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“Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius” – Mark Twain

best of mauritius
Another day at the office for these fishermen in Mauritius!

It’s a quote I’ve seen often and anyone visiting Mauritius will come across that line at some point or other. Except, it’s not exactly what Mark Twain said 200-odd years ago when he first visited the island. The actual quote reads:

“From one citizen you gather [the] idea that Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.”

I chuckled when I discovered the actual quote. What a difference a few words can make! However, I can totally relate to Mark Twain’s experience with Mauritians; a warm, hospitable people with big smiles, who are rightfully proud of their island’s great beauty. For anyone visiting Mauritius, it soon becomes evident what this pride is rooted in. With its spectacular lagoons, blinding white beaches, lofty peaks, beautiful people and delicious cuisines, Mauritius is well worth a visit as it easily ticks the boxes of anyone’s definition of paradise or heaven.

On my first visit to Mauritius back in 2013, I fell for its beauty and charm in an instant. Since then, I’ve returned several times, got to explore all corners of the island and have written a lot about Mauritius on my travel blog. To sum it up, I’ve packed all the best places and activities into this suggested road trip itinerary of Mauritius, which can be done in one week or longer.

mauritius itinerary travel guide
A big smile is never far away in Mauritius!

This Mauritius guide contains links to services I often use myself and can recommend: Skyscanner (for flight searches), Booking.com (for hotel bookings), Rentalcars.com (for car hire) and GetYourGuide and Manawa (for easy-to-book tours). If you make a booking via one of these services, I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). These commissions help me to maintain my travel blog and share more experiences with you.

Getting to Mauritius

The flag carrier is Air Mauritius, which offers direct flights from various global hubs such as London Heathrow, Paris CDG and Dubai, utilising modern aircraft like the Airbus A350. Mauritius is also served by major airlines such as Emirates, Air France and British Airways.

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The Business Class seat in an Air Mauritius A350.
 

Flying to/from Mauritius offers spectacular views on clear days so I recommend booking a window seat! Check out other amazing Mauritius views.

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A first glimpse of Mauritius as the plane cleared the clouds.

The SSR International Airport is Mauritius’ main entry point. I recommend picking up a rental car here for your Mauritius road trip.

 

Suggested one week Best of Mauritius itinerary

This one week Mauritius itinerary starts at the Airport, then continues on a loop around the island anti-clockwise (east to west). In the southwest, I’ve included a separate, smaller loop which can be done as a day trip. I recommend spending a few days in both the north and south to experience the great diversity of the island.

Day 1-2: Blue Bay/Mahebourg (1 night in Blue Bay)

Day 2-5: North Mauritius (3 nights in the North)

Day 5-7: South Mauritius (2 nights in the South)

One week is sufficient to follow the route and visit many of the places listed below. However, if you have time, I suggest extending your stay to at least 10 days to enjoy more beach time and the sights and excursions I’ve described.

Notes

  • Driving in Mauritius is on the left side of the road. Roads are generally good and easily navigable. Traffic in and around Port Louis is heavy during rush hour so try to avoid the city and suburbs during these times.
  • The best time to visit Mauritius is between May and December when it’s slightly cooler (the summers can be very hot and muggy) though the ‘winter’ months (July-August) can be wet. My favourite months to visit Mauritius are May/June and September/October. 

Best places to visit on a road trip in Mauritius

Southeast Mauritius

Blue Bay

Blue Bay is a little village at the edge of one of the most stunning bays in Mauritius is the perfect place to relax after your trip to Mauritius. It’s also a only a 15-minute drive from the airport. The white, sand beaches and crystal clear water in a variety of blues are absolutely mesmerising! In addition, there’s a good selection of restaurants, cafés as well as water-based activities. Search for hotels in Blue Bay.

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Blue Bay

For a relaxing day trip, I recommend hopping on a boat for a visit to Ile Des Deux Cocos, a small island just across the bay. Join a Blue Bay snorkelling and Ile des Deux Cocos picnic excursion.

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Blue Bay seen on the boat ride to Ile Des Deux Cocos.

Mahebourg

The small town of Mahebourg is only a few kilometers away. To get your first taste of local Mauritius life, go for a stroll along the Waterfront and visit the Mahebourg Market. Mahebourg is also a great place to discover Mauritian food, a tantalising mix of Asian, African and European influences. Join a Mahebourg street food tour.

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The town of Mahebourg.
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Enjoy the lagoon views in Mahebourg.

At the Pointe Jerome jetty near Pointe d’Esny, you can go on a boat ride to the Ile Aux Aigrettes nature reserve. The island, made up of coralline limestone, is covered with dry coastal forest and is home to colourful birdlife such as the Mauritius fody and the olive white-eyes, as well as giant tortoises! It’s a surreal experience to hike across the island and encounter these giants on your path!

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Pointe d’Esny and Ile aux Aigrettes.
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Get face-to-face with a giant tortoise!

Another excursion option is a boat trip to Île aux Fouquets (or Lighthouse Island). The ride across the lagoon is nothing short of spectacular. On the island, you’ll find the ruins of an old lighthouse, walking paths and beaches. On the ocean-facing side, you’ll be able to experience the pounding waves of the Indian Ocean. This is also a great spot for bird-watching.

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The old lighthouse on Ile aux Fouquets at the edge of the lagoon.

There are numerous accommodations to choose from in both Blue Bay and Mahebourg, from beach resorts to B&Bs and private villas.



Booking.com

The East Coast

From Mahebourg, head north along the east coast. You’ll pass green hills that erupt into lofty peaks, endless agricultural fields and small villages. The first thing you’ll notice is the island’s multi-ethnicity. At the markets, you’ll see people of Indian, Chinese, Malay, African, Creole and Caucasian backgrounds jostling at the stalls, and in the villages, mosques, churches and temples stand side-by-side. Search for hotels on the East Coast.

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Two ladies working in their vegetable farm.

As you continue north, you’ll pass small towns like Grand Port and Grand River South East. In between, you’ll spot numerous ruins of forts and fortified walls guarded by canons, remnants of Mauritius’ colonial past. You can learn more about the often tempestuous history of Mauritius at the Frederick Hendrick Museum. One fact I quickly learned here was the origins of the name Mauritius: the first Western settlers were the Dutch who arrived in the 16th century and they named the island Mauritius after the Dutch Governor at the time, Maurits van Nassau.

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Old Grand Port, the site of the first Dutch settlement on Mauritius.

Between Grand Port and Grand Sable, Distillerie Ylang Ylang (location) makes for a lovely stop. This little shop sells home-made essential oils and soaps made of ingredients sourced from her garden such as ylang ylang and frangipani. The owner will gladly show you around her garden and explain the different plants and uses.

Distillerie Ylang Ylang

Grand River South East

You’ll soon arrive at Grand River South East, a village that’s famous on the east coast for its natural attractions and water sports. Visitors can go kayaking along the river or sailing in the estuary. Don’t miss a stop at the roaring GRSE Waterfall.

GRSE Waterfall (image by K.Ratzke/Wikimedia Commons).

Two wonderful accommodations that I absolutely enjoyed can be found in this area: Otentic and the Four Seasons Anahita. Otentic serves up a very local experience, including glamping by the river and cooking courses.

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Me making farata at Otentic. Guess I was doing a good job, judging by that big smile! (image courtesy of Shivya Nath).

The Four Seasons Anahita, on the other hand, is a sprawling, luxurious resort with amazing villas and facilities coupled with top-notch service and food. Read more about my stay at Four Seasons Anahita.

Four Seasons Anahita

From here, you can also go on day trips to Ile Aux Cerfs, one of the most popular leisure islands on the east coast. Join a full-day Ile Aux Cerfs excursion.

Flacq

You’ll soon arrive in Flacq where there are numerous attractions as well as one of my favourite resorts in Mauritius: Constance Prince Maurice. Read more about my stay at Constance Prince Maurice. I recommend a visit to the Flacq Market and the Sagar Shiv Mandir Hindu Temple.

The stunning beach at Constance Prince Maurice resort.
The market in Flacq. Fresh produce is sold on Wednesdays and Sundays.
A lady selling saris at Flacq Market.

North Mauritius

Many visitors choose to base themselves in north Mauritius as there’s a wide variety of things to do and places to visit. Some are convinced that Mauritius’ best beaches are found here. You’ll find a string of beachside communities, historic attractions, a plethora of restaurants and wherever you go, dreamy views of the lagoons, beaches and the outer islands. Search for hotels in North Mauritius.

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Beautiful views in north Mauritius.
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A Mauritius sunset on the northwest coast

Here are the best places to visit and suggested activities in north Mauritius:

North Mauritius beaches

There are many sandy beaches with calm turquoise water to choose from, perfect for water activities such as windsurfing and stand-up paddling. Beaches I can recommend include La Cuvette, Mont Choisy, Pereybere and Trou aux Biches.

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The beach at Trou aux Biches

The outer islands, such as Flat Island, also offer amazing beaches and snorkelling opportunities. These islands can be reached by private chartered boats or as part of a catamaran excursion. Join a full day catamaran excursion to the northern isles.

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Flat Island or Ile Plat can only be reached by chartered boats.
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Snorkelling in the crystalline water around Flat Island

Cap Malhereux

This village at the northernmost point of Mauritius is absolutely charming and is home to one of the most photographed spots on the island: Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice de Cap Malhereux, a picturesque church facing the lagoon.

best places to visit in mauritius
Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice de Cap Malhereux

Chateau de la Bourdonnais

The beautiful 18th century Labourdonnais Estate has one of Mauritius’ most beautiful estate mansions as well as extensive gardens. Visit the beautiful estate mansion, stroll around the extensive gardens and do a rhum-tasting.

The beautiful 18th century Labourdonnais Estate

Unique underwater experiences

In Trou aux Biches, the Blue Safari centre offers some very cool underwater experiences to enjoy the local marine life. They organise diving expeditions but also underwater experiences which are accessible for most people such as sub-scooter (a kind of underwater Vespa!) diving and submarine excursions. Read more about the sub-scooter excursion.

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Diving in a sub scooter is certainly unique! Image by Greta Omoboni.

Another marine-based activity in north Mauritius I can recommend is exploring the mangroves on Amber Island from a kayak.

L’Aventure du Sucre

An interesting place to learn more about the history of Mauritius is L’Aventure du Sucre, a living museum dedicated to the colourful history of sugarcane in Mauritius. Sugarcane plantations were founded by the French colonists in the 18th century to support a sustainable settlement on the island. Labourers were brought in from India while sugar mills and railroads were built to process and transport the sugar.

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L’Aventure du Sucre museum.

Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens

Near to L’venture du Sucre, you’ll find the beautiful Botanical Gardens. Enjoy the tropical greenery in these historic gardens and don’t miss the impressive giant water lilies (Victoria Amazonica).

Giant water lilies at the Botanical Gardens.

Join a full-day North Mauritius guided tour that includes Port Louis, L’Aventure, the Botanical Gardens and Cap Malhereux.

Where to stay in north Mauritius

There are many accommodation options in the north. Some of my favourites include 20 Degres Sud, Trou aux Biches Beachcomber, The Oberoi, The Ravenala Attitude and Angsana Balaclava.

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The cosy 20 Degres Sud boutique hotel.
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The Oberoi Mauritius
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Angsana Balaclava Mauritius

Port Louis

Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius. It’s a bustling city with various markets, historical sights and a newly-developed waterfront area. Interesting places to visit in Port Louis include the Blue Penny Museum, the Central Market, the Waterfront and Fort Adelaide (for panoramic views of the city). I recommend spending a half day exploring the city and having lunch at the Waterfront. Port Louis also has a vibrant street food scene. Check out the Central Market and Chinatown for a taste of Mauritius! Join a Port Louis street food tour.

The Waterfront in Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius.
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A panoramic view of Port Louis from Fort Adelaide, a citadel built by the British in the 19th century.

Pieter Both mountain

Just outside Port Louis, you can’t miss the jagged peaks of the iconic Pieter Both mountain. It’s possible to climb this mountain (with climbing gear) so I would only recommend it to experienced climbers.

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The jagged peaks of Pieter Both mountain.

South Mauritius

From Port Louis, head south to my favourite part of Mauritius! South Mauritius, with its striking mountains, verdant valleys, thick forests, blinding white beaches and colourful lagoons, is absolutely spellbinding! Many of Mauritius’ natural attractions can be found here, such as Chamarel Waterfall, Black River Gorge National Park and the UNESCO World Heritage listed Le Morne Brabant mountain. Search for hotels in West and South Mauritius.

Here are some of the best places to visit in South Mauritius:

Beaches in South Mauritius

Some of my favourite Mauritius beaches are here in the south. They include Tamarin (against an impressive background of lofty peaks), Flic en Flac and Le Morne (at the foot of Le Morne mountain).

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Le Morne beach (image courtesy of Greta Omoboni).
best beaches mauritius
Flic en Flac beach

Black River

Black River or Rivière Noire is the embarkation point for boat excursions to see the resident dolphins off the coast. It’s a wondrous experience to get in the water and see (and hear) these dolphins in their natural habitat. Join a Black River dolphin/whale watching excursion.

See the resident dolphins in their natural habitat.

Tamarin Bay

Tamarin is a popular place for its variety of water sports and excursions. Hire a kayak or SUP to explore the small bay and the mangroves of the Riviere du Rempart, or join a catamaran excursion and enjoy the view of Tamarin, backed by the majestic Rempart mountain.

Tamarin

Chamarel

One of the most famous waterfalls in Mauritius, Chamarel Falls emerges from the thick jungle and plunges almost 100 meters into a gorge. There are upper and lower viewing platforms – walking between the platforms allows you to spot the birdlife and enjoy the flora.

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Chamarel Falls.

On the way there, drop by at the Chamarel Viewpoint for some beautiful panoramic views. You can also opt to stop for lunch at the Le Chamarel restaurant, which offers delicious local fare and stunning views.

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The view from Chamarel Viewpoint.

Seven Coloured Earth

Near Chamarel Falls, continue to another natural attraction: the Seven Coloured Earths. This is a small area formed by volcanic activity to form dune-like mounds covered with different coloured sands. It’s best viewed on a sunny day when the colours really pop.

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Seven Coloured Earths

Also in the vicinity is the Ebony Forest, with its unique species of trees that are endemic to Mauritius. This nature reserve has well-maintained paths and canopy walkways. Join a Wild Southwest full-day tour.

Grand Bassin Hindu Temples

Grand Bassin is a crater lake with colourful Hindu temples along its shoreline. This is an important pilgrimage site that’s well worth a visit.

Grand Bassin Hindu temples (image by CEphoto/Wikimedia Commons)

Tamarind Falls

These beautiful cascades are popular with hikers and those who enjoy canyoning. Join a Tamarind Falls hike or canyoning adventure.

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Me canyoning at Tamarind Falls.

Black River Gorge National Park

The Black River Gorge National Park is home to the largest protected forest in Mauritius. There are over 50km of hiking trails through thick rainforests, deep valleys, gushing rivers and beautiful waterfalls. The park has over 300 species of flowering plants and 9 bird species unique to Mauritius, such as the pink pigeon. Join a 3-hour guided hike in the Black River Gorge.

Black River Gorge NP (image by CEphoto/Wikimedia Commons).
Cascades in the Black River Gorge National Park.

Le Morne Brabant mountain

Le Morne Brabant is a 556 meter basaltic monolith. This mountain was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. It’s a pretty challenging hike (especially the second half) and I recommend going with a guide, and only in the early morning before it gets too hot.

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The spectacular view of the lagoons from Le Morne mountain. Image courtesy of Presram Hurree.

The views from the mountaintop are simply worth the effort though! On a good day, you’ll be able to see the famous ‘underwater waterfall’, an optical illusion formed by coral reefs and sand banks. Join a Le Morne Brabant guided hike.

Underwater waterfall (image courtesy of Twisted Sifter)

Mauritius Tea Route

The Mauritius Tea Route is a popular touristic route in the south that covers three plantation estates: Le Domaine des Aubineaux, Bois Cheri Tea Factory and Domaine Saint Aubin. This is a wonderful route to follow to gain an insight into the colonial history of Mauritius and its plantations. Enjoy the beauty of these estates and learn about tea, rum and vanilla production on the island. Join a Tea Route guided tour.

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The historic St. Aubin Estate where visitors can learn more about vanilla and rum production.

Where to stay in south Mauritius

There are many beautiful accommodations scattered along the west coast from Flic en Flac down to Le Morne. My favourites include Sugar Beach, Maradiva Villas, Dinarobin Beachcomber and Heritage Le Telfair.

Sugar Beach at Flic en Flac.
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The Maradiva Villas
Le Morne mountain forms an amazing backdrop for the pool at Dinarobin Beachcomber resort.
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The Heritage Le Telfair resort.

Note: this post was brought to you as a result of the #MyMauritius blog trips, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with Create, AHRIM, Mauritius Tourism and Air Mauritius. As always, all opinions above are mine, and mine only.

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12 Responses

  • Hi LIsa,
    On my recent trip there, I spent a week in Reunion and 4 days in Mauritius. If you have two weeks and you love adventure, I suggest visiting Reunion first (check out my Reunion Island guide: https://velvetescape.com/best-of-reunion-island-guide/ ) for 7-8 days and the rest of your time in Mauritius. See my post on things to do in Mauritius: https://velvetescape.com/things-to-do-mauritius/
    Both islands are only a 45-minute flight from each other so it’s easy to do. Have a great trip!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  • I’ll be traveling from the US for 2 weeks. I want to see Mauritius but think 2 weeks is too long for MRU. I’m a pretty aggressive traveler and can manage to pack my schedule. I like adventure, I like beach too but I can’t lay on the beach for more than 3 days. Any suggestions on where else I can I drop by? I know Reunion is nearby. Thanks!

  • Hi Dean,
    I see your point. No offence taken. 🙂 This article is basically a report of one of my trips to Mauritius. If you’d like to have some ideas of what to do in Mauritius for a week, you’re welcome to have a look at this article: https://velvetescape.com/things-to-do-mauritius/ There are hikes, vistas, markets, history and nature activities included. Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  • I hope you get to see my point. This is not personal.
    I was not impressed at all.
    What you detailed is a trip of a privileged person with a fat wallet.
    What I saw in this 2 part journal are expensive hotels. You can see them in every tropical nation nowadays (Maldives, Thailand, Seychelles, French Polynesia, Hi and many many more). I myself have been to many as well.
    But here is the thing, I couldn’t tell where you have been. These cookie cutter fine hotels are everywhere. This is all man made. Made in boardrooms of corporations. For this you can pick any place, nothing unique.
    This is just an article of a rich man who showed us where he stayed and what he ate (and what you ate was mostly imported and/or a destruction of our planet).
    When I searched what to do in Mauritius for a week, I was hoping to see, trails, waterfalls, vistas etc.

  • Lucky You !!! It’s an amazing trip you have done. Mauritius is in my bucket list! Your photos are really amazing! Thank you for sharing your experience and detailed information about Mauritius…

  • Hello Balaji,
    It really depends on what time of the year you go (low/high season). I can definitely recommend September when the weather is nice and it’s just before the peak season. It also depends on which hotels you choose and if you go for a package (many resorts offer attractive packages which include accommodation, meals and activities). If I were to make a rough estimate, a trip like the one I made, staying at these hotels plus tours cost around USD 10,000. This excludes flights. I hope this helps.

    Kind regards,
    Keith

  • Very nice. approximately how much money we need for this entire trip.

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