture of the ocean as you travel along the Mauritian coastline can be quite breath-taking. The deep azure waters of the west coast run into the almost fluorescent turquoise of the tranquil southern lagoon, while breakers peel along the coral reef that runs close to the shores of the north-east coast.

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A perfect holiday destination

Couple this with an exquisite array of culinary delights, which have a variety of Asian infused spices to get your taste buds tingling, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a vacation like no other. You’ll be wondering why you never considered this gem of an island before.

The beaches and lagoons of Mauritius are a hub of tourist activity. Charter boats launch throughout the day to take tourists fishing, cruising or swimming with dolphins. Scuba diving and snorkelling are popular activities, and the adventurous can surf the reefs, kite surf or go parasailing.

Other travel pages about the destination: Flights to Mauritius | Mauritius holidays

Most popular Indian Ocean flight searches on our site:

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Top experiences not to miss

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    Take a sailing trip on a yacht or catamaran. You’ll cross lagoons so clear you can view the sea-life beneath you, snorkel amid schools of colourful fish and even swim with wild dolphins.

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    Visit the Ile Aux Cerfs Island, a small island on the east coast. The island is renowned for its wide, sandy beach and features a variety of laid back restaurants and curio shops.

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    With so many beaches, it would be rude not to take some time out and just enjoy lounging on the beautiful soft sand; Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Kosgoda are some of the island’s most popular.

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    Take a day off from the beach and head into the island’s interior to explore the Black River Gorges Natural Park. You’ll enjoy spectacular vistas, with waterfalls and the unspoiled, indigenous Mauritian rainforest.

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    Enjoy a day trip to Port Louis, the Mauritian capital. The rustic inner city includes a vibrant market where you can buy traditional Mauritian food; the city also boasts a modern shopping precinct with air-conditioned malls, cinemas and restaurants.

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    Absorb the ambience of Mauritius’ colonial heritage with a trip along the Mauritius tea route, which includes stops at the colonial manor at Domaine des Aubineaux and the tea factory at Bois Cheri.

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    Check into a five-star resort where you can you let the stress seep away as you swim in a lagoon, languish on a deckchair or indulge in pampering at a luxurious spa.