Hello paradise: Mauritius

The west and south west 

Why stay here? 
The verdant valleys and pristine swathes of beach make this region the island’s most diverse and, in our opinion, its most scenic. In line with the topography, the tourist attractions range from the Chamarel Coloured Earths (a natural phenomenon comprised of seven distinctly coloured sands) to swimming with wild dolphins. 

In the history books
The storied mountain of Le Morne (fleeing slaves scaled it to build small settlements, before tragically choosing to jump when faced with recapture) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a defining symbol of the island. Off limits to hikers for decades, you can now ascend it as part of a guided hike operated by Yanature (trekkingmauritius.com). The soul-stirring views from the top are your instant reward.

Get active 
The steady winds that blow in this direction make for excellent kitesurfing conditions. Ion Club (ion-club.net) rents out the necessary equipment and offers a complete kitesurfing tuition programme to beginners.  

Where to stay 
In the shadow of Le Morne is the wonderful LUX* Le Morne, whose all-inclusive packages help take the stress out of having to decide between luxury  temptations aplenty. 

Food2
Food at Shanti Maurice 
The north and north west

Why stay here?
Home to Grand Baie, the island’s tourism has a bounty of hotels, beautiful (although often crowded) beaches and entertainment, if you like your beach breaks served with a little bit of buzz, this is the part of the island for you.

In the history books
When in Mauritius, you’ll see abundant references to the legend of Paul and Virginie, the island’s own Romeo and Juliet, whose love fell victim to a shipwreck, which crashed against rocks on the north end of Mauritius, drowning Virginie and leaving Paul to die of grief. 

Get active 
The north has a monopoly on the island’s best dive spots, which range in depth from 13 metres onwards. If you’ve packed your underwater camera, the Grand Baie Aquarium site is chockful of colourful sea life.

Where to stay 
The first boutique hotel on the island, 20 Degrees Sud benefits from a sheltered private beach and a tranquil setting within a coconut grove.

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The east and north east 

Why stay here? 
This is arguably where you’ll find the island’s most celebrated stretches of beach, hugging the shoreline or encircling entire, tiny off-shore islands – yours to visit for the day by boat. It’s also home to a clutch of superb hotels.

In the history books
A 2017 study revealed that sand grains taken from a beach on the east of Mauritius were far older than than the island itself and evidence of a drowned ‘microcontinent’, which scientists have since termed a prehistoric Atlantis. 

Get active
For a bird’s eye view of the beauty Mother Nature has mapped out below, head into the clear blue skies strapped to a parasail. Viator (viator.com) will get you up, up and away…

Where to stay 
This is where the island’s Grand Dame, the recently refurbished One&Only Le Saint Géran, stands proud on a private peninusla. As it was before its temporary closure, the service here is practically faultless.

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The south and south east

Why stay here? 

The south’s landscape is defined by its many sugar cane fields and colonial-style plantation houses. It’s less developed and the beaches can be a touch more dramatic than elsewhere: think raging waves crashing into rocks.

In the history books

The fishing village of Mahébourg here bore witness to the only Napoleonic naval victory over the English in 1810, a victory now inscribed on Paris’ Arc de Triomphe.

Get active 

A great way to explore the south is from the saddle of a quad bike. Quad Biking Mauritius (quadbikingmauritius.com) offers multiple tours across the rugged terrain, one of which includes stopping off to swim in a waterfall. 

Where to stay 

Set aside the rolling waves. Shanti Maurice Resort & Spa has the supersized (and super private) Luxury Double Suite Pool Villa, which sleeps four adults and four children.

Inspired to go? Click here for the latest offers

(Main image: Monkey’s at Black River Gorges National Park)