If you look close enough on some world maps, you may notice a dot next to Madagascar. That dot, if it happens to even appear on the world map (because believe me, it is not on all the maps) is Mauritius, a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Mauritius is home to approximately 1.2 million people, yet the island isn’t known to many people.
A lot of times I get asked “where are you from?” and when I answer “Mauritius,” 7 out of 10 of times people don’t know where that is.
Mauritius is turning into a tourist destination for many, especially honeymooners, so more people are starting to discover the island. It’s especially known among tourists for its beautiful beaches and luxurious resorts. But, there’s more than just beaches to see in Mauritius and that’s why I’m writing this post.
Sometimes, I feel like we take our homes for granted, because we don’t explore the places in our own backyard before going out into the world.
Mauritius was one of those places for me. The only memories I have from my childhood were from the visits to the hotels, resorts and beaches. We never really went out of the way to visit the other hotspots and hidden gems that we (both the locals and tourists) tend to miss out on.
On a recent trip back to the homeland, my family and I set out on an adventure. All it took was to find one day where everyone was off from work (that is, a Sunday) and a mini van to fit our big family (there was over 20 of us).
View from our rental for the day
We hired a chauffeur and set out on a tour across the southern part of the island. During the three and a half weeks we spent on the island, I managed to complete visiting the entire country. North, East, West, South.
We cut the trip in different parts and spread it over three and a half weeks, to avoid feeling tired.
It made me happy to finally be able to cross something off my bucket list that’s been there for the longest time. That is, seeing a country in whole; inside and out.
Thinking of perhaps doing the same thing one day? I got you covered!
There are many reasons why you should consider Mauritius as your top choice for road tripping a country in whole!
Because there’s SO MUCH to cover, I don’t think ONE blog post can do this country justice. So I’ve decided to split the ultimate road trip experience for you. In this post, I will mainly cover the South Coast, although I will mention briefly some of the sights to see on the other parts of the island.
The seafood platter we had at Ocean Basket had shrimp, mussels and fish!
The first place we visited was the North, where we not only went shopping at La Croisette, but we also had a delicious seafood meal at Ocean Basket. If you ever end up stopping by, I recommend stopping by the restaurant. The seafood is fresh and tasty. If you’re looking for a sunset boulevard, Los Angeles-style destination on the island, Grand Baie is your place to go.
Growing up, my family went on several day and overnight trips at the different islands. My best memory is one which I don’t think I can ever forget. I scored a free two-night stay at Coco Beach when I was seven years old (because I burned my arm).
Getting the chance to return home after so many years was different. I felt more like a tourist than a local, and even going to the hotels and resorts (which were mostly new, with the exception of some), the rules weren’t the same.
La Pirogue’s room style is unique – you get to stay in huts and it was extremely cozy and private.
As locals, we were allowed to go the hotels to spend the day (in the past), but with the tourist traffic that hotels have started receiving, it’s less common now. The only time we’d be allowed in is if we tell them we’re coming for lunch (and even then, we don’t have access to the full facility and all the activities, just the restaurant, and a walk on the beach).
The path separating the two hotels; La Pirogue and Sugar Beach
We spent two days at La Pirogue, a four-star hotel in the west coast of the island. The best part about this hotel? It’s a two-in-one package deal. If you walk along the beach, you end up at Sugar Beach, a five-star hotel and you’re allowed to choose to eat at either hotel for all meals.
In the West coast of the island, I was shocked to discover a beautiful getaway known as La Balise Marina. A place that never existed from the time we used to live in Mauritius.
When we made our way to the South, we made sure to include a variety of spots to cater to everyone’s interest. There was a little bit of beach and a little bit of history, with a touch of scenic landscapes.
Here’s what our road trip to the south looked like:
The route we followed for our journey South-West!
At the Midlands Dam, we stopped and took a short walk up to get a view of the dam from up top. We also had a race since there’s a wide open spot at the top to walk around. There were a lot of stairs to go up to the top from where we parked, but we made it (a little out of breath, but worth the view!)
On our way to the Grand Port District, we found ourselves in the middle of a huge traffic jam. Now, you’re probably wondering what kind of traffic do you get on an island? Well, believe it or not, but there were over 10 cars on the streets that was honking and following behind the car of a newly wed couple. There were people dancing and singing in the streets, tapping along to their hand drums.
That’s the kind of traffic you get.
But, I mean, I’m not really surprised to see that, because the first time I experienced traffic when we were touring the island was when they had closed a section of the highway just so that a bride can get her wedding photos taken in the MIDDLE OF THE HIGHWAY.
We stopped for a quick washroom break en route and grabbed some fresh coconut juice (because let’s be real, you can’t go to an island and not get coconuts), took some pictures with the aqua blue water and climbed up the towers in a fort. (A place we found as we were driving).
Then, we continued on to Mahebourg Waterfront, where we stopped for a quick snack break. We bought some glaçon râpé (shaved ice) and roasted peanuts from a vendor.
A twenty-minute stop for a photo at Pointe du Diable, the Devil’s Point followed. We took in the views and decided to include a quick stop at les Quatre Soeurs next, because we wanted the four sisters, (my mom and my three aunts) to take a picture with the sign.
View from the Devil’s Point
Our final stop and the point that brought our day to an end was at Trou d’Eau Douce, basically translating to ‘sweet water hole.’ There’s not much to do here, except people watch (and you find the locals in action, strolling past on a regular day, just doing their own thing and keeping up with their daily routine). It’s a relaxing place and it was a good way to end the day, as it’s the place I once remember coming to when I was younger. It’s the area where you will find Île aux Cerfs, the largest lagoon in Mauritius.
Because the island has so many things to do, one day is simply not enough to cover it all. It’s funny, because when you look on the map, it’s nothing but a mere dot, and when you zoom in on it, only then you realize that islands don’t have to be about beaches only. There’s so much more, and I wish I could name it all, but a few will do for now.
Are you convinced about visiting the island yet?
Mauritius is a place that fuses history, cultures, traditions and cuisines from Asia to Europe to Africa.