Christmas in Mauritius

Swap snow, sleet and masses of shoppers for sun, sea and sand on a Christmas holiday in Mauritius. This petite island off the south-east coast of Africa has picture-perfect landscapes to explore and dreamy beaches perfect for lazing and water-based fun, plus an unusual and wonderful mix of cultures.

While Mauritius is often thought of as simply a beach destination (understandably, the beaches here are incredible), there's more to this little island than meets the eye. Explore the bustling capital of Port Louis on foot to see the melting pot of religions and cultures that make up Mauritius - including colourful Hindu temples next to traditional Chinese shrines - and take a trip to the city's undercover market to be able to enjoy food with a delightful fusion of flavours, all washed down with an exotic fruit drink or creamy mango lassi.

Once you've had your culture fix, it's time to cool down from the humidity (Christmas lands firmly in Mauritian summer, so while temperatures are at a dreamy 25-30 degrees Celsius, it can get a little steamy) with a walk around the shady Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens, or head to cooler, higher altitudes with an easy hike up to the huge crater of Troux aux Cerfs which looks like it might be hiding myriad undiscovered species of flora and fauna in its plant-covered slopes.

Finally - because Christmas holidays in Mauritius would be incomplete without it - be sure to spend plenty of time on those famed beaches. We can recommend our favourite depending on whether you want to escape the crowds; swim, sea kayak, snorkel and dive; want to sail the Indian Ocean or enjoy a dolphin spotting escapade; or if you have the family in tow.

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Matt and Charlotte C are our 'Christmas in Mauritius' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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