Hotels in Mauritius offer some of the best all inclusive holidays available. Most of the 4 and 5 star hotels on this Indian Ocean island offer luxurious all-inclusive board options which include 24-hour premium drinks, beach waiter service, a choice of places to eat lunch and dinner and lots of activities like sailing, tennis, cookery classes and dance lessons. While it’s great to have all this available as part of your holiday package, Mauritius has a lot to discover away from the hotel scene, so make sure you get out and about to see the country for yourself. Here are five things to do that will make your holiday to Mauritius unforgettable:
Visit Ganga Talao
Roughly 55% of the population of Mauritius practice Hinduism and one of the most important Hindu sites outside of India, called Ganga Talao or Grand Basin, is on the island. Water from the Ganges was mixed with the water at Ganga Talao to make a link between Mauritius and India’s sacred river. The Grand Basin is 1500km above sea level and found inland, towards the southern end of Mauritius. Tourists are welcome to view the colourful statues of Hindu gods, and visit the small temple where locals flock to pray every day. Monkeys are seen around the lake here; they come to take the food offerings left for the gods. It is a beautiful, serene spot, away from the beaches, and may be reached by hire car or by excursion bus.
Explore the capital city
Port Louis is a must-see in Mauritius. It is a lively capital city with a pretty seafront, and a combination of modern and traditional buildings. At Caudan Waterfront there are some craft shops, a few restaurants with outside seating, ice-cream stands and plenty of places to sit and take in the view. There is also a bustling market nearby where it is possible to buy everything from pyjamas to fresh fish. It’s quite a large, colourful market, and the stalls are joined together to make narrow walkways that lead you past all manner of wares. Even if you aren’t looking for something to buy, the experience isn’t one to be missed.
Take a tour of a sugar plantation
If you’re planning a holiday to Mauritius, you have to add a visit to a sugar plantation to your itinerary. Sugar cane has been grown and processed on the island for over 300 years and the locals are proud of the traditions surrounding it. A trip to L’Aventure du Sucre takes visitors through the history of sugar with explanations about the different types of sugar, what they make with it and what they do with all the left overs: for example, rum is from molasses, a by-product of sugar refining, and infused with spices and other flavours. A trip to L’Aventure du Sucre includes tasting some of this rum, and there’s a shop offering the opportunity to buy rum to take home.
Walking and hiking in Mauritius
There are a few places where you can hike among the beautiful flora and fauna of the island. Black River Gorges National Park is a pretty spot to head for. There are short and long walking routes here, and you can also book a guided hike. This park has a forest area, which is perfect for a cool picnic, and some peaks with stunning views. Nine different native birds and hundreds of endemic flowers can be spotted around Black River Gorges, making it a dream destination for gardeners, botanists and birdwatchers.
There are a number of options when it comes to messing about in boats. An afternoon on a catamaran is recommended if you are looking forward to a relaxing few hours on the water. The crew take you one way using the power of the wind in the sails, and on the return journey they use the engine. At the halfway point you may don a mask and flippers and spend a little while snorkelling in the Indian Ocean. Climb back onboard for a tasty barbecued meal cooked on the back of the vessel, accompanied by beer or wine. You can see marine life over the side of the catamaran, and soak up the sun sitting on the nets at the front, or lie back on the cushioned top deck and totally relax.