Mauritius is well known for its picture perfect white-sand beaches, sapphire blues seas, and luxurious hotels, and I can completely see why it is so easy to ‘fly and flop’ as they say, and spend the whole week soaking up the warm sun of the Indian Ocean. When I spoke to some guests who were staying at the same hotel as me to find out what they had got up to during their visit, they said, “we have barely left the hotel!” I started to think that perhaps the vast numbers of tourists that visit this idyllic island each year are unaware of what else it has to offer.
What surprised me most about Mauritius is the delightful nature of the locals. For me, their warm and friendly welcome completely made my trip. They told me all about the history of their island, and how together they form an incredibly diverse nation.
There is no official religion in Mauritius. The island is made up of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Buddhists, creating a country rich in African, French, Indian and Chinese influences. They share everything from their cuisine, to their traditions and what I really loved was how they would celebrate their national holidays together, regardless of their religion. I was in Mauritius during the lead up to Diwali, and despite being a Hindu festival, almost every house had candles and lights up to join in the celebrations. This for me is what made the country so special – in addition to its pristine coastline!