How to spend a long weekend in Mauritius
Our recent post about how to spend 24 hours in Mauritius shared some ideas for those on a brief stopover between flights, but with so much to see and do on the island we highly recommend a longer stay if possible. Three days will give you an opportunity to experience city life, some aquatic adventures on the Indian Ocean, and a glimpse into the country’s green and beautiful heartland.
Here are our recommendations for a long weekend in Mauritius.
Our first day follows much the same theme as our previous post, but with three days at our disposal we can afford to be a bit more leisurely. Kick off the morning with a trip to Port Louis market, the capital’s buzzing hive of social and commercial activity. Wander the aisles and browse produce stalls precariously laden with mountains of colourful fruit and vegetables. Sample the delicious flavours of traditionally Mauritian street food like dhal puri or sweet potato cakes, and learn which herbs and spices Mauritians use to flavour their cooking and treat various ailments.
For lunch, treat yourself to a relaxing meal at one of Port Louis’s restaurants. We love the casual French fare on offer at laid back and contemporary Café Atelier and the plant-filled dining space at pretty al fresco restaurant The Courtyard, which serves international fare and a raved-about range of sorbets. Or try the more upscale L’Escale at the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel. Here you’ll find a mixed Asian and Western menu and a relaxing setting overlooking the water.
Spend the afternoon exploring more of what Port Louis has to offer. The Caudan Waterfront is an excellent place to pick up a souvenir or two. Find anything from hand-painted silk products, textiles and batik shirts to locally-crafted leather goods, teas, vanilla and spices.
In the early evening, head up to Trou aux Biches – one of the best sunset spots in Mauritius – and witness this nightly tropical marvel for yourself. Follow up with a slap-up fish supper at Le Pescatore – renowned as one of the finest seafood restaurants on the island.
We’re blessed with a coral reef and lagoon which almost encircles the entire island, so today we’ll be getting up close and personal with the Indian Ocean and its underwater life.
If you’re a keen scuba diver or snorkeller, you’re in luck. Mauritius is a year round diving destination, so expect to see all kinds of exotic creatures and corals wherever you choose to jump in. Top quality dive sites are dotted all round the coastline, but the south east lagoon of the Blue Bay Marine Park is a good choice for beginners and snorkellers alike, as depths reach only 5-6m and the water is exceptionally clear.
For those who want to experience the island’s marine life while staying dry, other options in the area include a glass bottomed boat safari, which you can also combine with a visit to the nature reserve of Ile aux Aigrettes and a trip to the old colonial capital of Mahebourg.
Want something more active? You can also try your hand at windsurfing, sailing or kayaking here, or take to the water on a hydrobike or pedalo.
In the late afternoon, get ready to experience another famous Mauritian sunset by hopping on board a luxury private catamaran sunset cruise, including dinner and drinks. If you’re staying in the area, some hotels like the Shandrani offer excursions on their own catamarans, but there are plenty more options for those just visiting from elsewhere on the island.
You’ve experienced the thriving heart of Mauritius’s capital city and marvelled at the blues and greens of the stunning lagoon. Now it’s time to head inland, and discover the country’s mountainous landscape, colonial past and Creole heritage.
Start with a trip to the Bois Cheri tea plantation, which not only provides an insight into the lives of colonial landowners and the history of Mauritian tea production, but also offers some astounding views across the green interior of the island. Take a guided tour, relax on the terrace and sip some of the excellent brews – or linger for lunch at the Bois Cheri restaurant which features a number of menu items made with tea, including the delicate bisque of the black tea tiger prawns.
Another historic jewel in the island’s crown is the wonderfully restored Eureka House, a handsome Creole mansion full of antiques, furniture and other eclectic items which bring the story of this 19th century former sugar plantation to life. And don’t miss the spectacular gardens and grounds. Laid out to replace the original sugar cane fields, they’re an exuberant mix of palms, fruit trees, tropical blooms and various rare specimens, complete with dedicated trails leading into wilder territory, past waterfalls and along riverbanks.
If there’s time, drive or take a short hike through the Black River Gorges National Park, the only such park in Mauritius and the best place to experience total remoteness on the island. This 17,000 acre patch of rolling hills and deep green forest is a haven for rare wildlife and plant species, and if you’re lucky you may just spot one of the highly protected Echo parakeets.
Finish your final day with dinner and a sundowner at one of the luxury hotels along the beautiful beachfront of Le Morne peninsula, backed by the imposing monolith of Le Morne Brabant mountain – one of Mauritius’s two World Heritage Sites. The stretch of beach here is one of the best on the island – looking out over an aquamarine lagoon dotted with kitesurfers and sailboats – so grab a table, a cocktail and start planning your next visit.
And if you’re staying a luxury hotel…
Mauritius is renowned for its beautiful hotels, the majority of which are set in jaw-droppingly beautiful locations with fabulous spas, restaurants, infinity pools and all designed with some serious relaxation in mind. Take a look at our selection of luxury hotels on Mauritius.
Photos: Le Caudan Waterfront, Bois Chéri, Constance Le Prince Maurice.