Worth a Trip: Île aux Bénitiers

The area's most notable attraction is the lovely Île aux Bénitiers, which floats just above sea level in the reef offshore. The islet is considerably larger than many of the other outcrops in the lagoon (keep an eye out for the interesting rocky projection that looks like the top half of an hourglass) and sports a beautiful picnic-worthy beach, a small coconut farm and a colony of migratory birds.

The island's keeper is quite the local character – he travels around with an ever-growing pack of chipper dogs. Note that, while the beach is publicly accessible, the island's interior is largely off-limits.

Most of the fishers docked at La Gaulette offer small excursions to the island. The number of boat operators that visit the island continues to grow each year and most of the products are identical: crowded catamarans and a picnic lunch on the sand. Check out www.catamarancruisesmauritius.com and expect to pay €60 per person for a full day's outing. Note that many cruise operators combine a trip to Île aux Bénitiers with dolphin-watching.