Mauritius is a rainbow island – a mix of both eastern and western cultures living together on a verdant tropical island of colour and contrast. The demand for sugar cane and its relative proximity to India drew colonial interest with the Dutch, French and English all having a turn at controlling the island.
The attraction of this balmy island, chattering with bird calls and cascading waterfalls, is as apparent today as it has always been, drawing glamorous visitors from around the globe. The airy colonial homes of a bygone era have been replaced by an offering of sophisticated resort hotels which set standards the world over. But there is more to the island that just self contained resorts. For the beach connoisseur the island is a treasure but between the shores of dazzling sand and blue seas is a scenic island; extinct volcanoes, lakes, waterfalls, forests and botanical gardens.
The north of the island tends to host the most inviting beaches. Grand Baie is certainly one of the finest and its small town provides some wonderful bars and restaurants, creating a very cosmopolitan feel. Other excellent beaches are found on the east and west coast but, as the island becomes more rugged to the south, the beaches diminish. The mountains, however, provide some impressive scenery with magnificent views from the top of Black River Canyon looking out across the densely forested gorge to the coastal plain beyond.
With a good ‘motorway’ running across and around the island it is easy to explore and the number of points of interest should certainly keep the inquisitive traveller busy. The multitude of races and religions living side by side on the island, resulting in a year-round schedule of festivals, adds a level of vibrancy, colour and impetus to get up and explore.