Ile aux Benitiers : The Definitive Guide


How to visit Benitiers Island (Ile aux Benitiers)

Are you looking forward to an escape to Île aux Bénitiers during your stay in Mauritius?

Great idea!

A prime attraction of the country, Île aux Bénitiers is a small slice of paradise floating just off the southwest coast, near Le Morne Brabant.

You can spend a relaxing day there as part of a speedboat ride or catamaran cruise.

And what’s cool is that there are plenty of beautiful sights to see along the way before arriving on the islet (including the famous Crystal Rock and dolphins!)

If you’re wondering how to get to Île aux Bénitiers, what to see there, and how to book a boat to take you there, I’ll answer all your questions in this article.

So, how do you visit Île aux Bénitiers in Mauritius?

Let’s find out right away!

Where is Île aux Bénitiers Located?

Île aux Bénitiers (Benitiers Island) is located in the lagoon, 500 meters opposite the village of La Gaulette, on the Southwest coast of Mauritius.

It’s a tiny islet that measures 2km long and 500m wide, with a distinctive shape that resembles a large seashell.

In fact, it’s this shape that has given it its name. The bénitier (or tridacne) is indeed a huge seashell found in the Indian Ocean, among other places.

Île aux Bénitiers is an uninhabited islet that today is dedicated to tourism as well as coconut farming. The center of the island is indeed occupied by a coconut grove, exploited by a Mauritian company.

It’s worth noting that it’s not possible to access the private coconut grove. Only the perimeter of the island, hence the beaches, is freely accessible to the public.

To get to Île aux Bénitiers, boats generally depart from Tamarin Bay or Flic en Flac beach. Other departures take place from the south, especially from Bel Ombre beach.

ile aux benitiers
Île aux Bénitiers, off the southwest coast of Mauritius – Credit: Grey Fox I&S Clicks

What to See at Île aux Bénitiers?

Île aux Bénitiers is, of course, prized for its dreamy beach with fine white sand, its turquoise lagoon, and its heavenly setting. From the island, there is also a superb view of Le Morne mountain and part of the West coast.

By visiting Île aux Bénitiers you’ll have plenty of stunning sights to see, not only on the islet but also in the surrounding lagoon.

Here is a list of the main attractions to see when visiting Île aux Bénitiers:

1. Ile aux Benitiers: the Crystal Rock

It’s one of the natural wonders of Mauritius that you definitely should see during your stay. It’s indeed a coral rock that astonishingly floats in the middle of the lagoon. Young trees grow on its surface and it is surrounded by a stunning natural aquarium shallow waters.

Boats heading to Île aux Bénitiers always pass by the Crystal Rock, which is located only a short hundred meters from the islet.

It’s an extremely photogenic spot, and you’ll also be invited to jump into the water for some snorkeling around the rock.

My Advice

I do not recommend, however, climbing onto the Crystal Rock and touching it as some do. It’s a fragile site prone to erosion, and it’s important to respect and preserve it.

crystal rock maurice
The “Crystal Rock” in the lagoon near Île aux Bénitiers

2. Dolphins near Ile aux Benitiers

Most boat trips to Île aux Bénitiers highlight the chance to see and even swim with dolphins. These mammals are indeed abundant in the southwest lagoon, especially off the coast of Le Morne and in Tamarin Bay.

During the excursion to Île aux Bénitiers, you’re very likely to spot groups of dolphins, and sometimes up close when they choose to approach the boats. It’s also sometimes possible to get into the water and swim near them.

The dolphins found here are the Spinner Dolphins, recognizable by their acrobatic jumps when they burst out of the water.

My Advice

For boat trips to Île aux Bénitiers and dolphin excursions in Mauritius, make sure to choose a provider that respects the animals. Many unfortunately do not hesitate to chase the dolphins, encircle them, and cause them stress.

Ethics and respect for nature and animals are paramount aspects of these types of excursions.

To help you choose the right boat, I’ve prepared a dedicated article on swimming with dolphins in Mauritius, which you can read right here (article to be published).

dolphins mauritius
dolphins mauritius, near Île aux Bénitiers

3. Ile aux Bénitiers beach

Of course, it is mainly for its idyllic beach that people visit Île aux Bénitiers!

Looking like something straight out of a postcard, it features a stretch of pristine white sand, flanked on one side by the translucent blue lagoon and on the other by filao trees. These trees provide welcome shade to settle in out of the burning sun.

The beach of Île aux Bénitiers beckons for relaxation, sunbathing, and swimming.

You can also walk along it to leisurely circumvent the island.

My Advice

At the eastern end of the islet, you will find a wide sandbank that gently slopes into the lagoon. It’s a perfect spot for peaceful swimming.

beach mauritius
beach mauritius

4. Multicolored Fish

From the beach of Île aux Bénitiers as well as offshore, snorkeling enthusiasts will be delighted. There are several reef areas in the lagoon around the islet, with a lot to see.

The excursions to Île aux Bénitiers generally include several snorkeling stops along the way.

There is an exceptional spot around Crystal Rock. This natural aquarium is shallow and teeming with life.

Boats also take their passengers to the coral barrier about 2km off Île aux Bénitiers. It’s an incredible snorkeling spot, with calm seas, shallow waters, and plenty of fish.

What’s less amusing is that you’ll also notice that the corals are quite degraded

Here’s a small, non-exhaustive list of fish you might see in the lagoon between Le Morne and Île aux Bénitiers:

  • Triggerfish
  • Damselfish
  • Yellowfin goatfish
  • Butterflyfish
  • Black-spotted pufferfish
  • Blue chromis
  • Spotted moray eel
  • and even Barracudas!

My Advice

One of the best boat trips to Île aux Bénitiers is the one organized by Ocean Cruises Mauritius. It includes 2 snorkeling stops:

  • one near the coral reef
  • one near Crystal Rock.

It’s a full-day cruise aboard a catamaran. Another great thing about this excursion is that spaces are limited to ensure comfort and privacy for everyone on the boat.

Book your catamaran cruise to Île aux Bénitiers by clicking below:

triggerfish mauritius
triggerfish mauritius

5. The Islet Market

Stepping onto the beach of Île aux Bénitiers, you’ll feel like you’ve arrived in a charming little coastal village. In reality, it’s a small market that stretches along the beach under the filao trees. Several stalls sell handicrafts, spices, and other souvenirs from Mauritius.

You’ll also find stands offering fresh fruit juices and cocktails.

Although it’s very touristy, it’s nice to browse the stalls where you can find neat things to taste or take back as souvenirs.

How to Get to Île aux Bénitiers?

To reach Île aux Bénitiers, you must, of course, take a boat! There are various types of excursions to the islet, from speedboat trips to catamaran cruises.

Going on a boat trip to Île aux Bénitiers

As I mentioned, nearly all organized tours to Île aux Bénitiers include a session of dolphin watching and/or swimming with them.

There are many providers of this tour, but not all adhere to good practices regarding respect for animal welfare.

That’s why I’m eager to recommend a specific provider who places the highest importance on ethics and respects the marine mammals and their environment.

The provider I recommend is Ocean Cruises Mauritius. The team offers catamaran cruises to Île aux Bénitiers that include:

  • a large, comfortable sailboat that’s not overcrowded! (limited to a maximum of 20 seats per boat)
  • a session of watching dolphins in Tamarin Bay (at a sensible distance, so as not to stress them)
  • a swimming and snorkeling stop near Crystal Rock
  • a barbecue lunch served on board
  • unlimited drinks
  • a stopover at Île aux Bénitiers

The cruise lasts one day, departing from Rivière Noire at 9 am and returning around 3:30 pm. The crew is super friendly and the atmosphere is enjoyable throughout the trip.

This catamaran excursion to Île aux Bénitiers is priced at 60€ per person.

It’s incredibly popular, so you should book in advance as soon as you have your travel dates (especially since the seats are limited). Booking is very easy, just click on the button below:

catamaran ile aux benitiers
catamaran ile aux benitiers

My Advice

If you prefer to enjoy a VIP cruise to Île aux Bénitiers in a small group, you also have the option to charter a catamaran with Ocean Cruises Mauritius.

This option allows you to enjoy a day with family or friends on your own private boat, offering more intimacy. You’ll be accompanied by a crew who will take you to see the most beautiful spots in the lagoon and prepare a delicious lunch for you.

The price for this exclusive excursion is 1035€ for a group of up to 6 people, which is about 170€ per person.

Book your private cruise to Île aux Bénitiers without delay by clicking the button below:

Travel Insurance for Mauritius: My Advice

My Advice

Many travelers mistakenly believe that healthcare in Mauritius is affordable and that they don’t need travel insurance. However, in reality, the public healthcare system is fragile and even the most basic consultation in a private clinic can be very expensive!

That’s why it’s essential to purchase travel insurance with good medical coverage before you leave.

To ensure your safety while traveling, I recommend the following two insurance options (both include epidemic coverage, such as COVID-19, which is very important!):

Signing up is very easy, you just need to click on the orange links below:


And you, when do you plan to visit Île aux Bénitiers?

You’re traveling to Mauritius? These articles will help you!

Discover all my articles about Mauritius: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Mauritius are listed there.

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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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