A hypnotic blend of Indian, Chinese, African, French and British influences, Mauritius is a dazzling Indian Ocean island that enchants nearly all who visit. But while its famous white-sand beaches and luxurious hotels are its top attractions, Mauritius offers far more to do than most tropical islands, with superb hiking, mountain climbing, diving and ecotourism opportunities.
Off major shipping routes, Mauritius remained uninhabited until the 16th century, allowing it to develop into one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. It was favoured by pirates and occupied briefly by the Dutch before the French brought African slaves to work the sugar plantations. Captured by the British in 1810, Mauritius achieved independence in 1968.
Mauritius today is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, a successful, multicultural society where the friendly co-existence of peoples and religions expresses itself in croissants for breakfast and curry for dinner, and brightly painted Indian temples sitting alongside French colonial mansions.