Grand-Bay is the foremost tourist destination on the island. If you love the hustle-bustle of a coastal town along with a mix of activities for tourists, Grand-Bay will offer you all this and more.
Your best plan is to stay in the area to avoid driving along dark roads at night or paying an expensive taxi. You are well spoiled when it comes to luxurious hotels in the region. The exclusive Royal Palm 5 star Hotel very popular with celebrities and statesmen is located right in Grand-Bay. You also have the Hibiscus Beach Resort further down and to the west of Gradn Bay, the Canonnier Hotel (4 star) just beyond the crowd. If you head east of Grand Bay towards the Coin de Mire, you will find the aptly named Coin de Mire Hotel. On top of all this, you can also choose to stay in a self-catered villa, many of which come with a swimming pool.
Attractions in Grand-Bay
Take a boat ride within the lagoon among the many boats that you can see there or go out for a day beyond the reefs onto one of the small islands beyond the north coast. You cannot miss to see the Coin de Mire, an island which juts out of the sea and appears to be like a mountain when seen from the mainland but has a gentle rising slope when viewed from the ocean. There are other small islands such as Serpent Island, Round Island and Flat island but some are protected by the government due to their fragile ecosystem and no one is allowed there. However, visitors are allowed on Flat Island and Gabriel Island and tourists can find several places in Grand-Bay that offercatamaran cruises with drinks and a barbecue included in the package. This is a wonderful experience for a one-day trip.
Have you seen the sea from underneath without getting wet? This is possible with the semi-submarine boat the Nessee. It has a deep hull whose sides are made of thick glass which allows you to see under the sea. As the lagoon is Grand-Bay is very clear, you are able to see a few metres into the water. The skipper will throw some bread in the water to attract tropical species of fish. The boat will stop in the middle of the lagoon and you will have the opportunity to go snorkelling among the fish and hand-feed them more bread. If donning a diving suit is not your thing, you can stay safely in the boat to take plenty of pictures.
These are perhaps two activities which you will not find anywhere else. Otherwise, you can always head to the surrounding sandy beaches for a swim or a picnic or if you are staying in one of the top hotels, take up one of their watersports activities such as the jet-ski. Heading into town, you will find nightclubs and places to rent bicycles and scooters to explore the area on your own in freedom.
Shops, restaurants and facilities
Grand-Bay Market will keep shopaholics busy hunting for clothes and local souvenirs. There is also the Sunset Boulevard Shopping Complex, an upmarket shopping area on the main road with designer jewellery and clothes available. Turn into the road heading inland and you will find Super U, a hyper market with bumper cars to keep the kids entertained. Another smaller supermarket, Store 2000, is found out of the town centre towards the east but still on the main road.
Where tourists go, restaurants follow. If you are in search of a place to eat, the sea front is thronged with restaurants, some more expensive than others. Chinese cuisine is particularly popular in Mauritius but you will also find the uniquely expensive restaurant La Langouste Grisée, just out of the town centre heading west. If you are in a self-catered villa surviving on bread, the Grand-Bay Bakery towards the back of the town will provide you with hot and exotic bread.
Grand Bay is also well located to explore the surrounding areas, either by car or simply by cycling along the coast. There are many outlets where you will be able to hire a bicycle or two and for the more lazy, a scooter. With your means of transport solved, from Grand-Bay go west and follow the coastal road. You will reach a junction where you should turn right to keep hugging the coast. Follow this road and you will find many opportunities for pictures of magnificent sea views and small beaches. If you keep going, you will eventually reach the Pointe aux Canonniers where the Canonniers Hotel is situated. Go past it until you meet a mini roundabout. Take the last exit so that you stay close to the coast. You will find Mont Choisy Public Beach just after. This is one of the longest and most beautiful beaches of the island with plenty of white sand and plenty of turquoise blue sea water awaiting your escapades. To head back to Grand-Bay, go back to the small round-about and take the last exit.
Back to Grand-Bay, go east this time along the coastal road until you come to Pereybere Public Beach. This is also one of the most popular beaches but because it is so small, it gets overcrowded very often, especially during weekends when many Mauritians take to the beaches. You are advised to visit this beach early in the morning when you’ll have it all to yourself. Pereybere is a very good spot to find a self-catered villa at a good price because it is not in Grand-Bay yet not far from it, so you can easily enjoy all that Grand-Bay and the area has to offer. The Hibiscus Beach Resort is located just before the public beach of Pereybere.
Keeping going past Pereybere and you will reach Cap Malheureux. You will know when you are there when you see the iconic chapel with the red roof. This striking chapel appears on many postcards and is a popular wedding venue for those from abroad. Also at Cap Malheureux, you will find the Coin de Mire island situated just across the sea. This is the closest you can get to it from the mainland.
Grand-Bay has much to offer and even if you prefer to avoid tourist places, you can always stay outside this town and explore the north of the country. There are plenty of things to do in Grand-Bay and beyond…