Ride Deep in Mauritius!
Some of the most extraordinary adventures occur when you open yourself to all possibilities. A ride on a two or three-wheeler might just be the soul-stirring adventure you need to discover Mauritius’ hidden gems. The little details, like red leaves on the flamboyant trees or the shimmer of the sun on the turquoise water make for a wheelie fun time! (Pun most certainly intended.)
Wandering the North on two wheels
In Mauritius, everything travels on two wheels – even food. (Your lunch today might just be a warm dipain gato piment from the back of a vendor’s bicycle.) In that spirit, Veranda Paul et Virginie offers exciting bike itineraries in the North region. You can either ride solo or hop onto a tandem bike, for which the rules are simple: the front rider steers the ship, so to speak, and calls out instructions to the rear-rider. As the rear-rider, your job entails taking photos, passing the peanuts and singing loudly.
Dany and his team take it upon themselves to unveil the island’s most beautiful spots. On Tuesdays and Fridays, you are ushered in direction of Melville on a picturesque ride through Grand Gaube, whose little alleys are peppered with majestic jackfruit and almond trees. Your first stop is St Michel Church, a quaint and inviting chapel where villagers gather to celebrate special occasions. Next up, you get to meet two of the village’s oldest inhabitants – two giant tortoises – who are as gentle as they are giant (they weigh over 200 pounds!) You can then stroll along Melville Beach, before heading to Goodlands Market. A beautiful kovil (a Tamil temple) stands tall next to the market, with delicately painted deities on its façade.
On Wednesdays, you will bike in direction of Cap Malheureux, where the famous Roman Catholic red-roof chapel is sure to take your breath away. The postcard-worthy, sweeping views of the ocean serve as the perfect backdrop for a memorable family picture. As you meander along the spellbinding coastal road, you can spot, afar, Round Island, Flat Island and Coin de Mire, famous for resembling a seal peeking out of the ocean. Your last stop, before your legs start to give way, is Anse la Raie, a spot that attracts kitesurfers across the island. Thursdays are for Mountain Biking adventures for themore daring ones.
If you are in luck, you will be whisked away to hidden attractions tucked away in friendly neighbours’ backyards – mango trees laden with blossoms – or in the sugarcane fields during harvest season, where you will uncover the tricks of getting to the juices in the bamboo stems.
Likewise, Veranda Pointe aux Biches offers you a glimpse of what lays Deep Into Mauritius between Pointe aux Piments and Trou aux Biches. David and his team first lead you to the fisherman’s wharf, where the fresh catch of the day is displayed and sold (that marlin you have your eyes on could well be your dinner that night.) After biking to Trou aux Biches beach, there is nothing like mangue confit and glaçon râpé at Mont Choisy Beach to appease your worked-up appetite. Pedal on to Triolet village, where one of the oldest temples in the Indian Ocean (over 150 years old) awaits; the pandit delights in imparting knowledge on the Hindu mythology and significance of namaste. Also coined “Bangladesh of Mauritius”, Triolet is the ideal place to bargain for a traditional sari – it is standard to hear villagers chattering heartily in bhojpuri. Your last stop is a visit to a well-known face in the area – a shoemaker – who clings on to his almost-extinct job.
Veranda Grand Baie has the particularity of being set in the heart of the most vibrant village on the island. As you discover the Grand Baie bazaar and its local souvenirs or the trendy sea-facing restaurants sprinkled between local boutiques and malls, the aroma of the local street food wafts through the air. On your way to Mont Choisy Beach, our island’s ethnic mosaic stands out: a mosque and a chapel lay across the street from one another. As you cycle past Pereybere Beach, the cemetery, Anse la Raie’s must-see mangroves and Cap Malheureux, you will hardly notice time speeding by.
Veranda Palmar has just the solution for those who want to remain in touch with nature, without the endurance and energy required to ride a bike: rickshaw rides! That’s right, a stark white rickshaw takes you around Flacq and Trou d’Eau Douce, darting into little corners that are unsuitable for cars. With rhythmic sega music booming from the speakers, there is no greater way to see pockets of locals selling handmade crafts, fresh fruit or local delicacies in Flacq Market. A boulette (Mauritian dumpling) break is mandatory; we guarantee you will go back for seconds. Round it off with a pit stop at the church built in black lava stone and the pristine Palmar Beach. An outdoors activity with your family might just be what the doctor ordered!