Mahebourg, Mauritius, the country's first capital, is 30 mi/48 km southeast of Port Louis and the nearest town to the international airport. It is a pretty little seaport filled with fishing boats. It also has a naval and history museum housed in an impressive French-colonial mansion; displays include old Mauritius stamps and objects recovered from the wrecked St. Geran.

Just off the coast is the pretty Ile aux Aigrettes, a reserve for native plants, managed by the Mauritius Wildlife Fund. Don't miss the fabulous marine garden of nearby Blue Bay. You can observe tropical fish and multicolored corals by snorkeling or from a glass-bottom boat.

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