The wide stretch of white sand at Pointe Coton is generally thought of as the most beautiful beach on the island, while for snorkellers “the aquarium” offshore from the neighbouring fishing village of St François – a channel lined with coral and teeming with fish – is undoubtedly a highlight. There was no road, no phone and no TV at St François when the first guesthouse opened here 25 years ago, and the tiny settlement remains sleepy despite being the east’s tourism hub. The palm-fringed stretch of white sand at Anse Ally, to the north of the village, is also home to the new design hotel Tekoma – an opening that cements the area’s hip reputation. The main reason for St François’ popularity, however, is that it’s within walking distance of the gem in Rodrigues’ crown, Trou d’Argent, “Money Hole”. This wild cove where pirates once landed was recently named among the thirty best-preserved beaches worldwide.

Of the roads winding down through valleys to southeastern coastal settlements, the road to Mourouk has the most magnificent views of the lagoon and islands. The village itself may be small, but as the island’s kitesurfing centre, has a big reputation. Port Sud Est, a tiny village with one-room shops, lies nearby. Another dizzying road snakes down to off-the-beaten-track Graviers, start point for the island’s best-known coastal walk – look out for famous local fisherman Tonio cooking up a beachside fish feast in season.

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