If, like us, you’re feeling reluctant to dig out your winter warmers after the hottest summer we can remember, then maybe its time to book in a holiday before you put your flip flops away for good?! From September, Mauritius becomes one of the go-to destinations for famous folk including Prince Harry, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kylie Minogue to escape the chill, so we took a trip there to find out what else the island has to offer other than the obvious sun, sea and celebs… as if you need any more excuses than that!
Feel the sand between your toes from the minute you step into the hotel reception at the 4-star Veranda Point-aux-Biches resort (veranda-resorts.com) where rooms start from £84 per person, per night, based on bed & breakfast, however an all-inclusive option is also available. If you want to take the little ones with you then they have a great family-friendly atmosphere with a private beach and lagoon and offer a variety of complimentary watersports and beach activities for everyone to enjoy. But if you're after some one-on-one time with your bae, the resort also offers an adults-only area with sea-view rooms and a separate bar, restaurant and idyllic infinity pool perfect for those jealousy-inducing insta-snaps. Don’t miss the Seven Colours Wellness Lounge and book in for a relaxing massage in one of the secluded spa cabins that overlook the beach so that you can de-stress with the sounds of the sea gently lapping the lagoon.
What better way to explore the capital city of Port Louis than with a street food walking tour to sample the local cuisine? Try a tasting experience with Taste Buddies (tastebuddies.mu) which not only includes several ridiculously delicious food stops, but also takes you to various stops around the city to learn about Mauritian history and culture. We couldn’t get enough of the traditional Mauritian napolitaines which are shortbread cookies sandwiched with jam and covered in sugar icing. Or if you really can’t drag yourself away from the white sands and turquoise seas, then a beachfront cooking class at Veranda Point-aux-Biches resort (costing around £13.25 per person) will make you fee like you're filming your own travel cookery show. We each had our own individual barbeque cooking stations complete with chef’s whites and learnt how to cook a delicious traditional Mauritian prawn curry with the juiciest fresh prawns – spice levels optional!
Forget the Keke Challenge. Get a bit of dutch courage to try your hand at traditional sega dancing by sampling some local Mauritian rum. A local told us that it was good luck to drink rum after your evening meal, however anything less than five shots was considered unlucky…! Many of the local rums are produced using local sugarcane which is everywhere on the island, and are then infused with real passionfruit, coconut, pineapple, banana or even chilli so they are a lot more palatable than a shot of Captain Morgans at your local. A definite must-try even for non-rum drinkers, or pop a bottle in your suitcase for your rum-drinking pals back home!
Pay a visit to the biggest and oldest Hindu temple on the island, Temple de Triolet (also known as Maheswarnath Mandir) for an afternoon of culture. Founded in 1888, its over 120 years old and houses statues of Hindu gods and goddesses inside the intricately decorated dome. You can reach the colourful temple via a cycling tour from Veranda Point aux Biches resort (approx. £5.53 per person) which takes you on a gentle ride through local villages and includes a stop at the incredible Mon Choisy beach where the lush forest meets the crisp white sands and the most beautifully clear and turquoise seas we’d ever seen. For those looking for some peace and quiet, Mon Choisy beach is a must-see as it stretches for two kilometres without a single touristy bar, restaurant or hotel in site so pack a picnic or stop by one of the local street food vendors to pick up a bite to eat.
Take a break from relaxing on your sunlounger and relax on a catamaran instead! We took a trip on the ‘Deep Into The Blue’ catamaran departing from the Veranda Paul et Virginie resort which took us to explore the Ilot Bernaches mangroves for a dip in the crystal clear waters and for a wander in paradise on the deserted Bernache Island. The crew have everything covered so you'll be able to sit back, relax and pretend you're JLo while you're treated to an onboard barbeque lunch and help yourself to the well-stocked bar. They even have snorkel gear available to borrow and are happy to stop off at nearby reefs if you fancy checking out the vast tropical marine life that thrives in the irresistible clear, calm waters of the island.