Mauritius is idyllic. Incredible summer weather all year round, crystal blue waters, a coral reef protecting the island, and not forgetting the beautiful beaches and friendly people. If that isn't enough to get your juices flowing, read our article to see what else this wonderful island has to offer.
Our guide will give you helpful hints and tips on how to enjoy your holiday in Mauritius. It covers elements of the best places to visit, some of the coolest beaches and where to find them. And not forgetting details on the average prices and where you can exchange currency.
We not only cover all the elements you could need to make a great holiday in Mauritius, but some other great extras too. Read on to get fully up to speed with all that's going on in Mauritius!
Also, you can read more about weddings in Mauritius in a separate article.
Mauritius is situated about 570 miles (ca. 917 km) east of Madagascar and about 1,000 miles (ca. 1,609 km) south of Seychelles. Ideal holiday position, don't you think?
You should know, that the country includes the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues. Rodrigues lies 350 miles (ca. 563 km) east of Mauritius, and the outer islands Agaléga, St. Brandon, and two disputed territories.
This group forms part of the Mascarene Islands, along with nearby Reunion (119 miles ─ ca. 192 km west of Mauritius), a French overseas sub-region.
The area of the country is 2,040km2 (790 sq. mi). The capital and largest city is Port Louis. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is the main airport, and Mauritian rupee is the used currency. Mauritius has a population of 1,281,880 as per the United Nations estimation.
So, let's describe this wonderful island in more detail.
Our guide is based on our own experiences because we have visited Mauritius several times.
If you want, you can go straight to the categories below or maybe you'd like to read the whole article? There's lots in store.
Mauritius airport (MRU) is a relatively new airport, following its reconstruction. It is small, but with all the relevant necessities.
For a stay in Mauritius, you need visas (up to 90 days) which you will pick up from the arrivals hall. You must fill out two official documents on the plane, before landing. Don't worry, these papers are dealt with during your flight, but it's always handy to take a pen with you on-board the flight.
The first document is the basis for granting a visa to an immigration official. Besides your personal information, you supply specific details of your flight (flight numbers - both ways), how long you wish to stay, and the address where you will be staying while you're in the country.
The other document is required for the officials in charge of protecting the island from the introduction of diseases (a bit like the CDC). Whether from people or imported goods, Mauritius takes great care to ensure that tourists do not bring anything unwanted, such as diseases, onto the island.
That is why you will be asked to complete the details of which countries you have visited in the past six months.
You will then give this document to the officers after you have cleared the immigration desk, so it is two-step control process at the airport.
On the arrival, it is good if you have pre-reserved your taxi transfer. If not, you can use the taxis at the airport, but that may be a little more expensive. But you do not worry, the people in Mauritius are not scammers, so you won't be overcharged. The standard transfer price should not exceed $150.
When renting a car, it is better to deal with locals than with larger companies like Hertz because it will be a lot cheaper.
At the airport, you can also exchange your money into Mauritian rupees. There is a good exchange service called Shibani Finance who can help with this.
There are also other companies, but you always want the rate which offers Shibani, or better. You can barter in Mauritius, although this is not as widespread as in Arab countries, India or Thailand, but you can often negotiate on a price.
On your departure, it is a good idea to wrap your luggage. In the departure hall, there are two places where you can do it, and the price for this is 200 Mauritian rupees (MUR) per piece of luggage.
Before you visit the check-in desk, there's time to buy a coffee in the Artisan cafe (similar to Starbucks) as your last point in Mauritius. Here you can say goodbye to this fantastic island and spend your last rupees.
Don't forget to one important thing ─ if you are buying something more expensive, you can ask the seller for a special document which allows you to get a refund of the taxes. For example, if you want to buy a hand-made model of a ship, and this is generally a good idea because it is beautifully crafted and made on the island, and the Mauritians are very professional at it.
For this type of purchase, and to get a refund you'll need two documents - the first one you hand over in the departure hall ─ before you go to the check-in desk, and the second, is given to an officer after check-in.
The people of Mauritius are very friendly people.
Much of the population are Indo-Mauritians (people of Indian descent) and make up about 70%. Creoles (the original inhabitants of the island or mixed-race) are about a quarter of the population. There are approximately 30,000 Sino-Mauritians from the Hakka and other Chinese sub-ethnic/linguistic groups.
Franco-Mauritians (Mauritian of French ancestry) are numbered at about 13,000. The Franco-Mauritian group are mostly the descendants of former slave-owners, and form part of the largest group of people of European origin on the island.
There is a smaller population of people of British descent living in Mauritius, most of whom have Mauritian nationality. The term Anglo-Mauritian, which may also include Mauritians living in the UK, is used unofficially. There's also a substantial number of new arrivals, white South Africans, who number about 20,000; this is a growing community and the numbers continue to increase.
In our experience, Mauritians are also very proud people.
Wonderful video about the Mauritian people from Drew Binsky.
Mauritius was a French, and later a British, colony. Because the British did not interfere with the events on the island (only now do you drive on the left-hand side of the road), so the French influence is more pronounced.
Today, almost every Mauritian speaks French or Creole, which has the basis of, and is understood by, French speakers. It is a paradox that although English is the official language, most people prefer to speak French. Also, the French influence is known in many Mauritian kitchens.
It is not a very rich country, and has to import many things from Africa, France and New Zealand. The average net salary is about 15-20,000 rupees per month. On the other hand, Mauritius tries to follow Seychelles and is developing a large IT base on the island.
On the island, most people are of the Hindu religion, and are very peaceful and friendly. It is the only country in the African region which has Hindu as its primary religion.
Both Christmas and New Year are celebrated by the local people in a similar style to that of Europeans and Americans, where they give gifts to each other on Christmas morning.
Unlike the Europeans, they do not become stressed during the festive period, and instead of running around cooking and cleaning their houses to entertain guests, would prefer to spend the whole day shopping with their children. That is why nearly all the shops stay open for longer during the festive period.
Mauritians enjoy contact with people; it is good to greet and shake hands, ask how they are and exchange a few pleasant words with them.
A tip is not needed (except in restaurants), but if you give one, you are rewarded with a warm smile and Mauritians are grateful for it.
Mauritians do not hurry in their lives. Fortunately, the achievements and essence of modern times have not hit them yet.
The streets in the capital are overcrowded, and you'll often find, like in India, people honking their car horns. But don't think it's anything to do with your driving skills or that they are being impatient, it's just something that the locals do!
Mauritius has a wide range of sights and things you should experience. On the one hand, it is an old volcanic crater or as it is called, seven-colored earth. On the other, the island has beautiful nature and impressive waterfalls.
You can visit the remains of Creole buildings. Mauritius is also known thanks to the most expensive postage stamp in the world, and there is a museum.
It is also worth a visit to the factories where they handcraft model ships. These intricately crafted models are much cheaper than buying them in Europe or the US. And do not be afraid to buy them, the seller will provide you with special packaging so you can take them on the aircraft with you. This shop I can highly recommend.
You can also enjoy the beautiful beaches. You can rent a car and go around the island, or book a boat trip ─ a catamaran or speedboat around different parts of the island.
Mauritius also has a stunning botanical garden. There is also a particular park where you can see not only birds but also try out some fun adrenaline experiences.
Mauritius produces great rum, so visiting the local Rhumerie factories is also a great idea. Also the sugar cane processing factories that make rum or sugar are worth a visit.
Savor local tea that is strong and good.
We will describe all these things in detail later:
Chamarel Park is the major tourist attraction of the country. It exhibits a unique landscape featuring clay earth of 7 colors in one single place. The colors of these dunes are brown, violet, red, green, purple, blue and yellow. Another beautiful place to relish in Chamarel Park is the waterfall of Chamarel.
They are close to each other, so you can see it from one point. There are long queues at the cash desk, so I recommend starting early in the morning.
Entry fee: 250MUR per person
Opening hours: from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. in summer and 5 p.m. in winter
Book online: https://www.chamarel7colouredearth.com/
Private tip: The café in this location really worth a visit!
A National Park that stretches over an area of 6,574 hectares and is habitat to many species of flowering plants, wild animals, and birds. Among the most popular sightseeing places of Mauritius, national park houses many picnic areas and long hiking trails for nature lovers. Further, the park is an ideal place for tourists who wish to experience panoramic views of the island's landscape, including its daunting peaks, gorges, and waterfalls.
Entry fee: free of charge
Opening hours: from 9 am to 5 pm
Private tip: Try this beautiful hiking trail ─ you can take fantastic photos here
In my opinion ─ the nicest beach on the island. Locals will tell you that the best is Pereybere beach, but trust me, it is not. On the Pereybere you can meet many locals, that is true, but also many stray dogs as well! The beach is also quite small and there is insufficient space to lie comfortably on the sand.
Locals won't tell you that Trou aux Biches is the best beach. The reason for this is probably because there is a huge hotel ─ resort, with local security guards, hotel sunbeds and a place for visitors. Even the beaches on Mauritius are public, and you can swim and walk anywhere you want. Trust me when I say that Trou aux Biches is the best one on the island for tourists. Just check out the pictures.
Trou aux Biches is located on the north-west side, that is the best side of the island for beaches generally.
The beach doesn't have any public showers, only toilets on the left-hand side of the beach (showers are under construction at the time of publishing this article).
In this picture, you can see the east-south of the island, where the mountain Le Morne is showing us its beauty. In the background, you'll notice the start of the Flic en Flac beach, the second most beautiful on Mauritius. Flic en Flac is also the longest beach on the island.
Location of the Le Morne: https://goo.gl/maps/BkFN9N4CHVL2
The beach has public showers and toilets.
A must-see, but not just for those who love a good quality rum. The greatest factory, in my opinion is the Chamarel Rhumerie, close to Chamarel Park. They produce the best purest rum. You can also visit the New Grove rum factory, which produces the best-flavored rum ─ coffee, vanilla or honey - a must try!
(Just for clarity- both rhumeries produce all kinds of rum, pure and flavored, but after my personal testing, I can confirm that the best pure rum is made by Chamarel, and New Grove makes the most delicious flavors.)
Entry fee: 700MUR per person
Opening hours: from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Closed on Sunday)
Private tip: In the New Grove factory, you can go to the bar and test rum, jams, and honey for free. You only have to pay if you want to take the tour of the factory. Chamarel is in a gated area, and this option, like in New Grove is not here, you must buy the whole ticket (but it is well worth it).
While in the Chamarel location, I must recommend a fantastic local Creole restaurant, Palais de Barbizon. A Mauritian family runs it, and they make delicious Creole food. There is no menu options, as they cook every day from local produce and create a single menu for visitors, but the food consists of a variety of delicious dishes served on plenty of plates. The menu costs 900MUR for two people, but is worth every rupee.
Officially known as Grand Talao, but everyone knows this famous place as the Grand Bassin. A place where all Hindu people visit each year. Before this area stands two huge statues called Durga Mata Murti and Shiva Murti. They are breathtaking and have to be seen to be believed.
Map: (very close to the Bois Chery area, you can join it as the one visiting place) https://goo.gl/maps/RCmAkd3h9K12
Private tip: Beware of the monkeys! They roam free here; they are very lively and may scratch you, so do not go near them. Despite this, you can take photos of them from a distance.
I have not been here yet, but the locals highly recommend it. This is on my 'to-do' list for my next visit.
Opening hours: from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entry fee: 770MUR, book online (it is cheaper) https://booking.caselapark.com/
Private tip: Go during the early morning because it takes a few hours to get there. Once there, you can go swimming or lie on the nearby Flic en Flac beach.
Everyone must know the famous postage stamp, the Blue Mauritius! The museum is in the capital ─ Port Louis, which definitely has to be on your travel itinerary.
And what is there to see in Port Louis? One example could be the phenomenal food market, the Mercado. Why would it be worth seeing? Well, it's steeped in history as well as crammed full of beautifully colored produce. This marketplace stands in its full glory of the last century. Lots of beautiful fruits and vegetables, evoking local people, the aroma of spices - you just have to experience it - it's incredible.
Above the city, there is also a fortress with cannons (Citadel Fort Adelaide), as a remnant of the city's protection from a foreign fleet. The fortress itself is nothing exciting (free entrance), but there is a beautiful view of the city and the bay. It's certainly provides a photo opportunity.
Parking is available here and is very cheap.
I guess it will be the first thing you will do after you arrive (after a few hours of flying). Mauritius has several beaches with beautiful sand. Do not be too concerned about the black boulders in the sea, these are just remnants of the volcanic influences.
As I have described above, the Trou aux Biches is the best beach on the island, and Flic en Flac comes in a close second. But what will the third one be?
In my opinion, it is the Mont Choisy Beach. Why? You'll have soft sand beneath your feet as you walk right up to the water's edge. There are no stones, coral or anything else. You are almost alone here, except for the wonderful pine grove as a backdrop.
Its is an excellent idea to rent a car and go around the island. You have two possibilities available. First, is renting a car with a driver, or second, renting a car and driving yourself - if you are not worried about driving on the left-hand side of the road. I vote for the second option. It is much cheaper, and a nicer experience for you and your traveling companion/s. Even better, you can stop whenever you like and drive whenever you want. From morning till evening, it is all about you.
I rented a car from a very nice company, who delivered my car where I wanted. They are called Aloutte Cars company and the best way to get in touch is by calling Vaagesh on his personal number +230 5 250-4755. He can probably offer you a better rate than if you book through the website.
And how do you navigate on the island? The best way is by using Google Maps navigation. And what about internet connection on your smartphone? You can buy a relatively simple prepaid SIM card from every gas station. For example, Shell, where the staff will help with activation and top-up your credit and tell you how to proceed and activate your data tariff.
Another perfect way to have a good time on Mauritius. For the entire day, (from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m.) and well worth it, I would add, why not spend time on the sea on a catamaran? Carrying up to 40 peeople, throughout the journey, you can enjoy the sunshine on the boat, then the catamaran stops on the nicest beaches where you can snorkel (you can borrow equipment from the boat). Alternatively, if you prefer, enjoy a drink or two (also free) and at lunch, the boat staff will prepare a delicious BBQ feast with seafood, chicken, and pork.
There are many companies offering this type of trip, but I can only recommend those where you can see the status of your pre-booked seats online. Some companies don't have their booking system connected with physical seat purchase, which can cause a problem as you nearly always have to pay in advance. This way, you run the risk of booking and paying, only to be notified that there are no places available! Refunds can take up to 3 days.
How to proceed in the best way? Choose a company based on its reviews and prices. Then, call them and ask if they have free seats on your terms. If they do, only then should you make your online booking and pay for your ticket.
Mauritian cuisine is a mixture of nations and is very tasty. It is a must during your visit here.
Which restaurants are great? Check out the reviews on Google, TripAdvisor or Facebook. If you combine these three possibilities, you won't make a mistake. I have spoken to many of the locals, and they tell me that there is one restaurant on the north of the island.
After following their recommendation, I can say that it is definitely the best Creole cuisine restaurant I have tried. It is Linda's place restaurant. It is very difficult to book a table, but if you do it few days before, you stand a good chance of a table being free. Why is it so popular? It is the place where the wealthier locals go. It offers homemade Creole cuisine - Delicious!
Another place which I can recommend, and somewhere I have experienced, is on the south of the island. It is close to Chamarel so you can combine it with a waterfall visit. Restaurant Palais de Barbizon offers the Creole food as well. It's a bit more expensive than Linda's place, and you will not see the locals here, more French and British people, but it's worth it. The price is about 800 RPS per person for the menu.
If you want to meet the locals, go to the popular beaches or visit shopping centers.
Also, it is a good idea to stop your car by the side of the road and buy some fresh fruit from a local seller. It is very tasty and much cheaper than buying from the supermarket.
A place where you can be certain to meet local people is on Pereybere beach in the Grand Baie district. Another possibility is to visit the capital, Port Louis, and their excellent food market.
And what about shopping?
One of the most visited sites in the country, Mauritius Botanical Garden, features a unique collection of palm trees. Most famous for its giant water lilies and spice garden, this place showcases lakes with tadpoles, frogs, turtles, and fishes.
Garden is open every day from 08:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Entry fee is $10 for an adult, children under the age of 5 have free of charge entry.
Minor warning: Close to the botanical gardens you will find locals trying to tout their private parking. As soon as they see tourists in their cars, they will point to their private parking area and try to persuade you to go there. So, try to avoid eye contact and drive straight to the municipal parking lot, which is located towards the west of the garden. Map here.
Ile Aux Cerfs is profoundly admired for its spectacular white sandy beaches lined with palm trees and waters in all shades of blue. Besides, the island is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a BBQ. The beaches also house services like restaurants serving the country's tastiest foods. This island is a subject of the Catamaran cruises.
I mentioned the food market earlier in this guide, and it is also a good place to meet many local people. The town also includes several tourist attractions like the Caudan water-front, museums, theater, markets, and the Mauritian Chinatown. The area also exhibits and French-styled buildings that enhance its overall charm.
Grand Bassin is a lake found in the secluded mountain area. It is has been named a holy lake by the Hindus living in Mauritius where they perform rituals and honor Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Maha Shivaratri. You can go inside for a small fee.
Trou Aux Cerfs is a 605m high volcano sited in the Curepipe area of Mauritius (where you can buy hand-made ships). There's a small lake in the middle of the crater from where you will get a spectacular view of the significant parts of the country. The volcano is considered dormant and was formed many millions of years ago.
Another essential tourist attraction included in the travel packages is the tiny coral island known as Ile Aux Aigrettes. It is a nature conservation site and protects natural resources and endangered species. You can see some of the world's rarest birds over here. This island is also a subject of the Catamaran cruises.
Gabriel Island is known for its pristine beaches having crystal clear waters. Also famous for activities like snorkeling, this site offers excellent diving sites and is a unique place for enjoying a day of relaxation on the beach. This island is a subject of the Catamaran cruises.
A beautiful garden surrounded by waterfalls, Eureka House with its 109 doors and windows is one of the largest homes on the island. It is open to the public as a museum and dedicated to art, music, antique maps, and Chinese as well as Indian housewares.
Useful Tip: Go to the gardens behind the house until you reach the waterfall trail. If you have at least average fitness, see the waterfalls.
In general, always stay in the west or north sides of the island. And of course, the best place is close to the best beaches like Flic en Flac, Trou aux Biches or Mont Choisy.
I can can make excellent recommendations through Booking.com because I witnessed them with my own eyes.
1) Very nice and cheap alternative close to Mont Choisy beach is this Sun Villa apartman.
2) If you book in advance, and are lucky enough, you can get this hotel Mon Choisy R. It's very clean, with a huge balcony and is close to beach.
3) Another with Creole architecture is Belle Haven Luxury Apartments.
1) Absolutely TOP of the list is Trou Aux Biches Beachcomber Golf Resort and spa. This hotel is under the Beachcomber chain which is a quality hotel chain with fantastic standards.
2) Another 5* hotel in this excellent area is O'Biches Beachfront Complex - Trou aux Biches.
3) If you want something cheaper but still with the Creole atmosphere, try Le Palmiste Resort & Spa, if they have rooms available.
Mostly this area is about apartments.
1) Clean, luxurious apartments are found at Cap Ouest Luxury Apartment Sea View.
2) From the same company, you can try to book this one ─ Cap Ouest Luxury Penthouse by Dream Escapes.
3) If you prefer to book a resort, this one looks fantastic ─ Pearle Beach resort & Spa.
4) Another option which looks great is Sands Suites Resort & Spa.
5) And if you want something cheaper, but clean and cozy, try Silver Sands Studios & Apartment.
Mauritius is a beautiful place that has a good nature with beaches, blue ocean water all around and waterfalls with lush greenery worth mentioning. With fantastic water forms, this island is well-known for its present diverse marine life, and also many people come here just to practice and have fun with their favorite water sport on the cheap holidays to Mauritius.
With its diverse experiences, it has ever become an untouched haven for the many honeymoon couples, adventure lovers, but also families.
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