Several of the eighteen islets sprinkled around Rodrigues can be visited, typically by travelling in an off-duty fisherman’s pirogue. The most popular day-trip is to the blinding white sandbar of Île aux Cocos (Coconut Island), 4km off the west coast. At around 1.5km long and 150m wide, it’s famous for its seabirds, and a stroll around the sanctuary reveals the bridled tern and fairy tern, and lesser and common brown noddy, which, unbothered by human presence, cling to the casuarinas and palms. Stakeholder Discovery Rodrigues manage the island and give an introduction of the main highlights to boat arrivals, but you’ll need to get there independently by arranging your own boat crossing.

It takes a bit of an effort to get to the volcanic desertscape of Île Catherine, also off the west coast. From the end of the road at Cascade Pistache (reached by bus from Mount Lubin), it’s a two-hour trek to Pointe Mapou, from where a fishing boat can make the trip across: it’s best to undertake this as a randonnée with guide Milaineda Edouard.

The three uninhabited southern islets make for popular day-trips with swimming and snorkelling: Île aux Chats (Cat Island), known for its beautiful beach, tiny Île Hermitage (Hermits Island), closer to shore, and the largest, Île Gombrani.

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