There are endless reasons to pack up your bags and jet off to Mauritius. This lush tropical island will seduce, captivate and enthral you. Blogger, The Curious Pixie, has gathered her nine best reasons to add this laid back paradise to your vacation list after her family travels there.
Many people consider it a honeymoon destination, but to date it has been one of our best family vacations. So much so that five months later my four year old on a winter’s morning still harks back to the sun-filled days with ‘Mummy, I wish I was in Mauritius’. And with the prospect of the school run, mummy agreeing; ‘you and I both baby’.
This volcanic island in the Indian Ocean has over 330 kilometers of coastline surrounded by coral reef. And thanks to its location just above the Tropic of Capricorn the island is ideal for all year round sun-seekers. We went in August during their refreshing winter season with temperatures around a balmy 26 degrees – I’ll take that! Traveling at this time also means you avoid the extreme humid conditions you can experience during their summer months.
We traveled with Scott Dunn who meticulously organized our amazing family trip and flew with Air Mauritius. It was my only big gulp of the vacation; I have a thing about flying with anyone other than BA, especially since having kids. I was pretty quick at getting over this bugbear. Flying BA long haul during the school summer vacations would have blown my budget right out of the water. I was pleasantly surprised on our 12 hour direct (a lifesaver with children) flight from Heathrow.
So here are my nine kick-ass reasons on why you should book a vacation to Mauritius…
- Sun-kissed Beaches
Ok. Obvs. I know! We stayed on the north coast, fringed by rocky headlands and long white sand beaches. At first sight the turquoise sea and perfect beach made me feel like the whole world had gone wide angled and infinite. The sheer gorgeousness instantly unplugged me from my daily world.
- The Crystal Clear Waters
With idyllic waters in all shades of blue and green as far as your eye can see, we couldn’t resist experiencing our first family submarine expedition. Yes, really! Blue Safari Submarines are the only company in the Indian Ocean that offer this unique activity. It’s a spectacular way of diving with kids and the bonus for me was my hair stayed dry!
In an air conditioned cabin under atmospheric pressure you discover the magical underwater marine and coral world at 35 meters depth under the sea. The trip lasts 45 minutes where we serenely floated past the ship wreak ‘Star Hope’, corals and an anchor from the 17th century. We were lucky to see a family of turtles swim by too – pure magic (apparently it’s rare). The girls were mesmerized.
We were also super lucky to see a family of Spinner dolphins en route to our daughter Radha’s first open-water snorkeling experience.
- Black River Peak
The highest mountain in Mauritius is also known as Le Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire. The peak is 828 meters high and the hike is moderately easy though steep in parts. It’s safe to say that we didn’t climb it this time around. We admired the views from a distance when our driver stopped at a viewing point. If you do manage the 15km trek you apparently get a 360 degree panoramic view of the whole island, so well worth the effort – next time hey!
- Chamarel Waterfalls
The falls are close by to Black River Peak near Chamarel village, it’s home to two natural wonders. The Chamarel Waterfalls are the highest in Mauritius and plunge more than 83 meters down. Surrounded by the lush vegetation of the Black River Gorges, many consider it the most beautiful waterfall in Mauritius. Be careful not to leave your belongings unattended or you may find some cheeky wild monkeys helping themselves to your lip balm!
- Seven Colored Earths of Chamarel
This is a magical site and still considered quite a mysterious phenomenon. The different shades of earth are a geological formation of sand dunes comprised of seven distinct colors. It’s thought to be a result from molten volcanic rock cooling at different temperatures. In the rolling psychedelic dunes you can see the colors of red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow. These colors are striking in contrast to the bright green of the surrounding forest. You can no longer walk directly on them but you get fantastic views from the observation decks.
- Trou aux Cerfs Volcano
Now thankfully a dormant volcano located in Curepipe, its name means ‘Holes of the Deers’. I can confirm there are no deers and only one hole. The crater is between 300 and 350 meters in diameter, 80 meters deep and completely covered in trees. It could become active again one day so a good reason to get down to see it before it decides to erupt.
- Ganga Talao
This sacred crater lake is also called Grand Bassin and is about 540 meters above sea level. It’s considered one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites outside of India. During the festival of Maha Shivaratri more than 400,000 people make their pilgrimage barefoot to Ganga Talao from all corners of Mauritius. Blown away by the site, it was a privilege to visit and leave offerings to the many statues of the deities; including a huge 33 meter high statue of the Lord Shiva.
- Luxurious Hotels
It goes without saying that the island is full of amazing hotels, but our home for the ten night break was the Trou aux Biches Resort and Spa. It enjoys a stunning position on the north west coast of Mauritius on one of the islands best sheltered stretches of sandy beaches – always a good bet when you go during the so called ‘windy season’. Not to mention being close by to the shops, cafes and bars of Grand Baie and Port Louis.
This all-suite hotel is set in 35 hectares of palm groves and tropical gardens with opened sided buildings under mostly traditional Mauritian thatch. There is a mix of natural woods, creams and tropical colors and water is everywhere – waterfalls, fountains, water channels and 106 pools! Total bliss.
A special mention goes to the Bob Marlin Mini Club. Open seven days a week and run by qualified professionals. They kept my two entertained with fun, educational indoor and outdoor activities. To the point that I became a victim of witnessing their sad faces when we’d organized family trips. Radha even went on her own trip with her friends to a sugar cane factory (I admit, I was slightly jealous I couldn’t go).
And of course when there’s a kids club, it means only one thing – mummy and daddy get to go and play too. I naturally gravitated towards the Clarins Spa on more than one occasion and enjoyed treatments in their open air cabanas. Just lush!
The beach was like our very own backyard, being only a stone’s throw from our room. Asha became the world’s best shell collector returning with a hoard of seashells she still keeps in a special box.
Oh and how can I forget the breath-taking sunsets witnessed every evening from the jetty. Sunset dreams eat your heart out.
- The Locals
The warm, friendly, delightful nature of the people truly make this island. There is no official religion here Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Buddhists all live in harmony. The hotchpotch of cultures leads to a mouth-watering combination of Indian, French, African and Chinese influenced Mauritian dishes. It’s a curry guzzler’s heaven with the Creole curry being my number one favorite.
All I wish now whilst sat chained to my desk is when will I be able to go back to my carefree, sun drenched days. Sometime soon I hope.
Read more of The Curious Pixie’s blog by visiting her website: thecuriouspixie.co.uk