• Coastline Reef madness
  • Coast life Creole and coconuts

When Mark Twain visited Mauritius in 1896, he came away saying that ‘God first made Mauritius, and from it He created Paradise’. He wasn't wrong.

For such a small country – at just 2,030sq km it would fit snugly within the M25 – Mauritius has a rich and varied history. Everyone from Dutch seafarers to Chinese merchants, not to mention Arab spice traders and British colonialists, seem to have made their home on the main island and its satellites, and, as a result, the country is a fascinating cultural hotchpotch. You’re just as likely to eat French haute cuisine as you are Indian curries, and Diwali and Eid are celebrated with the same gusto as Christmas. Did we mention that it’s beautiful, too? The island drips with the sort of greenery you’d expect of somewhere lying just north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and its white-sand beaches and azure waters, which swell over the coral reefs that completely encircle the island, have long attracted the newly wedded and heavy-walleted.

Do go/Don’t go

The best time to visit Mauritius is between April and October, when the mercury doesn’t shoot up too high in the thermometer and the island is at its driest. Humidity levels are very high between January and March.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Air Seychelles (www.airseychelles.com) flies direct to Mauritius two to three times per week from London, Air France (www.airfrance.com) flies via Paris, Emirates (www.emirates.com) has regular flights via Dubai and Qatar Airways (www.qatarairways.com) flies via Doha. Air Seychelles also offers frequent flights to other Indian Ocean islands, such as Praslin, Frégate, Bird, Dennis, Desroches and Alphonse, and it can also arrange special charter flights.
  • Trains There is a rail network on the island, but it is not particularly reliable.
  • Automobiles All the usual car-hire suspects can be found at the airport in Port Louis, and at points throughout the island.
  • Taxis There are plenty of taxis on the island – and ranks can be found in most of the major towns – but make sure you agree a fee with the driver before you get into the cab, as most Mauritian taxis don’t have a meter. If in doubt, ask your hotel to organise taxis for you.