We headed southeast on day two, en route to Ile des deux Cocos in the Blue Bay Marine Reserve. An upgraded highway system has transformed travel between the main centres over the last couple of years — if you miss a turn, you simply head for the next roundabout, retrace your route, and try again or, if time allows, explore wherever your navigator takes you! That day we covered the capital of Port Louis and a few of the small villages, but not on purpose.
Ile des deux Cocos is a private island that all the locals know about, so we expected to be well signposted and easy to find. Not so much. Eventually resorting to my broken French, we obtained directions to the island ferry. The island, which is is open for day visits from the public or exclusive-use bookings for any occasion, was leased to the Lux* Resorts & Hotels group in 2001. It offers accommodation at a two-bedroom villa that was once the domain of governor Hesketh Bell in the ’20s when he needed to let his hair down away from his official residence. Every Friday, a platoon would arrive to hoist his flag to announce his imminent weekend stay and prevent anybody accessing the island apart from the partygoers.
If you need to work off the culinary indulgences provided by the open-air restaurant, guests can play beach volleyball, badminton or frisbee. We chose a slow walk around the island instead, which took all of 20 minutes, but that exercise spurt was shortlived. Longtime island manager Mario de L’Estrac is a master of rum creations — his own and those of his grandfather — which we simply had to taste. His favourites? The infusions with citrus, coffee, and chilli. We left reluctantly with a freshly made bottle of the latter and a reminder to give it another two weeks to settle.