Mauritius doesn’t just have great beaches, it’s got variety, catering to every visitor’s beachside whim.
While Mauritius is a multifaceted and culturally diverse African island with lots to explore, it’s not hard to see why its beaches – picture-perfect stretches of fine white sand and retina-pulling turquoise waters – are a big draw. They each have their own atmosphere: charming jumping-off points for surfing or dolphin-watching, beaches with an off-the-grid vibe, shallow lagoons for little ones to paddle in or secret coves where you can eat al fresco.
Here’s our list of the best beaches in Mauritius to reset and unwind. They’re also great places to get a feel for island culture that has been patched together by people from all over the world who’ve made a little piece of this paradise their own.
Explore the planet’s most surprising adventures with our weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox. Swim in the beautifully clear waters on Le Morne peninsula © LeoPatrizi / Getty Images
1. Le Morne
Possibly one of the most scenic of all of Mauritius’ beaches, Le Morne hangs off the southwestern tip’s peninsula. Known for its pool-like, impossibly iridescent turquoise waters, it’s one of the best places for swimming with children thanks to an unbroken coral reef, while tall filao pine trees sway in the light breeze, providing shade from the sizzling sun.
The beach is backed by the eponymous basaltic mountain that soars up to the skies, culminating at over 550m (1804ft) above sea level, also a popular hiking trail. A refuge for enslaved people in the 18th and 19th centuries, when Mauritius was an important stopover on the eastern slave trade route, it is a symbol of their heroic fight for freedom, earning the area Unesco status in 2008, and making this one of Mauritius’ most spectacular beaches.
Planning tip: Make sure to stop at Emba Filao, a popular laid-back open-air cafe with tables lined up under the trees, serving generous portions of grilled seafood, such as tangy calamari and fleshy gambas (shrimp) with fries. Avoid the lines by getting there before the lunchtime rush.
2. La Cuvette, Grand Baie
This intimate cove got its name cuvette, or basin, from the basin-like effect created where the sand suddenly drops as you advance in the warm waters. Locals love it because it’s great for having a proper dip without having to wade far in the water to find depth. On the top edge of Grand Baie, a crescent moon shaped bay with restaurants and nightclubs that come alive at sundown, at the northern extremity of the island, this area of Mauritius is usually blessed with good weather year-round thanks to a microclimate.
Order a mine-frit (fried noodles), one of Mauritius’ many typical dishes adopted from the Chinese community, from one of the tiny concrete shacks above the beach. The freshly cooked food is tasty and cheap. Have it at a plastic table overlooking the ocean – it’s the best seat in the house.
Planning tip: Grand Baie itself isn’t much to write home about in the daytime, but the beaches north and south are among some of the best for families due to the calm, shallow waters.
Flic en Flac has calm waters good for a day at the beach with young children © Africanway / Getty Images
3. Flic en Flac
It’s impossible to go to Mauritius without making a stop at Flic en Flac. Here, the huge sweep of powdery sand continues for miles and disappears into the sunset as it curves around the island. Waters are usually calm and shallow, making for a good beach day with young children. At weekends, families from Mauritius’ diverse communities come for quick dips and enjoy picnics in the shade of filao pine trees, with some dancing to local sega music known for its infectious rhythm. Smile in their direction and they’ll beckon you to join them.
4. Belle Mare Plage
One long curve of thick forested pines that swallow up the handful of hotels built along the beach, Belle Mare gives us a glimpse of the island’s wilder pre-tourism days. Set on the quieter east coast, it’s here that some of the island’s most exclusive hotels have set up. The waters are calm and shallow, making perfect paddling material for children.
Planning tip: Drive 10 minutes north to Sagar Shiv Mandir, a Hindu temple built on a craggy outcrop close to a mangrove forest that used to be accessible only by wading through the knee-deep waters. A major pilgrimage site, it now has a concrete road leading right up to the white and red building housing a bronze statue of Shiva. It’s free to enter, but make sure you have a sarong to cover legs and shoulders when visiting.
5. Île aux Cerfs
A small island planted with pine trees in the center, which hides a members-only golf course, Île aux Cerfs offers the largest lagoon of Mauritius and is a favorite escape for locals who come here to get away from it all. Reached by speedboat off the east coast of the island, it’s a fun day trip for the whole family and can be as active (banana boat rides and parasailing) or as laid-back as you want it to be.
Encased in soft golden sand and crystal-clear waters, a picturesque corridor of warm water runs between the island and neighboring Ilot Mangenie. Around the further side of the two islands, is where the beaches are quietest, and where the tranquil atmosphere evokes the wilder parts of Mauritius.
Planning tip: Tickets across by speedboat can be bought at the small office to the left of the port beach. Packages often include a barbecue on a nearby island and a visit to a waterfall. While the package is reasonably priced, jumping from island to island leaves very little time to really unwind. There are restaurants on Île aux Cerfs, but they’re expensive, so consider taking a picnic.
The relaxed beach at Tamarin has a sleepy surfer vibe © vale_t / Getty Images
A gorgeous bay of fine white sand lined by pine trees that runs into a longer beach, Tamarin is one of the island’s more popular spots. Wonderfully relaxed, it has a sleepy surfer vibe. Get there early and join the locals who walk over from their homes nearby carrying mugs of steaming sweet milky Bois Chéri vanilla tea to enjoy on the cool sands as the tide slowly comes in, flushing the bay with bright blue waters. If it’s early enough, dolphins sometimes swim past to the surfers bobbing up and down on the waters further out. While the sea can be calm here, there are often strong currents.
The bay is split off from the longer beach by a river surrounded by magical jungly mountain views. As lunchtime draws near, a boulettes (steamed dumplings) shack opens across the road from the local diving center to serve bowls of the little dough balls in flavorsome broth.
Planning tip: Tamarin is also the jumping-off point for dolphin watching tours. Opt for local boats as opposed to large tour companies, as they pick you up right from the beach (as opposed to the marina a 10-minute drive away) and head out early to avoid the huge number of tour boats, which takes away from the experience.
7. Blue Bay
A magnificent crescent-shaped bay of warm, clear and shallow waters, that hugs the shoreline and its smattering of elegant houses hidden behind high walls, Blue Bay is often cited as a favorite because it is perfect for families with young children. It’s also close to the natural reserve of Ile aux Aigrettes, where the jumping-off point north of Pointe d’Esny offers a jaw-dropping panorama of sea-green waters and mountains lined up along the coast.
Blue Bay is close to the Blue Bay Marine Park, an ocean reserve that’s among the best spots for snorkeling and diving. Go here to see most of the island’s species of fish and impressively large table coral.