April through August is the high season. December is a busy month also when lots of Northern Hemisphere travellers book their flights to Mauritius in search of "winter sun". For diving, March/April is considered to be the best time to visit. For surfing, visit between June and August. Big-game fishermen hoping to catch a bite should visit between October and April.
January to March are the quietest - and rainiest - months.
The beaches are not the only reason to take cheap flights to Mauritius, although they are considered to be among the best in the world. This little country - just 45km wide and 65km long - lies about 900km east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. It's part of the Mascarene Islands, which includes Réunion and Rodrigues.
Mauritius has a fascinating history, which features the Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, French and British. Its past occupiers' influences are evident throughout the country; it's a melting pot of cultures and cuisines.
Port Louis, on the east coast, is the capital. Here, stately houses and colonial-era buildings, cathedrals, a pagoda and a mosque, bustling markets and craft galleries fill the streets.
Inland, there's a wealth of natural wonders to explore, including Trou aux Cerfs, a volcanic crater in Curepipe; the Rochester and Tamarin Falls; Jardin Botanique de Pamplemousses; the Black River Gorges National Park and La Vanille Reserve des Mascareignes.
The beaches are legendary and one of the reasons to look for cheap flights to Mauritius. Fine-white sands are framed by Casuarina trees and lapped, gently, by clear, blue waters. Some of the best are Grand Baie (where Mauritians go to party); Pereybere; Blue Bay, Ile aux Cerfs and Flic en Flac (which, in Dutch means, Free and Flat Land).
Mauritius has a tropical climate, moderated by the trade winds. The winters (May to November) are warm and dry, with temperatures on the coast of about 22 degrees. The summers (November to April) are hot, wet and humid; cyclones affect Mauritius during these months. The average summer temperature is 34 degrees.Inland, temperatures range from 19 degrees or so in August to about 26 degrees in February.
Getting around Mauritius
There are inexpensive and regular bus services. Cars, scooters and bicycles are readily available to rent.
Air Mauritius flies to Rodrigues Island and gives helicopter tours of Mauritius.
Coraline offers regular boat passage to Reunion Island from Port Louis Harbour.
Mauritius insider information
Tipping is not compulsory on Mauritius. Cover up on the beach; nudity and topless sunbathing is not accepted on the public beaches.
Cavadi is celebrated in January/February. During this festival, believers pierce their bodies with needles and pins, and, in a trance, carry the Cavadi, a wooden arch decorated with flowers and with a pot of milk at each end.
Eureka is a beautiful estate house with a spectacular setting, below Junction Peak, south of Port Louis. It's now a private museum, exhibiting antique furniture, chinaware, old photographs, books and other trappings of aristocratic life in the 1800s.
Ile aux Aigrettes, 800 metres off Mauritius's south-east coast, is a renowned nature reserve, home to some of the world's rarest birds. Not the Dodo, obviously, that was wiped out in the 17th century. A Dodo's skeleton is the star exhibit at the Natural History Museum in Port Louis.
The Martello tower is a small defensive fort at La Preuneuse beach. Martello towers were built by the British during the Napoleonic Wars and there are such towers around the UK and Channel Islands, Ireland, South Africa, America, Canada and Minorca. The tower at La Preneuse is a museum.
Ile aux Cerfs is a tiny wooded island near the east coast of Mauritius. It is a magnet for water-sports enthusiasts and golfers. The beach is gorgeous.
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