A list of the top 10 things to do in Mauritius – an extraordinary island home to soaring volcanic mountains, yawning valleys, pristine waters and of course, some of the best beaches in the world.

10 things to do in Mauritius

1. Hiking Le Morne Brabant: At 556m (1,825ft), hiking Le Morne Brabant shouldn’t be daunting for the average hiker, but what it lacks in height, it adds in sheer bulk. The mountain looms above the peninsula next to an ‘underwater waterfall’ that can be seen from the sky (an optical illusion caused by runoff of sand and silt).

2. Hiking Le Pouce: At 812m (2,664ft), Le Pouce – or The Thumb, so named because of its thumb-shaped peak – is the third highest mountain in Mauritius. It is located near the island’s capital city, Port Louis, and offers striking views of the Moka Range including the country’s second highest peak, Pieter Both, with its uniquely shaped rock formation at the summit which resembles a human head.

3. Diving or snorkelling in Blue Bay: The marine life around Blue Bay is protected by the Blue Bay Marine Park and is touted as the most pristine and varied in Mauritius.Blue Bay is a calm and sheltered area of water framed by stretches of sandy beach on all sides – ideal for sheltered snorkelling. Outside of the reef is better for diving with some excellent sites available.

4. Chamarel: Mauritius’ west is home to the area of Chamarel, where there is an excellent eating scene. The famous Terres de 7 Couleurs is a little underwhelming to say the least, but it is one of the few places in the world where you can see a giant tortoise. The majestic Chamarel Waterfall, which plunges more than 95m in a single drop, is also located nearby.

5. Black River Gorges National Park: Black River Gorges is the largest and finest national park in Mauritius. It covers approximately 2% of the island’s surface and is intrinsic to the country’s ecosystems. The Macchabée Trail provides an excellent way to see a cross-section of this beautiful part of the island.

6. Eureka: If you only visit one cultural attraction  in Mauritius, then it should be the well-preserved Eureka Plantation and Mansion Museum. The Creole mansion was built in the 1830s and today it serves as an excellent insight into the island’s plantation and colonial past. Rooms are filled with period furniture, antique maps and ornaments. A trail at the rear of the grounds leads to a waterfall.

7. Ile aux Benitiers: Ile aux Benitiers (Benitiers Island)  and the bizarrely shaped Crystal Rock off the southwestern coast near the Le Morne Brabant peninsular in Mauritius. The deserted island is a fifteen minute boat ride across the reef. The shoreline near the Baie du Cap is some of the most stunning in the country, and it’s blissfully free of development.

8. Botanical Gardens: Mauritius is home to one of the world’s finest botanical gardens, located in Pamplemousses. Its official name is the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens or the SSR Gardens. Due to its central location it’s one of the most popular attractions in Mauritius and easily reached from almost anywhere on the island.

9. Rodrigues Island: Known as the ‘Mauritius of 25 years ago’ Rodrigues lies over 600km northeast of the main island of Mauritius. As such, it feels completed disconnected and the pace of life is distinctly slower here. The hilly island is ringed by golden beaches and a gorgeous turquoise lagoon.

10. Explore the beaches of Mauritius: Find your perfect beach – there are so many to choose from! Our favourites were Trou-aux-Biches as well as the beaches around Blue Bay and the Le Morne peninsular. Mont Choisy, Gris Gris and Pereybere are all beautiful specimens.

Lonely Planet Mauritius, Reunion & Seychelles covers all the top things to do in Mauritius and includes maps, highlights, itineraries, tips and essential information.

If you prefer to travel in a tour, we recommend G Adventures, specialists in small group adventure tours.

Lead image: Dreamstime