Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean, and its closest continent is Africa. Despite its size, the island has a wealth of history, culture and nature, making it a perfect destination for every type of traveller.
Thousands of visitors flock to Mauritius every year for its stunning tropical beaches and sunny weather, but if you’re looking for something more, this guide shows you a different side of the island too.
Whether it’s wildlife spotting in the mountains or a foodie tour of the capital, there is plenty of incredible activities. So, here are 17 of the best things to do in Mauritius to help you plan an unforgettable trip!
- 1 Best Things to Do in Mauritius
- 1.1 Visit Ile aux Cerfs
- 1.2 Marvel at Chamarel Seven Coloured Earth Geopark
- 1.3 See the Chamarel waterfall
- 1.4 Meet giant tortoises at Ile aux Aigrettes
- 1.5 Catch views at Sublime Point Lookout
- 1.6 Go beach hopping
- 1.7 Do a catamaran cruise of the Northern Isles
- 1.8 Discover Cap Malheureux
- 1.9 Go skydiving
- 1.10 Admire Pamplemousses Botanic Garden
- 1.11 Go hiking
- 1.12 Visit Grand Bassin
- 1.13 Drink tea at Bois Cheri
- 1.14 Go dolphin watching
- 1.15 Snorkel at Blue Bay Marine Park
- 1.16 Chase waterfalls
- 1.17 Do a street food tour in Port Louis
- 2 Author Bio
Best Things to Do in Mauritius
Visit Ile aux Cerfs
Just off the east coast of Mauritius lies the private island of Ile aux Cerfs. Covering 87 hectares, the island is home to picturesque white sandy beaches and turquoise lagoons. You’ll also find restaurants and an 18-hole golf course here.
Water sports enthusiasts will love the wide range of activities, including parasailing, banana rides, wakeboarding and water skiing. Visitors can also enjoy a more relaxed trip lounging on the beaches.
The best way to visit Ile aux Cerfs is to make a day of it on a catamaran cruise to the island. You get snorkelling, cocktails and a Creole-style lunch included!
Marvel at Chamarel Seven Coloured Earth Geopark
You can’t miss one of Mauritius’ most stunning natural wonders. Found in Chamarel on the south of the island, the Seven Coloured Earth is a spectacular phenomenon which is exactly as it sounds.
The geological formation is made up of gently undulating dunes streaked with seven-coloured sand – a little bit like Rainbow Mountain in Peru but just on a much smaller scale!
You’ll need to pay an entrance fee to get access to the park, but once you’re in, you can follow the walkway around the dunes and see them from different angles. You’ll also get to see giant tortoises in a pen opposite!
One important thing to note – the best time to see the Seven Coloured Earth is on a dry, sunny day. Preferably during a spell of dry weather as the rust colours really pop. If it’s wet, the colours will look a bit muddy.
See the Chamarel waterfall
Another amazing thing to see in Chamarel Geopark is the Chamarel Waterfall. This stunning cascade is the tallest single drop waterfall in Mauritius, tumbling about 247ft over a cliff edge.
You can see the waterfall from two points: the upper deck and base. The latter has a shallow area you can swim in but takes three hours to reach, so bear that in mind when planning your day!
Meet giant tortoises at Ile aux Aigrettes
Ile aux Aigrettes is a 27-hectare coralline island covered in a thick coastal forest.
Located near the bottom of the east coast of the mainland, the island reveals one of the last remaining glimpses of what Mauritius once looked like before the arrival of humans.
It’s now a safe haven for rare and threatened endemic species, including birds and lizards. It’s also a giant tortoise kingdom as they roam freely across it.
The only way to visit Ile aux Aigrettes is on an eco-tour run by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. The tour is about 1.5 hours long and led by an expert guide. Your money goes directly to supporting the conservation work on the island.
You can either book your tickets online or go to the Point Jerome Embarkation Point where you’ll find a small kiosk. Incidentally, that’s the starting point of the tour too.
Catch views at Sublime Point Lookout
Another fantastic way to support conservation efforts in Mauritius is visiting Ebony Forest Reserve in Chamarel. This nature reserve is dedicated to restoring native forests and wildlife.
Here, you can plant a tree, go bird watching, see giant tortoises, take a drive or go hiking. The absolute best thing to do is walk the 3km trail through an ancient ebony forest up to Sublime Point Lookout.
The easy trail leads you along a 300m raised Flycatcher walkway through the trees until you reach a terrace with jaw-dropping views across the island and out towards the Indian Ocean.
You can stay here and enjoy some refreshments at the small cafe or continue up to the summit of Piton Canot, which will take about an hour.
Go beach hopping
Mauritius is a tropical island that’s renowned for its beaches. It comes as no surprise that you’re absolutely spoiled for choice if you want to go beach-hopping.
For pristine, white-sand beaches, head to the east coast. For an abundance of beaches with plenty of activities and the most sun, head northwest.
There are also some spectacular beaches with views out towards Le Morne peninsula in the south!
Here are some of the best beaches to visit in Mauritius:
- Grand Baie – a lively area with restaurants and water-based activities
- Pereybere – calm atmosphere and clear waters
- Mont Choisy – secluded sunbathing spots
- Flic en Flac – perfect for water sports, sunbathing and walks
- Belle Mare – white sand and parasailing
- Le Morne – dramatic views and water sports
- Blue Bay – protected area with fantastic snorkelling spots
Do a catamaran cruise of the Northern Isles
If you love snorkelling and boat trips, make sure you add a catamaran cruise to the Northern Isles to your Mauritius itinerary. The full-day tour takes you to three islands north of the mainland, including Gabriel Island and Flat Island.
Here, you’re treated to pristine marine reserves with stunning secluded beaches and undisturbed coral reefs.
Starting from Grand Baie, the catamaran includes drinks, a BBQ-style lunch and a chance to go snorkelling or sunbathing on ocean sandbars.
The boat trip also makes a final stop at Coin de Mire, which offers some of the best reefs in Mauritius.
Discover Cap Malheureux
Cap Malheureux is a small fishing village located on the northern tip of Mauritius. Featuring pretty views and beautiful beaches, the village is well worth a visit.
It’s also home to Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice Church, a stunning red-roofed church that sits on the coastline with Coin de Mire behind. It’s a popular photo spot, so make sure to bring your camera!
Although a seemingly tranquil place, Cap Malheureux has a history that’s far from it. Named ‘Unlucky Cape,’ it was the landing site of the British navy when they seized control of Mauritius from the French in 1810.
See the beauty of Mauritius from on high and satisfy your inner adrenaline junkie in the process with a tandem skydive over the island!
Operated by Skydive Mauritius, you can jump from a plane at 10,000ft and observe the island below surrounded by turquoise lagoons and the deep blue of the Indian ocean stretching out as far as the eye can see.
Choose from a range of packages, including ones with photos and videos of your descent you’ll be able to treasure and share with your friends.
Admire Pamplemousses Botanic Garden
Otherwise known as Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden (or SSRBG for short), Pamplemousses Botanic Garden is the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere.
It was first established by Pierre Poivre (yes, that translates to Peter Pepper in English) in 1770.
The botanical garden is known for its exotic collection of trees and plants from across the globe. Discover varieties of palms, ebony trees, sugarcanes and photo-worthy giant waterlilies.
Many of the trees here were planted by world leaders too.
Mauritius has plenty of amazing walks all over the island that suit various experience levels. You won’t find big multi-treks here, but there’s certainly enough to keep you occupied if you’re a big hiker!
Depending on your experience, it’s highly recommended that you go with an expert guide, particularly on some of the more challenging trails.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the best hikes in Mauritius:
- Le Morne Brabant – a striking UNESCO World Heritage Site with a tragic past, Le Morne is one of the most popular hikes in Mauritius, but it’s challenging and steep. Go on a hiking tour.
- Tamarind Falls / Sept Cascades – this hike includes swimming! A moderate trail, you walk through a tropical forest with stops at seven waterfalls along the way. You can do it on a tour too.
- Le Pouce – aka ‘the Thumb’, this mountain is the highest in Mauritius, and it’s pretty challenging. It takes about two hours to complete and gives you panoramic views at the top, which makes it worth it!
- Machabee Trail – located in Black River Gorges National Park, this is an easy trail and well signposted. Bring a packed lunch and stop for a picnic at Machabee Viewpoint.
Visit Grand Bassin
Grand Bassin, otherwise known as Ganga Talao, is a crater lake located high in the uplands of Mauritius – about 550m above sea level. It’s considered the most sacred Hindu site in Mauritius.
There are various temples dotted around it dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Hanuman, Goddess Ganga and Lord Ganesh. Every year half a million Mauritian Hindus make a pilgrimage along Grand Bassin to celebrate Shivaratri.
You can visit Grand Bassin and walk along its shores. You’ll notice food offerings here and there which attract the likes of fish and macaque monkeys. It’s forbidden to harm animals at this site.
As you explore, look out for the 108ft statue of Lord Shiva. It’s the tallest statue in Mauritius and a copy of the Shiva statue in Sursagar Lake, India!
Drink tea at Bois Cheri
Not far from Grand Bassin, you’ll find Bois Cheri, a working tea factory and museum. You can pay a small entrance fee and learn about the history of tea production in Mauritius.
Tea is still produced today and exported all over the world. It’s particularly popular in France.
The Bois Cheri estate spans 250 hectares and is the largest tea producer on the island. You can’t miss a visit to its tea-tasting chalet, a cafe overlooking a small reservoir and surrounded by lush green tea plantations.
It’s just a short drive from the factory to the chalet (it’s easy to arrange a driver there). Look out for roaming deer and monkeys passing by the window.
At the chalet, you’re invited to sit down and sample various teas of your choice, accompanied by a plate of biscuits. Before you leave, make sure you dip into the shop and taste a few rums!
Go dolphin watching
If you’re a dolphin lover, be sure to add a Mauritian dolphin encounter to your bucket list.
One of the best dolphin-watching tours you can do is in Black River as you can choose to swim with them. The second half of the tour includes whale-watching too (don’t worry, you won’t be swimming with whales!).
The small group tour is operated by Dolswim Ltd who ensures that both people and dolphins have the best possible experience from the encounter.
There’s an expert guide and skipper who will tell you how to interact with them safely. Remember, they’re wild animals, so don’t touch them, and they can choose to leave whenever they want.
Marine life you can see on this tour includes bottlenose and spinner dolphins, sperm whales and migrating humpbacks, depending on the season.
Snorkel at Blue Bay Marine Park
Blue Bay Marine Park is a marine reserve on the southeast coast of Mauritius. This means no fishing or harmful activities are allowed in the area – which makes it a prime spot for snorkelling.
Here, you’ll find a gorgeous beach with views out towards Ile des Deux Cocos. You can snorkel over its pristine coral reefs or do a snorkelling excursion with a guide.
The latter is best as the guide will be able to show you all the best snorkelling spots – including a shipwreck!
If you don’t want to get in the water, you can do a tour of the marine park in a glass-bottomed boat. Look out for turtles, fish and mangroves.
As you may already know by now, there are some spectacular waterfalls in Mauritius. On top of Chamarel and Tamarind Falls, here are a few more to add to your list:
- Rochester Falls – hidden in the forest, this waterfall is known for its striking rock formations.
- Eureka Falls – a tranquil waterfall with a challenging hike leading up to it.
- Eau Bleue Waterfalls – three waterfalls tumbling into azure blue pools.
- Grand River South East – a spectacular waterfall close to the mouth of the river, accessible by boat.
- Underwater Waterfall – it’s not actually a waterfall but an optical illusion. Just off the coast of Le Morne, the sand on the ocean floor is streaked to give the appearance of an underwater waterfall. The best way to see it is by seaplane.
Do a street food tour in Port Louis
One of the best ways to get to know a culture is by sampling the local cuisine. For that reason, you can’t go wrong with a street food tour in the heart of Port Louis (the capital of Mauritius).
Perfect for foodies, the tour takes you to all the best street food spots that tourists won’t know about.
You’ll try up to eight dishes. Highlights include Indo-Mauritian faratas (fried dough bread), Creole rougaille (tomato-based dish), Sino-Mauritian boulettes (dumplings) and a lot of mouthwatering pastries.
The tour is approximately three hours on foot, and you’ll be treated to an exciting excursion packe with history, culture and amazing food.
Francesca Brooking is a sustainable travel blogger and writer from the UK. On her travel blog, Little Lost Travel, she loves writing about nature, outdoor travel and people doing their bit for the environment in any way they can.