01 Sep 12 Must See Islands You Should Visit in Mauritius
Mauritius has so much to offer for those looking for postcard-perfect places. There are not only dozens of beautiful beaches, but you can also explore the different neighbouring islets, which can be reached by boat, a few minutes away from the mainland.
As opposed to Maldives or Seychelles, Mauritius is made up of only one main island, but surrounded by smaller uninhabited islands.
Some of them are very popular among travelers, like ile aux Cerfs, with amazing pristine sandy beaches, and even restaurants and others are rather secluded. Most of them can be visited by speedboat or during a catamaran trip. There you can bask in the sun, explore the islet, do some snorkelling around, have an amazing barbecue in the shade of some filaos trees… You can even get married on a private island, Robinson Crusoe-style. So many options! Let’s discover the most popular islands and you can decide which one you will visit.[/vc_column_text]
Coin de Mire
Coin de Mire is an amazing islet located 8 km off the northern coast of Mauritius that looks just like a triangular peak mountain in the middle of the ocean. Its unmistakable shape can be admired from Mauritius mainland when looking North and is quite a sight. No wonder its pictures are all over postcards and holiday magazines boasting the beauty of Mauritius. Its 65 hectares are shelter to quite a stunning endemic untouched vegetation but you cannot actually visit the island since it is a nature reserve and is home to exotic endemic birds of Mauritius. However, on your catamaran trip to the northern islands, you come quite close to the imposing cliff-face of Coin de Mire, also called Gunner’s Coin, where you can take really nice shots of the island or of yourself with it as a backdrop. Some boat trips take you next to the island if you feel like jumping in the water and exploring the corals around since it is a fantastic snorkelling spot.
Ile Plate ( Flat Island)
With its 253 hectares, Ile Plate, which in English means “Flat Island”, is one of the largest islets around Mauritius. Located further away from Coin de Mire in the North, you can reach it an hour and a half on a catamaran. Ile Plate is not actually flat since it has a hill which is topped by a pretty lighthouse, one of Mauritius’s few operating ones. Ile Plate is perfect for those of you who like to be on the move and explore your surroundings: there is a nice trail leading up to the hill. You can also find a graveyard on the island since it was used as a quarantine station during the 19th century for people who were suffering from malaria or other diseases. But that was a very long time ago and now, the island is home to endemic plants, beautiful beaches and the Governor’s House, a beautiful little restaurant set within an old ruin offering European, French and Mauritian cuisine. There is also an extraordinary dive site in the area called The Shark Pit where divers can sometimes observe hordes of sharks swirling within the pit.
For tours to Ile Plate, contact us here
Next to Ile Plate, some 700 metres away, lies Ilot Gabriel, a smaller island of 42 hectares in the North, with coastal sand dune vegetation. This nature reserve is well-known for its unspoiled beauty, sandy beaches and turquoise waters and is hence, a popular day-trip destination for tourists. In Grand Baie, you will easily find catamaran cruises taking you to Ilot Gabriel after about 90 minutes of sailing, most of them also offer a BBQ lunch on the island. Perfect for people looking to work on their tan, do some snorkelling around or just splash around in the clear water of the Indian Ocean. Most of the island is covered by an endemic plant called “Baume de l’Ile Plate” and is the only place where this plant grows.
For tours to Ilot Gabriel, contact us here
Ile Ronde ( Round Island)
Ile Ronde, which means Round Island in English, is not actually round but is an ecological treasure: it is home to many species of endemic plants some of which no longer exist on the mainland and to endemic reptiles as well. Located some 22 kilometres north of Mauritius, it is an island of 219 hectares, which has been declared a nature reserve since 1957. However, the island is restricted but permits can be granted for scientific visits. Access to the island by boat is quite difficult as the island has a rocky shoreline and the sea is usually very rough. The only safe and easy access to the island is by helicopter.
For tours to Ile Ronde, contact us here
In the North East, close to the villages of St Antoine and Poudre d’Or, lies Ile d’Ambre only 15 minutes away from the coast by boat. One of the largest and most interesting islet around Mauritius, with its 140 hectares, Ile d’Ambre is a floating national park. It has a little something for everyone, whether it be crystal clear waters and the shade of filaos trees for those looking for a lovely secluded place to relax, mangroves and rocks all around for adventurers who wish to paddle around the island as well as trails, amazing ruins and forests for people who want to explore the surroundings and immerse themselves in the history of the island. There is also a very nice picnic area pavilion where you can have lunch. To reach Ile d’Ambre, you can book a half day or full day kayaking trip, rent a speedboat or hitch a ride with a fisherman in the region. It is accessible by only two mooring points, which help preserve its peace and quiet.
For tours to Ile d’Ambre, contact us here
Ile aux Cerfs
Ile aux Cerfs lies off Trou d’Eau Douce, in the biggest lagoon of Mauritius, on the eastern coast, and is one of the most popular tourist attraction of Mauritius. Translated in English, Ile aux Cerfs means Deer Island but although there are no deer, you will find an array of fun water sport activities that you can try while visiting the island. From water skiing, banana rides, glass bottom boats to parasailing, you have 0 chance of getting bored there. For those of you looking for an amazing golfing experience, Ile aux Cerfs also hosts one of the world’s most amazing golf courses designed by the professional German golfer Bernard Langer with all 18 holes bestowing views of the ocean. Boasting an area of 79 hectares, the island is also famous for its many sandy beaches, beautiful lagoon and facilities such as three restaurants, toilets, showers and even a small market selling local handicraft. The coral reef nearby is also quite amazing and full of marine life making it ideal for snorkelling and observing the underwater world. The island is probably one of the most accessible – you can book a catamaran trip or you can just show up at embarkation in Trou d’Eau Douce and bargain for a boat transfer although you should get there early if you’re planning to do that. The island can be reached in 20 minutes by boat from the coast.
For tours to Ile aux cerfs, contact us here
Across from Ile aux Cerfs, in the big lagoon of Trou d’Eau Douce, you will find a charming small private island of about 46 hectares called Ilot Mangénie. Managed and owned by Shangri-la’s Le Touessrok, the island is enjoyed by guests of the hotel only. Reached by a private boat from the hotel, Ilot Mangénie offers a perfect island retreat with an intimate atmosphere, breathtakingly beautiful beaches, turquoise waters and the comfort of a 5-star luxury hotel. You can find a small restaurant and bar on the island along with comfortable deckchairs, thatched umbrellas and friendly staff who will attend to your needs. Everything you need for a romantic getaway! The new cabana experience created by the hotel is something to experience if ever you are staying at the hotel or looking for the perfect hideaway.
Ilot Flamants is not actually an islet but rather a sand bar, less than five kilometres away from the east coast, just between the lagoon and the deep blue ocean. Tiny but rather striking, it is a compulsory stop for kitesurfers doing the 25 kms long downwind between Pointe d’Esny and Trou d’Eau Douce. You can also reach Ilot Flamants by boat and have a picnic there.
For tours to Ilot Flamant, contact us here
Ile des deux Cocos
Just off the south east coast of Mauritius, close to Blue Bay lies a superb private tropical island retreat: ile des Deux Cocos. There, you will find a picturesque villa with a shaded Moroccan-style courtyard, a fragrant garden, a swimming pool, where you can spend the night for an ultimate romantic moment or where you can host your own exclusive party or special event, including weddings and anniversaries. Imagine getting married on an island, with only your guests and the staff on the island! You can also spend the day on the island, relaxing under the shade of a marquee while sipping on a cocktail or doing some snorkelling since the beach on Ile des Deux Cocos borders Blue Bay Marine Reserve, one of the most spectacular spots for snorkelling in Mauritius. The lunch buffet is always delightful and offers an array of grilled specialties and delicious salads. What more could you ask for?
For tours to Ile aux Beniters, contact us here
Ile aux Phare
Ile au Phare, which means Lighthouse Island, is probably the most scenic island in Mauritius although small in size – only five hectares. Located in the bay of Mahébourg in the South West, it faces the magnificent range of Grand Port on the mainland and the blue lagoon on one side, the waves crashing on the cliffs on the other side, the views on the nearby islands and it also has an old abandoned lighthouse, built in 1864, on top of a small hill. Ile aux Phare, which is also called Ile aux Fouquets, played an essential role in the history of Mauritius as it had strategic geographical position; it served as an outpost of maritime surveillance in the bay of Grand Port. Today, it has become a popular spot among Mauritian people for picnics and most catamarans cruising the south east coast stop there for lunch. It takes about 20-25 minutes to get to the island by boat from Mahébourg.
For tours to Ile au Phare, contact us here
Ile aux Aigrettes
Ile aux Aigrettes is a 26-hectare nature reserve located about 800 metres off the south-east coast in the turquoise lagoon of Mahebourg. This island is a sanctuary for a range of endemic and endangered wildlife species such as the pink pigeon or Gunther’s gecko and is home to very rare remnants of the coastal forests of Mauritius. There, you can actually discover how Mauritius was before the arrival of man. This eco-tourism site has been recognized all over the world as a model of successful nature restoration and conservation. Visits are only possible as part of a guided tour with the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation from Pointe Jérome. The boat trip lasts about 10 minutes.
For tours to Ile aux Aigrettes, contact us here
Ile aux Benitiers
About 500 metres off the coast of La Gaulette on the west coast, is found Ile aux Bénitiers, a large coral sand island about two kilometres long and 500 metres at its widest point. The island is a very touristic one and is usually quite busy everyday between 10 am and 3 pm so if you want some quiet time on the island, you should go there early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Though the island has little biodiversity value, it has an amazing blue lagoon with stunning views on the West coast, from La Tourelle to Le Morne. All catamaran cruises in the West stop at Ile aux Bénitiers, usually for lunch, after seeing dolphins and the curious geological formation a little further away from Ile aux Bénitiers, called Crystal Rock, which is a perfect backdrop for stunning pictures. Ile aux Bénitiers can also be reached on a fisherman’s boat in 15 minutes from La Gaulette.
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