In this post I’m going to show you the most interesting Mauritius attractions that you should put into your bucket list.
Mauritius is definitely famous for its beaches but there is so much more than that. Plan a couple of trips and include a few places to visit from the list below.
Table of Contents
The question is:
How do you plan the trips or the activities in Mauritius?
Well, that’s exactly what you’re going to see and you know the best, this list is updated to right now (in 2018).
If you are interested to check what’s happening in the island I suggest having a look at the Mauritius Times, an over 50 years old newspaper.
So let’s get started…
Places to visit in Mauritius North
The north part of the island has probably the most of the Mauritius attractions. However, I would not discount the south, especially for the fabulous trekking.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden
The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, also called the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, is a popular tourist attraction in the north part of the island.
This is the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere and it has some spectacular plants.
It does not matter who you talk to, locals or tourist guides, the first question is
Have you been to the botanical garden?
There must be a reason for that.
L’Aventure du Sucre (all about sugar)
Being on a tropical island and visiting a museum can be seen as….well…. boring!
However, considering that the Mauritius economy is based on sugar cane, L’Aventure du Sucre should be in the bucket
If you want to understand the history of the island and have in insight into its economy than take half a day, maybe early in the morning, to have a tour.
I could not believe how many types of sugar are actually existing, I never tasted so many LOL
Today the country is more focused on a high-quality sugar production.
The producers have considerably reduced the quantity made during the year also because the mass product itself was becoming no more economically viable.
At the end of the tour, there is a shopping area section where you can taste and buy the local sugar, mostly boutique style.
Domaine de Labourdonnais
The Château de Labourdonnais is a fantastic example of Mauritian architecture and its connections with the sugar industry.
The estate is almost 250 years old but still keeps all of its characters, thanks also to an extensive renovation lasted 5 years and completed only in 2010.
The Domaine de Labourdonnais was one of the first estates to understand the incoming crisis of the sugar economy and they started diversifying in agricultural activities, with both tropical fruits and vegetables.
Moreover, the restoration helped to create a museum and open another form of income, tourism, promoting Mauritius and its lifestyle.
It could be visited on a day trip in combination with the other two previous attractions
Trekking in the North of Mauritius.
Trekking can be done around the Pieter Both peak, although it’s not the easiest one and it actually becomes very challenging if not impossible in the rainy season.
For the best trails, you should download the app Maps.me which is much more updated than Google Maps.
Sometimes the trails look like not existing or suddenly stopping. Just walk through the dense vegetation and you will see it again.
Maps.me took me to some unexpected surprises spots
A scenic driving itinerary on the north coast
This is a drive that goes through marvellous beaches, amazing coves, unique temples and a shiny red chapel.
Seat, drive and relax.
I spent the all day in the area and it was the highlight of my vacation.
I rented the car from RentalCars.com (a car aggregator of Booking.com) for a fantastic price.
You can read the full story about this unique trip, with plenty of photos here
Grand Baie, bars and restaurants
The main centre for nightlife in Mauritius, besides a nice town to have a walk along the bay.
There is also a public beach which is actually quite nice and next to the main resorts.
The Beach House Restaurant is a good spot for meat and the biggest burgers in the island. Definitely a popular place with South African people.
The Sunset Cafe is another option, for a drink or some food too.
You can even play the pin bowling in Grand Baie, at the Strike Bar.
Things to do in Port Louis
Port Louis is an interesting city (probably better say big town). I would not probably book my accommodation here unless I am on business, but definitely worth a day trip, especially for the market.
Port Louis Central Market
The Port Louis Central market is not a hidden gem, it’s most definitely an experience to do however you will share it with many other tourists.
I give you straight away the most important tip.
Do not limit yourself to visit only the veggie and fruit market.
There is also the meat and fish market (just across the street) which was an incredible photography inspiration in my case.
How many tourists have I seen inside there?
Nil. I was the only one
If you are going to explore this market I suggest reading the Complete guide to Port Louis and the Central Market.
Jummah Masjid Mosque in Port Louis
This is most definitely a well-kept secret of Port Louis.
Many tourists visit the Port Louis Market (which is gorgeous) and the Caudan area (a river/seafront shopping centre) before heading back to the beach/resort.
Add the Mosque for an insight into the Mauritius religions.
Here is another tip.
If you have a chunky DSLR just pretend to be a photographer for a day and you will receive a special treatment with an inside view of the mosque.
A guide is welcoming you at the entrance. When asked what was my work I said “Photographer and writing for a travelling website”.
I was taken in all the rooms of the mosque, besides in the minaret and on the roof. Great experience!
An offer for the mosque was a must. I had such a great insight into the Muslim Mauritian culture.
This visit was one of the highlights of my trip. Check the full exploration of the Jummah Mosque with more photos and full story.
The Caudan Waterfront
It’s a shopping area with a cinema, a casino and a few restaurants and bars.
The place to be for the wealthy locals, besides a good area for some lazy time having a drink in from on the sea.
It’s located in the old docking area.
Blue Penny Museum
If you are in Port Louis and you are interested in numismatic than have a check to the Blue Penny Museum, a stamp museum in the Caudan Waterfront.
I do not have the numismatic passion and I personally had a miss but the reviews from the locals are quite good
Black River Gorges National Park
This is just an amazing and unique National Park with many walks and trails to visit spectacular waterfalls.
You have two options:
- have a walk: you can start in one of the two main Information Center.
La Petrin Information Center was my favourite because very close to other attractions in the Southern part of Mauritius (more on them below).
The most popular circuit is the Macchabee Trail. It’s a loop starting at La Petrin. You can have a view of the model in the Visitor Center.
It’s an easy 10km walk if you stay on the main path. If you decide to take variations you may end up adding another hour to your trekking even though the number of km is the same (I ended up in a steep descend/ascend full of mud myself!!).
I do not suggest to adventure on side tracks in the rainy season or when there is a possibility of a storm. It can be extremely slippery even on a dry week, it’s a rainforest.
- have a drive: start at La Petrin Information Center to have a view of the relief map of the park.
Drive direction Chamarel, stopping at the Alexandra Falls Lookout, the Gorges Viewpoint and at the West Coast Lookout, just after Chamarel.
In all cases, there are organised parking areas and easy walks to the viewpoints
Check the Black River Gorges National Park travel guide including maps for your walk or drive through the park
Ganga Talao or Grand Basin
The young locals usually call it the Grand Basin. It is a crater lake situated in a secluded mountain area, just 2km from La Petrin Information Center (Black River Gorges NP).
It is considered to be the most sacred Hindu place in the island.
According to legend, Shiva and his wife Parvati left here few drops from the Ganges river. That was the start of Ganga Talao.
I visited this place in August and it was almost empty but come in February and it is jam-packed. In fact, the last few km of the road coming to the lake are so wide that you think to be in an airport.
A visit to the Grand Basin is a must once in Mauritius. Read more info about Ganga Talao here.
Should you or should you not visit the Eureka house?
It is a pricey visit.
The ticket is expensive and honestly, I am not sure it is an experience I would suggest unless interested in architecture and you want to see a typical Creole house (not too many around nowadays).
The highlight for me was the short walk to the waterfall and the park around the house.
Mahebourg Market (Monday till 5pm)
A much smaller version of the Port Louis one.
Easy to get to if you are on the east coast, close to the airport.
I drove a fear bit to go there and I had a great fun. It is more of a local experience. I organised a day trip here in combination with a visit to the next attraction
Ile aux Aigrettes
Are you curious to see how was Mauritius when discovered in 1638 by the Dutch, how was the vegetation, what animals were there, how hard was to even walk in the island?
Visit Aigrettes Island to have the full experience. A two hours tour operated by the Park Rangers which will guide you through the local nature.
I really enjoyed the visit and it was my first time ever I saw such a big turtle, sure over 100kg!!
Not to be missed also because the full income is used to protect the island.
The must Mauritius attractions: beaches
Of course, I had to include this attraction too.
This is the main reason for tourists to fly in Mauritius, and for a good reason, the beaches are just spectacular.
I wrote another guide on this subject, including maps, to the 10 best beaches in Mauritius to visit.
Here is a quick snapshot:
- Trou aux Biches Beach
- Mont Choisy Beach
- La Cuvette Beach
- Pereybere Beach
- Belle Mare Beach
- Blue Bay Beach
- Gris-Gris Beach
- Le Morne Beach
- Black River Beach
- Flic En Flac Beach
And a full map
Public transportation or car hire in Mauritius?
Distances are not that big but if you want to cover a fair bit you probably need to rent a car.
So I do when I am in Mauritius.
It is quite cheap, approx 20-30 Euro/day. Bear in mind that the drive is on the left side and the traffic can be wild. But there are so many places to visit, especially in the north, that you really want a flexible way to move
I usually rent my car from RentalCars.com, I find always the best deals there. It’s an engine owned by Booking.com that gets the best price from over 30 rentals companies.
If you have been already to India, yes, the traffic is somehow similar to there.
People just stop the car wherever they need, even in the middle of the street to talk with a friend. Do not get stressed, it’s just the Mauritian way to see the life, relaxed.
You can either wait or much better drive around the vehicle, paying attention to the coming cars. Motorbikers are fine, they actually drive more carefully than in some countries in Europe.
You can also decide to rent a car with a driver or take a taxi (both more secure option). Keep with you Euro, the currency in the tourism environment. The Local Taxi Service has even an app you can download
The last option is to take local buses.
Mauritius has a good public transportation system with frequent buses. Just ask the locals for more information. Everybody talks English and French, besides Creole and Hindu, if you can master those languages.
This website helped me a lot to understand the bus routes
I decided to spend the first week on the south-west coast. From there I could see the southern part of the island, the Black River Gorges National Park, Grand Bassin and the capital of Mauritius, Port Louis and the second week in the north.
I suggest reading the guide to the best places to stay in Mauritius, organised by areas and time of the year. If you still don’t have booked a hotel, it will be the best starting point to understand the island
Ultimate guide to where to stay in Mauritius
For a quick look into my favourites, have a read below
In the south-west of the island. I was welcomed by Cristophe and Ingrid at Marlin Creek and I had an amazing time with a fantastic freshly cooked breakfast every morning. Location was also perfect.
Check availability now at Marlin Creek
The second week I was up north where I believe you can find the best beaches in Mauritius. From there I could also visit the north route up to Grand Gaube and the Grand Baie area.
I based myself in Pereybere at the Bleu De Toi Boutique Guest House. I had the Hope room which was perfectly placed in front of the pool and the lovely garden.
Check availability at the Bleu De Toi Boutique Guesthouse
Accommodation in Mauritius can be scarce and expensive in some cases. Book well in advance if you can.
Travel Photography Tips for Mauritius
- Best time of the day for photography is sunset if you are on the North and West Coast, and sunrise if you are on the East Coast.
- Take a quick lens with you when you visit the Port Louis market, the place is very dark. I had a 50mm F/1.8 on my Nikon D600 and it worked fantastically well. I was really astonished by the result, also considering I paid below A$200 for this lens!!
- Push up with the ISO, both the markets and the mosque are dark places
- Tripod is a must for the sunset/sunrise shots
- Walk on top of the Signal Mountain Road for the best viewpoint over Port Louis and the West Coast
- If visiting Port Louis with a rented car then park it in the Champs de Mars area, the only free place in the city (otherwise you need to buy special scratch tickets, not sure from where)
4 thoughts on “Top 15 Mauritius attractions [the north, Port Louis and more]”
We are just going to Mauritus in a week and preparing to it I found your stories! Great inspiration to see the island, especially that we tailor our journey ourselves, we do not stay in resorts and beach only:-) I’ve read everything, taking your advice and for sure it would help me to get most of this beautiful island – as I see from your great pictures!
thank you so much for your kind words. Sure you will enjoy this amazing island. Definitely one of my favourite trip ever. And the food is so amazing too!!
Enjoy your trip
Thanks for the insights, Stefano! I hope to visit Mauritius next year, and now I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be bored for at least a week! 🙂
I think it’s impossible to get bored in Mauritius, such a great island and so many things to do. I used to spend the last 2-3 hours of the day at the beach and the remaining part of the day travelling/experiencing/meeting new people. I definitely had a great time