IDYLLIC TROPICAL ISLAND WITH DAZZLING BEACHES, INTRIGUING CULTURE AND MULTI-ETHNIC CUISINE; MAURITIUS, AFRICA
Day 1 – Arrive Mauritius, Christmas Day
There are direct flights to/from Mauritius, Africa from Paris and London in Europe, and from Dubai in the Middle East. We arrive early in the morning at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Mauritius and transfer to our hotel (around an hour). We enjoy a delicious breakfast at the Bambou Restaurant, overlooking the peaceful resort scenery. We proceed to the Bambou Beach to greet Santa Clause and the Elves arriving on the beach in a shining red car. We spend the rest of the day on the beach. In the evening, we celebrate Christmas with a delectable dinner in our hotel.
Note: We use two companies to schedule private transfer services (car and driver) for our Mauritius Itinerary. We schedule our airport arrival transfer with the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita (the fees are quite expensive). We schedule all other transfer services with Marco Paradise Tour (marcoparadisetour.com). Marco, the owner of the company, provided us with excellent transfer services.
Day 2 – Beach Day, Snorkeling Excursion
We spend the day enjoying our secluded and idyllic resort. After a delicious breakfast at the Bambou Restaurant, we enjoy some golf, relax on the beach and organize a snorkeling excursion. We dine in one of the high-end restaurants in our resort.
Day 3 – Île aux Cerfs
A day excursion to the Île aux Cerfs bestows us with spectacular white sand beaches, turquoise ocean waters and vivid marine life. The Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita offers private boat transfers or complementary group boat transfers from the resort’s Bambou Beach to the eastern coast of Île aux Cerfs. We spend a lovely day at the tranquil cove with warm ocean waters and a beautiful white sand beach. We enjoy the sun loungers with beach umbrellas and have a nice seafood lunch at the Beach Grill restaurant. In the early evening, we return to our hotel and have a relaxing dinner.
Day 4 – Beach Day, Transfer to Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa
We arrange an evening check-out from the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita. We spend our day on the quiet beach of our hotel, offering amazing views of the mountain peaks and the Indian Ocean. We schedule a 7:00PM transfer (car and driver) and drive around 1.5 hour to the Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa.
Day 5 – Southern Mauritius
We schedule transfer services (car and driver) for our day excursion to Southern Mauritius. We depart at 8:00am and drive approximately two hours south-west of Mauritius to the Rhumerie de Chamarel, a working distillery and museum. Our visitor ticket includes a guided tour of the distillery and a tasting of the Chamarel Rums. Inside the estate, we enjoy a relaxing lunch at the L’Alchimiste restaurant. After lunch, we drive few minutes to the Chamarel’s Seven Coloured Earth Geopark to visit the spectacular multi-colored dunes created by volcanic lava, and observe the giant tortoises. A short distance away, the Chamarel Waterfall is an impressive stream of water plunging 83 meters from the St. Denis River over a cliff. We continue driving inland to the Black River Georges National Park to view the picturesque Alexandra Fall. An inland route in the Savanne district takes us to the Grand Basin Lake, the location of the Hindu Shiv Temple and a massive statue of the God Shiva. After the visit, we drive 15 minutes to the Tea Plantation Factory and Museum of Bois Cheri where we visit the museum and sample different types of Bois Cheri tea. Note: A morning visit to the Tea Plantation Factory and Museum of Bois Cheri is advised in order to see the factory in operation.
Day 6 – Northern Mauritius
We schedule transfer services (car and driver) for a day excursion to Northern Mauritius. We depart at 8:00am and drive approximately 30 minutes to Mauritius’ capital city of Port Louis. First, we visit the historic immigration center of Aapravasi Ghat, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The nearby Le Caudan Waterfront is a modern shopping center along the picturesque marina. A walk to the Intendance Street shows the 18th century French colonial architecture and the Government House. We visit the Central Market displaying tropical fruits, vegetables, spices and crafts. The nearby Jummah Mosque shows a mix of Arab and Indian architecture. We depart Port Louis and drive north to the Château de Labourdonnais, a private estate with pretty gardens and historic grand mansion. After visiting the museum, we have lunch at the estate’s restaurant, La Table du Chateau. In the afternoon, we drive 15 minutes to the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden to explore the manifold vegetation and the giant leaves of the water lilies. A short drive away, L’Aventure Du Sucre is a sugar cane mill museum, educating visitors about the history of the sugar cane industry in Mauritius. After the visit, we drive 20 minutes to our hotel and have sushi for dinner. Note: We recommend making in advance a table reservation at La Table du Chateau.
Day 7 – North-West of Mauritius, New Year’s Eve Celebration
We schedule transfer services (car and driver) for a half day excursion to the North-West of Mauritius. In the morning, we drive half an hour to the northern part of the island to visit the Cap-Malheureux. This beautiful fishing village boasts a charming Red Roof Church and a marvelous white sand beach. We follow the picturesque coastal route and pause at the attractive Pereybere Beach. The next stop is the seaside resort town of Grand Baie, a perfect place for some shopping and lunch. After the visit, we drive to the nearby Mont Choisy Beach, a pretty beach set along the turquoise bay and the Casuarina forest. A short distance away, Trou Aux Biches is a lovely white sand beach and an ideal place to relax. We return to our hotel and spend an afternoon on the beach. We celebrate New Year’s Eve with an elaborate lobster dinner at the Beach Grill Restaurant, followed by a spectacular fireworks display on the beach.
Day 8 – Beach Day, Mauritius Departure
We arrange an afternoon check-out and spend the day on the beach in our hotel. We schedule an afternoon transfer (car and driver) and drive approximately an hour to the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport to take our flight home.
Mauritius – Mascarene Islands, called Îles Mascareignes in French, are situated east of Africa in the western part of the Indian Ocean. The group of islands consists of small islets, atolls, reefs and three large islands: Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues. The Island of Réunion is an overseas territory of France. The Republic of Mauritius, an island country in Southern Africa, encompasses Mauritius Island, Rodrigues Island, the Agaléga Islands and the Cargados Carajos Shoals. The uninhabited island of Mauritius was first recorded by the Arabs, visited by the Portuguese explorer Pedro Mascarenhas, colonized by the Dutch in the 16th century, settled later by the French, invaded by the British during the Napoleonic Wars, and finally gained its independence in 1968. Mauritius, a wild and forested island, was originally developed using slave laborers from Madagascar, followed by Indian migrants brought by the British colonizers. Mauritius, a magical tropical island created by volcanic activity, boasts beautiful white sand beaches, spectacular turquoise lagoons, rugged mountainous topography and unique flora and fauna. Extensive parts of the island’s indigenous forests and natural vegetation were replaced by sugarcane plantations and tea and vanilla fields. Northern Mauritius showcases its dazzling beaches, fishing villages, tropical forests, magnificent estates and lively capital city. Our visit to Mauritius takes place in December, a perfect time to appreciate the blossoming flowers of the Flamboyant Trees. The vibrant red flowers beautify the tropical coastline scenery of Northern Mauritius. An excursion to Southern Mauritius reveals the island’s expansive national park, spectacular geological site, picturesque waterfalls, sugar cane plantations and tea estate. Mauritius’ vibrant nature and eclectic culture are celebrated in many different art forms, such as music, dance and crafts. Sega is a traditional music and dance of Mauritius, defined by emotional and expressive rhythms. The Sega music is a fusion of African and European music, originally created by the enslaved people in Mauritius. The Dodo, an extinct flightless bird, is the national animal of Mauritius, memorized in wood art, textiles and ceramics. Mauritius Creole is the native language of the country, while English and French are considered the official languages of Mauritius.
Southern Mauritius – The eye-catching coastline scenery, picturesque national parks, the volcanic remnants and vast sugarcane plantations define Southern Mauritius. The Rhumerie de Chamarel, situated in the south-west of Mauritius, is a working distillery and museum. The guided tour of the distillery educates visitors about the sugarcane plantations and the rum making process, and includes a tasting of the Chamarel Rums. A collection of high quality Chamarel Rums is available to purchase at the distillery’s boutique. In the estate, L’Alchimiste restaurant is an upscale dining venue serving quality cuisine for lunch. The nearby Chamarel village is a central location point, guiding visitors to the surrounding natural wonders of Mauritius. The Chamarel’s Seven Coloured Earth Geopark showcases Mauritius’ geological heritage of multi-colored dunes, created by the conversion of volcanic lava to clay minerals. The lookout point overlooks sweeping dunes with naturally curved shapes and twisted patterns of seven colors. The nearby Tortoise Park houses giant tortoises, magnificent creatures native to Aldabra in the Seychelles. Protected by a dense vegetation, the Chamarel Waterfall is an impressive stream of water plunging 83 meters from the St. Denis River over a cliff. The Chamarel Waterfall may be observed at the viewpoint or by a multi-hour hike to the base of the waterfall. The seekers of beautiful nature visit the nearby Black River Georges National Park, boasting scenic hiking trails, the picturesque Alexandra Fall, a remaining rainforest habitat, and endemic plants and wildlife. An inland route in the Savanne district takes us to the Grand Basin Lake, a sacred Hindu Pilgrimage site in Mauritius. The Grand Basin Lake, also called Ganga Talao, is the location of the Hindu Shiv Temple and the massive statue of God Shiva. In the time of the Maha Shivaratri Festival, many Hindus take the journey to this spiritual place. A short drive away, the Tea Plantation Factory and Museum of Bois Cheri invites visitors to explore its picturesque rows of green tea bushes, learn about the tea production process and enjoy a tea tasting at the restaurant’s veranda. A walk through the museum shows a collection of old factory equipment, historic documents and vivid pictures. The visitors stroll to the Bois Cheri Chalet to sample the Bois Cheri tea products and enjoy the panoramic views of the estate and the pretty lake.
Northern Mauritius – A venture to Northern Mauritius reveals the fascinating mix of a bustling capital city, quaint fishing villages, spectacular beaches and magnificent estates. Mauritius’ capital city of Port Louis serves as the economic, political and cultural center. A route toward the center of Port Louis takes us to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aapravasi Ghat, an immigration center built in 1849 to process the Indian, African and Asian migrants. After the British Empire abolished slavery in 1834, Mauritius attracted indentured laborers hired to work on the sugarcane plantations and the estates. A walk to the waterfront guides us to Le Caudan Waterfront, a modern shopping center, financial center and picturesque marina. The nearby Intendance Street boasts French colonial architecture and the Government House, dating back to the 18th century. A stroll in the lively Central Market shows different tropical fruits, various local vegetables, aromatic spices and colorful artisan crafts. The ethnic diversity of Mauritius is on display at the nearby Jummah Mosque, featuring Arab and Indian architectural styles. After exploring Port Louis, we drive north to the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, also called Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, a botanical garden established in the 18th century, known for its picturesque pond with giant leaves of water lilies. A short drive away, L’Aventure Du Sucre is a sugar cane mill museum that educates visitors about the history of the sugar cane plantations in Mauritius. A lovely boutique inside the complex features a variety of souvenirs, unrefined sugars presented for tasting and a collection of rums produced by the New Grove House. The museum admission ticket includes the rum tasting. Farther north, the Château de Labourdonnais is a private estate boasting a historic grand mansion, pretty gardens, exotic fruits trees and a sugarcane plantation. A beautiful tree-lined avenue guides the visitors to the grand mansion, a symbol of the colonial architecture that was converted to a museum. The estate’s restaurant, La Table du Chateau, is a lovely place to sample Creole and French cuisine for lunch or dinner. The visitors may browse for quality souvenirs at the boutique and sample different rums, included in the admission ticket. A drive to the North-West coastline of Mauritius shows its breathtaking white sand beaches and turquoise ocean waters. In the northern top of the island, the Cap-Malheureux is a beautiful fishing village boasting marvelous white sand beach and overlooking the distant Island of Coin De Mire. The Red Roof Church, a Roman Catholic Church, is a popular tourist attraction, decorated during our visit with wedding flowers. The north-west coastal route passes by the attractive Pereybere Beach and continues to the Grand Baie. The seaside resort town of Grand Baie boasts an expansive white sand beach, turquoise waters, plentiful hotels, private villas, high-end shops, local fashion boutiques, restaurants and lively night-clubs. The visitors to Grand Baie can enjoy underwater excursions, deep sea fishing expeditions and boat trips to the islands. A short drive from the Grand Baie leads to the Mont Choisy Beach, a long stretch of soft white sand along the turquoise bay and the Casuarina forest. The nearby Trou Aux Biches is a lovely small town with a long white sand beach along clear turquoise ocean waters.
Île aux Cerfs – Situated near Mauritius’ eastern coastline, Île aux Cerfs is a small beautiful island with spectacular white sand beaches, turquoise ocean waters and vivid marine life. Mauritius’ travel companies organize different types of adventure tours to Île aux Cerfs. Pirate boats, high speed boats, luxurious yachts or catamaran cruses offer organized excursions, involving snorkeling, swimming, water skiing and barbeque seafood lunch. Our recommended Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita provides its guests complementary speed boat transfers from the resort’s Bambou Beach to the eastern coast of Île aux Cerfs. The scheduled boat transfers offer an exclusive access to a tranquil cove with warm ocean waters, beautiful white sand beach, sun loungers and beach umbrellas. We spend a leisurely time at this idyllic island and enjoy a delicious lunch at the Beach Grill restaurant, serving refreshing salads, grilled seafood and fresh coconut juice. Île aux Cerfs is a perfect getaway to unwind for a day, half day or a few hours.
Cuisine of Mauritius – The island of Mauritius is an idyllic tropical destination with a fascinating history, diverse culture and multi-ethnic cuisine. The cuisine of Mauritius was influenced by African, Indian, French and Far East cuisines. It is a medley of colorful curries, aromatic stews, grilled seafood, flavorful vegetables, tropical fruits and exotic spices, accompanied by the local Phoenix beer. The Indian Ocean encircling the island of Mauritius provides an abundance and variety of fish, crabs, lobsters, octopus, shrimps, oysters and our favorite, the sea urchins. The fresh Sea Urchins, a local delicacy, are delicate, flavorful and delectable. Another local specialty is the Palm Heart Salad, a refreshing and healthy salad made with the fresh heart of the palm tree. The Dictyosperma Album, an endemic palm species to Mauritius, is cultivated for its raw heart. Victoria Pineapples, small variety of pineapples widely cultivated in Mauritius and the Island of Réunion, have golden skin, yellow flesh, juicy texture and a sweet and fruity flavor. We find Victoria Pineapples as a welcome gift upon arrival in our villa in Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita. These delicious small pineapples are peeled and served with tamarind sauce, crashed chili and sea salt on the side. Traversing Mauritius, we notice the Mauritian Lychee Trees weighted down by the mature fruit and covered by white nets as a protection against the Mauritian Flying Fox, the fruit bats endemic to Mauritius. The Mauritian Lychees have a pinkish green skin, white flesh, tender texture, small seed, and a tart and sweet flavor. Across Mauritius, the sugarcane plantations naturally decorate the landscape of the island. The Dutch settlers introduced the sugar cane in Mauritius, but the British colonists developed a prosperous business of producing the refined sugar. Over the years, artisanal distilleries were established to utilize the sugar cane to produce the fragrant Mauritius Rum. La Rhumerie de Chamarel offers quality guided tours and a rum tasting experience, sampling different Chamarel Rums infused with vanilla bean, coconut, lychees, passion fruit and other flavors. The multi-ethnic cuisine of Mauritius offers many options, yet our culinary tastes favor the Mauritian dishes with a French or Asian flair.
Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita – The east coast of Mauritius is the most beautiful and the wildest part of the island. The Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita is set in a tranquil lagoon surrounded by beautifully manicured tropical gardens. The privately situated luxurious villas have stylish interiors and overlook the ocean, beach, lagoon or tropical gardens. The expansive resort complex encompasses beautiful white sand beaches, an eye-catching golf course and fine dining restaurants. The lovers of solitude explore the quiet beach that commands spectacular views of the turquoise ocean waters and dramatic mountain peaks. The adventure seekers enjoy the water sports, snorkeling trips and excursions to Île aux Cerfs. At Île aux Cerfs, guests relax on a beautiful white sand beach lined with lounge chairs and umbrellas, enjoy lunch at the Beach Grill restaurant and swim in the warm turquoise waters. In the morning, the Beau Champ restaurant features a selection of delicious local dishes and continental cuisine. Christmas Day, the Santa Clause and the Elves arrive on the beach in a shining red car, bringing gifts to the children. The Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita delivers the ultimate island luxury with unmatched scenery, undisturbed tranquility and feeling of seclusion.
The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Mauritius – Situated in the north-west of Mauritius, the Turtle Bay Resort & Spa is a perfect getaway for seekers of luxury, adventure and romance. The resort is nestled along the beautiful Turtle Bay in the Balaclava area and encircled by a tropical vegetation. Our selected Beachfront Deluxe King Room (Room#600) overlooks the ocean and includes club lounge access. The Retreat, a beachside lounge, serves a delicious afternoon tea and plentiful drinks in the evening. The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa enchants guests with its picturesque beaches, swimming pools, stunning Indian Ocean views and seaside dining venues. The Beach Grill Restaurant offers salads and grilled seafood while the Mystique Restaurant specializes in sushi and seafood. Nature lovers enjoy swimming in the clear turquoise waters and participate in snorkeling excursions. We celebrate New Year’s Eve with a delicious lobster dinner at the Beach Grill Restaurant, followed by a spectacular fireworks display on the beach. The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa is a tropical heaven with striking natural scenery.