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Mauritius, an island nation off the coast of southeast Africa, was created by ancient volcanic activity. Explore busy markets and partake in cultural activities in its central towns or head for the coast to relax on sandy beaches and discover abundant coral reefs.
Due to its prime location in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius has a long history of trade and colonialism, having been ruled by the Dutch, French and British. This history explains the diverse ethnic and religious makeup of the island. About 80 percent of the population speak Creole, but listen carefully and you may hear other languages such as Bhojpuri and French being spoken too.
Head to the central plateau to explore towns including Rose Hill and Curepipe. Visit Grand Bassin, also known as Ganga Talao, a sparkling natural lake formed from an extinct volcano. Smell the flowers at the Curepipe Botanical Garden, home to indigenous island plants. For an adventure, consider climbing Le Pouce, a 2,660-foot (810-meter) tall mountain in the Moka Mountain Range. The views from the top extend across much of the island.
In the north of Mauritius, Grand Bay is a premier tourist destination with two beautiful beaches. Explore La Cuvette, a white-sand hideaway where you can find “tec-tec,” small white shells often used in local cooking.
Scuba divers and snorkelers will enjoy the marine habitats at the Blue Bay Marine Park in the southeast. If you would rather not get wet, hop aboard a glass-bottom boat to view barracudas, trumpet fish and parrotfish.
Most visitors arrive at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport and either take a taxi or rent a car from there. The roads around Mauritius can be narrow, but are generally in good condition. Consider helicopter transportation for a unique way to see the island or rent a bike for shorter journeys through the towns. No vaccinations are required to travel to Mauritius, but check with your doctor before traveling to make sure your basic ones are up-to-date.
Before leaving, stop by Central Market in Port Louis to purchase souvenirs to take home with you.
*Savings based on all vacation package bookings with Flight + Hotel on Expedia.com from January through December 2017, as compared to price of the same components booked separately. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, stay dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages. For Free Flight or 100% Off Flight deals, package savings is greater than or equal to the current cost of one component, when both are priced separately.