When you think of Mauritius, images of palm-fringed white-sand beaches may spring to mind. The beaches here are almost entirely encircled by coral reefs and offer sanctuary for those who want to spend days lounging on the beach, but the nation’s crystal-clear waters are perfect for diving, snorkelling, swimming, kayaking too.

There is much more to Mauritius than you may originally think though. Whether it’s skydiving out of a plane, hiking through the mountains and National Parks or soaking up the culture, this is truly a destination with something for everyone. In fact, it’s so widely known for its beauty that an islander once told Mark Twain that “Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius”.

Home to beautiful colonial mansions, lush botanical gardens and hospitable locals of African, Indian and Chinese heritage, the island is the perfect combination of culture and exciting attractions. Roam colourful markets, peaceful temples and sample delicious cuisine.

Mauritius is also a nature lover’s delight, with water activities and on-land delights that will please every person after an island adventure. There are opportunities to dive amongst shipwrecks and canyons in the west and northern islands, whilst wildlife enthusiasts will revel in the chance to see sharks, turtles, eagle rays and moral eels in their natural habitat. If swimming isn’t your thing, take to the seas on a glass-bottom boat, catamaran, kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Hiking and trekking are also some of the best ways to explore; make your way to Black River Gorges National Park, a haven to highly endangered native plants and animals.