Live like a local: homestays and lodges are the perfect way to assimilate local customs and meet inhabitants.
« Immerse yourself in the daily life of Mauritius and Rodrigues through various visits, excursions and nights in charming hotel… you quickly get used to it! Enjoy a slice of homemade brioche before a full-day of experiences, such a bliss! » - Cathy, Islandian Expert
The price includes:
- Mauritius / Rodrigues / Mauritius flight (air taxes included)
- Meet & greet at destination- 4 days car rental in Rodrigues, pick-up & drop off at the airport
- 3 nights at the Domaine de la Paix in Sterne Room, on bed & breakfast basis
- “Saveurs Creoles” half-fay package trip by Rodrigues Friendly, with lunch
- Visit to François Leguat Reserve- Transfer from Mauritius airport (SSR) to River House by private car
- 3 nights at the River House in Standard Double Room, on bed & breakfast basis
- A kayak ride along the river facing the River House- Fishing trip in Tamarin Bay from River House
- Dolphin watching, snorkeling and lunch on Bénitiers Island
- Transfer from River House to Lakaz Chamarel by private car
- 2 nights in Lakaz Chamarel in Standard room on half board basis
-Transfer from Lakaz Chamarel to Mauritius airport (SSR) by private car
The price does not include:
- Meals and drinks not mentioned as included.
- Excursions and activities not mentioned as included
- Cancellation / multi-risk insurance
- Personal expenses
Arrival at SSR International Airport in Mauritius; connecting flight to Rodrigues. Arrival at the Airport of Rodrigues. Pick up the keys to your rental car and drive to the Domaine de la Paix, a guest house run by a lovely couple, Claudine and Pascal. Situated on a hilly landscape, the guest house is seven minutes from the capital, Port Mathurin, and five minutes from English Bay, the setting for French-Mauritian novelist and Nobel prizewinner, J.M.G Le Clézio’s novel, “Le Chercheur d’or.” Settle into one of the rooms decorated by the hostess herself, which offer a wonderful panorama of Rodrigues. Feeling jetlagged? You may want to cure the tiredness with a dip in the magnesium swimming pool. At sunset hour, order a drink at the poolside bar. The caring hosts can recommend a place to eat out or you may sample Claudine’s cooking (We hear she is a fabulous cook.)
Rise early for some delicious home-baked brioche prepared by Pascal and served with jam or honey (a local specialty), seasonal fruit and hot drinks before heading to Port Mathurin at 8:30 for an immersion into Rodrigues’ culture with Rodrigues Friendly, a small local company that plans curated cultural tours of the island. The immersion begins with a visit of Port Mathurin, its colonial style architecture, man-made port and crowded marketplace. Behind the rickety stalls are vendors half-hidden by dozens of jars of pickled limon - lemon, achards - crudités and fruit pickled in salt and vinegar (historically popular among Portuguese sailors) - tiny green chilies, salted fish, dried octopus, and honey. Rodrigues practices a certain localism by designing and fabricating crafts made from the straw of endemic trees and coconut shreddings: large straw hats, woven baskets… Our favorite is the Rodriguan “tourte” - a pie with a tropical fruit filling, which you will learn to bake. At the market, you will meet a vendor who will let you sample her confection and explain how it is made. Visit a typical Rodriguan village nestled in the woods and a local dwelling, and learn about the rhythm of Séga-tambour (séga music performed with drums), intrinsic to the local culture. You will be invited to plant a tree and understand the island’s hilly landscape. Visit the St Gabriel church, symbolic of the Creole Christian faith before having lunch at someone’s home. Private transfer back to your hotel around 2:30. Wind down on your terrace until dinnertime. You may eat out at a nearby restaurant or stay in for one of Claudine’s sumptuous meals.
Enjoy a slice of Pascal’s bread and some coffee before heading to the François Leguat Reserve at Anse Quitor. The park, an ongoing project, aims to recreate the Edenic Rodrigues described by early explorers. Giant tortoises from Aldabra, Seychelles, were introduced to replace the tortoises of a similar species, which had been decimated during the Dutch period. Hundreds of tortoises roam the refuge where the wildlife - indigenous trees, birds and Roussette fruit bats, endangered tortoises from Madagascar - is thriving. The on-site museum recounts the settlement of Rodrigues. Follow the guides into the caves lit up to give you a glimpse of the rocky formations. You may sponsor a tortoise as a way of showing your support to the organization. Enjoy a casual lunch at the restaurant on-site or head to a place nearby for an octopus salad, a local specialty. Before returning to your hotel, make the trek to Trou d’Argent, a creek surrounded by steep cliffs. The famous beach is studded with filao trees, which act as “windbreakers.” For dinner, you may eat out - be sure to ask Claudine for recommendations - or enjoy one of the hostess’ fabulous meals.
Enjoy a last slice of Pascal’s home-baked brioche before driving to the airport to drop off the rental car and catch a flight to Mauritius. Arrival at SSR International Airport, private transfer to River House, a charming bed and breakfast in Tamarin, a village on the west coast where surfers, boards tucked under their arms, scan the horizon. Angela’s wooden Creole style house is set on the riverbank, where the river meets the sea, across from the Rempart mountain, in a gorgeous tropical garden brimming with birds and fruit bats. The interiors combine antiques with modern amenities, promising a peaceful stay. Angela, who presides over River House, remodelled her family vacation home to accommodate guests. You may dine at Angela’s who will concoct a homey meal.
Enjoy breakfast - seasonal fruit, croissants, local jams, cereal, yogurt and hot drinks - on the deck overlooking the river while birds chirp and peck at the crumbs. Spend the day exploring the west coast, its mountains, volcanic-sand beaches, small fishing villages, surf shops, cafés and roadside street food stalls. From River House it is a minute walk to the quiet beach. For a beach with a more vibrant atmosphere, try Tamarin Beach, referred to as “la baie” by locals. The public beach lures surfers, families picnicking, marssan boulettes - vendors selling steamed dumplings in broth - and teens looking for a place to sunbathe and slackline. In the afternoon drift down the river in a kayak before having dinner at Angela’s or a nearby restaurant.
Rise at dawn to meet a fisherman who will take you out on his pirogue, a typical wooden boat, to Tamarin Bay to swim with dolphins in their natural habitat. Slip on your fins, mask, and tuba for an early morning swim near the reef among Bottlenose and Spinner dolphins. The outing lasts about two and half hours. A lunch on Ile aux Bénitiers, a crescent-shaped island off the coast can be organized upon request, in which case you would return to River House by 2.00pm. After a few hours of swimming and suntanning you may want to wind down in the shade in the gorgeous garden on the river. You may dine at Angela’s or try a restaurant in the vicinity.
Wake up to the birds chirping and eat breakfast on the deck before departing for Chamarel, a valley of fertile soil, waterfalls, ravines, pineapple plantations, monkeys and dense tropical vegetation. Private transfer to Lakaz Chamarel, an eco-chic lodge at the heart of nature, nestled between “les Gorges,” a nature reserve and Chamarel village. Each “lakaz,” each room or suite, is decorated with old photographs, paintings by local artists, Indian tapestries, African prints, wood, wrought iron and bamboo furniture. Each “kaz” and “lakaz” has its own original name, inspired by local myths, literature, fictional and historic characters and the Mauritian métissage. The gorgeous rooms and suites give onto tropical gardens or stunning views of the valley and sea. Walk to Deck View Point, five minutes from your doorstep for a panoramic view of the surroundings. Go for a meditative walk in the labyrinth modeled after the famous one inside the Chartres cathedral. Dinner is served as from 7.30pm. Discover what is called “cuisine d’antan” - very much like your grandmother’s cooking, that is, fresh local produce cooked according to traditional recipes. Part of the vegetables come from the hotel’s own vegetable garden. Dinner includes amuse-bouches, an appetizer, a main course, and dessert. After a delicious home-cooked meal, you may borrow a book from the library or play some board games.
At Lakaz Chamarel breakfast is a treat: hot chocolate, coffee, tea, home-baked bread and homemade jams, cheese, seasonal fruit, bacon and eggs from the farm next door… Spend the day outdoors beginning with a hike to Piton Canot, which takes an hour and fifteen minutes. There is a pathway or you may follow the guide. Borrow a bicycle and visit Chamarel village then cycle downhill to Baie du Cap, a remote and charming coastal village. The next halt is Le Morne beach, which constantly makes it to the top of the list of Mauritius’ gorgeous beaches. Take a dip in the warm sea then settle in the shade of a filao tree while its willowy branches sway in the breeze, and gaze at the kitesurfers - and splashes of bright pink, neon yellow and green colour in the blue sky - while they pull off impressive tricks. A 4x4 will pick you up at the beach and drive you back to the hotel. Lakaz Chamarel is a starting point for dozens of hikes and trails - the knowledgeable and helpful staff can help you plan your outing. We recommend going to l’Ile aux Aigrettes, a research station and sanctuary for endangered and rare species of birds and reptiles, namely the pink pigeon and a colony of giant Aldabra tortoises but also endemic plants such as ebony.
Enjoy your last Mauritian breakfast at the lodge. For lunch, we suggest you try Palais de Barbizon for a typical family-style Mauritian lunch in a funky restaurant with bright orange walls. There is no menu at this fabulous place - Rico and Marie-Ange will serve you jackfruit curry, vegetarians dishes, fish, venison, poultry and even cosson marron - wild boar - with rice, achards, chutneys and crushed chilies. A jug of bright orange juice spiked with cheap local rum is set on the table covered with a plasticky red checkered/gingham tablecloth.For a fancier alternative try Le Chamarel, one of the classics of the local food scene. The restaurant is perched on a hillside and affords stunning views of the valley, endemic forests, lagoon, reef, and islets. Each dish is artfully plated and evokes traditional Mauritian cuisine that has been revisited. Sit at one of the tables on the deck - a gentle breeze, panoramic views and great wine list presage a memorable meal. Private transfer back to the lodge. You have some time to pack before your transfer to the SSR International Airport.