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Rodrigues Island, Mauritius.
Worlds away from neighbouring Mauritius (of which it is a territory) the volcanic island of Rodrigues is a little-known paradisiac isle that has escaped the grasp of tourism.
With a population of 40,000 people and not a chain hotel in sight, it’s the place to visit when you really want to go off grid. mix of French, British and Indian influences, Rodrigues will make you feel as though you’re entering another era the moment you step off the plane. Empty, sugar-rimmed bays, 4×4 rides along bumpy roads and homemade rum cocktails in your guesthouses are enchantingly rustic and a world away from the glitzy resorts of neighbouring Mauritius. Down-to-earth and homespun, you’ll be folded into the slow pace of local life by the time you’re settling in for your first meal of parrot fish curry in the shade of papaya trees.
The flat reefs of Rodrigues’ protected lagoon are where locals head to go octopus fishing, so join your hosts on an excursion to catch your dinner. Less keen to manhandle sea creatures? Go diving to explore the reefs, or try your hand at kitesurfing across the lagoon without having to avoid a herd of other surfers.
For a completely chilled-out beach day, catch a ride to Trou d’Argent, a secluded rocky cove that you’ll have all to yourself besides the occasional local family stopping by for a dip. Boat out to Ile aux Cocos if you ever feel like peeling yourself away from Rodrigues’ main island to see flocks of prehistoric birds that only exist in this tiny pocket of the world.
Who to take with you
Someone who doesn’t mind things getting quite rustic – this is not the place to go if you’re on the hunt for a lineup of five-star hotels and white-tablecloth restaurants.
When to go
Quite literally any time of year; the weather is consistently dreamy, and there isn’t a tourist high season to worry about.
Most likely to bump into
A gaggle of children running across the beach, tailed by goats.
Essentials to bring with you
A strapless Hunza G bikini for making the most of the Indian Ocean sunshine.
How to get there
Fly from London into Mauritius and then hop onto one of the two daily connecting flights into Rodrigues’ Sir Gaëtan Duval Airport.
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