Endless variety is the key to Mauritius’ charm. A favorite haunt of European tourists, this African island in the midst of the Indian Ocean is most accessible through flights transferring in from Paris, Johannesburg or Dubai. Its predominantly Indian inhabitants and time under Dutch, French and English rule lend Mauritius a distinct Creole flavor. While most Mauritians speak English, the tongue of choice is a Creole patois.

Venturing off the grounds of your resort quickly will yield rare treasures. Heading inland, striking mountain formations dominate the vista. Pieter Both, for instance, resembles a head perched on Mauritius’ second-highest peak, while Le Pouce near the packed capital of Port Louis looks strikingly like a thumb. Hiking and high adventure abounds, whether it be scaling Le Morne Brabant, trekking through the rainforest in the Black River Gorges, or zip lining across the multicolored landscape at Chamarel.

Speaking to a Mauritian on his travels, Mark Twain was once told, “Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius." Whether it’s rappelling down a waterfall or staying glued to a hammock, you’re sure to find your own slice of it here.