Our pick of the best beaches in Mauritius
Broadly, the island's beaches can be divided into 4 areas - North, South, West and East. Working anticlockwise around the island, here is a brief synopsis of what you can expect from the different regions.
The beaches towards the north of the island are where you want to head if you are particuarly keen on watersports.
The beach at Grand Baie is probably the busiest northern beach in terms of visitors and activities on offer, and is situated right next to the bustling and lively tourist village of the same name. Because of the number of boats and catamarans that launch from the many operators located on the waterfront here, the water can get a bit churned up so it is not as crystal clear as some of the other beaches around the island. In addition, for safey reasons there is only a small area where you can enter the water for swimming.
Just south of Grand Baie you will find Trou aux Biches Beach - deemed by many to be one of the best beaches on the island. It is a 2 km stretch of white powdery sand which is perfect for sunbathing on, and the outlying coral reef means the waters are ideal for snorkelling off the beach and very safe for swimming - making this very popular with families. Because the beach is more towards the north-west of the island, be prepared for some spectacular sunsets too!
The West Coast
The beaches on the west coast are also where you will get some wonderful sunsets to enjoy as the sun slowly disappears seemingly into the ocean, leaving behind a blazing red sky.
Flic en Flac beach is the most popular, and it is along this particular stretch that you will find a host of hotels lined up behind the palm trees that fringe the sandy beaches.The beach is protected by a coral reef, so perfect swimming conditions as there are no strong currents - but you do need to watch out for spiky sea urchins when entering the water - so swimming shoes or sandals are advised to protect your foot from a nasty stab! Flic en Flac beach is one of the longest beaches on the island, and you can easily saunter along the shoreline for an hour or so in either direction.
Just south of Flic en Flac you will come to Tamarin Beach. Not protected by coral, the waves here can be quite rough, making swimming a bit of a challenge but a lovely environment for surfing fanatics.
Further towards the south-west of the island you have Le Morne and its beaches. White coral sand is fringed by clear waters, and the backdrop is the impressive Le Morne Mountain. This part of the island is hit by more trade winds, so the area is very popular with wind surfers and kite surfers. Even if you don't fancy trying your hand at the sport, it is entertaining to watch 'the professionals' doing their tricks on the water. The beaches do get quite busy, depending on the wind conditions.
The South Of Mauritius
Continuing round the island, the south coast beaches are the windiest and the wildest. Without the protection of any coral reefs, the sea here has strong currents so swimming is not advised, and the beaches are more corally rather than sandy.
In the south-east corner of the island is the aptly named Blue Bay Beach - so called because the colour of the sea here is a mesmorising contrast of many different shades of blue. The crystal clear waters are Ideal for swimming, and in addition, this area also is home to the Blue Bay Marine Park, which is one of the best areas for a snorkelling trip to see a wide variety of both fish and corals.
The Pristine East Coast
Finally, the east coast is where you will find some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The east side of the island has a light cooling breeze throughout the year from the prevailing trade winds, so during the heat of the day this can make the temperature very pleasant, but equally it can get a bit chilly later on in the afternoon for beach sunbathing once the main heat from the sun has disappeared.
The Belle Mare Beach is one of the longest stretches of beach on the island, and has calm turquoise waters and pure white pristine sand.
Just off the coast is Ile de Cerfs Island, a short ride from the mainland by boat. Surrounded by a lagoon, the island is very popular with holidaymakers who flock here to swim in the calm lagoon waters and enjoy the pure white beaches and swaying palm trees. A range of restaurants and watersports makes this a great way to spend the day away from your hotel if you fancy a change of scenery.