Mauritius is so much more than lazy days on the beach. This small island nation in the Indian Ocean packs its good share of outdoor adventures, and thanks to its compact size, you’re never too far away from an epic viewpoint, an amazing hike, or a bottle of the island’s famous rum. Here’s everything you can expect from a vacation in postcard-perfect Mauritius.

1

The signature vanilla tea of Mauritius is the pride of the island and at Bois Cheri Tea Plantation, you can both sample and see the production firsthand. A lake that can be explored with kayaks and a unique bubble-hut accommodation make this an ideal place to kick back and relax in the cooler temperatures of the island.

2

On Mauritius, you can snorkel and scuba dive in clear waters full of marine life, jet ski, paddleboard, and windsurf. The well-protected and pristine reefs around the island mean any spot is a good spot, but my favorite was the peninsula around Le Morne where the towering mountain offers an epic backdrop.

3

This small cluster of sand dunes is a geological formation in the south of the island that glows with hues of purple, red, and yellow as the sun hits the mineral-rich mounds. The formation covers just a small area, but it’s one of the most unique natural attractions on Mauritius.

4

Rochester Falls, one of the island’s smaller but still beautiful waterfalls is located at the end of a four-wheel drive across sugar cane fields. Scrambling down the slippery rocks, the crashing, cool water makes for the perfect morning dip, and with only a local coconut seller for company, you won’t be bothered by crowds.

5

While most people consider Mauritius to be a pricey destination, the street food available, from fresh fruit and French-inspired pastries to the amazing dholl puri (a pancake dish that consists of split peas and a fiery sauce), is super cheap and delicious.

6

The highest waterfalls in Mauritius - Chamarel Falls - crash down from an impressive 272 feet. This is a worthy hike and one of the most beautiful sights on the island.

7

The capital city of Mauritius, Port Louis, is a small city that you should check out. While Caudan Waterfront is growing with trendy bars and fancy restaurants, the Central Market retains its authentic buzz. Swing by to binge on tea and local street snacks.

8

Sega dance originated on the mainland and Madagascar but it’s now the expression of joy and liveliness in Mauritius.

9

In the heart of Mauritius, around 1,800 feet above sea level, this crater lake - called Grand Bassin - has become the sacred destination for many pilgrimages and festivals. The Hindu temples and statues around the lake make for a peaceful and beautiful spot to appreciate the harmony of the various religions that make up the population of the island.

10

In the southwest of the island, Black River Gorges National Park is a great spot to put on your hiking boots and explore the rugged, lush landscapes of Mauritius. Viewpoints provide epic views while monkeys stroll past you, and small and large waterfalls dot the trail.

11

The Pamplemousses Botanical Garden is well-known for the giant water lilies covering the ponds. The 37-acre gardens are also home to giant tortoises, spice gardens, and towering palm-lined paths.

12

Mauritius actually consists of countless small islands. It’s easy to hire a boat and go island hopping to spot some flamingos, native pink pigeons, and that small piece of coast just perfect to watch the sun go down.

13

Rum production is taken seriously here. Swing by Chamarel Rhumerie for a tour of the production methods and plenty of chances to sample flavors, as well as the island’s delicious mojitos.

14

It wouldn't be a trip to Mauritius without plenty of time chilling out on the beach. From my favorite, Trou aux Biches in the north, to the empty tiny spots you'll randomly stop your car at, Mauritius's star attraction never disappoints. Just remember to drag yourself away from the soft sands to discover everything else this place has to offer.

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