Mauritius was always on my radar but it wasn’t really at the top of my list. Well, that changed over the course of five months leading up to my trip. First, my sister’s obsessed with Mauritius. Then, on a flight in the Philippines, I read about the Westin Turtle Bay in a magazine and took a picture of the page. Shortly afterwards, I saw pictures from Loriade’s family vacation and so on. Long story short, I wrapped up one of the best trips I’ve ever taken with four days in Mauritius.
I packed a tripod on this trip specifically for Mauritius, I had every intention of being a real blogger and doing a photo-shoot at the Westin but in the end, I couldn’t be bothered. We’ll have to make do with the few I did take (all mostly on one day). I checked out a number of beaches, got on public bus, I went on a catamaran cruise to Ile Aux Cerfs, I danced Sega with locals and tourists at Banana Beach, I enjoyed a tasty meal from the shack at Mont Choisy beach. I practiced my rusty french, I lay in the sun, taking in views of the Indian Ocean as I sipped on a Mojito. More than once, I said to myself, wow!
Here are some random things I learned while in Mauritius:
- Mauritius is racially diverse with the population made up people of Indian, Chinese, African (blacks), and European origin. I did not know of Chinese Mauritians!
- Textile manufacturing, sugar cane plantations, finance, and IT are big in Mauritius (aside from Tourism)
- French is spoken so much; it might as well be an official language.
- Mauritians speak creole, a bit of a combination of several languages
- Mauritian street food has Indian, Chinese, and Creole influence. It is yummy and way cheaper than food at resorts
- Sugarcane juice is good stuff!
- Like many other parts of the world, there’s a huge gap between the haves and have-nots. A small portion of the population run the country and have access to more resources
- While you’ll find a lot of French holiday makers here, Mauritius is also becoming popular with Chinese tourists
- With more time, I could have combined this with a trip to Reunion
Accommodation: I stayed on two sides of the island, spending the first two nights at Merville Beach Resort in Grand Baie, and the last two nights at the 5-star Westin Turtle Bay resort in Balaclava (lodging here was free using points, yassss). There are Airbnb, 2-star to the most luxurious 5-star lodging options in Mauritius. Most budget-friendly option would be renting an airbnb or other apartment.
Getting There: I flew to Mauritius on South African Airways from Johannesburg. Good food!
Getting Around: I took taxis and the public bus but I’d absolutely recommend getting a rental car as taxis can get costly.
Currency: Mauritian Rupee
Visa: On arrival with proof of departure flight and accommodation
Where To Stay: You can stay on different parts of the island. The main thing to consider is the time of the year. Since I went in the winter, I was advised to stay in the North/Northwest as that area gets less wind and rain at that time of the year. If you have a car, you can stay anywhere in paradise, really!
Best Time to Visit: I visited in August (winter) and while there were showers and some winds it was still stunning and sunny. There’s something in Mauritius for everyone all year but I’ve heard shoulder seasons might be best (cheaper plus even better weather).
Activities: I see why Mauritius is great for honeymoons and destination weddings. It’s gorgeous! There are other thing to do in Mauritius such as having beach days (there are several to choose from), joining a catamaran cruise to other islands, snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, hiking, market visit, and zip lining. Compared to Maldives, I found there to be a bit more to do here.
- Many resorts have some free activities, take advantage of those.
- It’s okay to bargain with taxi drivers
- Book your activities with tour companies directly and not with the resort (saved me 40%)
Have you been to Mauritius or any countries on the Indian ocean? Did you find there was enough to do or did you get bored after a number of days? Do you think they’re overhyped? Any surprises?