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Mauritius: Sugar Island

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Mauritius seems to be entirely built on sugar – there’s a sugar museum, colonial bungalows that were built for sugar barons, rum distilleries, and even a safari park that’s built on the back of a sugar empire. Just look around, and you’ll find most of the island swathed in sugar cane plantations.

However, the island is more known for its powdered-sugar beaches than its sugar exports. Fringed by a shallow lagoon, Mauritius is your quintessential island destination with its profusion of world-class beach resorts that bring to mind poolside piña coladas and honeymooners hoping to seal a sweet long-term relationship.

Those willing to leave the comforts of their sunbeds will find that the island itself has plenty of things to offer.

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Out and About
Beach life is more than floating with snorkels – you can try learning adrenalin-driven kite-surfing at Le Morne, one of the world’s top places for the sport. Or practise staying upright on a surfboard or an S.U.P. – board rentals aren’t hard to come by (neither are the beaches). Or you can check out the island’s underwater life in a wetsuit, in a submarine, or on a sub-scooter (a la James Bond).

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Far from the resort-packed beaches is the breathtaking Black River Gorge National Park, carved by its numerous waterfalls, here you can swap your flip flops for hiking boots in search of that Instagram panorama.

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For a wild time, Casela Nature Park actually makes you believe you’re in a safari location somewhere in Africa, and not on a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Hop on an ATV safari to get personal with free-roaming (and curious) emus, or walk with lions in their enclosures – one of the only places of its kind in the world.

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Not far away is the sacred lake of Grand Bassin, where colourful Hindu deities vie for your attention. While if you’re more into spirits than spirituality, then you shouldn’t miss a rum distillery tour.

rumThanks to the abundance of sugar on the island, locals have been making ‘rhum’ for centuries; these days it’s more of a gentrified (read: hipster) affair: artisanal rum. Even sweeter is the fact that some distillery tours, like Rhumerie de Chamarel and Saint Aubin, offer both tastings and lunch.

First cultivated by the Dutch way back in 1639, sugar has been – and continues to be – the sweet spot of Mauritian life, and it rings true whether you’re on a honeymoon or in search of an adrenalin rush.

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