Last updated on April 27, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Mauritius

15 Great places to visit in the north of Mauritius [Port Louis and more]

In this post, I’m going to show you the most interesting things to do in north Mauritius that you should put on 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 in the north of Mauritius. Alternatively, plan a quick drive to Port Louis and the South of the island.

So let’s get started…

Places to visit in the north of Mauritius

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 of Mauritius.

This is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the Southern Hemisphere and it has some spectacular plants.

Named after the first Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, it’s a place steeped in history as well as natural beauty.

As you walk through the garden, you’ll experience some of the rarest exotic plants and trees. One of the main attractions is the pond filled with giant Victoria Amazonica water lilies, native to the Amazon River basin.

But it’s not all about plants. The Garden is also a little heaven for birdwatchers. You might even spot some deer and tortoises if you’re lucky.

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 an insight into its economy then take half a day, maybe early in the morning, to have a tour.

I could not believe how many types of sugar actually exist, and I never tasted so many.

Today the country is more focused on 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.

Driving through the sugar cans of Mauritius
Driving through the sugar cans of Mauritius

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 character, thanks also to an extensive renovation that 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 stop. Just walk through the dense vegetation and you will see it again.

Maps.me took me to some unexpected surprise 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 entire day in the area and it was the highlight of my vacation.

I rented the car from DiscoverCars, a car aggregator website that compares local and international car rentals providing the best deals around. Moreover, they offer daily full insurance for just 8$ which is a real bargain.

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 on 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.

Mauritius Attractions and Excursions
Port Baie Beach

Cap Malheureux and its red-roofed church

Cap Malheureux is a charming fishing village located at the northern tip of Mauritius, and it’s most famous for its iconic red-roofed church, Notre Dame Auxiliatrice.

This quaint chapel has become one of the most photographed landmarks on the island, and for good reason. Its vibrant red roof contrasts beautifully with the azure sky and the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean in the background.

The church grounds offer a panoramic view of the northern islets, including Gunner’s Quoin, Flat Island, and Round Island, making it a popular spot for photography.

Notre Dame Aurilliatrice Chapel, Cap Malheureux
Notre Dame Aurilliatrice Chapel, Cap Malheureux

Maheswarnath Temple

Maheswarnath Temple, situated in the village of Triolet, holds the distinction of being the largest Hindu temple in Mauritius.

The temple was built in 1819 and dedicated to several deities from the Hindu pantheon, including Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu, Muruga, and Durga.

The temple complex is adorned with intricate carvings and vibrant colours, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the island’s Hindu community.

During the annual Maha Shivaratri festival, the temple becomes a focal point for pilgrimage, drawing thousands of devotees.

The Shiva temple - Grand Bassin Mauritius

Balaclava Ruins

The Balaclava Ruins are located near the picturesque Turtle Bay and they offer a fascinating window into Mauritius’ history.

You will find what is left of a French Estate that dates back to the 18th century, in the colonial past.

You will notice the great contrast between the natural beauty surrounding the site and the historic building, unfortunately falling apart and not well maintained.

Gunners Quoin

Gunners Quoin is an island located off Mauritius’ northern coast, usually reachable from Grand Baie with a private tour.

It’s the place to visit in the North of Mauritius for deep-sea fishing, with big marlins and tunas the most popular fish caught by fishing enthusiasts.

Port Louis, 4 places to visit

Port Louis is an interesting city (probably better say a 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 visiting 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

Mauritius attractions and excursions
The fish market
Mauritius attractions and excursions
The veggie Port Louis market

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. 

Mauritius attractions and excursions
A guided visit to the Mosque

A guide will welcome 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.

Mauritius attractions and excursions
Port Louis highlight

This visit was one of the highlights of my trip. Check out the full exploration of the Jummah Mosque with more photos and a 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 then 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

Places to visit in the South of Mauritius

Black River Gorges National Park

This is just an amazing and unique National Park with many walks and trails to visit spectacular waterfalls.

Mauritius Attractions and Excursions
View from the walking excursion

You have two options:

  • have a walk: you can start in one of the two main Information Centers.

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 descent/ascend full of mud myself!!).

I do not suggest adventuring 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 of Chamarel, stopping at the Alexandra Falls Lookout, the Gorges Viewpoint and the West Coast Lookout, just after Chamarel.

In all cases, there are organised parking areas and easy walks to the viewpoints

Mauritius Attractions and Excursions
West Coast Lookout

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 on 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.

Mauritius Attractions and Excursions
The Grand Basin – View from the top

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 may think of being in an airport.

Mauritius Attractions and Excursions
This road is jam-packed in February

A visit to the Grand Basin is a must once in Mauritius. Read more info about Ganga Talao here.

Eureka House

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.

Mauritius Attractions and Excursions
The Eureka House from the backyard

Mahebourg Market (Monday till 5 pm)

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 fair bit to go there and I had great fun. It is more of a local experience. I organised a day trip here in combination with a visit to the next attraction

Mauritius attractions and excursions
Smaller and more dedicated to the locals

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, and how hard was to even walk on the island?

Visit Aigrettes Island to have the full experience. A two-hour tour operated by the Park Rangers will guide you through the local nature.

I really enjoyed the visit and it was the 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.

Mauritius attractions and excursions
Mauritius wildlife

The must Mauritius attractions: beaches

Of course, I had to include this attraction too.

This is the main reason for tourists to fly to 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:

  1. Trou aux Biches Beach
  2. Mont Choisy Beach
  3. La Cuvette Beach
  4. Pereybere Beach
  5. Belle Mare Beach
  6. Blue Bay Beach
  7. Gris-Gris Beach
  8. Le Morne Beach
  9. Black River Beach
  10. Flic En Flac Beach

And a full map

Mauritius Attractions and Excursions
Trou Aux Biches beach

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 rented the car from DiscoverCars, a car aggregator website that compares local and international car rentals providing the best deals around. Moreover, they offer daily full insurance for just 8$ which is a real bargain.

Mauritius Attractions and Excursions
Mauritius Beaches in Black and White

You can also decide to rent a car with a driver or take a taxi (both more secure options). Keep with you the Euro, the currency in the tourism environment.

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

Accommodation

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 area 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

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

I stayed also 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. The location was also perfect.

Check availability now at Marlin Creek

Accommodation in Mauritius can be scarce and expensive in some cases. Book well in advance if you can.

Map of things to do in Mauritius

Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

4 thoughts on “Top 15 Mauritius attractions [the north, Port Louis and more]”

  1. Hi Stefano,

    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!
    Thanks!
    Anna
    (Poland)

    Reply
    • Hi Anna,
      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

      Reply
    • 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

      Reply

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