The west coast of Mauritius is pleasantly diverse and most importantly, it has the advantage of being the driest coast on the island. From May to November, Flic en Flac and Tamarin experience on average only one day of rain, with no more than seven in February. The region is therefore ideal for those who don't want to lose out on time in the sun.
It is also the perfect location for those wanting to explore Port Louis and its surrounding areas. A series of hotels runs along the beach of Flic en Flac. However, it is worth remembering that the size of the beaches varies greatly depending on the hotel. The most luxurious hotels are located on the best shorelines, while the smaller hotels sometimes have to make do with a strip of sand.
Sport enthusiasts, however, will appreciate Tamarin, a well known surf spot, and Black River, which is renowned for its big game fishing centre. Both of these areas are largely well preserved and lie in the shadow of Rempart Mountain.
Those wanting to stray from the beaten path can take one of the local buses to Quatre Bornes before heading south towards Mahébourg. The trip is particularly cheap (about £2), but you need to have plenty of time on your hands. Each bus only travels between two villages, so you will have to change buses several times, and you may have to wait 10 to 20 minutes for each one.
Those who are interested can go big game fishing. Almost all the hotels offer boat trips on the open sea where you can tackle the tuna, sharks and marlins. You can also take a trip to the Île aux Benitiers, just off the southwest coast. A superb deserted beach (the island is not inhabited). To organise a trip to this island, contact one of the hotels or the fishermen in the village of La Gaulette.
For shopping, visit the Quatre Bornes Market on Thursday or Sunday. There are lots of inexpensive items to be found!
The gorges of the Black River. These are found in the national park of the same name, whose entrance is a few miles from the village of Great Black River. Here you can go ziplining, canyoning, hiking along the marked trails and swimming in the fresh water pools. Beware of the thieving monkeys, which can be seen on the central platform overlooking the gorges.
Sheltered from the prevailing winds of the Indian Ocean, the west coast experiences less rain annually than the east coast. Tamarin is the driest region. Bear that in mind if you are visiting during the cloudy months (July to August and December to February). For snorkelling, there is no need to bring your own equipment. Most hotels have flippers, masks and snorkels available to hire.
The Tamarin salt pans. These are simply ponds of seawater designed to collect salt. However, the centre of the village is traditional and is worth a visit, and the beach has an appealing untamed feel. This is one of the island's surfing spots. Also avoid motorised water sports (even though most hotels do offer them), as they create a lot of noise, causing the wildlife to flee the lagoon.
Deer. It comes from the free-range farms on the island. This tender meat comes in the form of a steak, or in a curry served with rice. Banana tart is often available in the dessert section of the hotel buffets. Samosas (fried or baked pastries filled with meat and vegetables) and pineapple with chilli sold in the streets. Try the Chinese-style fried noodles, which are excellent and very cheap.
Well packaged vanilla tea and flowers (Amaryllises) are easy to take on the plane. Spices, brown sugar and exotic fruit jams (banana, papaya, mango). Buy these in Flic en Flac or Tamarin to avoid the journey to Port Louis. If you have planned to go there, however, visit the shops at the Caudan Waterfront for less traditional purchases (clothing, leather goods).
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