Mauritius has a vacation reputation that precedes it; when Mark Twain traveled to Mauritius, he wrote, "You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius." This beautiful tropical island in the Indian Ocean, off the southeastern coast of the African continent and east of Madagascar, is becoming increasingly popular among tourists looking for breathtaking natural scenery and beaches. Those who travel to Mauritius find the island a diverse place with residents originating from the African continent, India, China, and France. Known as L'île Maurice in French, Mauritius was the only known habitat of the now-extinct dodo bird, and today Mauritius holidays are famous for ecotourism, as well as the warm waters, abundance of water sports, clean white-sand beaches, and resorts.
Most tourists who travel to Mauritius head for the northern tourist zone at Grand Bay. The first area in Mauritius to experience the tourist boom, Grand Bay is a beach resort area with hotels, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. The most developed tourist area of the island, visitors to Grand Bay can choose from the most varied assortment of water sports in the country, including parasailing, waterskiing, windsurfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and deep-sea fishing. La Cuvette beach and Pereybere public beach are the main areas for swimming and sunbathing, and they also have opportunities to shop, eat in the beachfront restaurants, and party in nightclubs. At the village of Triolet Shivala, tourists can visit the largest Hindu temple on Mauritius Island, and at the Labourdonnais Orchards many tropical fruit trees and plants can be seen.
For those who want a more authentic glimpse of daily life in Mauritius, a trip to the capital city of Port Louis is in order. The largest city on the island, many tourists on Mauritius holidays, as well as residents of other districts of the island, take a side trip to Port Louis to go shopping. The city is known for its affordable clothing and the busy Port Louis market, where exotic fruits, local food, and other specialties are sold. Street hawkers serve interesting local dishes, including plenty of fresh seafood, influenced by the diverse cultural backgrounds of Mauritius residents. The tourist authority of Mauritius is trying to make the island more attractive to shoppers and has reduced or eliminated sales taxes on many items, causing many to travel to Mauritius for cheap shopping. Don't miss the Caudan Waterfront, where a large shopping complex offers plenty of opportunity to spend your money and a romantic waterfront attracts honeymooning lovers.
In addition to being known for its beach resorts and shopping opportunities, Mauritius is becoming increasing popular as an ecotourism destination. As a fertile volcanic island, Mauritius is home to a lush variety of flora and unique species of fauna found only on this island. Exploring the island's scenic natural reserves is one of the more memorable ways for tourists to spend their Mauritius holidays. In the Yemen National Park on the west coast, travelers can join a Jeep safari that takes them through the more than seventeen square miles of the park, which is home to two major rivers, the Rivière Rempart and the Tamarin River, and see the active wildlife of the park up close and personal. Some of the animals that can be seen on the safari include giraffes, ostriches, antelopes, and zebras, as well as several rare birds native to the island. The amazing scenery of the wild west coast will cause even the most jaded tourists to fall in love with this lush garden in the sea.