You are at the right place if you search the internet for a catamaran cruise or speed boat trip in Mauritius. A holiday trip to Mauritius is a dream come true with the many beautiful places to see on the island. Catamaran cruises and tours have been there to provide more than the exceptional view of the attractions. What amazes me is the variety of activities – no one misses what to do! With your family on board, you will surely have maximum fun and an once-in-a-lifetime sightseeing experience.
Furthermore, Mauritius is known for its mild tropical maritime climate all year round. Even in winter, the temperature drops from relatively hot to balmy. All these are geared towards taking the catamaran cruise experience to real ecstasy.
The paradise island of Mauritius has many small islands which are still in their pristine state. Most of them are also nature reserves protected by the Mauritian authorities. One of the ways to visit those islands is by taking a boat trip.
This article will describe which places you can visit in Mauritius on a catamaran or speedboat
What to expect on a Catamaran Cruise?
What awaits you on a catamaran is new experiences where you have the breeze blowing through your face, the thrill of being on a boat, music, and snorkelling, dancing, barbecue. In addition, you can walk barefoot on pristine beaches and replenish your vitamin D in the body with lots of sunshine.
Snorkelling in Mauritius during a boat trip
One activity that all catamarans and speedboats offer is snorkelling. It’s so natural for someone to desire a jump into the water when azure blue water surrounds you. How can anyone resist such a temptation? The easiest and safe way to enjoy the sea is by putting on a mask and tuba to look into the water. Suddenly, a new world opens to you. You can see live fishes among corals and all the reefs’ flora and fauna.
Snorkelling is normally among the first activities you undertake while venturing on a catamaran or speedboat. The reason is that most of the organizers also offer rum on board. So, getting into the water before drinking alcohol is a very good idea. Consequently, there is no possibility of anyone drowning due to suffocation or vomiting. However, rest assured that the water is shallow in most snorkelling spots. There are a huge variety of fishes and corals on the Mauritian reef. Some of them are table corals, Acropora species, damsel fish, pearly sergeant, Mauritian gregory, and anemone fish, amongst others. Table corals are most prominent in the marine parks of Balaclava and Mahebourg.
Ile aux Cerfs Catamaran
Good to Know
Departure Place: Mahebourg, Pointe D’esny, Pointe Gerome, Trou d’Eau Douce
Duration: 7 hours
Price: Varies with Season and is updated when needed.
One well-liked boat trip you can take during the day is to the lovely Ile aux cerfs island. The island is highly developed, with an abundance of tourists. However, the island has kept its beauty, and all catamaran and speedboat trip to the east stop at this popular destination for activities like shopping, snorkeling, parasailing or making a barbecue lunch. You can opt for a sightseeing catamaran trip that makes you visit several of the nearby islands. If you like getting into the water, you can include snorkeling in your catamaran cruise. The other four islands you can include are Ilot Marianne Nature Reserve, Ile aux Fouqueux Nature Park, Ile aux Aigrettes, and Îlot Flamant.
Ile aux Fouquet
Ile aux Fouquet is also called Ile Phare or the lighthouse island. It is so named because species of tern were breeding on the island and local fishermen called them Fouquet. It has been an Islet National Park since 2004, protected for its biodiversity. The water around the island is very shallow. Most catamarans carry a small boat to make their visitors get to the islands on smaller boats. Most of the time, you have to walk to the island for a few meters in the water and ensure that you carry shoes with you for this purpose.
The lighthouse was constructed in 1864 by the British after they won the island from the French, but now it’s almost falling into pieces. The most interesting part of the island is its history. The battle of Grand Port took place near Ile aux Fouquet in 1810 between the French Navy and the British Royal Navy. The British lost the battle, which was the greatest defeat of the British army during the Napoleonic Wars.
While on the island, you can take some pictures and feel the sea breeze while spotting some birds. It takes you around 15-20 minutes to walk through the island. It is such a tiny one!
Isle aux Aigrettes
Isle aux Aigrettes has an area of 26 hectares and is on the southeast coast of Mauritius in Mahebourg Bay. Unlike the other islands made of volcanic rocks, the island is composed of coral limestone and is the remains of an eroded dune long time back sat way below the sea level but became exposed after sea levels dropped around 10,000 years ago.
The harsh forest that we see on Ile aux Aigrettes today is the work of intense restoration work. The Government of Mauritius introduced a lot of animals to the island. From Ile aux Aigrettes, we get a good view of the other 2 islands in the west.
During World War II, the island was used as a military base for British and Mauritian armed forces. The island is still covered with old buildings used during the war meantime. But the main object of interest remaining from that era is the 2 large shell guns still on the island. The Mauritian authorities took the canons from active ships during World War I. They have never been fired during any war but used for training.
In 1985, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation started a habitat restoration project on Ile aux Aigrettes, intending to restore the island to how it looked before the arrival of people in Mauritius. The local authorities removed the invasive plant species and re-introduced the native ones like pigeon de Mar,
In 1997, the Mauritian authorities constructed a to grow native flora so that they a nursery to replant on the island. Today, Ile aux Aigrettes is more of a monument of what Mauritius would have looked like 400 years ago.
You can take an ecological tour. In 2000, 3 species of endemic birds were introduced on the island: pigeon de Mar, Mauritius Fody and ‘Oiseau, a lunette (bird with spectacles) + 2 species of reptiles, namely Telfair’s skink and the Guenther gecko.
Most catamaran or speedboat tours stop nearby Ile aux Aigrettes for snorkelling followed by an appetizer, or the latter can even be served in water. The sea is very shallow, which makes it a suitable place for the popular yearly party. If you are ever in Mauritius when the party is taking place, do it a must to attend it. On that day, hundreds of boats with several hundred tourists party into the water, and it’s lots of fun.
Ferme Marine de Mahebourg
While on the way to Ile aux cerfs, you will pass by the fish farm at Ferme Marine de Mahebourg, an extraordinary snorkeling spot. You may think there might be some danger of shark attack here, but rest assured that the water is very shallow, and there is not much to worry about sharks. Due to the abundance of food, the region’s flora is remarkable and abundant. Some species of fish you can see here are the scissortail sergeant, blue fish, blotchy soldier, and sabre squirrelfish
Catamaran Cruise with Lunch on board
Most catamaran tours are whole-day trips, and while you are partaking in activities like visiting the islets on the small boats, the organizers get the opportunity to prepare BBQ on board, which is served for lunch. The BBQ is set on the deck with an abundance of seafood that mostly contains lobster and prawn together with meat.
Don’t worry if you are a vegetarian. Lots of vegetables are served for lunch, including broccoli, lettuce, beans, etc.
Grand River South East Waterfall
All catamaran trips to the East propose you the trip to the wonderful Grand River South East waterfall. The best way to appreciate the waterfall is by canoe, which the catamaran company arranges. The catamaran cannot get into the mouth of the river, and again you are called to get on a small speedboat to get close to the waterfall. The falling water is soothing to the ears, but the appetite of the eyes is fulfilled by the monkeys that stray around the waterfall.
North Isles Mauritius Cruises
Departure Place: Grand Baie, Pereybere & Cap Malheureux
Duration: 7 hours
Price: Varies with Season and is updated when needed.
Departure Time: Consult on booking
Good to Know:
Full-Day Trip on Catamaran
Visiting Islands: As per your package
BBQ for lunch with lobster, fish & meat
The north catamaran cruises offer spectacular trips in the north of the following:
- Gabriel Island
- Coin de Mire (Gunner’s Quoin)
- Flat Island
- Round Island
- Ile aux Serpents
- Pigeon Rock
Departing from Grand Baie, visitors to Mauritius can relish a day outing to the splendid Gabriel Island, located on the extreme north of Mauritius. It is approximately 10 Kms from Cap Malheureux. The island is known for its intact beaches and crystal-clear waters. It is only around 90 minutes from the mainland. Many companies offer day trips. Cruises depart after breakfast, around 9 AM and return in the afternoon. If you have booked a tour with a company, ensure you are 15 minutes before time but never late. The reason is that the boat does not delay its departure time, mostly to respect other tourists on the same boat. You do not have any refund either!
Once on the island, enjoy your time relaxing on the beach or playing in the water of the small paradise.
The journey to the Flat island on a speedboat is like a James bond movie. It is spectacular as you have to pass beneath the volcanic surfaces of Coin de Mire. However, only half of the island is flat. Normally you can only get on a Flat island on a small boat because the water is very shallow. Once you are in paradise, you will likely have the whole island. The island was a quarantine station during the period of Malaria and Cholera in the 1860s. However, many of the old buildings are still intact. You can get obsessed with those old historical buildings, which are also scattered all around Mauritius. You might wonder how many people lived in those buildings before they stopped using them!
One of the only two operational houses on the island was built in 1855 and gave you beautiful views of the two surrounding islands, namely Ilot Gabriel and Pigeon Rock.
Taking a scuba dive around the flat island is phenomenal. The sea is blue underwater in the background. There are many crevices you can go through with many species of fish. Keep in mind that you can come across a shark. So, if you are now sure how you will react to such a circumstance, you are not ready to dive around the island.
Visitors to the islands in the north should also know that Flat island and Gabriel island are just around 300 meters from each other. You can walk from one island to the other during low tide.
Coin de Mire
Coin de Mire is also known as Gunner’s Quoin. It lies in front of the serene village of Cap Malheureux. The island is a striking marvel that occurs in Mauritius. The delightful rocks of the north island appear to rise from the sea when seen from the tip of the north. Consequently, it is a sightseeing spot, making it a must to take a glimpse of it before you depart from Mauritius.
The catamaran trip to this island start under similar timing and conditions to that of Gabriel Island. It is 8 kilometres from the mainland and a declared nature reserve. You cannot land on the island unless you seek special authorities’ permission.
Nearing the island, you can see cliffs nesting ground for birds. You can snorkel at the foot of the cliffs where the water is shallow. The reef is in a perfect state with a diversity of reef fishes and species of both hard and soft corals.
You can combine Tours to Coin de Mire with short snorkelling or make it a whole day trip. The departure points for visiting the island bine are Pereybere, Grand Baie or Cap Malheureux.
In October 2012, a total of 60 casarea dussumieri, also known as round island boa, was released on Gunner’s Quoin. The idea is to repopulate the islands with the species that lived there in the past.
Round Island is internationally recognized as an ecologically important spot for seabirds. The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation saved the island. It became a nature reserve in 1957 to preserve the bird species that man predated. Flora and fauna on the island are rare and are also home to endemic reptiles and plants. The endemic snake species are the round island boa (Caesarea dussumieri), also known as Round -the island keel-scaled boa or the round island ground boa. It is non-venomous and one of the world’s rarest snakes.
Ile aux Serpents
‘Serpent’ is a French word that means snake in English. Curiously, the island doesn’t have snakes but endemic flora and fauna like the serpent island gecko. A huge colony of surface-nesting seabirds makes up a huge portion of the fauna on the islet, almost devoid of vegetation.
Pigeon rock is very near the flat island. It is a well-known shark diving spot known as the shark pit. However, there are not always sharks in the pit. Mauritius could not protect this site, and the sharks were all fished by the local fisherman. The good news is that the sharks have started inhabiting the pit again.
Private Catamaran Tours
Perhaps it is essential to know some of the popular and mirthful activities one can take on during the tour. Begin with the exclusive private tours with which individuals or groups of people can use. There are several of such private catamaran cruises with each tailor being as per individual’s desire and preference. The fleet of the catamaran vessels available is composed of both the large catamaran vessels, which can obviously accommodate a whole lot of people (normally a maximum of 58 heads) and the small catamaran cruises which could carry relatively less number of people.
Another dumbfounding adventure is swimming with dolphins and watching the whales in their natural aquatic habitat. This is normally done by watching them from perhaps the cruising vessels or by observing them in the open sea. There are a number of trips on the West Coast of the island to watch these astonishing marine mammals. Notably, all the trips are guided by professionals so as to avoid disturbance of their habitat and the daily lives of this marine life. The trips do comprise of 2.5 hours dolphins swimming adventure, dolphin swimming safari which is a day package, full-day dolphins trip, whales and dolphin combined trips among several others.
Sunset Catamaran Cruises
The sunset catamaran cruise along the north coast of Mauritius is another exhilarating activity that one ought not to miss. As the sun sets, it creates a beautiful, attractive, and a calming sight – which overly lures one to a memorable moment of rumination. It would be pretty much suitable for couples, partners, friends or even family and anyone else. The north coast catamaran cruise normally departs at 1700hrs from the Grand Bay located at the north of Mauritius and arrives back at about 1900hrs. Accompanying the beautiful sunset is great background music, snacks, drinks and some special cocktails. Then there is the catamaran cruise that leaves at 0900hrs at the Grand Bay which offers another indelible experience. For about 1.5 hours, the cruise sails to Gabriel Island which is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches on the island. A BBQ lunch buffet is normally set at around 1230hrs on the beach or in the catamaran. The cruise will then pass by an astonishing lagoon where people swim and snorkel. Once in a while, during the excursion, the boat might need to stop so you can watch the whales. The cruise is expected back Grand Bay at 1600hrs as those on board enjoy light snacks.
Tamarin & West Coast Catamaran Trips
Ile aux Benitiers
Ile aux Benitiers is located on the South coast of Mauritius, and its name comes from the Benitier seashell. The small island is easy to access from the mainland. La Balise & La Gaulette are the preferred places to hop on a boat to Ile aux Benitiers. Another interesting option is a cheap catamaran cruise, usually from Tamarin.
There are lots of things to buy on the island, and make sure you have your wallet. There are shells, jewellery & also homemade rum. The atmosphere on the island is always joyful, with tons of music, not to forget the guitar players who perform live all the time during the day. Preparing BBQ is very popular on Ile aux Benitiers and is prepared using charcoal.
On the way to Ile aux Benitiers, there is a snorkelling spot called an aquarium. The place still has lots of fish though many corals look damaged.
The crystal rock is a famous rock formation near Ile aux Benitiers. It is a nice snorkelling spot; one can swim to it from Ile aux Benitiers. Most cruises offer lunch in their deal, usually in the form of an excellent beach barbecue. Make sure you take your wallet because there are lots of things to buy on the island- shelves, jewellery and homemade rum. It is a beautiful postcard picturesque island with beautiful.
Catamaran vs. Speed Boat
You can go on either a standard catamaran tour or a speedboat trip. But you also have the option to combine these two in one tour. However, it depends on what you want to do. Whatever you decide to go after has its pros and cons, and the notes below will help you choose the best trip for you.
The catamaran is very spacious, with lots of room to walk. You can also lie down to sunbathe while reading your favorite book or, if you want, chill. The catamaran is slower compared to a speedboat. However, the former is cheaper because it can accommodate many people, and the cost burden is shared. Speedboats are, most of the time, private tours that are ideal if you are among families.
If you like the thrill of speed, you have to choose a speedboat. You then have to spend less time on board the boat, giving you more time for sightseeing. Speedboats, as the name entail, are fast, and you m stay still so that there is no risk of anyone getting thrown accidentally into the water. You have to be on guard with your movement; it takes more energy than a catamaran. If you are adventurous, a speedboat is the ideal means of travel for water tours.
One crucial advantage of a speedboat over a catamaran is that you cannot get sick on a speedboat, as your body is constantly moving with the speed of the boat. When the chances of getting sea sickness are very low during a catamaran trip, it is not excluded, especially when traveling long distances.
A speedboat might be better if you intend to get near round island or pigeon rock. In contrast, Ile Plate and Gabriel island visits are ideal using a catamaran due to the nature of the islands. They are more tourists, and it may fit your nature if you make the trip mostly to relax and chill.
Research and book a boat trip in advance when you are in your country to avoid the quick fix that restricts your choice. We get tons of last-minute demand for boat trips that we are unable to arrange because most of the boats are booked. If you are coming to Mauritius, especially in the peak season from September to April, make sure you book your water tours months in advance.
Choose a speedboat if you don’t want to spend much time on the boat. But a catamaran is ideal if you like to relax on board vessels.
It’s a good idea to get ready for sea trips with your swimsuit. The reason is that you don’t have to change onboard the vessel.
If you have water shoes, make sure you bring them because most of the time, you must walk into the water before getting on the islands you visit.
Sun protection is a good idea. So is a sun hat and sunglasses. In summer, you can easily get burnt if you are white. So, a long sleeve shirt is very helpful.
Check out with the tour operator if towels are available. Otherwise, you need to bring one from your hotel.
Keeping some cash at hand is a marvellous idea when now you know that many islands have locals selling Mauritius souvenirs. It is always a good idea to help local businesses and reimburse them for their efforts. These small traders are present at Ile aux Cerfs, Flat Island and Ile aux Benitiers, to mention a few places.
You may also wish to give tips to the boat crew, who work hard to make your day blessed!