What’s your holiday style? Not your ideal holiday persona – the one that’s up at 6 in the gym and only taking fruit from the breakfast buffet. No … to know where to stay in Mauritius, you’ll need to be well acquainted with the real holiday you. On this island, there’s a place for windsurfers, hikers, beach lovers, scuba divers and luxury resort lovers.
There’s one spot that just about caters for all of the above. Which could persuade us to slap the best area to stay in Mauritius on Le Morne – but what about the retail shoppers. Mauritius hasn’t forgotten you – or your holiday budget. Shopping ranges from local boutiques to purpose–built malls – with a reasonable dose of souvenir shops too. Grand Baie is the spot for shopping, nightlife and so much more. Like any island escape, it’s all down to personal preference. Oh, and we won’t clue anyone into the fact you went back to the buffet for pastries. We’ve all been there.
Let’s get the big name out of the way early doors. Even the briefest dalliance with a ‘where to stay in Mauritius’ search is going to flag up Grand Baie – or Grand Bay as some like to trifle with. It follows the oldest story in the travel universe. Small time fishing village makes it big to become a tourist mecca. And, we wish it well. Stay here for every island amenity you could hope for, just don’t expect to find too many moments of solitude. Let’s also pause for a second to realise that Grand Baie is far from being tacky. You’ll still be able to mingle with some Mauritians and snack on regional street food – but you’ll also have access to shopping, snorkelling and the very highly rated north shore beaches. Yes, it’s a mixed bag – but one that comes loaded with island night life and the ultimate holiday vibe, which is, of course, ‘bustling’.
Orbzii Tip: Vegans and veggies, Grand Baie is home to a vegan restaurant – one of only two on the whole island. The breakfast waffles at Eat With Fingers are hard to resist.
If you’re sold on the north coast but Grand Baie’s just a little too… much, take a look at Pereybere. You’re minutes away from Grand Baie by car – so all that action is never too far from reach – but this village has clung to its island roots. It’s less commercialised but residents are still ready to welcome you into their small restaurants for regional eats. Always a tick in the holiday box. And, using Pereybere as a base, you can flit between sunning your way to vitamin D glory on the ridiculously alluring Mont Choisy sands or hiking in the biodiverse and sprawling Bras d’Eau national park. This village – and beach – are popular. We’re far from pinning on the best kept secret badge, but it’s busy for a reason.
Orbzii Tip: Make the most of the offshore protected waters by snorkelling out from the beach – just watch out for boat traffic. Definitely a spot to break out the snorkelling buoy and flags.
If you’re easily offended by lux resorts, fun-filled water parks and soft sand beaches, Belle Mare is definitely not for you. Here, you’ll find not one, but two big names frequently murmured in Mauritius golf circles. And, of course, one is only for the exclusive use of certain hotel guests. If private greens aren’t your scene, the sheltered lagoon is a great spot for all manner of watersports. Retail therapy won’t quite reach max levels in Belle Mare but the few shops here fulfil the ‘light browse’ quota most of us enjoy on holiday. The beach is the real star in Belle Mare – but if you really must leave the 10km of sand behind for a day, you’re just an hour’s drive from Lion Mountain. It’ll take you around 4 hours to hike. Scamper up for panoramic views of Mauritius.
Orbzii Tip: A stay here has you primed and ready for the Mauritian sunrises. Embrace an early start and find a spot on the sands at Belle Mare Plage.
Hikers, we’ve another contender for the ‘best area to stay in Mauritius’ title. Lux hotels have parked themselves nice and close to the foot of Mount Morne Brabant. The UNESCO World Heritage Site’s slopes are steep, but when has that ever stopped you clambering up a spectacular summit? Hiking here comes with more than a few ropes to get to the top. Not got a head for heights? Perhaps the windswept southern shoreline will tempt you? Kitesurfers and windsurfers, these are your Mauritian waters. Play in them to your heart’s content. Worried those winds will ruin your beach vibes? The northern stretch of beach is perfectly protected by the bulk of Morne Brabant.
Orbzii Tip: The hike may be a 4 hour trek up some tricky terrain – but you’ll be well rewarded. The jungle you pass through on route is the only place you’ll spot the Mauritian national flower. The summit is also a vantage point for the mesmerising ‘underwater waterfall’ phenomenon.
Flic en Flac
If your brain is pre-loaded with idyllic stills of Mauritian sand, perhaps with a smattering of palms – and little else, you’ll need to look for it somewhere other than Flic en Flac. Yes, the beach is heavenly, but it comes with some ill-judged development that slightly lets this stretch of coast down. That said, just like Grand Baie, the range of facilities here is excellent. But so far our round up has been less than stellar. So why is Flic en Flac on our list? Well, the beach is the big draw. Despite Flic en Flac’s souvenir shops and restaurants, the sands are often sparsely populated. The beach also happens to be your portal to one of the best scuba diving spots in Mauritius. Don’t miss The Cathedral if your PADI skills pass muster.
Orbzii Tip: You might see swimming with dolphins tours touted by some vendors in Flic en Flac. We’d be tempted to give it a swerve. You’ll often find your small boat joined by up to 30 others with up to 100 people trying to get in the water with the pod.
If you’re looking for a Mauritius curve ball, Tamarin could well be it. Relatively uncommercial – compared to Flic en Flac – Mauritians kept this bay quiet for decades. Their secret? The surf was always up. Now the waves have died down and some wealthy residents have moved in. They’ve brought restaurants and shops with them – but kept things rather low key. Stay here and you’re a short drive away from Trou aux Cerfs. A dormant volcano surrounded by lush green forest that makes a nice change from the incessant turquoise of the island’s waters. It’s a quirky spot that happens to be surrounded by a jogging track for the nearby town of Curepipe.
Orbzii Tip: In the mood for more Mauritian oddities? Tamarin lies just north of Chamarel’s ‘Seven Coloured Earths’. A striking geological quirk that’s just up your street.
Now you’ve narrowed down where to stay, you can take things a little further with the Orbzii app. Dream, plan and book your Mauritius escape today.