There are approximately 30 islets around mainland Mauritius, the closest and/or most beautiful (and therefore visited) being:
In the North:
- Gunner’s Quoin, Flat Island, Ilot Gabriel. Over a dozen catamarans offering various packages travel daily from Grand Baie to Flat Island or its neighbour, Ilot Gabriel, stopping at Gunner’s Quoin for a snorkel or a dip. The day trip is relatively inexpensive, relaxed and fun.
In the East:
- Ile de la Passe is at the entrance of Grand Port, the original port of Mauritius during the Dutch occupation. It is famous for being the site of Napoleon’s only naval victory against the British. Between 20-25 August 1810, French and British frigates fought a long and hard battle, which ended in the British losing four frigates.
- Ile aux Cerfs is described as having the original Garden of Eden feel. The island is a fifteen-minute boat ride from Trou d’Eau Douce and reached through a maze of mangrove-rich islets. Its glistening white sands, clear lagoon, golf course and restaurant draw thousands of tourists every year.
- Ile aux Aigrettes: It’s a short trip from Pointe Jerome to l’Ile Aux Aigrette using an unassuming motorboat. This 26-hectare coral island off Mahebourg serves as a refuge for endangered endemic flora and fauna and is managed by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. This ecological heaven will showcase most Mauritian bird species, including the pink pigeon and the olive white-eye. You’ll also see Gunther’s gecko snooping around on trees and lazy Aldabra tortoises. Trees include several palm species, the ravenala (traveller’s tree) and a forest of young ebony trees. https://www.mauritian-wildlife.org/Ileauxaigrettes
In the West:
- Ile aux Benitiers. The full-day trip to l’ile aux Benitiers is usually staggered by a swim with dolphins, and a snorkel around Crystal Rock, a huge coral which stands well above the water. A small craft market provides gifts and colour; otherwise the island is blissfully empty and a walk along the beach gives the impression that you’re the only person in the world.
Other catamaran trips: Mauritius catamaran trips will take you on romantic lobster dinners for newlyweds, through overnighting cruises, silent trips up the East Coast, or to the more picturesque islands around the mainland. Take a look at what’s on offer. During COVID, ensure you get the best prices. The beauty of Mauritius is that people “make a plan.” You can have a memorable time filling a catamaran to celebrate a special event with a group of friends.