Tucked away 617 km (383 miles) east from Mauritius lies the small Island of Rodrigues. This pristine island might just be a perfect hideaway for you to retreat. And if you’re someone looking for a low-key island retreat and you do not mind learning the local culture of the small creole community, then get ready to pack your stuff including flip flops, sarong, hat, and a pinch of some adventurous spirits. Rodrigues Island is a place where you can lose yourself completely when strolling its rugged terrains, small fishing villages, and well-kept coves. If you’re confused about where to start your island exploration then we have prepared a list of some best places to visit in Rodrigues Island including some secluded attractions.
Below check out some of the best places to visit in Rodrigues Island:
Port Mathurin – Rodrigues Island
The ‘busiest’ part of the island is undoubtedly its capital Port Mathurin, though you might never see any kind of road traffic during your visit. Port Mathurin is located in the northern part of the island. From banks to the General Assembly and administrative center, Port Mathurin has all the essential facilities when it comes to conveniences. There are many small shops where you can buy some local products. Besides, you can easily find supermarkets, ATMs, and restaurants.
Another interesting spot is the historical building of the Tourism Office-a colonial house built in 1873. This is the right place where you can get all the required information about the island as a tourist. If you walk a few meters ahead you will find the famous local market.
Tips: The temperature in this region gets warmer during the day, so it is recommended to take drinking water with you and wear a hat while strolling along the streets.
Port Mathurin Market
Located in Port Mathurin just near the post office lies the renowned market, where you can get to know about the local products. It is basically open every day, but to really enjoy the lively atmosphere you need to visit on Saturday morning before noon. People go very early morning to buy fresh vegetables and fruits. You can expect to find some imported and local fruits. There are varieties of pickles made with fruits, vegetables, local lemons, and sometimes with octopus. Don’t miss the award-winning Rodriguan honey in small pots.
Additionally, you will find a variety of handcrafted jewelry, beautiful hats, and souvenirs. Try the local delicacies such as ‘roti so’ (a flatbread also popular in Mauritius island) with curries, samosas, gato manioc (cake made with cassava), and locally made coffee.
Trou d’Argent Cove – Picturesque cove of Rodrigues Island
One of the best places to visit in Rodrigues island is hands down Trou d’Argent Cove which is located on the tranquil east coast. This pristine cove is blessed with white fine sandy beaches with clear greenish pale blue seawater. Part of the place has some lush green vegetation and edgy cliffs. This is the place, where you can have a leisure stroll or sunbath on the beach in all serenity. You can opt for an adventurous hiking trip to this area through different paths either from Gravier or St Francois.
Tips: Don’t forget to bring your hat, sunscreen, book or magazine, and a bottle of water since it gets pretty hot.
Mont Limon – Rodrigues Island
To enjoy a panoramic view of the verdant hills, winding roads, and the open blue ocean, you will need to go to the highest peak of Rodrigues notably Mont Limon. Situated near St Gabriel, the peak has an elevated point of 1,300 ft where you can enjoy the luxuriant green environment filled with pure fresh air. The place is a nature reserve surrounded by rolling hills with screw pine trees and meandering roads. This is a recommended place to connect with nature and bask in some stunning views.
Francois Leguat Reserve
Get a glimpse of the natural history of Rodrigues by visiting the Francois Leguat reserve. The reserve is a 20-hectare park consisting of a museum, stalagmite and stalactite caves, endemic plant species and tortoises, and the golden fruit bats. There are about 11 caves; the largest being 500m which is called the Grande Caverne. The museum has a collection of bones of extinct tortoises and the Solitaire bird.
Tips: Do bring a hat, drinking water, and wear a comfy pair of shoes as the terrain is quite rough. It gets really hot at times.
Jardin des Cinq Sens-(Botanical Garden)
Inaugurated in October 2012, the Botanical Garden of Rodrigues notably ‘Jardin des Cinq Sens’ literally means garden of the five senses. The garden was previously a cornfield, but now it has transformed to display indigenous and endemic plants. There is a guided tour in French, English, or Creole language. Nature enthusiasts can learn a lot about different plant species.
Tips: It is ideal to wear light clothes, a hat or cap, and put mosquito repellent. Don’t forget to bring your drinking water.
Grande Montagne Nature Reserve
The Grande Montagne Nature Reserve is a fertile high altitude (300-350m) area located in the central-east of the island. The area is filled with endemic plants of various species. The 20-hectare nature reserve is run by the Mauritian Wildlife in collaboration with the local government and communities including students, scouts, and laborers. The spot has an information center and several viewpoints. You can find bones of the extinct Solitaire bird, giant tortoises, the golden fruit bats, and other endemic avian species. The reserve is open from Monday to Saturday.
St Gabriel Church of Rodrigues Island
The 20th century Sacré-Coeur Cathedral is a majestic church of St Gabriel. It is believed to be the largest church in the Indian Ocean with elegant architecture. The church has attracted many tourists and religious believers over the years. It has a quaint interior decked out with wooden seats.
Ile aux Cocos-Bird Sanctuary
Ile aux Cocos is a long strip islet nestled in the lagoon of the west coast of Rodrigues. This islet is a bird sanctuary covered with casuarina trees. You can access it through a pirogue only with authorization. The nature reserve is home to the brown noddy, white tern, sooty tern, and many other bird species that are protected. Surveys and monitoring are conducted by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.
Beaches in Rodrigues Island
You can go pretty anywhere and have easy access to the Rodriguan beaches, however, there are only a few of them that are convenient to swim. In the northern region, you can go to St Francois beach for some quiet time. And in the east and southeast of the island, you can find Point Cotton, Anse Ally, and Gravier beach.
Note: The Anse Ally beach has fine white sand, but be aware of the sea urchins.