Enchanting Mauritius has pristine beaches, luxurious hotels, religious temples, sugar plantations and a choice of great attractions, so it's easy to understand why many think of the island as a dream destination. Situated 1,100 km east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is only 45 km wide and 65 km long, so you can easily explore all of the island. Over its history, the country has had Dutch, French and British rule, with different religions living harmoniously together.
Actives on the Indian Ocean are plentiful -- choose from catamaran trips with cocktails to deep-sea fishing excursions. Underwater adventures are also on offer, such as scuba scooters or sea walks where special helmets provide oxygen. Head inland and there is more to see, such as the waterfall at Chamarel and Coloured Earths, where soil of seven different shades create a unique landscape. A must-see site is the sacred Hindu temple at Ganga Talao Lake, where there are decorated statues of Hindu gods. Many Hindus take part in a pilgrimage to this lake. A tour of a sugar plantation is also something not to miss while holidaying in Mauritius.
Things to Do
A rich history of sugar growing, a mix of religions and a warm, turquoise sea provide a wide range of things to do that are unique to Mauritius. Here's three of the best things to enjoy.
Explore the Indian Ocean
There's a choice of great boat trips, fishing excursions and water sport activities. Make special memories by booking an underwater adventure. Scuba scooters allow you to ride under the sea while breathing naturally, or experience walking on the sea bed using a special, transparent helmet.
Visit a Hindu temple
Ganga Talao Lake, also called Grand Bassin, is the most sacred Hindu site outside of India and is a pilgrimage destination. A giant statue of Lord Shiva and smaller statues of other Hindu gods stand on the banks of the lake. Offerings of fruit are regularly stolen by monkeys, who are free to do so.
A sweet tour of a sugar factory
L'Aventure de Sucre is a working sugar factory that has an interesting exhibition about the history of Mauritius and the importance of the crop to the island. At the end, rum tasting is encouraged!
Calendar of Events
The calendar of Mauritius is filled with Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Chinese festivals as believers celebrate harmoniously beside one another.
Maha Shivaratri. This is a 3-day Hindu celebration that occurs in February or March. Hundreds of thousands of people take a pilgrimage to the Grand Bassin sacred site in the mountains, many of whom will walk for a couple of days to get there.
Father Laval Day. An event celebrated on the 9th September. Father Laval is regarded as the national saint who converted many freed slaves to Catholicism in the 1840s. Locals flock to his shrine at the Ste Croix church, and the day is a national holiday.
The Duchess of York Cup. This is a horse racing event which takes place at the racecourse near the capital city of St Louis each May.