Must see attractions in Mauritius

  • Top ChoiceSights in Pointe d'Esny & Blue Bay

    Île aux Aigrettes

    This popular ecotourism destination is a 26-hectare nature reserve on an island roughly 800m off the coast. It preserves very rare remnants of the coastal forests of Mauritius and provides a sanctuary for a range of endemic and endangered wildlife species. Visits are only possible as part of a guided tour, and these leave from Pointe Jérome, close to Le Preskîl. Highlights include Aldabra giant tortoises, ebony trees, wild orchids, and the endangered pink pigeon and other rare bird species.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Pamplemousses

    Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens

    After London's Kew Gardens, the SSR Gardens is one of the world's best botanical gardens. It's among the most popular tourist attractions in Mauritius and easily reached from almost anywhere on the island. Labelling of the plants is a work in progress, and you can hire one of the knowledgeable guides who wait just inside or use the maps for a self-guided tour. Golf-buggy tours (adult Rs 250, child Rs 100) are available on request for those with limited mobility.

  • Top ChoiceSights in The Southeast

    Vallée de Ferney

    Protecting a 400-year-old forest, this reserve is an important habitat for the Mauritius kestrel, one of the world's most endangered raptors, and a visit here is far and away your best chance of seeing one. Guides take you along a 3km trail, pointing out fascinating flora and fauna. At noon (arrive no later than 11.30am, or 10am if you're also doing the hike), staff feed otherwise wild kestrels at the trailhead. Bookings for the tour are essential.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Port Louis

    Blue Penny Museum

    Although dedicated to the world-famous Mauritian one-penny and two-pence stamps of 1847, the Blue Penny Museum is far more wide-ranging than its name suggests, taking in the history of the island's exploration, settlement and colonial period, and even detouring into the Paul and Virginie story. It's Port Louis' best museum, one that give visitors a then-and-now look at the city, although travellers with mobility issues should know that the stamps are on the 1st floor and there’s no lift.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Moka

    Eureka

    If you're only going to visit one attraction related to Mauritius' rich colonial history, choose Eureka. This perfectly preserved Creole mansion was built in the 1830s and today it's a museum and veritable time machine providing incredible insight into the island's vibrant plantation past. The main manor house is a masterpiece of tropical construction, which apparently kept the interior deliciously cool during the unbearably hot summers, and boasts 109 doors and more rooms than a Cluedo board.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Port Louis

    Père Laval's Shrine

    The shrine of French Catholic priest and missionary Père Jacques-Désiré Laval is something of a Lourdes of the Indian Ocean, with many miracles attributed to pilgrimages here. The padre died in 1864 and was beatified in 1979 during a visit by Pope John Paul II. Père Laval is credited with converting 67,000 people to Christianity during his 23 years in Mauritius. To get here, take a bus signed 'Cité La Cure' or 'Père Laval' from the Immigration Square bus station.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Tamarin & Black River

    Tamarin Beach

    Locals like to wax nostalgic about Tamarin Beach and its surfing heyday, and in many ways this sandy cove still feels like a throwback to earlier times, although things are changing. Tamarin remains a popular place and its beach has one of the most spectacular backdrops (looking north) in the country.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Mahébourg

    Monday Market

    Don't miss the central foire de Mahébourg, near the waterfront. The initial focus was silks and other textiles, but these days you'll find a busy produce section, tacky bric-a-brac and steaming food stalls. It's the perfect place to try some local snacks – gâteaux piments (chilli cakes), dhal puri (lentil pancakes) and samousas (samosas) – usually dispensed from boxes on the backs of motorcycles. The market is open every day but doubles in size on Monday.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Mahébourg

    National History Museum

    This terrific museum is one of Mauritius' best. It contains fascinating early maps of the island and Indian Ocean region, paintings from colonial times, model ships from important episodes in Mauritian history, archive photographs, and a rare, intact skeleton of the dodo and another disappeared species, the Rodrigues solitaire. One real curio is an engraving of Dutch gentlemen riding in pairs on the back of a giant tortoise, a species that also went the way of the dodo.

  • Sights in Curepipe

    Trou aux Cerfs

    About 1km west of central Curepipe, the Trou aux Cerfs is a dormant volcanic crater some 100m deep and 1km in circumference. The bowl is heavily wooded and from the road around the rim – a favourite spot for joggers and walkers – you get lovely views of the plateau. There are benches where you can rest and reflect, and a radar station that keeps an electronic eye on cyclone activity.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Port Louis

    Central Market

    Port Louis' rightly famous Central Market, the centre of the local economy since Victorian times, is a good place to get a feel for local life, watch the hawkers at work and buy some souvenirs. Most authentic are the fruit and vegetable sections (including Chinese herbal medicines and aphrodisiacs).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Rodrigues

    François Leguat Reserve

    In 1691 François Leguat wrote that there were so many tortoises on Rodrigues that 'one can take more than a hundred steps on their shell without touching the ground'. Sadly the Rodrigues version of the giant tortoise became extinct, but this reserve is recreating the Eden described by the island's early explorers. Hundreds of tortoises from elsewhere (the outcome of a breeding program) roam the grounds, and more than 100,000 indigenous trees have been planted. Cave visits are also possible.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Black River Gorges National Park

    Gorges Viewpoint

    On a clear day, the views from here across the gorge and down towards the west coast rank among the best on the island.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Chamarel

    Ebony Forest of Chamarel

    One of the most exciting conservation initiatives in Mauritius in the last few years, the Ebony Forest seeks to recreate a small pocket of indigenous native forest, the likes of which covered the entire island just 250 years ago. When finished the forest will cover 45 hectares; around a third has been completed. There are 7km of hiking routes, two raised walkways that climb into the mid-canopy, safari jeeps, and an interpretation centre with a small shop.

  • Sights in South Coast

    La Vanille

    This busy zoo and reserve makes for a fantastic field trip with kids. The park has the greatest number of giant tortoises in captivity in the world (over 1000). It's worth coming to La Vanille just to check out the immense collection of mounted insects (over 23,000 species!). There's also a farm of Nile crocodiles (population 2000), which can grow up to 7m, and a dodo museum.

  • Sights in Rodrigues

    Grande Montagne Nature Reserve

    One of the last remaining stands of forest on Rodrigues, this nature reserve crowns the island's summit. The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation has planted more than 200,000 native plant species across more than 25 hectares, and the restoration of this ecosystem has ensured the survival of the Rodrigues fody and the Rodrigues warbler bird species, as well as the Rodrigues fruit bat. The MWF runs free guided tours weekdays and Saturdays – no need to book.

  • Top ChoiceSights in South Coast

    St Aubin

    St Aubin is an elegant plantation house that dates back to 1819; it originally sat alongside the factory but was moved in the 1970s so that its owner could get a quieter night's sleep. The estate no longer produces sugar, but in the gardens of the house there is a traditional rum distillery and a nursery growing anthurium flowers and vanilla – you'll learn all about the fascinating history of vanilla production on the tour.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Pointe d'Esny & Blue Bay

    Blue Bay Marine Park

    In an effort to protect the area's rich underwater forest of rare corals from encroaching development, the government has given Blue Bay 'marine park' status. Besides a mandate barring high-speed watercraft, though, it seems that conservation plans are a bit laissez-faire. Local environmentalists fear that irreversible coral bleaching is inevitable, which is a shame as this is the best snorkelling spot on the island.

  • Sights in Pointe d'Esny & Blue Bay

    Île des Deux Cocos

    Île des Deux Cocos sits at the edge of the azure lagoon and was once used by flamboyant British governor Sir Hesketh Bell to entertain guests. Today the Lux hotel group has maintained this hospitable tradition by offering tourists a relaxing day of swimming, beach lazing and snorkelling. Welcome drinks, an immense buffet lunch and rum tasting are also included. Transport to the island can be arranged by any of the Lux hotels or via the website.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Pamplemousses

    Château Labourdonnais

    One of the loveliest examples of colonial architecture on the island, restored Château Labourdonnais was completed in 1859. Built in teak and sporting an Italian neoclassical style, the perfectly proportioned chateau is filled with sober Victorian furnishings interspersed with some exceptionally lovely design flourishes. Compulsory guided tours last 45 minutes. The Labourdonnais Express (adult Rs 250, child Rs 175) is a train that does a 45-minute tour of the gardens and orchards at 10.30am and 2pm.