For sure, see you soon Mauritius!
I thought a lot about how to start this post but, without wasting our time, it seems to me right to get straight to the point: Mauritius is a pearl, a wild pearl in the middle of the ocean. An heaven, a charming place, a land without equal. Yes, because I guarantee that when you land on the island of Mauritius, a dot in the middle of the Indian Ocean, 550 km away from Madagascar, after several hours of flight with a stopover, you think it’s a mirage, a dream, something not real. Exit the airport and you will be enveloped in the Mauritian air: hot as a breeze, as moist as only in the tropical period and above all incredibly charged with the scents of this land. Fruits, flowers, water, earth. Mauritius has a scent and as soon as you leave the airport you will take this perfume with you, in your heart. But what to see in Mauritius?
As soon as you arrive in Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, the first sensation is that you have entered in a mix of colors, sounds and voices. Port Louis is colorful and lively, as well as its market which, in my opinion, is definitely worth a visit. I loved to lose myself among the fruit counters with delicious and weird tropical fruits. Very nice also the water front, the promenade, the most modern and young part of the city with boutiques and the famous “Caudan Waterfront Craft Market”, the local craft shop where you can indulge in shopping!
A visit to a colonial house during your visit to Mauritius cannot miss! I visited the colonial house Labourdonnais, a real castle dating back to 1856. Take a tour of the villa, perfectly restored, immerse yourself in the history of Mauritius and then lose yourself among the paths of the park, the garden and the orchard with old mango trees. If you come across any giant turtle do not be surprised: they are majestic! The Distillerie de Labourdonnais produces a very famous rum and among my favorites: try the tasting and do not miss the vanilla rum! And finally I recommend a culinary stop at the restaurant of the estate, Le Table du Chateau, overlooking the castle and serving a Creole cuisine contaminated with fruit grown on the estate. Have you ever tried the mango sauce? Delicious!
Notre Dame Auxiliatrice
It is the northern most point of the island of Mauritius with an ivory beach that overlooks picturesque islets. Let yourself be surprised by the small Catholic church Notre Dame Auxiliatrice: a photographic stop here cannot miss!
As soon as I arrived in Grand Baie, in addition to having noticed the beautiful beach, I immediately had the sensation of having entered a super chic resort, a bit like Cannes or Saint-Tropez. Boutiques along the Sunset Boulevard, malls like La Croisette, great restaurants and lively bars. To visit if you are lovers of sweet life and shopping, like me!
If you want to make a jump in the deep spirituality of the island you can’t miss the Grand Bassin – Ganga Talao: a lake populated with funny macaques that rises in the mountainous area of the island where Hindu temples and Hindu figures stand. I was thrilled at the moment of the Hindu blessing by the temple priest, a truly evocative and mystical experience.
Bois Chéri was one of my favorite destinations ever during this tour of Mauritius. I had never seen the production of tea and it was sensational! The Bois Chéri tea factory is almost entirely open: from the tea fields that you can see along the way with its tireless harvesters, from drying to fermentation, from cans to canning. I guarantee that at the end of the tour you will have a crazy desire to drink tea: it will be that I am a lover of tea, but the tasting of all the varieties of tea produced, which takes place on a beautiful terrace between the fields, accompanied by biscuits, it was really exceptional. Near the tasting you will also find the boutique where you can buy the varieties of tea produced there. I also recommend the Bois Chéri restaurant: take the vanilla chicken. It’s incredible!
The colonial house of Saint Aubin and the attached plantations are a visit not to be missed in Mauritius. Beyond the beauty of the colonial house, the production of vanilla is interesting. Do you know that the vanilla from Mauritius, besides being of excellent quality, among the best in the world, costs much less than elsewhere? That’s why I stocked 600 grams of fresh vanilla pods! Also worth visiting is the rum distillery with a short tour and a tasting.
Gris Gris is famous for being a beach with a view to say the least phenomenal! In fact, surrounded by cliffs and high splashes, here where the sea is more open, can be admired from above, on a rocky point with a breathtaking view.
The Chamarel area is located in the inner part of the island, in the Rivière Noire District, amidst the lush, green, luxuriant and intense vegetation. In this area you should not miss a visit to the famous Seven Colored Earth, an evocative landscape made of colored earth, from red to orange to violet: very suggestive! You’ll also find giant turtles at your doorstep! In the district of Chamarel do not miss the famous waterfalls that you can admire from afar, immersed in the most absolute green. If you are in Chamarel and have a free hour, enjoy yourself in the Curious corner of Chamarel, a sort of museum of curiosities between illusions, games, riddles and lots of special photographic ideas. For lunch I suggest you stop at the very famous Rhumerie de Chamarel: you will be enchanted! It is a beautiful property, well cared for, full of flowers. Here they produce and sell top quality rums. The restaurant of the Rhumerie de Chamarel, L’Alchimiste is truly remarkable. Leave yourself a space for the dessert accompanied by rum of course!
Vanille Nature Park
The Vanille Nature Park is truly one of a kind! It is a park in the countryside where you can get in touch with the animals of the area around the islands that surround Mauritius. From Madagascar to the Seychelles, the animal species that can be found are many. They range from crocodiles, lemurs, bats to a giant collection of insects, to turtles that are without a doubt, the strongest attraction of the park. The Vanille Nature Park is in fact a center for the care and protection of some species of turtles, like the turtle aldabra. Here, protected, it can reproduce and be reintroduced in the islands: turtles are in fact fundamental for the fertility of the soil and for the reproduction of plant species! You can meet and touch here, not only the giant centenarian turtles but also the smallest: pay attention to the fun invasions! Finally, the park also offers the possibility to have lunch in the restaurant where you can taste very special dishes.
Near Mahébourg, where you do not have to miss the fantastic seafront with its idyllic colors, you should definitely stop by the Biscuiterie Rault. It is a historic biscuit factory that has been producing biscuits with tapioca flour, of different tastes for over a century: here you can not only buy biscuits for all tastes, but also take a tour of the biscuit factory, learn about the production and finally enjoy a wonderful outdoor tasting with biscuits of course!
Ile des Deux Cocos
An island to visit is the Ile des deux Cocos in the Blue Bay Marine Reserve, one of the best snorkeling spots in all of Mauritius. In this case it is a private island but can be visited with private transfers that can be booked at any LUX* resort. A cold towel and a cocktail await you as soon as you arrive on the island and here you have to snorkel along the coral reef to see tropical fish (or, if snorkeling is not for you, you can enjoy a boat ride with the bottom in glass). The ocean view lunch is also very suggestive!
Mauritius is not just sea: it is nature, culture, sports, good food, traditions, shopping. It is an island with a lots of facets, to be discovered a little at a time, calmly but with the awareness that in Mauritius you will have to go back because a holiday is not enough to experience all the beauties that the island can offer. For sure, see you soon Mauritius!