While sunny skies, sandy beaches and the warm Indian Ocean all come standard on a Mauritius holiday, a closer look will reveal that there's far more diversity on this beautiful little island than you might think.
The easiest way to decide where to go in Mauritius is to start with its four coastlines. You'll need to choose from beaches on the busier northern and western coasts or the quieter beaches to the south and east. Then, once you’ve chosen the perfect place to stay, consider hiring a car and exploring the rest of the island under your own steam: Mauritius is a manageable size, its coastal roads make for lovely driving, and along with a staggering selection of beaches there are plenty of places of interest from welcoming towns to pretty gardens and nature reserves in the island's green and mountainous interior.
The north of Mauritius is full of bustling energy: there are interesting shops, a fantastic selection of water sports and the island’s only resort town - Grand Baie. Although Grand Baie has evolved from a sleepy fishing village into a thriving tourist destination, it still retains its friendly small-town feel along with a fine collection of hotels, restaurants and bars that line the pretty, horseshoe-shaped bay.
The waters around Grand Baie are dotted with fishing boats and aren't ideal for swimming but lying just a 5-minute drive away is the peninsular of Pointe aux Canonniers, the start of an unbroken chain of sugar-white sand beaches running all the way down the island’s west coast.
On the eastern side of Grand Baie lies the quieter Rivière du Rempart region which has just a handful of resorts. Secluded coves, luxurious accommodation and world-class spas have made this north-east coast of Mauritius an increasingly popular choice for honeymooners or those seeking a romantic break.
View all Mauritius North Coast accommodation.
It’s often said that 'west is best' and we certainly agree: Mauritius' west coast has unbeatable beaches ranging from the fine white sands of Trou aux Biches in the far north to the isolated Le Morne Peninsula on the south-west tip of the island. And it's Le Morne that has the most dramatic setting on the entire island: its 3km stretch of sand, reef-protected lagoon and superb golf course are all laid out at the foot of an imposing mountain.
As for Trou aux Biches, clear water and safe swimming make this strech of coast particularly popular with families, and with coral reef just a short swim from shore, it’s also great for snorkelling. Trou aux Biches can get busy at times but if that's the case then simply stroll along the coast to neighbouring Pointe aux Piments – a refreshingly quiet stretch of sand, although it is rocky in places.
South of the Mauritian capital of Port Louis lies the best known – and longest – beach on the west coast: Flic-en-Flac. Sheltered from the south-east winds, the calm waters of Flic-en-Flac are ideal for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and diving while its palm-lined shore is home to a good selection of accommodation along with shops, restaurants and bars.
View all Mauritius West Coast accommodation.
More exclusive and less built-up than the west coast, the eastern coastline of Mauritius has some of the island’s most luxurious hotels and is home to the extremely beautiful Belle Mare region. The mix of the softest powder-white sand, an emerald lagoon and lush green vegetation place Belle Mare firmly amongst the prettiest beaches in Mauritius, and although the sea can get rough at times you can always take a refreshing dip in the lagoon.
At the northern end of Belle Mare lies the Post de Flacq Peninsula which has several top resorts and is where to go in Mauritius for a choice of golf courses. To the south of the peninsula and only a short boat ride from Ile Aux Cerfs, lies Beau Camp, a tropical playground where you can enjoy all manner of water sports from parasailing to water skiing. Round off your day at Beau Camp with a seafood barbecue on the beach.
The east coast catches the wind, so in summer you have a welcoming sea breeze but in winter it can be a bit blustery. Check our when to go to Mauritius section for more information or simply ask one of our Africa Safari Experts about the best time to travel to this region.
View all Mauritius East Coast accommodation.
The south coast is more rugged than the rest of the island and its towering cliffs make for wonderfully dramatic scenery. There are fewer swimming beaches here - and therefore less development - and many locals say that the Mauritius south coast still reminds them of the way the island used to be before tourism took off: wild, beautiful and authentic.
In the south you’ll find the Blue Bay Marine Park (Blue Baie) which protects rich coral reefs offering some of the best snorkelling and diving in Mauritius. Also well worth mentioning are Bel Ombre and nearby Chemin Grenier – both unspoiled stretches of sand in a lush green setting.
Far from the relative bustle of Grand Baie and the popular west coast, the south coast of Mauritius is for people who want to escape the crowds and enjoy genuine tranquility.
View all Mauritius South Coast accommodation.
See a different side to Mauritius: while we have no doubt that your main reason for travelling to this sun-soaked island is sandy beaches and tropical sea, we’d also highly recommend a few days inland surrounded by forested hills woven with cool, clear streams and nature trails.
Our favourite inland accommodation is Lakaz Chamarel, a boutique eco-lodge in the south west of the island close to the Black River Gorges National Park. This area is well known for its walks past thick jungle-like vegetation and pretty waterfalls, hiking and mountain biking trails, heavenly viewpoints, and fantastic birdlife including pink pigeons and green parrots - two rare species that have been bought back from near extinction.
Other places worth leaving the beach for include the surrealistically striped sand dunes at the “Seven Coloured Earth”, which is also in the Chamarel region close to the Black River Gorges. And if you’re up in the north of the island, why not spend a few hours at the “Jardin des Pamplemousses”, botanical gardens with shady trees and giant water lilies.
At a Glance
Beaches, watersports, golf and got-it-all resorts - Mauritius delivers classic Indian Ocean holidays for families, honeymooners, scuba divers and sports enthusiasts.