On a world map, Mauritius is a tiny dot in the vast Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar (map). Famous for its stunning beaches and luxurious resorts, Mauritius is a popular honeymoon destination. However, there are many more things to do in Mauritius besides lazing on a beach. With its spectacular lagoons, blinding white beaches, lofty peaks, lush forests, beautiful people and delicious cuisines, Mauritius is an amazing, multi-faceted island with lots to offer. My first visit to Mauritius was back in 2013 and I fell for its beauty and charm in an instant. I’ve been back a few times since then and it’s been a joy exploring more of the island. Mauritius has a tropical climate with sunny, warm weather year round. 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. Here are my suggestions for things to do in Mauritius:
Relaxing things to do in Mauritius
If you’re just planning a beach escape, here are some relaxing things to do in Mauritius while you’re on a beach! Haha! 🙂
- Lie on the beach and gape at the wondrous colours of the water
- Put on your snorkel gear and explore the reefs just off the beach
- Tuck into a freshly grilled seafood meal on the beach
- Go for a walk along the beach and listen to the gentle waves lapping at the shore
- Have a nap in a hammock on the beach
- Have a cocktail on the beach and watch the sunset
With beaches like these, who would want to do anything else? Haha! Oh wait, you can always go to the spa! Many of the luxury beach resorts have great spas – my favourites spas in Mauritius are the spas in Shanti Maurice Resort, Four Seasons Anahita and The Oberoi. You’ll return fully rested and totally zen.
Read: my list of recommended luxury hotels in Mauritius
Active things to do in Mauritius
If you’re the more active type and want to see more of the island (and I recommend you do), here are my suggested things to do in Mauritius:
1. Go on a helicopter or microlight tour of the island
This is probably one of the most spectacular things to do in Mauritius! Seeing the spectacular lagoons, with their breathtaking colours, from above is an unforgettable experience. Air Mauritius provides helicopter tours from Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport. Read about my helicopter tour of Mauritius. See how you can enjoy amazing views of Mauritius from a plane window.
2. Visit Tamarind Falls
Tamarind Falls are a series of seven cascades in southwest Mauritius. Surrounded by lush forests and consisting of rock pools and gushing streams, it’s a great place for a hike and to enjoy the tropical forests and views, followed by a refreshing swim. Check out this guided hiking tour of Tamarind Falls.
3. Swim with dolphins, whale-watching at Black River
Go snorkelling and explore the reefs off Black River (west coast) and if you’re lucky, you might even spot the resident dolphins. Or you might even spot a whale or two! Check out this Black River dolphin boat tour. Or you can join an overnight catamaran cruise along the west coast where you can see the marine life as well as enjoy a glorious sunset!
4. Get active in/on the water!
There’s a host of water-based activities, from snorkelling in the lagoons to scuba-diving, kite-surfing (Mauritius is one of the best kite-surfing destinations on the planet), wakeboarding, deep-sea fishing and sailing. A unique marine experience is undoubtedly the sub-scooter where guests can enjoy the marine life from a marine scooter-like vehicle. You can also choose to explore the mangroves on Amber Island from a kayak.
5. Experience the natural wonders of Mauritius
The dodo bird may be extinct but Mauritius is still home to some amazing natural attractions. The Seven Coloured Earths are a geological formation found in the Chamarel plain of the Rivière Noire District in southwestern Mauritius. It’s a wondrous experience to see the colours of the exposed rock face of the hills. This area is close to Black River where you can hop on a boat to go swimming with dolphins (see above). Other natural attractions include the giant tortoises (at La Vanille Nature Park) and the giant water lilies (Victoria Amazonica) at the lovely Botanical Gardens in Pamplemousses. Join this day tour that includes swimming with dolphins, a visit to a dormant volcano, the giant tortoises and the Seven Earths.
6. Learn about the history of Mauritius
Mauritius has a long and often tempestuous history. The island was named Mauritius by the Dutch, the first Western settlers, who arrived in the 16th century. They named the island Mauritius after the Dutch Governor at the time, Maurits van Nassau. Throughout the island, traces of this history are still visible such as the Old Grand Fort built by the Dutch or Fort Adelaide (or La Citadelle) built by the British in the 19th century on a hill overlooking the capital Port Louis. A great museum to visit is the Blue Penny Museum in Port Louis. You can also learn about the history of Mauritius at L’Aventure du Sucre, a living museum dedicated to the colourful history of sugarcane (and rhum) in Mauritius, and at one of the historic colonial estates such as the 18th century Château de Labourdonnais, where you can visit the beautiful estate mansion, stroll around the extensive gardens and do a rhum-tasting. The L’Aventure du Sucre museum and Labourdonnais estate are included in this guided tour of north Mauritius.
7. Hike to the peak of Le Morne Mountain
Le Morne mountain is a massive basaltic monolith with a summit 556m above sea level. Located at the southwestern tip of Mauritius, Le Morne mountain offers amazing views of the lagoons that extend from its foot to the vast expanse of the ocean. It’s a somewhat rigorous hike but the spectacular views are so worth it! Check out this guided hike to the peak of Le Morne mountain.
While you’re up there, you might be able to make out the contours of the ‘underwater waterfall’, a bizarre natural phenomenon just off the coast of Le Morne:
Read about other places to see in south west Mauritius.
8. Have an authentic local glamping experience
On my last trip, I visited Otentic, a lovely tented accommodation overlooking the Grand River South East. The tents are amazing, some with beautiful views of the lagoons in the distance. Many activities are organised daily, such as boat trips to nearby islands, cooking courses, hikes and canoe excursions. While there, I had the opportunity to cook with the locals. I made a farata (an Indian pancake) which I then devoured with a dal curry! Staying here is a fabulous experience, worlds away from the luxury resorts that dot the coast. Check out Otentic.
9. Explore the capital 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).
10. Visit a local market
One of my favourite things to do when I travel is to visit a market or two. The market in Port Louis is a popular one for visitors but I can also recommend the market in Flacq on the east coast. Go on Wednesday and Sunday mornings when the farmers bring their freshest produce to the market! Aside from produce, there are vendors selling spices, clothing (like colourful saris), local food/snacks and handicraft.
11. Experience an island paradise!
While the mainland has stunning beaches all around, the islands in the lagoon are more amazing in my opinion. Part of the attraction is getting there – by speedboat or catamaran – when you glide over the incredibly blue, crystalline water. When you approach the island, you’ll be blinded by the white beaches! You can spend the day there lazing on the beach, chatting with the locals over a grilled seafood lunch and snorkelling. There are day tours to some of the popular islands which include transfers and lunch. Check out this day tour to Ile des Deux Cocos (see my video below) or Ile aux Cerfs, and this private catamaran tour to Ile aux Cerfs.
OR, you could stay at 20 Degres Sud boutique hotel. This luxurious hotel has excursions with its own catamaran to the breathtaking Ile Plat. The journey itself on a sail boat is unforgettable – if you’re lucky, you might be accompanied by whales and dolphins! – and the island, with its incredible beaches and crystal-clear water (in colours ranging from intense cobalt blue to aquamarine, turquoise and emerald green), is a sight to behold.
There you have it! My suggestions for relaxing and active things to do in Mauritius! I hope you enjoy my suggestions and have a terrific time in Mauritius. I’m dreaming of when I’ll return again! 🙂
See my video of Mauritius:
How to get to Mauritius
Air Mauritius has regular flights to Mauritius from Amsterdam, Paris and London as well as major cities in Asia. Air France flies from Paris, and Emirates from Dubai.
While you’re in this part of the world, consider hopping over to neighbouring Réunion Island, which is a completely different destination. A turboprop aircraft gets you there in 45 minutes whilst a jet aircraft takes only 30 minutes. Geared towards adventure travellers, Réunion is an island of active volcanoes, huge mountains and gushing rivers. If canyoning through old lava flows or hiking through ancient craters is more your thing, check out Reunion Island. Here are my suggestions for things to do in Reunion Island.