touring | mauritius - a barefoot eco-luxe refuge for the adventurous
there's more to paradise than beaches & coconuts
off the southeast coast of africa, some 900km's east of madagascar, is the island nation of mauritius. encompassed by the warm indian ocean, this island paradise juts out of the deep blue like a mirage. with its clear blue waters, white sandy beaches & tropical climate it's often seen as a newlyweds haven, but don't let the laid-back stereotypes & island vibes fool you, there's more to this island utopia.
arguably africa's wealthiest destination, it's one of the world's top luxury destinations. mauritius possesses a wide range of natural wonders, enjoys a tropical climate with clear warm sea waters, tropical fauna & flora complemented by a multicultural population that is extremely friendly.
the island is now becoming a hub for sustainable development from eco-resorts to sustainable initiatives, those seeking solace & unrivalled nature will not be disappointed.
flic en flac
our first stop flic en flac is a seaside village on the west coast that attracts tourists & locals alike. known for its beaches & waters sports it was the perfect place for a newbie to spend a few days getting acquainted with the island.
the white sandy beaches are one of the best places on the island to view the famous african sunsets. it was great to see so many locals setting up their deck chairs waiting for the sunset early in the evening while their kids played in the warm shallow waters.
cuisine is a big deal in mauritius, many cultures call this place home from indian food to the local creole fare that can be enjoyed at the awesome creole shack, where there's no menu just home-cooked meal of the day.
from the moment we arrived, we were humbled by the friendliness & honesty of the locals that always chatted to us with a huge smile on their faces, it made our trip.
le morne & the south west
a little further south of flic n flac is the unesco site of le morne. famous for its powder-white beaches & underwater waterfall we felt this area would be best explored from the water.
heading out from black river we decided to take a dolphin swimming & sightseeing tour with mauritius dolphins. this whole day excursion took us out early in the morning firstly to swim with dolphins, then through the turquoise waters near le morne before indulging a grilled lobster lunch on an uninhabited island. it was a life-changing day, having the chance to swim with these majestic intelligent creatures was a dream.
one of the best independent restaurants in the country has to be nomad. this awesome laid-back eatery serves up some of the island's best cuisine. we came here for lunch & was blown away by the quality of the food. from the ceviche, king prawns & seared tuna to the decadent chocolate fondant it was some of the best dishes we have ever tasted. the vibe of the place is super relaxed, the staff are lovely & attentive.
our first eco-lodge was near the most northerly point of the island, cap malheureux. the good life is a boutique lodge with only 8 rooms. this little slice of serene paradise was our introduction to the sheer amount of flora & fauna this island offers. waking up to the sound of the birds at sunrise, dragonflies around the pool & lizards in the banana trees gave this place a sense of eden.
we stayed in the superior room with pool views that came with air conditioning (welcomed during the humid nights). the room was very tastefully decorated in a bohemian island style & a super comfy bed made sleeping a breeze. the goant shower is an awesome touch, pair that with a veranda larger than the room & you truly feel a sense of spaciousness.
the garden/pool area is sublime. the sheer amount of animal & plant life is mind-blowing, from bright red cardinal birds to dragonflies & friendly geckos, the sights & sounds of the outdoor spaces gave us a taste of true zen.
along with their eco ethos such as no plastic bottles, they also serve up super healthy food from gluten-free pancakes to smoothie bowls & fresh juices. this clean eating ethos goes well with the wellness focus that the lodge has.
rooms from: ($500) book here
taking day trips from our lodge took us to some of the most spectacular places in the area. the northwest is home to a few the best sights the island has to offer.
the sir seewoosagur botanical gardens are a must-visit. we arrived midday which was a mistake as the humidity was near unbearable, i would advise visiting in the morning. we were super impressed by the giant lily pond & the huge amounts of bird species that call this place home.
along the coast, you'll find some of the most populated areas on the island from trou-aux-biches to grand baie & pereybere. there is a good reason for this as the beaches & ports here are some of the most beautiful in mauritus, the white sand & shallow waters attract locals & tourists alike all waiting for the epic golden sunsets that grace this part of the world.
while exploring the area we came across what is in my opinion one of the most beautiful cafes in the world, bloom. this al-fresco eatery boasts a vibrant design, delicious food & super friendly staff. a must-visit.
high into the lush hills of chamarel, famed for its rum production, lakaz chamarel 5* luxury eco-lodge is a sensory delight. carved out of the dense tropical forest, the gardens of the lodge are filled with epic amounts of flora & fauna from flying foxes to the famous red cardinals. this is a place of true peacefulness, a place to reconnect with one's self & nature.
we stayed in the mountain & garden pool suite situated close to the main hub of the resort. our room was perched above a serene pool area surrounded by palm trees & lush flora. the vast room was equipped with a four-poster bed, separate seating area & terrace overlooking the pool. the showstopper had to be the outdoor bathroom with free standing eggshaped bath & palm tree. it was a joyous experience, being out in nature while showering with the songs of the local birds in the morning cannot be matched by any morning playlist.
the resort is spread over a large area, but it feels intimate. each communal area is surrounded by manicured gardens. the hub is the main building that is home to the restaurant & bar area, there is also an outdoor fire pit story circle.
make your way uphill, you'll arrive at the first clearing with spa, yoga pavilion & alfresco gym, for the kids there’s a maze all overlooking the splendid forest beyond. if your legs can handle it (if not take the buggy) up to the top of the resort & you will be treated to some of the most spectacular views the world has to offer from the sunset view bar.
while the menu only had a few curated dishes to choose from the quality & innovative recipes made for a great culinary experience. their vegetarian menu is available for lunch & dinner. breakfast is a buffet affair with fresh bread, juices & al la carte eggs. Local fruits are a delicious way to finish up.
from yoga to hiking there is plenty for the active guest. lakaz chamarel is a base to explore the surrounding nature. hiking the famous piton canot peak is an adventure only an hour's trek away. free bicycles are available to all, they’re a great way to visit the local rum factory. the daily free shuttle to the world-famous unesco le morne beach is for those who want to relax in paradise.
rooms from: ($500) book here
mauritus was unexpected in some ways. having been to the maldives previously we thought it would be similar, we were wrong. while you can find the picture-postcard beaches & luxury hotels, its the nature here that takes centre stage. this is an island of lush greenery that is only rivalled by the great rainforests of the world.
for those seeking an active vacation on a paradise island, i can truly say there is no better place to visit.
how to get there & costs...
we flew with austrian airlines direct from vienna. mauritius is very well connected with international airlines from all over the globe.
for a luxury eco experience, i would budget for approximately ($6,000) for a one week trip for two, including airfare.
- if you travel often get yourself a curve card. it's the best travel card around, i have saved thousands of $$$ using it. get a free card & $/€/£5 in credit here.
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country travel tips
atm: most banks offer withdrawals for ($3). don't accept the on-screen conversion.
sim card: my t. 15GB is ($3) for 14 days. got an e-sim enabled phone, try airalo.
transport: private cars & Uber intercity are the best way to get around.
taxi: uber? use promo: carlm5078ue for free ride.
accommodation: get ($20) off your first booking.com reservation here