Ile aux Cerfs: The Definitive Guide


How to Visit Île aux Cerfs?

Are you planning to visit Île aux Cerfs during your holiday in Mauritius?

Excellent idea!

This paradisiacal island is a must-see in Mauritius, so it’s simply impossible not to stop by during your stay!

Surrounded by a turquoise blue lagoon and pristine white sandy beaches, you are in for a dreamy setting and breathtaking landscapes there.

And there’s no shortage of things to do on this island, from the sumptuous beaches, various water sports, shops, to restaurants.

In this article, I will explain how to get to Île aux Cerfs, tell you about the activities to do there, and give you plenty of advice and tips to make the most of your getaway.

So, how do you visit Île aux Cerfs?

Let me guide you!

Where is Île aux Cerfs?

Île aux Cerfs is an uninhabited island located off the East coast of Mauritius, in the lagoon of Trou d’Eau Douce.

This little coastal island actually consists of two islets separated by a sand spit: the main islet to the south, and a smaller private islet to the north, called Îlot Mangénie.

It is very close to the coast and requires only a 10-minute boat ride to get there.

Île aux Cerfs is a major attraction in the country and is even the most visited place in Mauritius!

Thanks to its paradisiacal setting and easy access, it attracts both foreign visitors and locals who gather there with friends or family on weekends.

Over the last few decades, Île aux Cerfs has transformed into a leisure destination with numerous amenities. There, you’ll find:

  • shops
  • restaurants
  • beach huts
  • providers of various water sports
  • and even one of the most renowned golf courses in the world!

The northern islet is much more untouched and preserved.

In addition to its beaches worthy of the most beautiful postcards, Île aux Cerfs also harbors lush vegetation in its center where you can stroll in the shade, as well as mangroves rich in biodiversity.

My Advice

Why is Île aux Cerfs called “Île aux Cerfs” (Deer Island)?”

Now there’s a good question!

It appears that the island owes its name to the population of Java Deer that used to inhabit the island’s center before it was transformed into a holiday resort.

Île aux Cerfs, Mauritius
Île aux Cerfs, Mauritius

How to Get to Île aux Cerfs?

Wondering how to get to Île aux Cerfs?

There are several options.

The Shuttle to Île aux Cerfs

Shuttles or taxi-boats to Île aux Cerfs operate round trips every day from the village of Trou d’Eau Douce.

Trips usually start between 8:30 and 9:00 AM and run every 20 minutes. The last return shuttle generally takes you back around 4:00 PM.

Expect to pay between 300 and 800 Rupees (about 7 to 20 €) for the return trip between Trou d’Eau Douce and Île aux Cerfs, depending on the type of boat.

The journey takes 10 to 25 minutes depending on the speed of the vessel.

A tip: enjoy this moment of crossing the lagoon, it’s a real treat for the eyes!

To take a shuttle to Île aux Cerfs, go to the public beach or the Trou d’Eau Douce jetty (click for Google Map location).

My Advice

Several private operators offer to take you to Île aux Cerfs from Trou d’Eau Douce. If you’re unsure which to choose, I recommend the “Vicky boats” which offer great value for money.

The Catamaran Excursion

Another option to get to Île aux Cerfs: a catamaran cruise!

This excursion includes:

  • round-trip to Île aux Cerfs
  • a stopover on Île aux Cerfs
  • breakfast and lunch on board
  • unlimited drinks
  • swimming and snorkeling breaks in the lagoon
  • and optionally: transportation from your hotel if necessary.

It’s the ultimate way to experience an unforgettable VIP day at Île aux Cerfs!

You will board a luxurious sailboat and set off for a full day sailing on the crystal-clear turquoise waters.

You’ll have all the time you need to enjoy the scenery and relax in the sun on the boat’s deck.

Along the way, the captain makes stops at the most beautiful spots in the lagoon where you can swim and snorkel to admire the abundant reef fish.

You will then make a stopover on Île aux Cerfs for several hours where you can explore the island at your own pace, bask on the sand and try out the many water activities on offer!

The starting point for this superb cruise is at Pointe Jérome, near Mahébourg.

It is essential to book your spot in advance to participate.

As you can imagine, this excursion is really very popular and spots fill up quickly. Therefore, I advise you to reserve as early as possible. To do so, simply click on the button below:

Île aux Cerfs boat trip
Boat trip to Île aux Cerfs

My Advice

If you prefer to set off from the East coast rather than from Mahébourg for the cruise to Île aux Cerfs, that’s possible too!

There’s an excursion to Île aux Cerfs departing from Trou d’Eau Douce. It also includes lunch on board, swimming breaks, and even passes by the Grande Rivière Sud-Est waterfall.

To learn more and book this boat trip to Île aux Cerfs, click on the button below:

Best Things to Do in Ile aux Cerfs

Once you arrive at Ile aux Cerfs, you’ll have plenty of activities to keep you busy!

From lazing on the beach, diving, water sports to walking, there is no risk of boredom!

Here is a small selection of the activities to do on Ile aux Cerfs.

The Beach

If you come to spend a day on Ile aux Cerfs, it’s mainly to enjoy the beauty of its beaches and its translucent blue waters.

Nearly 1km of white sand awaits you to relax facing the turquoise lagoon and to feel like in paradise.

On the south side, you’ll find sun loungers and parasols on the beach but be aware: they are for rent!

I won’t hide it from you: Ile aux Cerfs is very popular, and you’re going to come across many people.

If you want some peace and quiet, don’t hesitate to walk a bit away from the dock to find a calm spot on the beach, or even a completely deserted area, to lay your towel.

My Advice

To really enjoy Ile aux Cerfs without the crowd, the best time is to come in the morning from 9 am.

Ile aux Cerfs beach
Ile aux Cerfs beach

Activities on Ile aux Cerfs

This small island is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. If you’re looking to get an adrenaline rush in a paradisiacal setting, this is the perfect place.

Several providers offer various exciting water activities such as:

  • parasailing
  • riding on a towed tube
  • kite surfing
  • water skiing

On Ile aux Cerfs, you can also enjoy more relaxed water activities:

  • kayaking
  • pedal boating
  • sailing
  • “glass bottom” boat trips.

And if water isn’t your thing, there’s also a 1 to 1.5-hour aerial adventure park course that winds through the center of the island and could be up your alley!

You’ll find the booths to purchase activities right as you get off the boat towards the shops. Operators also approach directly near the dock or on the main beach.

My Advice

Another activity on Ile aux Cerfs: snorkeling! You’ll easily find spots rich in marine life without straying far from the beach. And if you opt for the catamaran excursion, you’ll be taken directly to the most beautiful spots around the island.

So remember to bring your mask and snorkel!

parasailing Mauritius
parasailing Mauritius

Hiking on Ile aux Cerfs

You can also take advantage of your day on Ile aux Cerfs to enjoy a beautiful 2 to 3-hour walk!

You can follow the entire East coast of the main islet to discover a succession of beaches more beautiful than the last, or venture inland into the tropical forest (where you can even find waterfalls!).

It’s also possible to follow the beaches and push on to Ile Mangénie.

For that, here’s the route:

From the dock, follow the shoreline heading north. After about 1 hour of walking, you will reach the sand spit that separates the two islets. Follow it to the lagoon then take a left.

You will find a beautiful path shaded by casuarina trees along the beach and into the island’s interior. Follow it, go past the restaurant and reach the other side of Ile aux Cerfs.

Walk along the beach for another 1km to reach a sand point (often deserted). Ile Mangénie belongs to a hotel and part of its beach is private, but you can follow the beach for about 1.5km of shaded path.

Retrace your steps to the dock to return (make sure not to miss the last shuttle back 😀 !).

Playing Golf on Ile aux Cerfs

Ile aux Cerfs is also a paradise for golf enthusiasts!

As mentioned earlier in the article, this island is home to one of the world’s most famous golf courses!

An 18-hole course created by Bernhard Langer that belongs to the luxurious local hotel establishment (the must-visit Touessrok, a 5-star hotel which I will talk about a bit later).

Access to the golf course is reserved for hotel guests.

Catamaran Cruise

Let’s finish with the truly unmissable activity on Ile aux Cerfs: the full-day catamaran cruise, which I mentioned earlier.

It’s the best way to admire the most beautiful views of the island, to dive into the best spots of the lagoon, and to enjoy a relaxing day with meals included! (vegetarian meals available upon request).

If you haven’t yet booked your place for this dreamy day, here are the booking links again:

My Advice

For other ideas on things to do around Mahébourg and Trou d’Eau Douce, don’t hesitate to read my other dedicated guides:

Ile aux Cerfs: Accommodation

If you’re wondering where to stay on Ile aux Cerfs, know that there is only one accommodation directly on the islet: the Bubble Lodge Ile aux Cerfs.

This establishment offers a unique concept: sleeping in luxurious “bubbles” with a view of the stars!

For longer stays, there are several hotels on the coast opposite the islet, 5-10 minutes by boat from Ile aux Cerfs. These offer free shuttle services to the islet during the day.

This is the case with the Shangri-La Le Touessrok, which is also one of Mauritius’s most beautiful hotels.

This 5-star hotel is located about 10 minutes by boat from Ile aux Cerfs. And it owns Ile Mangénie and the golf estate.

In a paradisiacal setting facing Trou d’Eau Douce bay, the hotel offers luxurious rooms with terraces and ocean views, starting from €430 per night for two people (breakfast included). The hotel has several outdoor pools, 5 restaurants, a wellness center, and a golf course.

By staying at Shangri-La Le Touessrok, you also get privileged access to Ile Mangénie with a beach club, lunch on the sand, and a butler service just for you.

Close to Ile aux Cerfs you’ll also find:

  • The Four Seasons Resort Mauritius: a sumptuous hotel facing the lagoon of Trou d’Eau Douce. Stay in a luxury private villa with pool and garden from €600/night for 2 to 3 people. Shuttle service to Ile aux Cerfs and access to the golf course.
  • The Anahita Golf & Spa Resort: another luxury hotel 15 minutes by boat from Ile aux Cerfs. Sleep in a spacious, comfortable suite with a double bed and large covered terrace starting at €550. Access to the golf course and Ile aux Cerfs via shuttles.
bubble lodge ile aux cerfs
Bubble Lodge, Ile aux Cerfs

Ile aux Cerfs: Restaurants

Wondering where to eat on Ile aux Cerfs?

If you haven’t planned a picnic on the beach or chosen the catamaran excursion with lunch on board, there are several restaurants on the island:

  • Sands Grill: a high-end restaurant offering Creole cuisine, grilled dishes, and seafood
  • La Plaz Bar Restaurant: a beach bar where you can enjoy Mediterranean and European cuisine
  • La Flibuste: a bar-restaurant featuring barbecues served on the beach

Travel Insurance for Mauritius: My Advice

My Advice

Many travelers mistakenly think that healthcare in Mauritius is affordable and that they don’t need travel insurance. But in reality, the public healthcare system is fragile, and even minor consultations in private clinics are very expensive!

This is why it’s essential to get a travel insurance that provides good medical coverage before you leave.

To travel safely, I recommend the following two insurance companies (both include epidemic coverage – like Covid-19 -, which is very important!)

Signing up is very simple, just click on the orange links below:

This guide to Ile aux Cerfs ends here! I hope it will help you have a fantastic day in this little tropical paradise and make the most of all the activities available.

Feel free to share your feedback and comments below 🙂

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I've been living in Mauritius for ten years now, and I'm passionate about this jewel of the Indian Ocean. As I love exploring and writing, I have created this blog to give you all my best tips to organize your trip to Mauritius!

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