Mark Twain once wrote that 'Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius'. For the most part, it's true: Mauritius is rightly famed for its sapphire waters, powder-white beaches and luxury resorts. But there's so much more attraction to Mauritius than the beach, and it's the kind of place that rewards even the smallest attempts at exploration. There’s hiking in the forested and mountainous interior and world-class diving and snorkelling offshore. There are boat trips to near-perfect islets and excursions to botanical gardens and colonial plantation houses. Mauritius is a fabulous culinary destination with great wildlife watching thrown in. And the real Mauritius away from the beach resorts – a hot curry of different cultures and quiet fishing villages – is never far away.