Are you dreaming of a romantic honeymoon on a tropical island surrounded by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean? Look no further than Mauritius, where you can experience the perfect fusion of African spice and French sophistication. From the vibrant flavours of local cuisine to the elegant charm of French-inspired architecture, Mauritius offers a truly unique and unforgettable honeymoon experience. So pack your bags, check your passport, and get ready to embark on a journey of love and luxury in this tropical paradise.
Voluptuously tropical, vibrantly cultural and wrapped in a catchy Creole vibe, Mauritius weaves a spell that’s indelibly magical. Discover its charms for a truly special island getaway.
It was this romantic destination that inspired Mark Twain – a man not short on comparisons – to ponder that God must have modelled this island on paradise itself. Happily, the heavenly connotations remain abundant: exultant tropical beauty, rhinestone-sparkly lagoons that kiss sugary sands, high-kilowatt smiles, the ever-present promise of fulsome pleasures. Mauritius is most remarkable however, for the way it goes to your head – in all the best ways.
Gloriously adrift in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa, Mauritius is, in essence, a mindset: a gumbo of escapism, exotica and runaway romanticism. The catchy Creole mood sets Mauritius apart, at once suave yet unpretentiously laid back, languid yet enlivening, but most of all – inescapably seductive.
The spell is cast upon catching sight of the luminously green jagged peaks laced with layers of brilliant blues, lake-still thanks to the encircling reef. Suddenly, everything seems brighter, bigger, more vividly alive and resoundingly sensual. Hibiscus appear as large as dinner plates; people, who seem to laugh more often than they speak, wear bolt-bright clothing; cascades of bougainvillea coat sorbet-coloured cottages. Towering mango and banyan trees shade statuesque plantation mansions, timber shop houses fringed with iron lacework and hole-in- the-wall local eateries and bars where chillies are hung out to avert killjoy spirits.
Teasingly ambiguous scents such as vanilla, sandalwood and ylang ylang blend with the delicate chimes of puga bells which spill from citrus-hued temples, to mingle with fervent hymns wafting from grand cathedrals, calls to prayer, impromptu cricket games and ardent games of mahjong.
Mauritius has become synonymous with beachy delights, full-throttle pampering and seriously sumptuous lodgings. And again, the reality surpasses the accolades. Resorts here take the form of pleasure palaces, fusing cultural echoes – touches of Gallic glamour or jungle earthiness, perhaps – with stellar levels of service and indulgence, think outdoor bathrooms, aromatherapy menus, bespoke yoga and tai chi sessions, spas opening onto lush gardens, buffets bursting with globally inspired, delectable cuisine.
All-inclusive packages combining food, spa treatments, mountain bikes, kayaks, windsurfing, water-skiing and boat trips offer excellent value. So unshackling is the resulting relaxation that guests – even the once tightly wound and self-conscious – begin nonchalantly wandering about in dressing gowns.
What to Do & See in Mauritius
To enjoy the best Mauritius has to offer start with the beautiful beaches of the west coast; work your way down to the scenic and surf-friendly south coast; enjoy the colourful open-air Flacq Market and cosmopolitan Caudan Waterfront development at the capital Port Louis in the east, and finish off at the north’s picturesque Grand Baie.
Your travels will give you ample opportunity to drink in the green plantations of sugar cane which still help define the Mauritian landscape. The local economy was built on these stately stalks, with tea production, textiles and tourism taking up the slack in recent years. If one spoonful just isn’t enough, visit the sugar factory-turned-tourist attraction, Sugarworld near Pamplemousse in the east, which charts the chequered history of this sweet commodity from slave times to modern day.
There’s also plenty to thrill adventure-seekers here. The Blue Bay Marine Reserve, along with the west coast, regales with compelling snorkelling and diving. On the wilder, mountain-hugged south coast, sea-mist works its way deep into your lungs and feels like a gossamer loofah.
Venture onto the locals’ favourite beaches, such as Grand Baie, and, almost inevitably, you’ll become part of a picnic or party. Whilst an intensely regenerative break is assured if you barely budge from the splendid beaches and resorts, that would entail missing what makes Mauritius so special.
Mauritius may still be synonymous with the long-departed dodo, a rather tragic flightless bird which met its end during the 17th century, but you can still get a dose of oversized and ancient at the oldest botanical garden in the southern hemisphere, Jardin de Pamplemousses, home to the famous giant water lilies Victoria regia and prehistoric-looking giant tortoises.
And if you’re looking for a memento beyond a dodo snow globe or the irresistible handwoven baskets you’ll see everywhere, handmade sailing ships are a Mauritian speciality – not as easy to stow in your hand luggage though!
As Mauritius is delightfully compact, exploring is relaxing and, given the extent and variety of intrigues, immensely rewarding. Uniquely, Mauritius offers the opportunity to lap up distilled highlights from some of the world’s most exotic cultures in combination with a luxe travel experience. Thanks to a succession of fortune seekers, Mauritian’s hail from Indian, African, European and Chinese backgrounds; speaking Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, French, Mandarin, and Creole, for starters. Whilst the official language is English, French flair prevails, producing that most fetching of accents and attitudes.
Communities here are proud of their multi-racial heritage and eagerly embrace each others’ festivals, such as fire-walking ceremonies or Divali, when the island is aglow with lanterns. It’s a hot-pot of history that’s quite literally delicious: think feisty curries, biryani, Creole rougalles, spring rolls, pasta, crepes and spicy street snacks.
To work off all the incredible food, there are energetic walks into misted mountains, such as those of the Central Plateua or Black River Gorges. Or, if a contemplative stroll is more your style, discover romantic nooks and giant water lily-filled ponds at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere.
However you choose to fill your days, you’ll spend them simply enchanted by Mauritius’s seductive sights and mesmerising culture. Tropique magnifique, indeed!
Need to Know ~ Mauritius Travel Guide
Mauritius has a tropical climate with an average year-round temperature of 26 degrees Celsius. Humidity averages 78 percent. Summer is from November to April and winter from June to August with a rainy season from January to March.
Visa requirements for Australians and New Zealanders:
No visa is required for stay of up to six months.
No vaccination certificates are required (check regarding Covid vaccination requirements which are in constant flux around the word).
Couples will Love:
The array of resorts – from the sublime to the affordable. There are resorts for every budget, catering for the needs of the incurably romantic through to families and seniors.
The food … French gastronomic influences still run deep in Mauritian cooking, from exotic wild boar and prawn dishes to rabbit in red wine sauce.
The romantic and breathtaking inland scenery
A drive up into the mountains that dominate much of the island’s southern interior should include a stop at Plaine Champagne and its breathtaking views over the Black River Gorge. Waterfalls here are aplenty and include the ten- metre high Rochester Falls, whose cascading waters have carved away beautiful columns of basalt rock, and the 83-metre high Chamarel Falls.
A lovely half-day excursion can be had driving the beautiful coast-hugging road east from the Le Morne Peninsula, stopping at various beaches and coves where tourists are at a minimum and where you can lose yourself in the gentle pace of Mauritian village life. Along the way the high cliffs around Souillac offer plenty of privacy as well as majestic views of the Indian Ocean.
Take a trip to Grand Baie in the island’s north. Touristy but with a great buzz and picture-perfect views, this area offers a range of dining options, nightlife and good shopping.
Take a catamaran cruise, snorkel the pristine waters and enjoy a lunch of super-fresh barbequed fish. Check out Le Morne Anglers Club as a base.
Wine and dine in Mauritian cuisine the abundance of fresh local seafood converges in a most delicious way with the island’s strong African and French influences. Enjoy it at every opportunity! For an elegant luncheon, take a trip back in time to colonial days at the plantation – style 19th century Maison Eureka, located just south of Port Louis.
Images courtesy of Unsplash and Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority