Life’s a beach when you visit Mauritius – and with 160 kilometres’ worth of glorious, sun-soaked beachfront rimming this tropical island nation in the Indian Ocean, that’s not really an overstatement. Think powdery white sands dotted with thatched sun umbrellas; warm, crystal-clear waters; and a dazzling coral reef that nearly wraps itself around the entire coastline.

Yes, Mauritius is a major resort destination, but fortunately, all of its beaches are public, so nobody has to miss out on the prime spots. It’s impossible to list them all here, but a snapshot of the best of the best on each compass point of the island can point you in the right direction.

To the north, which features the most beaches, Trou aux Biches Beach is popular for its pristine white sands, calm weather, shallow blue waters and excellent off-shore snorkelling – not to mention the multicoloured sunset views when evening hits. To the east, Belle Mare Beach is among the most beautiful of all of Mauritius’ beaches, with bone-white sand stretching for 10 kilometres and a spectacular hue of blue water. If you’re into celebrity sightings, keep your eyes peeled here.

Heading down to the Savanne district, St Félix Beach takes the top spot in the south. Because of dangerous currents and rough waves, the beaches in the south are not ideal swimming beaches, but this often makes them more peaceful as far as crowds. So St Félix is great for just lying in the shallows at water’s edge or enjoying the shady greenery of its coastline. On the west side of the island, the quieter beaches of Le Morne tout 4 kilometres of white coral sand, shady palm trees galore and dramatic Le Morne Mountain as a backdrop. It’s also a favourite destination for kitesurfing and windsurfing. The west coast also puts on quite a show in the evenings with burnt-orange sunsets that are the stuff of postcards.