The priciest spots on this dream island are by its sapphire waters and white-sand beaches, but this means the real Mauritius of hot curry, fishing villages and hiking trails is going cheap
When travellers ask where to go in Grand Baie to savour some Mauritian home cooking, locals invariably say Domaine. Prices are low and the best dishes are the local specialities, such as ourite au safran (octopus cooked in ginger, garlic and turmeric) and chilli lamb.
Palais de Barbizon
In the tiny hamlet of Chamarel, Barbizon may not look much but it’s a fabulous place. Marie-Ange helms the kitchen, whipping up traditional flavours from her family’s cookbook while Rico L’lntelligent entertains at the tables. There’s no menu; instead, Rico offers a feast of rum punch, rice, veggies, and fish or chicken for just £10. It’s the best money you’ll spend.
Port Louis’ rightly famous Central Market is a good place to get a feel for Mauritian life. Most authentic are the fruit and vegetable sections. Grab a breakfast of French pastries or spicy dhal puri, which you can eat standing alongside locals who’ve paused for a bite on their way to work, before exploring the ornate Victorian halls.
Hiking the Black River Gorges
A wild expanse of hills, trees and waterfalls, this national park is the last stand for Mauritian forests and many native species, such as the Mauritius kestrel, the echo parakeet and the pink pigeon -which are all endangered.