Things to do in Mauritius

Mauritius has a deserved reputation as somewhere to enjoy the ultimate beach holiday. This subtropical paradise offers miles of white, sugar-like beaches, fringed with palm trees and caressed by the glorious Indian Ocean. If spending your entire break on the beach is really your thing then fine. For those looking for something to do in between the tanning sessions there is also a great deal to experience when it comes to culture, food and historical attractions.

Let Club Med give you a quick guide to the things you should be planning when you travel to this incredible island in the sun.

Sample the street food in Port Louis

Across the island you will enjoy meals and snacks that live long in the memory. However, for the most compact smorgasbord of Mauritian cuisine head for the bustling capital of Port Louis. Here you will be able to spend a day sampling the authentic tastes of the country, eating the food the locals love to eat.

There are lots of markets around the city including the Central Market which is your best bet if you are doing a food tour without a local guide. It is a melting pot of flavours as the food of various nations come together in one place. The must-try cuisine is the roti: flatbreads that are lovingly rolled and then filled with curry and chilli (you can choose the heat level). Similar and equally unmissable is the Dholl Puri which fits neatly in your hand like a tortilla and is also filled with a variety of curries.

Gato patate are sweet potato cakes that look like Cornish pasties and include shredded coconut. Don't forget to sample the dumplings and ground rice cakes in Chinatown. Both meat eaters and vegans alike will find plenty to stimulate their taste buds and bring some inspiration back home for their own cooking.

On the waterfront

Whilst in Port Louis it makes sense that you take a trip to Le Caudan Waterfront. This area is about as commercial as Mauritius gets but can offer you a break from natural wonders to indulge in some top notch shopping, eating and entertainment.

The local Craft Market is a great place to pick up your holiday souvenirs including jewellery and clothes. If you are missing the movies then get a ticket for the multiplex cinema. For the historian there is also the fascinating and unexpected Blue Penny Museum where you can view some of the rarest stamps in the world and other interesting exhibits.

Umbrella Alley is very Instagrammable with colourful umbrellas floating above a lane, providing a delightful surprise to every visitor who is exploring over 170 boutique shops in the area. After retail therapy and a meal in a top end restaurant, you could also spend hours like Otis Redding just watching the ships go in and out of the busy commercial port.

Discover your perfect island

Mauritius is a small island surrounded by even smaller islands that can provide the ideal day trip. Book your passage in a speed boat or slower form of transport and visit the Ile aux Cerfs which is situated amidst the largest lagoon in the region. This is paradise encapsulated in just 87 hectares of land where, somehow, the beaches are even whiter and the sea more inviting.

The beauty of nature is off the scale and you could just spend the day walking around in wonder. However, if you have families or a need to hit a ball then this is also the perfect place with an adventure park where you can try ziplining and one of the world’s most beautiful golf courses, six great golfing holiday destinations - make sure you book in advance. Amongst the unspoiled nature you will also find a number of top quality restaurants to make your day trip even more memorable.

Book through Club Med to get the best of Ile aux Cerfs and prepare for your perfect day.

Admire giant water lilies

One of the island’s most popular attractions is Pamplemousse Botanical Gardens. They were created in 1736 by the then French governor and have since become a haven for fascinating flora and fauna that stretches over 37 hectares – officially the oldest botanical garden in the southern hemisphere.

At Pamplemousse you can walk amongst ancient trees and more than 650 varieties of plants including 85 different types of palm alone. You will more than likely be getting your camera phone ready for the endangered giant water lilies that float majestically in the water and give the viewer the feeling of being in an alien world. The large spice garden is also a treat for the nose.

However, it is not all about the glories of Mother Earth and you can also pay a visit to Château MonPlaisir, an authentic colonial house built in the early 1800s and the site of a museum that outlines the history of sugar cane on the island. It will provide a great insight into how the country developed over the past few centuries and some of the price people had to pay to feed the sweet tooth of the West.

The grandeur of Grand Bassin

The sacred lake of Grand Bassin offers both a glorious sight and a deep, cultural heritage. Hitch a ride to the mountains of the southwest to find this important stretch of water that is said to have links to the holy River Ganges. It is one of the most important places of Hindu pilgrimage outside of India having, as legend has it, appeared in a dream to a priest before actually being discovered.

The lake is formed in a large crater and you will see locals offering gifts and worshipping by its side on your visit or, even better, during one of the religious festivals. Lamps can be viewed floating on the water which often has a mysterious mist rising from its surface. Dotted around the area are amazing golden statues dedicated to the Hindu Gods. Temples can also be seen at Lakeside adding to the spiritual atmosphere. A local guide can give you background on everything you see. It's a great place to take a break from the beach and find true contentment. Make sure you ask before taking photographs of the locals as this is an important place for them and respect is required.

Rum, colour and waterfalls in Chamarel

If you were to choose just one day trip in Mauritius then we would heartily recommend the Chamarel area for a combination of awesome nature and human made flavour.

Chamarel village in the southwest only has 700 friendly inhabitants but it is surrounded by many acres of lush vegetation. Amongst the trees is the highest waterfall on the island, the Chamarel Falls. This is a truly spectacular sight with a height of 83m and a great place to stop and just stare. Equally unmissable is the nearby Seven Coloured Earths. This unique piece of geography is a small area of sand dunes where seven colours are layered on top of each other like a delicious cake. You will have never seen anything like this before.

If you can pull yourself away from these amazing sights then try to fit in a visit to the famous Rhum distillery where the local sugarcane is converted into your ideal holiday drink. The distillery itself was designed to meld into the local landscape and, if a factory can be considered beautiful, this is one of the most beautiful in the world. Tourist friendly, you can organise a tour of the distillery to find out how the very fine rum is produced. And of course, don't miss the chance to sample the local tipple for yourself to find out what all the fuss is about.

Become Captain Nemo

If you would like to explore Mauritius’ rich undersea kingdom then one of the most unique and exciting ways to do it is via a sub scooter. These are literally mini submarines shaped for one or two people that allow you to sink 3 or 4 metres below the surface of the water to meet the flora and fauna of the Indian ocean. It means those with no experience of diving or swimming can join in with the brightly coloured world of coral and exotic creatures.

A glass dome gives you a full view of the ocean life and the adjustable seats are comfortable enough for the trip. The machines are easy to control and you can talk to your submarine partner throughout the journey – it is certainly a lot more sociable than scuba diving. The two hour experience includes 40 minutes underwater, everything is thoroughly safety checked and you will be able to freshen up in the showers afterwards. Tours run three or four times a day so book ahead for this remarkable experience.

Supreme watersports

With so many choices of beaches it is hard to pick one out in Mauritius that should be a must-visit. However, Grand Baie Flic-en Flac-has become one of the most popular destinations for a good reason. It is quite simply a brilliant beach amongst many contenders when it comes to diving, watersports and lazing around on the sand.

If you have kids then bring them here for fun sports such as banana boating and kayaking. A short drive away, Casela World of Adventures is a large park offering everything from Segway rides to camel riding. The surfing in this area is about the best you can get and there are also local schools where you can start to learn what could become a lifelong passion.

If you want to see dolphins then this is the main spot where they hang out. Deep sea anglers will also discover the best base for boat trips. The beach itself is 8km long and very quiet during the week – ideal for laying out on a towel and finishing the novel you started on the aeroplane. Flic-en-Flac doesn't just have a brilliant name but offers everything you could want from your holiday in Mauritius.