Exquisite and exotic, Mauritius is an island for all seasons, all weathers and all tastes. The interior offers mountains and forests, waterfalls and sparkling rivers alongside the occasional dormant volcano. Of all the Indian Ocean Islands, Mauritius is the most cosmopolitan. For centuries it was a useful and strategic staging post for traders, wayfarers, pirates and conquerors and has absorbed what it has needed from all of them – the French and English, the Indians and East Africans not to mention the Dutch and Chinese – in attitude, language, religion, food and joie de vivre. Its coastline is near perfect with acres of pristine beaches and bright blue seas – all fringed by coral reefs. Mauritius is a haven for both sun seekers and water sports aficionados.