WHY: This island paradise has it all. There are plush resorts and powdery white-sand beaches. Port Louis, the charming old colonial capital, is perfect for lazy meanders. Athletic types have water sports, hiking and golfing. Foodies can indulge in multi-ethnic cuisine … And the ever-smiling locals elevate magical Mauritius to even greater heights.
VISIT: Part theme park, part safari, part kids' world, Casela World of Adventures (caselapark.com) is 14 hectares of fabulous fun. Wildlife activities span everything from admiring the birdlife to strolling alongside lions to embarking on a safari escapade, while ziplines, canyon explorations and skinny cable bridges will keep adrenalin junkies' heart rates up.
EAT: At Royal Palm Hotel's La Goelette restaurant (royalpalm-hotels.com), head chef Michel de Matteis crafts a tantalising multi-course menu every night that impresses. For tasty creole cuisine head to La Rougaille Creole (la-rougaille-creole.restaurant.mu) and order the massive tiger prawns – they come topped with a big dollop of tangy creole sauce and are served alongside buttery rice and salad. Refreshingly low-key Les Palmiers (les-palmiers-chez-dev.restaurant.mu) is the place for top-notch home-style fare.
LOOK: When the Dutch settled in Mauritius in 1598 they brought sugar cane; then the French came along and cultivated it; and later the British developed the industry into a massive source of revenue. Touring some of the old majestic sugar cane homesteads offers a glimpse into what once was. Chateau de Labourdonnais (chateaulabourdonnais.com), built in 1856 by a Danish trader, is one of the best museums with recent restorations completed by local craftsmen. La Maison Eureka (maisoneureka.com) is another historical gem furnished with period pieces.
MUST: Cruise to the charming island of Ile aux Cerfs. The sand appears whiter and the turquoise sea seems to glisten brighter here. On a full-day catamaran tour (mauritiuscatamaran.com) you can soak up the incredible vistas on board, stop off for spectacular snorkelling, enjoy a BBQ lunch on the catamaran, before jumping off in paradise.
SLEEP: With six eateries, a diving centre, plenty of sports activities, a kids' club, a teens' club and a swanky spa, there's something for the whole family at Trou aux Biches (beachcomber-hotels.com/hotel/trou-aux-biches-resort-spa). The resort overlooks a tranquil beach, with the 306 suites and 27 villas (all elegantly appointed) spread out over a vastness of luscious tropical gardens.
TIP: Mauritius is a big island and each area has its own personality. If you want to venture beyond your hotel (trust us, you will), you'll need a car or a driver.
More information: tourism-mauritius.mu
Tatyana Leonov was a guest of Mauritius Tourism and Air Mauritius