If you’re searching for Indian Ocean islands to escape it all, then the island of Rodrigues is just the ticket. According to Mauritians, the unspoiled beauty of Rodrigues is what Mauritius was 50 years ago. So, experience both sides of the coin, and while you’re in paradise, travel to Rodrigues. Just over an hour away by air, and you’re in paradise of yesteryear.
The Mauritian territory is located 650km from Mauritius, but, beyond the beautiful beaches, it couldn’t be more different. While Mauritius has drawn a steady stream of tourism, and development over the last few decades, Rodrigues has not. The ultimate result of this is a tropical island without too much of the modern-day trappings of development.
Rodrigues has a small population – under 40,000 inhabitants – and the pace of life is slow, perfect for a holiday escape. The official language of the island is English, however, French and Créole are the most widely spoken.
The island’s natural beauty has been kept intact, and, as a small volcanic outcrop in the Indian Ocean, it’s surrounded by a turquoise lagoon and coral reefs teeming with marine life. Volcanic mountains, cloaked with rich vegetation provide ideal hiking routes, while coves and caves make for great exploring along the coastline.
For a small space (the island is only about 18km in length), Rodrigues packs a lot in.
The Grande Montagne Nature Reserve offers panoramic views over the island. Wind through the trails of the forest to reach the 300-350m high summit. The nature reserve is a prime spot to view the island’s rare plant life, endemic trees, and previously endangered bird species.
After working up a sweat, cool down on a boat trip to Île aux Cocos, one of the smaller islands neighbouring Rodrigues. White crystal white sands and turquoise seas are somewhat ubiquitous in this region, Île aux Cocos’ charm lies in its size – 1,2km in length and 250m across. Ensuring that you feel like you truly have escaped it all. You’ll find as your companions on your day trip, seabirds of varying species.
You’ll feel like you stepped into the pages of Treasure Island when visiting Trou D’Argent. Flanked by rugged cliffs, protecting pristine waters and picturesque beach, this little cove is only accessible by foot. Indian Ocean pirates and corsairs once sailed these waters, and it’s easy to imagine them choosing this spot to hide their loot. This spot is an ideal day trip for families as the path is easy-going and well marked.
The island has plenty to offer visitors, from intricate cave systems, to giant tortoises, and incredible diving, a few days spent here while on holiday in Mauritius is worth the trip.
When to visit: Rodrigues usually experiences pleasant weather all year round. November to April are the summer months, and temperatures usually peak at the mid-30oCs. The winter months, between May and October see temperatures peak at the mid-20oCs. Cyclone season usually runs from December to May, although this is often difficult to predict.
Where to stay: The island offers a range of accommodation types, although you won’t find the sprawling resorts you would in Mauritius. We love the charming beachside boutique hotel, Tekoma, or, the relaxed, garden retreat of La Belle Rodriguaise, with endless views over the ocean.
How to get there: Rodrigues is a Mauritian territory, so travel via the main island. Air Mauritius is due to restart flights to Rodrigues soon. Under usual circumstances, the airline operates daily return flights between Rodrigues and Mauritius.
Current restrictions: Until the 30th of September, fully vaccinated travellers can enjoy an in-resort stay at select hotels for 7 days. PCR tests: 3-7 days prior to travel. There is still a travel ban in place for arrivals from some countries.
From the 1st of October, Mauritius fully re-opens to vaccinated travellers. After presenting a PCR test no older than 72 hours, these arrivals are free to explore the island. Non-vaccinated travellers need to quarantine in their hotel rooms for the first 14 days.