Best things to do in Mauritius

Mani Ramaswamy

written by
Mani Ramaswamy

updated 11.01.2023

Despite its reputation — there is more to Mauritius island than the exclusive beachside hotels that have come to be the regular haunt of celebrities. Stray inland and you will discover mountains, forests, rivers and waterfalls, extinct volcanic craters, tumbledown towns and villages, and hospitable locals. This island country, located in the Indian Ocean, has a lot to offer. Here is our list of the best things to do in Mauritius.

This article is inspired by our Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for travelling the world.

1. Visit the capital city of Port Louis

The capital is the island’s most appealing town. Port Louis is an atmospheric city with statues and monuments shaded by palm trees, colourful Chinese and Indian temples and churches, and a bustling Port Louis central market and modern waterfront.

There are many sites to see in this small capital city. Don't miss the area's Caudan Waterfront, the Blue Penny Museum or the chance to try delicious food at a local restaurant.

River scene in Mahebourg, Mauritius ©  Phuong D. Nguyen/Shutterstock

Port Louis river scene, Mauritius island © Phuong D. Nguyen/Shutterstock

2. Enjoy the white sandy beaches of Northern islands and Grand Baie

With blinding white sandy beaches, beachside BBQs and great snorkelling, a trip to the northern offshore islands is a must. Operators in Grand Baie (or Grand Bay) offer full-day tours with delicious barbecue picnic lunches. Don't miss Île aux Cerfs in the east or Île aux Benitiers in the west.

Most popular for swimming and snorkelling are the reef-enclosed waters between Flat Island and Gabriel Island. Visiting the beautiful beaches here is one of the best things to do in Mauritius.


The white sandy beaches of Northern islands and Grand Baie © Quality Master/Shutterstock

3. Discover the Black River Gorges National Park

Hike through Mauritius’s forested interior for endemic ebony trees and sweeping coastal views. Home to rare bird species and more, Black River Gorges National Park is a natural wonder and UNESCO heritage nature reserve.

Visit nearby Chamarel where coffee is grown on the slopes. This tiny village, with its church, village hall and string of simple restaurants, attracts tour groups heading to the waterfalls.

Looking to go on a birdwatching adventure? Don't miss our guide to the best birdwatching escapes in the world.


Black River Gorges National Park — one of the best things to do in Mauritius © Shutterstock

4. Look into Mauritius' Indian culture at Grand Bassin

Travel to Grand Bassin crater lake in the interior during a colourful Hindu festival to experience Mauritius’s Indian culture.

During the annual Maha Shivaratree festival at Grand Bassin, thousands of devotees make offerings to the goddess Shiva and pray at the waterside Hindu temples. At other times of the year, the lake is a place of quiet contemplation broken only by the sound of birdsong and cheeky chattering monkeys.

Shiva in a hindu temple (Grand Basin) in Mauritius © lr.s/Shutterstock

Shiva in a hindu temple (Grand Basin) in Mauritius © lr.s/Shutterstock

5. Visit Île aux Aigrettes

This conservation project on Île aux Aigrettes offers a glimpse into what Mauritius’s landscapes could have looked like in the time of the dodo and a guaranteed sighting of the pink pigeon. You will see giant Aldabra tortoises and paths bounded by bronze models of extinct fauna.

The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) created the reserve to protect native flora and fauna, so a trip here will appeal to the conservation-conscious rather than those wanting a water-based fun day out. This can accommodate only 20 visitors at a time on tours, which are led by knowledgeable MWF guides.

Planning a trip to Mauritius? Read about when our Rough Guides Editor checked into an eco-lodge on Mauritius island.


Pink pigeon, one of many rare bird species on Mauritius © Chris Moody/Shutterstock

6. Learn about Mauritius history at Le Morne

Mauritius’s most famous landmark and a symbol of slavery, Le Morne Brabant. This UNESCO world heritage site marks the former hideout of many runaway slaves. When slavery was abolished in 1835, a posse was sent here to announce the news.

This peninsula is now fringed with luxury hotels and is a great place for water sports — such as kite surfing. Tours with glass bottom boats are popular here. You won't want to miss the chance to see the wild dolphins. Whether it be for beautiful beaches or for history, a visit to Le Morne Mountain is one of the best things to do in Mauritius.

    Where to stay Le Morne Brabant Mountain:

  • For a tranquil beach stray: LUX* Le Morne. A fantastic place for couples, this luxury resort is known for it's excellent spa and fantastic views.
  • For a beach stay: Dinarobin Beachcomber Golf Resort and Spa. With thatched-roof buildings and beautiful beaches, this is a great place to stay for those who wish to relax or for those who are here for adventure sports.
  • Browse more accommodations in Le Morne.

Le Morne Brabant, Mauritius © Myroslava Bozhko/Shutterstock

Le Morne Brabant (UNESCO World Hertiage Site) in the Indian Ocean © Myroslava Bozhko/Shutterstock

7. Head to the Rodrigues Island

With peaceful guesthouses, tables d’hôtes and walking trails, Mauritius’s laid-back sister island is an antidote to the modern world. The island of Rodrigues, a semi-autonomous region of Mauritius since 2002, lies 560km (350 miles) east of Mauritius island in the Indian Ocean.

Even though the flight from Mauritius takes only 90 minutes, you can’t help feeling quarantined from the rest of the world here. Take a trip to a nature park: Francois Leguat Reserve or Grand Montagne Nature Reserve are both great options.

    Where to stay on Rodrigues Island:

  • For a laidback stay: Auberge St Francois. This lovely hotel is located so centrally, a car isn't needed. Perfect for people trying to avoid luxury resorts.
  • For a boutique hotel: Cocotiers Rodrigues Boutik Hotel. This hotel is great for luxury lovers and nature lovers. Nearby local hiking trails and located on the beachfront this hotel is a great place to stay on Rodrigues island.
St Francois Rodrigues island Mauritius © Shutterstock

St François — one of the best things to do in Mauritius © Eric Rioux/Shutterstock

8. Marvel at the untouched landscapes of the South Coast

The remote, wild south, with its undulating cane-clothed landscapes, forests, waterfalls, rivers and mountains, has none of the bustle of the more popular tourist resorts of the north. Its appeal lies in its natural beauty and the feeling that you are going back in time.

Whether you drive yourself or join a guided tour there are several ways of exploring the south. Curepipe in the centre of the island is a great place to stay. Or take a trip from Bel Ombre in the west where there are several luxurious hotels.

Ready to take the trip of your dreams? Don't miss our guide to the most exotic places to travel in the world.


Discover the untouched landscapes of the South Coast © Shutterstock

9. Explore the pristine beaches of Ile Aux Cerfs

This tropical island consists of 280 hectares (700 acres) of luxuriant woodland, an 18-hole golf course, two eateries and a few souvenir shops. Visiting the paradise island of Île aux Cerfs is one of the best things to do in Mauritius.

You can wander along shaded paths, or find deserted palm tree lined pristine beaches. This is a popular place to snorkel and swim, or go parasailing. Or take a speedboat trip to Mauritius’s longest river, the boulder-strewn Grande Rivière Sud-Est, which terminates in cascading waterfalls at Beau Champ.

"Ile aux Cerfs", Mauritius, Africa with view of the mountain chain "Montagne Bambous" © Bekker Stefan/Shutterstock

"Ile aux Cerfs", Mauritius with view of the mountain chain "Montagne Bambous" © Bekker Stefan/Shutterstock

10. Dive in the Blue Bay Marine Park

Blue Bay marine park is the best place to dive on the south coast. Here a sheltered lagoon and several sites beyond the reef will reward you with spectacular views of underwater life. This national park has a great underwater world and is great for scuba diving.

Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Our tailor made service allows you to travel without the hassle. Our Delightful Mauritius trip will take you through the four main areas of the country. All tailor made trips can be modified together with your local expert.

Blue Bay Marine Park , coastline of Mauritius island © Shutterstock

Blue Bay Marine Park, coastline of Mauritius island © Shutterstock

11. See the stunning scenery of The Seven Colored Earth

One of the best things to do in Mauritius and one of the most popular tourist attractions, The Seven Colored Earth Geopark is not to be missed. These multi-coloured sand dunes (seven colours, to be exact) provide for stunning scenery.

Take a look from one of the outposts, and enjoy the local hiking trails nearby.

    Where to stay near The Seven Colored Earth:

  • For an all-inclusive resort: Tamassa Resort. This picturesque resort has beautiful rooms and is located near the Seven Coloured Earth Geopark. It is located on the beach and has a private pool.
  • For golf lovers: Heritage Le Telfair Gold and Wellness Resort. With beautiful beach views and professional golf course, this resort has it all.
View of the Seven Colour Earth, Mauritius © Shutterstock

View of the Seven Colour Earth, Mauritius © Shutterstock

12. Wander around the Botanical Gardens of Pampelmousses

The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, also known as The Botanical Gardens of Pampelmoouses, is one of the best things to do in Mauritius. These 18th-century botanical gardens are most known for their abnormally large water lilies. The gardens however are home to over 650 rare plant species — including 85 types of palm trees.

The oldest botanical garden in the area, this popular tourist attraction can be discovered by private tour or by self-guided tour.

Majestic pond with giant water lilies in the botanical garden of Pampelmousses, Mauritius © Shutterstock

Majestic pond with giant water lilies in the botanical garden of Pampelmousses, Mauritius © Shutterstock

This list could indeed go on. There are countless fantastic things to do in Mauritius. Ready to start planning your trip? Check out our Rough Guides guidebooks. Also read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit in Mauritius. For inspiration use the itineraries from our local travel experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Mauritius without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Mani Ramaswamy

written by
Mani Ramaswamy

updated 11.01.2023

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