Catamarans are a gorgeous, relaxing way to take in the coastline of Mauritius and this is a day trip to Ile aux Benitiers that is easy to arrange either through Tripadvisor or directly with Catamaran Cruises Mauritius.
The itinerary for this excursion was:
- Dolphin watching near Tamarind Bay,
- Barbecue lunch on board the Catamaran,
- Visit to Ile aux Benitiers,
- Visit to Crystal rock, and
- Sailing back to port.
This takes about 6 hours, from the 9am start at the La Morne Anglers Club.
The catamaran (Oceane 8) that we sailed on was stunning and worth the cost of the experience itself! There is nothing quite like lounging on the nets on a catamaran enjoying the Indian Ocean and a view of the idyllic La Morne mountain in front of you. ⛰
Dolphin watching in Mauritius
This paragraph contains affiliate links for Lonely Planet guides
This is an activity that we weren’t too keen on after reading some interesting thoughts on the activity within the Mauritius Lonely Planet guide:
“The boats – sometimes more than 20, all with outboard motors – mount a lookout and then race in the direction of a pod whenever one is sighted. The aim is clearly to get in as near as possible and then offload their clients in the water so that they can get as close as they can to the dolphins. But in our experience, the practise of most operators amounts to nothing less than harassment and carries the possibility of causing significant stress to these gentle creatures.”Lonely Planet guide to Mauritius Reunion and Seychelles, p138
After some debate, we decided we would be careful which company we picked to take us, as we didn’t want to use an organisation that allowed swimming with the dolphins, or used a speed boat to chase them. We wanted to keep a respectful distance so we weren’t a reason for the dolphins getting stressed.
As with all wildlife tours, the dolphins sightings aren’t guaranteed, but we were lucky enough to see them.
However, the catamaran stayed a little too long spotting them (30mins), and as we suspected, it was pretty crowded, and we had to watch other boat tours chasing them so people could “swim” with them.
It isn’t so much as swimming with them as vaguely being in the same location as them 😟.
This makes it even harder to understand why some operators get away with selling this as an experience. Be careful who you use, and stick to your hotels advice.
This was about 45mins and a good experience, though the snorkelling in Blue Bay did seem better, but that was potentially luck.
We did also get stung by goodness knows what in the water – we all thought we had imagined it until we realised we’d all got small stings on our wrists. Suggesting it was a surface sting from some creature that we couldn’t see.
The barbecue on board was gorgeous. Chicken succulent, and Marlon to die for! The kids went back for seconds, and the garlic bread, salad and other accompaniments were perfect for the family.
Drinks on board are free for the whole trip, including cocktails as well. A hit for everyone, and a highlight of the day for all.
Ile aux Benitiers
This is a small island only 2km long and 500m wide, so its definitely possible to take a nice walk along the shoreline. It’s a pretty little island, though it does get busy with the boats visiting the the craft stalls along the beach.
It is pleasant taking a little walk along the beach, and the photo opportunities for La Morne are excellent. Watch out for that dogs cooling down 😀
We managed to get a great arty shot on the beach as well…
It is an utterly stunning location, and a very relaxing place to watch some of the locals and just to take in the country.
Mind out for the funny sea cucumber-like creatures just “hanging out” in the sea though?!? 😂
This is a very much photographed location in Mauritius and you can clearly see why…
It is incredibly hard to get a picture without a boat in there are so many here, though, so you might need to get there early or later in the day when the crowds have disappeared slightly. Ask the boat driver to take you there AFTER your visit rather than at the start at around 3pm and you might have a little more luck.
Sailing on a catamaran
We love a good catamaran as we’ve already shared with you on our boat trip in Antigua so doing a spot of sailing in the bay back to port at Ile aux Benitiers was wonderful. There really is nothing like it.
The crew of the catamaran were friendly and fun, and helps make the day and the sailing a perfect day out for the family.
Time to chill, and look at the view.
We were lucky enough to see a Marlin catch at the end of the day too. Not for everyone of course.
If this isn’t your thing, then do be aware that the tour leaves from an angling club, so this may be happening when you visit. Fishing is an important part of the Mauritian economy alongside tourism of course.
Ile aux Benitiers, and Crystal Rock, is a great day excursion if you don’t mind a little bit of waiting about – so be prepared for it. Catamarans are about relaxing and sunbathing so as long as that’s what you expect alongside the activities of the day, you won’t be disappointed.
Don’t forget to check out the other articles that we have on Mauritius, as well as the other Travel destinations that we have covered on the site:
- We have some great coverage on visiting Florida, including a review of Busch Gardens and Legoland Florida over there,
- If you are looking for someone special to go in Europe, that perhaps you hadn’t even heard of, try Efteling, and
- If you like a bit of Glamping, then do check out our 5 reasons why glamping is better than camping too.
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Cheers for your time, and happy holidays!