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Mauritius

Mauritius is a pearl of the Indian Ocean. Beaches with sun-bleached sand, expansive emerald lagoons, mesmerizing reefs, lush coconut trees and azure blue water as far as the eye can see; the Mauritian coastline truly is picture postcard. Even the most experienced travelers are struck by the beauty of the island.

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North

With a string of white sandy beaches and more sun-shining days than anywhere else on Mauritius, the north is the most touristic area on the island. It’s divided into two districts, Pamplemousses in the west and Rivière du Rempart in the east. The liveliest spot along the northwest coast is the vibey town of Grand Baie, a brandy-glass shaped, sheltered bay with a beautiful lagoon and the island’s best nightlife.


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South

The South encompasses some of Mauritius’s most dramatic natural and cultural landscapes, from the green southwest, where the tendrils of Black River Gorges National Park reach down to Bel

Ombre, the south’s most developed resort, to the ancient capital of Mahébourg in the southeast. In-between is the island’s wild and interesting south coast, where offshore islands once frequented by pirates can be glimpsed through the sugar cane, and roadside stalls sell pineapples and coconuts next to beach and surf-sculpted basalt cliffs.


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East

If anywhere conforms to postcard Mauritius, it’s the glamorous East coast, where you’ll find miles of powdery beaches, azure seas, and hotels and resorts frequented by royals and celebrities. In fact, an aerial view of the island playground, Île aux Cerfs, with its white sandbars stretching their tendrils into turquoise waters, is one of the most famous postcard shots. The east is also the windiest coast, which means a welcome cooling onshore breeze in summer, and billowing sails for windsurfers and sailors in winter.


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West

With sheltered sandy beaches and mountain views, the “sunset coast”, which stretches from Port Louis to the exclusive Le Morne Peninsula, has some of the island’s most diverse and breathtaking scenery. Although its nightlife scene is gradually taking momentum, this lesser-developed coastline is arguably more exotic than its northern cousin, with twisting roads offering glimpses of isolated white sandy bays and a scattering of Creole villages; the district of Black River/Rivière Noire has the strongest African flavour on the island. The West plays host to the islands only residential Marina Village.


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Port Louis

Pronounced “Porlwi” by the locals, Mauritius’s bustling port capital Port Louis, encircled by the moody Moka Mountains on the northwest coast, is an intriguing mix of old and new. Graceful colonial buildings lie cheek-by-jowl with modern towers in the centre, while a swanky waterfront complex holds the island’s best shopping. The city is the busiest port in the Indian Ocean, with around a hundred thousand people, a colourful cross-section of Mauritians, flooding into its 45-square-kilometre area daily.


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Central

The island’s heart, central Mauritius has the coolest weather and more rainfall than anywhere else. It’s not top of the list for sun, sea and sand seekers, but some cultural highlights and impressive natural attractions make it worth exploring. The lure of shopping in the congested towns of the central plateau might inspire only a few people to leave their sun lounger, but nearby is the stunning Eureka mansion, a reminder of the island’s colonial past set against the pretty backdrop of the Moka Mountains.


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