FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Magical Mauritius: Delight in the Hidden Gem of the Indian Ocean

by Richard Newton

Dec 7, 2023

© Freesurf69 | Dreamstime.com

December 2023

The Mascarene Islands (principally Mauritius, Rodrigues and Reunion), located in the Indian Ocean 400–500 miles east of Madagascar, initially benefited from remoteness. For millennia they evolved untouched by humans. When European nations set their sights on colonial expansion in Asia, the islands suddenly became strategically vital.

Modern Mauritius (which also includes Rodrigues and many smaller islands) is defined by that contested history. Through turbulent centuries it was ruled by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and then, from 1810 until independence in 1968, the British. These waves of settlers introduced their own flora and fauna; and unique local species, including the dodo, were wiped out.

Le Pouce

Le Pouce © Nico Kelder | Dreamstime.com

At the same time, a distinct Mauritian identity emerged, with a population imported by the colonial powers from India, China and Africa. These diverse influences forged a language, Mauritian Creole, and a cuisine incorporating French specialties, curries, Chinese-style noodles and African root vegetables.

The main island of Mauritius measures approximately 40 miles long and 30 miles wide, covering an area of 790 square miles. You can see almost the entire island from the summit of Le Pouce (The Thumb), a mountain located immediately behind the capital city, Port Louis. The ascent follows along well-marked trails and proves relatively gentle until the last section, the so-called thumb. From the base of the thumb to the top is a strenuous 20-minute climb with sheer drops on both sides, but it provides the reward of a 360-degree panorama.

Blue Penny Museum

Blue Penny Museum, Port Louis © Byvalet | Dreamstime.com

Port Louis sits on the west coast of Mauritius, while the airport lies on the southeast, with tourist resorts scattered all around the island’s circumference. The majority of tourists never set foot in the capital city, though it is not without its attractions. The Central Market offers the perfect place to experience the island’s cultural kaleidoscope of color and aroma. At Blue Penny Museum you can view two of the world’s most valuable stamps, the Mauritius orange-red and deep-blue, displayed for just 10 minutes every half-hour to limit their exposure to light.

The Natural History Museum provides an insight into the island’s original wildlife, including skeletons and reconstructions of the extinct dodo. Much of Mauritius is now given over to sugarcane plantations, but the 66-acre Île aux Aigrettes off the east coast provides an impression of what the main island used to be. The rare Mauritian pink pigeon thrives here, while introduced giant tortoises help to restore the natural habitat (extinct Mauritian giant tortoises played an important role in the germination of some plants and trees). You can also see the dodo here, albeit as a life-sized statue.

giant tortoise

© Aliaksandr Lobach | Dreamstime.com

Beach holidays remain Mauritius’s biggest draw. Coral reefs protect much of the coast, providing excellent diving. The sheltered waters prove perfect for sailing and other watersports, while the palm-shaded, white-sand beaches offer the archetypal vision of paradise.

The north coast, the liveliest area, centers on Grand Baie and offers plenty to do, day and night. The town of Flic en Flac, boasting one of the best beaches, is an emerging tourist center and a popular Airbnb base. The upscale resorts of the east coast have a more get-away-from-it-all ambience. Despite centuries of human habitation and decades as a tourist destination, at heart Mauritius remains what it has always been: a remote island in the Indian Ocean.

dodo bird skeleton

National History Museum © Aliaksandr Lobach | Dreamstime.com


Bubble Lodge Bois Chéri

Escape to this futuristic, partially transparent eco-dome resort situated on a tea plantation, set beside a lake in a forest inhabited by deer. No WiFi; connect with nature instead.

Domaine de Bois Chéri, Bois Chéri, Mauritius $$$

One&Only Le Saint Géran

Located in a magical location on a spit of land with beaches on both sides, this was the island’s first luxury hotel and remains one of the best.

Pointe de Flacq, Poste de Flacq, Belle Mare, Mauritius $$$$

SALT of Palmar

The Mauritian influence comes through in this boldly designed (by French artist Camile Walala), adults-only boutique resort perched on the island’s east coast.

Coastal Road, Palmar, Belle Mare, Mauritius $$$


Le Bois Chéri Restaurant

Situated on the same tea estate as the Bubble Lodge, the restaurant offers sustainable fine dining, serving vegetarian and vegan options and only local meat (no beef, which must be imported).

Domaine de Bois Chéri, Bois Chéri, Mauritius $$$

Château Mon Désir

Occupying a colonial-style mansion north of Port Louis, this tony, special-occasion venue offers French cuisine with a Mauritian twist.

Martim Resort & Spa, Turtle Bay, Balaclava, Terre Rouge, Mauritius

Escale Créole

Serving Manze Lacaze (“genuine home cooking”), this family-run restaurant south of Port Louis is the perfect place to sample Mauritius’ eclectic cuisine. Lunch only.

B46 Bois Chéri Road, Moka, Mauritius $$$


International flights arrive at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, located on the southeast coast of Mauritius, on the opposite side of the island from the capital, Port Louis. Many resorts offer direct transfers. Car rental is available (Mauritians drive on the left).



FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Explore Excursions


Insta Feed
Feb 23, 2024

The Radical: A New Boutique Hotel, Opens in Asheville, North Carolina’s, River Arts District

Once an abandoned 1923 constructed warehouse in Asheville, North Carolina, it took a creative group of designers, artists, musicians, chefs and business folks to transform a neglected, 100-year-old structure into one of Asheville’s most interesting and daring hotel projects.

Share Your Travel Preferences with Global Traveler in a Short Survey & Win

Learning more about our readers’ travel habits and preferences ensures Global Traveler delivers the content you desire. As the travel industry has adapted and changed over the last few years, it’s more important than ever to connect. To best meet your short- and long-term travel content needs, please help us!

February 2024
Feb 23, 2024

Pickle Up: Get in on America’s Fastest Growing Sport

Early on, pickleball had something to do with pickles. Pickles the dog, that is. In one story, the game was named for a family dog that ran off with the ball between sets.

Feb 23, 2024

Hôtel Norman Opens Near the Top of Champs Elysées

Located a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe, Olivier Bertrand recently opened Hôtel Norman for those looking to explore the city.

Exclusive Savings: Cruise Along the Danube River with Global Traveler

Exclusive Sailing with Global Traveler

Feb 23, 2024

JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City Polanco Completes Renovations

JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City Polanco recently completed renovations of its entrances, lobby, culinary concepts and meeting space. This marks the final stage of the renovation, which began in 2021 with the revitalization of its 269 guestrooms and 45 suites.

Feb 21, 2024

Make Alberta, Canada, Your Next Wellness Getaway

Rich in mountains, prairies, forests and hot springs, Alberta, Canada, takes nature and wellness travel to a whole new level. Combine the beauty of this western Canadian province with relaxation and you’re in for a treat.

Why Buy Annual Travel Insurance?

One affordable plan can protect an entire year of trips: business or pleasure, short or long, domestic or international.

eFlyer Reviews
Feb 21, 2024

Amantaka Review

You know what you’re going to get at an Aman hotel, and also you don’t. Expect peerless service, obsessive attention to detail, architectural elegance worthy of a fashion magazine, a holistic approach to wellness and astounding levels of comfort. But each property is also intimately connected to its setting, and that’s where the surprises lie. For instance, finding yourself on your knees on a sidewalk in Luang Prabang handing out sticky rice to Buddhist monks at 5:30 a.m. isn’t something we expected.