The west coast of Mauritius is the most popular beach hangout for locals as it is the closest to the bigger central towns of Quatre-Bornes, Rose-Hill, Beau-Bassin, Vacoas and Curepipe. It is within 30 minutes to any of these towns by car.
Tip: Mauritians typically go to the beach on weekends, so you should not worry about crowded beaches on weekdays. Summer weekends can be overwhelming, however.
Flic-en-flac is easily the most popular beach on the west coast of Mauritius thanks to its wide expanse of silky white sand, serene waters and beautiful sunsets. Its popularity has led to the opening of many restaurants and entertainment venues right across from the beach. And most of the four to five-star resorts on the west coast, like Sofitel and Sugar Beach, are found along Flic-en-flac beach and prices are likely to be higher than elsewhere in the west.
Tip: If you head to Flic-en-Flac, go to the beach right in front of Villas Caroline (northern tip of the beach) for its amazing beach which stretches dozens of metres to the sea during low tide.
Further north of Flic-en-Flac is Albion. It is another popular beach with locals being only a 15 minute drive away from Beau-Bassin. However, it cannot compare with Flic-en-Flac in sheer beauty. The sand is more grainy, the sea less clear and from what I remember of my childhood, there are a lot more filao trees adjoining the beach. If you don’t know what filao trees are, they are of the pine family and produce small, marbles-sized hard seeds with sharp protrusions. When these are scattered on the grass below, it can be a real pain walking barefoot. Apparently, Club Med has set up a resort in Albion, but I seriously doubt it’s for the beach. If you’re after the latter on the west coast of Mauritius, then I’d suggest staying in Flic-en-flac.
South of Flic-en-Flac is Tamarin. Tamarin is the most popular surf destination in Mauritius. Apparently, however, some local bullies often try to lay claim to the best surf spots. If possible, go in a group and always remember that Mauritius beaches are public. And the sea is for everyone to enjoy. As long as you don’t harm our flora, fauna and seas of course!
I stayed three days in Tamarin on my last trip to Mauritius in September 2016. The beach is still beautiful and was very quiet on weekday mornings. The cold weather and winds probably accounted for that.
In Tamarin, you can swim with dolphins which can be found in big pods only a 2 minute boat ride out to sea. Operators are aplenty on Tamarin beach but you can always get your hotel or guesthouse to arrange that for convenience.
I stayed at Chez Jacques guest house when i was there. The highlight of the place is probably its close proximity to Tamarin public beach which is less than 2 minutes away on foot. You can read my review of Chez Jacques on my tripadvisor: Review of Chez Jacques.
Further South of the west coast of Mauritius is the coastal region of Black River. Black River is known for its fishing, especially big game. Blue Marlin is the most prized catch in Mauritius but you can also catch black marlins, dorados, yellow fin tunas and more. Please note that big game fishing does not come cheap and will set you back a few hundred dollars per person at least.
Further down is the small village of La Gaulette which has traditionally been a fisherman village. It is a really quiet town and while the beaches are not of fine white sand, a picnic by the sea may be nice. I also heard during my last trip that La Gaulette has nice waves for wind surfers. Apparently, there are resorts being set up higher up the mountain facing the sea to focus on such sports.
Tip: If you want to try some nice local food, stop by La Gaulette and ask any local where you can eat in the neighbourhood (there are somehow always people sitting by the road side, chilling out).
Even further south of the west coast of Mauritius is the distinct southeastern peninsula of Le Morne. Le Morne has arguably the most pristine beaches on the entire island. There are a few very expensive resorts and not much else. I would highly recommend staying there if you want peace and quiet. I’ve personally tried St Regis and it was fantastic.
Caveat: Please note that the nearest commercial venue from your hotel would likely be a 20-min drive away.
Supermarket highlights along the west coast
Right before Tamarin from Flic-en-flac is Le Barachois shopping centre. It has a big supermarket which will have any groceries you need. There is also an ATM conveniently located at the car park so you can withdraw money 24/7.
In Black River, only a couple of km away from Tamarin, there is the London Ways supermarket which is also stocked up with anything you may need. The place is frequented by residents of the locality, mostly foreigners who’ve migrated to Mauritius in the recent past.
In Flic-en-flac, there is a Spar supermarket, which is apparently smaller but conveniently located right across the main beach.
Restaurant highlights along the west coast
There are a number of restaurants along Flic-en-flac but nothing I’ve tried in the recent past. If you want to venture about 10 minutes inland from Flic-en-flac there is a great restaurant in the middle of a sugarcane field called Domaine Anna. It’s a beautifully converted building from our colonial past and the food is great to boot. Thinking of the grilled lamb is making my mouth water as I’m typing this.
In Tamarin, right before Le Barachois shopping centre, there is Big Willy’s, a sports bar which screens international games. They’ve made a name for themselves thanks to their food and outdoor entertainment. It is well frequented by both locals and tourists. There is a parking space right in front of the place but during peak hours it’s unlikely that you’ll get a spot. You can always park at Le Barachois and take a 3 minute walk to Big Willy’s. Here’s my review of Big Willy’s on tripadvisor: Review of Big Willy’s.
A couple of km from Tamarin public beach, right before London Ways supermarket is restaurant La Bonne Chute. The restaurant is the second oldest in the country since its independence. It dates back to 1969, so they must be doing something right. We were there for lunch and were not disappointed. They serve primarily local fare and boast local produce such as wild boar and wild deer. We tried their palm heart salad with smoked marlin (one of my favourite entrees in Mauritius), the seafood crab gratin, lentil soup, wild boar roast, grilled dorado and chocolate fondant. They were all from above average to excellent. Here’s my review of La Bonne Chute on tripadvisor: Review of La Bonne Chute.
In recent years, the west coast of Mauritius has gained more popularity with tourists. With land in the north, which has long held the crown as a tourist favourite, becoming scarce, hotel groups have turned to the West. There are still pockets in the West which are still not as crowded, Tamarin being one. I would highly recommend anyone visiting Mauritius to stay at least four days in the West. On top of visiting the various beaches, you have easy access to the central towns where you can truly immerse yourself in the Mauritian way of life.