The Indian Ocean is the place to go for an amazing beach vacation. Perfect white-sand beaches. Warm, turquoise water. Small, quiet resorts. And accommodating, discreet service. The travel obsession with these hard-to-reach islands began in the 1970s. The Maldives for their private islands. The Seychelles for the dramatic scenery. And now Mauritius.
Located about 1,200 miles off the southeast coast of Africa, the islands of Mauritius have quaint seaside villages and long, deserted beaches. For a long time, no one wanted to come here. The first Portuguese explorers didn’t find anyone living on the islands. The Dutch settled–and then abandoned–them. And then the French, and eventually the British, arrived. Port Louis, now the capital, became a busy port. Grand mansions were built around rum and tea plantations. Independent since the 1990s, Mauritius is now showing off for tourists.
Belle Mare is the current craving. The 10km-long east coast beach is lined with casuarina trees and coconut palms. The cerulean Indian Ocean is on one side. Lion Mountain, and its jaw-dropping views, on the other. People come here to scuba dive with barracudas and eagle rays at the Japanese Garden and the Aquarium reefs. Swim with spinner and bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat. Go big game fishing for giant blue marlin, mako sharks, and yellowfin tuna. Or be pampered at LUX Belle Mare.
The lagoonside resort has one of the largest pools in Mauritius. Though you’ll probably spend more time sitting under a palapa or sleeping in a hammock on the beach. Cafe LUX grinds local coffee for your morning caffeine fix. Yoga and exercise classes are offered at the spa. Or do water acrobatics and learn to kitesurf. Grab a pineapple and chili ice cream when it gets hot. Make a reservation for a 10-course Asian-tapas tasting menu for dinner. And watch the Sega dance as you sip a nightcap.
As you retire to your thatched-roof suite, plotting how to extend your trip, you’ll be amazed that anyone willingly abandoned this little slice of paradise.