Grand Baie: The island’s liveliest resort area, Grand Baie, is full of shops, restaurants, bars and discos. If you like to party to the sound of good music, you will find plenty of options to choose from here. Don’t miss La Cuvette Beach, a recently renovated area where locals and tourists alike gather.
Curepipe: One of Mauritius’s main residential towns, its restaurants and shopping centres are always busy, especially during end-of-year festivities and football matches (the largest football stadium is located nearby). The spectacular Trou-aux-Cerfs, an extinct volcano over 85m deep and 200m wide, is adjacent to Curepipe and has magnificent views over the surrounding landscape.
Grand Bassin: The lake fills the crater of an extinct volcano and is a major place of pilgrimage for most Mauritians of Hindu faith, who believe the water is sacred and came from the River Ganges in India.
Rose-Hill: A lively cultural hub that is frequented by crowds of students because of its proximity to schools, colleges and the University of Mauritius. Visitors will discover its colonial town hall building, the Italian-style theatre, its art gallery and the shopping area of Arab Town.
Quatre Bornes: Thursday and Sunday are the days the market hits the small town of Quatre Bornes. Be prepared to bargain and, as a general rule of thumb, offer 30% of what the trader is asking! You can buy pashminas, wall hangings, clothes, straw place-mats and handbags.
Mahébourg: Named after Mahé de la Bourdonnais, the French East India Company’s governor, who left an indelible mark on the island over two hundred years ago. Although Mahébourg has a feeling of being past its prime, it had a fascinating role in the island’s history. Here, ships of the British and the French navies fought it out on the waters of the bay of Grand Port.
Blue Bay: Designated as the island’s first marine park and is a great place to sail, ski, snorkel, dive, parasail, swim or sunbathe. It is enclosed by a reef that protects it from the ocean waves and a narrow channel connects the bay to the open sea. The area also serves as a thriving habitat for an astounding number of fish. The dive area is marked by the bow of a dilapidated wreck. Thousands of surgeonfish swamp the reef crest and bold damselfish throng the water’s surface.
Souillac: A quaint seaside village on the rugged coast of the Savanne district and is known for its abundant and colourful flora. The Telfair garden overlooks the sea and is a haven of shade and greenery. Other attractions include the cliffs of Gris-Gris, sculpted by centuries of erosion, and the RochesterFalls.
Flacq: One of the busiest villages in Mauritius and a hub for trading activities in the eastern part of the island. It is also host to a large open-air market on Wednesdays and Sundays. Market day is a very colourful event that attracts a large number of locals. Close by you will find the District Court, an impressive historical building dating from the 18th century.
Grand River South East: A favourite spot for visitors coming from Ile-aux-Cerfs. The wide estuary is lined with spectacular gorges and white waterfalls.
The Victoria Museum 1840: An ancient, restored sugar mill and is now part of the cultural heritage of Mauritius. It is home to the Maniglier Foundation and its Contemporary Art Museum. Its restaurant, Le Café des Arts, offers a contemporary cuisine.
Belle Mare: Has a magnificent beach. The shore, with is vast stretches of golden sand at Palmar and Trou d’Eau Douce, extends to Grand-Port. The coastal road continues down to Mahébourg.
Ile aux Cerfs: This is a paradise island surrounded by white sandy beaches and remains one of the most popular in Mauritius.
Port Louis: The capital of Mauritius. It is the centre for most of the island’s trade and commerce and is also where you will find the Central Market – a meeting point for Mauritians looking for anything from curry powder to local gossip.
The Morne: At the south-west of the island stands the Morne, dominating the peninsula around which runs a wide belt of green lagoon. This rocky peak has become a place of remembrance – runaway slaves sought shelter there in their flight for freedom. Major kite-surf events are organised in the lagoon at the foot of the Morne Brabant.
La Preneuse: One of the island’s five Martello Towers is found at La Preneuse. The British built them on the main bays of the island to ward off external attacks from the sea. The tower at La Preneuse has been restored and visitors can admire this masterpiece of civil engineering. They can also see the impressive gun, together with its operating system, and objects discovered in the neighbourhood during archaeological excavations.
Tamarin: Because of its rough waves, Tamarin bay has preserved its wilderness and is possibly the best place for surfing, with July and August the preferred times. Tamarin is also known for its saltpans at the entrance of the village. The hot and dry climate of the region is suitable for the production of salt from the sea water, which is pumped, filtered and left to dry in the sun. The bay is also a well-known spot to admire dolphins. Strict laws have recently been introduced to ensure the protection of these wonderful mammals.
Chamarel and its multicoloured earth: A winding road, offering a superb view of the Morne, starts from the village of Case Noyale and ends at the coloured earth of Chamarel. It is a small undulating hill with contrasting hues, where the blue, green, red and orange shades are believed to be the results of erosion. Nearby are the Chamarel Falls and the natural vegetation here is breathtakingly beautiful.
Casela & Yemen Park: Casela extends over 14 hectares and is home to more than a thousand birds of 150 different species in aviaries. There are many other animals, such as the Mauritian Macaque, tigers, lemurs, ostriches and giant tortoises and recently, a pride of young lions. It is perfect for families with small kids. Anyone looking for more thrilling adventures should try quad/mountain biking or Via Ferrata climbing at the Casela Yemen Nature Escapade.