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Vanilla Islands- Charming Holiday Destinations
The Vanilla Islands includes Mauritius, Rodrigues, Reunion, Seychelles, Madagascar and the Comoros. A new and innovative concept regrouping those islands of the Indian Ocean, promoting their common historic past and their exotic vacations as Vanilla Islands. Vanilla perfectly portrays the islands, since it expresses a great sense of luxury and magic charm. Each of the islands has its own uniqueness and allows you to discover a new world at each stop.
Mauritius, It’s a Pleasure
Mauritius, a shining star in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, is fascinating. The contrast of colours, cultures and tastes makes the island so charming that the scene is set for a memorable holiday. You will have the opportunity to experience unparalleled luxury with its high class hotels. The true meaning of “beauty” will be unveiled through your wonderful trip around the island. Many come for the silky sands and the warm sea, since the island offers the natural setting that dreams are made of. There are hundreds of stunning beaches located across the island and a, practically, perfect weather every day of the year making Mauritius a fantastic destination no matter when you want to travel. Getting around the island is easy. We suggest that you spend some time out and try to experience everything this country has to offer: you can walk with lions, shop till you drop, hop on a Quad Bike, swim with the dolphins or hire a car and discover the hidden treasures.
Hotels and villas
Mauritius is a holiday destination which will please everyone - from honeymooners to families, from relative budget to five-star luxury. Possibly, what makes this island different from others is the cross pollination of everything allowing for multi-ethnicity coexistence. Whether an all-inclusive tourist or the independent adventurer with limited budget, they will be both well catered for. In terms of luxury holidays, Mauritius has a broad choice which is a good thing – Hotels with golf courses or spas or simply a luxury villa only for you. Family holidays in Mauritius can suit any budget and taste. This small piece of paradise does have three-star properties suiting those with restricted holiday budget. Honeymoons are about treats and Mauritius is the perfect honeymoon destination. Honeymooners will spend a memorable time in the resorts and hotels of Mauritius.
You will be delighted by the delicacies Mauritius has to offer. Generations of migrant culture and heritage has created a diverse and rich cuisine drawing influence from so many of the world’s favourite cuisines. Even if you are staying at an all-inclusive, it is worth venturing out into your nearest town at least once to try some local specialities. Most Mauritian resorts propose a fantastic range of menus so that you do not have to go out to look for food. Those seeking adventure, can travel around the island, where they will find a huge range of dishes including delectable dholl purees, fragrant biryanis and French-influenced stews. There are many producers of cane rum in Mauritius with a very distinctive taste. Rhumerie des Mascareignes and Chamarel are the most distinctive and delicious options, without forgetting, the local Phoenix beer which is also very good.
Seychelles, another world!
Stepping into Seychelles is stepping into another world. Just the name conjures up the image of ultimate tropical luxury. Home to 115 islands, this spectacular archipelago nation possesses beautiful beaches, abundant tropical wildlife both on land and in the sea, naturally romantic surroundings and a true sense of natural paradise. Where to go first? No need to worry- be it one of the three main islands of Praslin, La Digue or Mahé or any outlying island, you’ll strike gold. With its dreamlike scenery, the Seychelles is one ideal choice for a honeymoon. Having earned a status as a paradigm of ecotourism, the Seychelles is a top spot to watch birds and giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Just below the turquoise waters lies a vast living world summoning divers of all levels without forgetting the magnificent and most photographed beaches the island houses. Apart from beaches you can venture inland on jungle trails or simply hire a car to visit the depths of the island. You will have the chance to visit the Vallée de Mai where you will be able to scrutinize the beauty of the tall Coco de Mer Palm trees and at the same time have the occasion to taste this exquisite aphrodisiac. You can also visit surrounding islands to discover some other exclusivity of the Seychelles.
Living in the Seychelles
Seychelles offers top-notch resorts on its islands and proposes various services like golf courses, luxury yachts and spas. Be it on honeymoon or with your family, you will surely find the best place to enjoy a memorable time on the island. On top of ultra-luxurious options, the Seychelles has plenty of charming and reasonable self-catering facilities and guesthouses, often situated on some of the best land. If you do manage to have a dinner at the restaurants on the main island of Mahe, you’ll find that Seychellois cuisine is quite unique. Seychellois’ cuisine uniquely fuses the flavours from African, French, Chinese, Indian and English and makes up a perfect blend. Over the centuries, spices have been combined to create a single flavour. With hundreds of such flavours, Seychellois cuisine and beverages have a distinctive place in the culinary world.
Reunion Island, Combine Your Emotions
Reunion Island, one of the most alluring islands in the world; a small green dot in the Indian Ocean is barely 45 minutes by air to Mauritius, 800kms west of the African continent and next door to Madagascar. Visiting Reunion is possible on your way to Europe, Africa or on your way to the neighbouring islands of Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comores or Mayotte. Reunion is an enclave of French charm set on a piece of paradise. Reunion has a character all to itself, blending influences from Africa, India and beyond. The population is hugely varied in terms of their heritage and background. European, Indian and African ancestry has blended together harmoniously. The island proposes unique and beautiful scenery, especially in the middle of the island where you will have the opportunity of gazing at rolling greenery and rocky peaks. It also offers residences and hotels all around the island.
What to do in Reunion Island
Reunion also offers amazing beaches that are surprisingly quiet and quite a unique cuisine that blends French, African, Indian and Chinese influences. The dishes are usually simple and spicy. Rum being produced on the island is one of the favorite drinks of the Reunionnais. Look out for the higher quality dark rum, made from fermented sugar cane juice. Reunion is an island where you should not miss nature trails and hikes since its supreme natural beauty lies in its wonderful landscapes. We should not forget that Reunion is a volcanic island with a, still active, volcano- La fournaise. Thus explaining the darker beaches of volcanic sand, but what they lack in beauty, they make up for in isolation. Many of the beaches on the island are extremely quiet and this makes it a perfect island for isolation and relaxation.
Madagascar, The Land Of The Sea
Travelling should be a superb experience and planning for holidays in Madagascar are special since this is a truly extraordinary place. It’s a once in a lifetime trip and one sure thing is: Madagascar will seduce you. The country's natural beauty with the friendliness and cultural diversity of its people makes the perfect fusion. Madagascar is a haven for some of Africa's most splendid wildlife. The irresistible lemurs are the must-see on this island. Their ancestors are believed to have floated across to Madagascar some 65 million years ago on natural "rafts" of vegetation, and evolved into over 100 species. Different lemurs inhabit different regions, and more are expected to be discovered. Adored species include the ring-tailed lemur and the sifaka, which seems to dance around on its back legs. The indri – largest living lemur- and its eerie, whale-like song sung by several individuals each morning to communicate with other groups is something not to be missed. Nocturnal species are impressive too, including one of Madagascar’s most bizarre-looking lemurs – the aye-aye, with its freakish, long, skinny finger.
Beaches in Madagascar
The seashore of Madagascar is barely 5,000 kilometers long and its most popular sea is located in the North West. Its rivulets, harbors and islets make it ideal for leisure boating. The arch formed by the Southern coast before meeting the Indian Ocean can be depicted as the end of the world, quite literally, given the fact that only Antarctica can be found beyond. Underwater, Madagascar’s coral reefs are amid the world’s most beautiful diving sites.
Comoros Islands, The Islands Of the Moon
Located in the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, the archipelago of the Comoros Islands consists of four islands: Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Moheli), Nzwani (Anjouan), and Mahore (Mayotte). The islands arose from the seabed of the Western Indian Ocean as the result of volcanic activity. The Union of Comoros islands once played a key role in the world’s economy and that of the Indian Ocean. They have been a major stopover along the mercantile routes from the East towards Africa and to the West. The Comoros archipelago is blessed with warm tropical weather, unique flora and fauna, incredible white sandy beaches, a rich culture, and a genuinely welcoming population. Comorian beaches are considered to be among the most beautiful in the world and in its waters lives the famous Coelacanth. The Coelacant is a unique fish once thought by western scientists to have been extinct for millions of years. But in the second half of the last century, an ichthyologist learned that Comorian fishermen regularly caught coelacanths in the deep waters surrounding the islands of Ngazidja (Grande Comore) and Nzwani (Anjouan). Several specimens have since been preserved and can be seen today in museums around the world.
Rich local culture
The abundance of life in the sea around the Comoros is unbelievable. One can find everything from giant whales, sharks, big manta rays, sailfish, sunfish to lobsters, crabs and tiny shrimp. Deep water close to the islands, coral reefs, miles of sandy beaches, plus fresh water streams and shoreline springs provide unlimited habitats for the marine life.
The island’s fine cuisine has largely been influenced by the flavors brought over by different groups, such as the Arabs and the French. The Arabic touch is revealed in the spicy foods and sauces, while the French legacy lives on through many of the country's delicacies. Without any doubt, fresh seafood is copious on the island and can be found in most meals, especially in stews. Dishes usually include both rice and meat, seasoned with locally produced ingredients. A local favorite is the barbecued goat meat, as is langouste a la vanille—lobster boiled in vanilla sauce.
Rodrigues, More than just a peace haven
Rodrigues is a mountainous island with a succession of valleys dipping to the lagoon. Approaching Rodrigues by air, one gets the measure of the size of the lagoon compared to the surface area of the island (108 km2), roughly in the proportion of three to one. Set off by foot, on a mountain bike or for a dive to discover Rodrigues to the rhythm of passing time. Don’t miss the most essential: a breathtaking fauna and flora that are worth taking some time to admire. The discoveries will surely enchant you without forgetting its welcoming population.Walk and listen to the whispering wind: drift away in this peace haven. Rodrigues, too, has magnificent places of interest like Caverne Patate, a must see in rodrigues. The cavern embedded underneath a coral plain resulted from the movement of tectonic plates.
Beaches in Rodrigues
Another must see place is Trou d’Argent. It is one of those hidden treasures never to be found. Offering a true change of scenery, this peaceful atmosphere is lulled by the rolling waves. Trou d’Argent has recently been ranked among the 30 best preserved beaches in the world and this is a place that no one should miss to visit!
The richness of flavours that make Rodriguan cuisine one of the tastiest is its natural freshness and the traditional know-how and recipes that have run in families for generations. The choice is vast: a cono-cono (shellfish) salad said to have aphrodisiac virtues, a traditional corn soup, steamed crab with garden spices, an octopus curry on a bed of home-ground corn and red kidney beans from the garden, an émincé of beef in a sauce, pork in honey, boiled country ham with fine herbs and the list goes on… Rodrigues cuisine will simply excite your taste buds.
Vanilla islands are definitely a must trip for all those adventure seekers. But for those seeking cool holidays some of those islands might suit your needs. The best would be a tour of the Indian Ocean while visiting each and every one of those islands and discovering the immaculate beauty they all propose to you.