Top 4 places to visit in Mauritius
You’ve travelled a long distance and many hours to finally arrived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. You only have 2 weeks and want to make sure you don’t miss anything. Whatever you do on the island during your stay, whether it is sun-bathing, swimming, shopping or eating out, here are 4 things that should make your visit complete.
L’aventure du sucre
This is a sugar museum and is French for the sugar adventure. It is more than just a sugar museum. The history and development of Mauritius is tightly linked to the plantation of sugarcane and export of sugar to develop its economy until recently, so retracing this history of sugar and sugarcane on the island is retracing the history and development of Mauritius.
From the early discoverers and colonisers of the island, to slaves ad indentured labourers, most of the changes that occurred on the island were linked to sugarcane and sugar. So visiting l’Aventure du Sucre is learning more about this small island. There is plenty to see and absorb and your visit could take several hours if you want to see everything. Or course, there is the obligatory shop selling specialised sugar and rum and the restaurant with a beautiful view.
Mauritius is famous for its sandy beaches and rightly so. When it comes to recommending a beach, which one to choose then? I picked this beach because it is in the north of the island, popular with tourists because of the abundance of beaches, watersports, entertainment, bars and restaurants.
Mont Choisy is also one of the longest stretches of sandy beaches on the island. Its water is a mesmerising turquoise colour and is not too shallow to stop you from diving or having an energetic swim. Furthermore, it is a quiet place that has managed to avoid over development and commercialisation. You’ll find little else there apart from the beach. You can even bring your car right up to the sand and park there. What more could you ask from a beach?
Not far from Mont Choisy is Grand Bay, an unavoidable tourist resort, busy day and night. It might not suit all tastes but if you like entertainment, you’ll most likely find it there. From stall markets to up-market shops, from hypermarkets to small antique corner shops, there are lots to buy.
Developments are always on-going – there’s a huge development due to open at the end of 2012 on the outskirts of the town. It will have cinemas, tennis courts, gyms, food courts and plenty of shops of course, carefully chosen to suit all budgets. You can keep up with the latest news here:
Grand-bay is also the place where you can find catamarans that can take you for a day cruise in the lagoon or beyond to one of several postal cards small islands jutting out of the sea. Ilot St Gabriel is fantastic for diving or just relaxing on the sandy beach. These day cruise packages include drinks and a barbecue.
The tea museum at Bois Cheri is nothing like L’Aventure du Sucre. In fact, it is still a fully functioning tea factory that simply hosts tours. There is also a small area with pictures, relics and a little bit of history, such as the passage of the famous Cutty Sark in the Mauritian waters. You’ll probably find it all rather boring and grey but I put it on the list because it gives you a great opportunity to see an oft neglected side of the island – the deep interior high on the central plateau. Here nature dominates – plants and trees grow everywhere, rain falls frequently and you’ll often be shrouded in fist (see video here).
It is a far cry from sunny Grand Bay. Bois Cheri is situated in this region of high altitude and rainfall because this is the appropriate climate for growing tea. So enjoy your new surrounding; at the end of the tour, there is once again a shop but also the opportunity to have a cup of tea outdoors along with some local biscuits. Soak in the view and the deep silence of your surroundings. This might be one of the few occasions where you’ll really find peace and quiet, whether in Mauritius or back home after your holidays!