If anywhere conforms to postcard Mauritius, it’s the glamorous but little-developed east coast, where you’ll find miles of powdery beaches, azure seas, and hotels and resorts frequented by royals and celebrities. In fact, an aerial view of the island playground, Île aux Cerfs, with its white sandbars stretching their tendrils into turquoise waters, is one of the most famous postcard shots. The east is also the windiest coast, which means a welcome cooling onshore breeze in summer, and billowing sails for windsurfers and sailors in winter.

Stretching from Roches Noires to Bois des Amourettes in the south, the plains of the Flacq district, its name derived from the Dutch “vlak” (flat land), are planted with acres of shimmering sugar cane and punctuated with the odd Hindu temple or abandoned lime kiln. A smattering of traditional fishing villages run down the coast as the wildness of the northern coastline gives way to a string of beautiful white-sand beaches at Belle Mare. The most charming village is Trou d’Eau Douce, the east coast’s largest resort by virtue of its location across the water from Île aux Cerfs.

To travel off the beaten track, take the rustic coastal road south towards the Bambous Mountains in the sleepy Grand Port district, passing two of the island’s best eco-parks and kayaking at the first and only eco-glamping outfit on the banks of Grande Rivière Sud Est (GRSE), whose pretty gorge waterfall is a common pause on cruises along the coast. The road winds on to the island’s first settlement at Vieux Grand Port, where the Dutch changed the course of island history. Lion Mountain stands sentinel over Grand Port Bay, where the British fought the French for sovereignty over this strategic island.

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