American novelist Mark Twain famously declared that God created Mauritius first and then the heavens. This statement is a testament to the stunning beauty of the island. As a travel journalist, I was sent by Columbus Travel Magazine to create an editorial about Mauritius Island. During my visit, I had the privilege of experiencing this tropical paradise firsthand. With the help of my local friends, I prepared a Mauritius Travel Guide that allowed me to discover the island’s diverse wonders beyond its postcard-perfect beaches and luxury resorts.
Why Visit Mauritius?
Mauritius is a charming island nation located in the Indian Ocean. It is known for its stunning turquoise waters, luxurious five-star resorts, and its vibrant blend of cultures. Mauritius’s diversity is what differentiates it from other popular honeymoon destinations like the Seychelles and the Maldives.
The island offers a range of unique experiences, from the historic Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, which boasts a variety of exotic flora, to the iconic Le Morne Brabant, symbolizing freedom, and the idyllic Ile aux Cerfs, famous for its pristine beaches and fun leisure activities. In short, Mauritius is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be explored, and I hope my Mauritius Travel Guide will give you all the feels.
More than just a Honeymoon Island
The island offers its explorers a wonderful blend of mountainous landscapes, delicious cuisine, and lush wilderness. It’s an invitation to leave the comfort of your beach chair and immerse yourself in its heavenly beauty. My journey here has been extraordinary, enriched by the locals’ insights. I am excited to bring you along with me through my words and images.
Best Time to visit Mauritius Island
Mauritius, with its delightful average temperature of around 25ºC, truly qualifies as an all-year-round holiday paradise. The island’s summer spans from October to April, offering warm weather ideal for beachgoers and water sports enthusiasts. However, it’s worth noting that February and March can bring heavier rainfall, although this rarely detracts from the overall experience.
Avoiding Mauritius peak season
My personal experience of visiting Mauritius in mid-December was almost perfect, with only a day of mild rainfall during a three-week stay. This time of the year, just before the peak tourist season, can be ideal for those looking to enjoy the island’s beauty with fewer crowds and more moderate weather.
Overview of Mauritius’s Climate
If you’re not a fan of high humidity and prefer cooler, drier days, consider planning your visit during the Mauritian winter, from May to September. The temperatures during these months are milder, making it perfect for exploring the island’s lush interiors and engaging in outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing.
Summer in Mauritius: October to April
- Ideal for Beach Activities: Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and water sports.
- Note on Rainfall: Expect heavier rainfall in February and March, though it’s usually short-lived.
- My Experience: Visiting in mid-December, I encountered only mild rainfall for one day in three weeks.
Mauritius’s Cyclonic Season: A Mild Affair
- Despite its tropical location, Mauritius is relatively spared from intense cyclones.
- Safe for travel, but always check weather forecasts before your trip.
Winter in Mauritius: May to September
- Perfect for Outdoor Exploration: Lower humidity and cooler temperatures make it ideal for hiking and sightseeing.
- Less Crowded: A great time to enjoy the island’s natural beauty with fewer tourists.
Seasonal Highlights and Recommendations
- Summer: Best for those who love the heat and vibrant beach life.
- Winter: Ideal for travelers who prefer mild weather and are interested in exploring the island’s interiors and cultural sites.
- Personal Tip: Pack appropriately for tropical showers if you’re visiting during the summer months.
Getting to and Around Mauritius
Mauritius is well-connected by air with direct flights from various international destinations. The main gateway to the island is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, located in the southeast.
Transportation Options on Mauritius Island
After you arrive in Mauritius, you will have various options available to get around the island. Renting a car is a popular choice among tourists; however, it’s essential to note that in Mauritius, people drive on the left side of the road. This could be a little challenging if you’re not used to it, like myself!
While I was staying there, I decided against driving, as the idea of driving on the left side of the road made me uncomfortable. Instead, I hired a local driver, which turned out to be a very convenient and cost-effective option. Not only did it relieve me of the stress of driving, but it also provided me with valuable local knowledge and insights during my travels.
Advantages of Using a Local Driver
- Ease of Travel: Traveling from point A to point B was hassle-free, allowing me to relax and enjoy the scenery.
- Local Insights: Our driver often shared valuable tips and lesser-known spots, enhancing our travel experience.
- Affordability: Contrary to what you might expect, hiring a driver was quite economical, especially since we used the same person for most of our trips.
- Safety: With a local at the wheel, we felt safer navigating unfamiliar roads.
Other Transportation Options
For those who prefer public transport, Mauritius offers a bus network covering most of the island. Taxis are also readily available, though you can agree on the fare in advance as they can get quite expensive.
BOOK A TRANSFER HERE | Transfer & Taxi from the Airport
Top Places to Visit in Mauritius
In this Mauritius Travel Guide, I will present a handpicked selection of must-visit destinations that embody this island paradise’s essence. From the serene beauty of botanical gardens to the thrilling encounters with marine life, each location offers a unique glimpse into the diverse allure of Mauritius.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (Pamplemousses) Botanical Gardens
Located on the outskirts of Port Louis, the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden, also known as the Pamplemousses, is a historic treasure and the oldest botanical garden in the southern hemisphere. The garden was initially established in 1735 as a kitchen garden for Mon Plaisir Castle but has since grown into a sprawling 37-hectare botanical paradise.
The garden boasts an impressive collection of over 650 plant species, including medicinal herbs, 85 varieties of palms, and native fruit trees. Its most prized possession is the giant Victoria Amazonica water lilies, with leaves spanning up to 2 meters in diameter. These water lilies are best seen in their full glory from December to March.
You should allocate approximately three hours to immerse yourself fully in this green sanctuary. So that you know, no dining facilities are available within the garden. It is best to bring your own picnic and mosquito repellent to help you feel comfortable. In my post Exploring the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden in Mauritius I go in dept on this excursion.
BOOK HERE | Port Louis & Northern Mauritius Full-Day Guided Tour
Le Morne Brabant and the Underwater Waterfall Illusion
Le Morne Brabant holds a special place in my heart because of its rich history and unique beauty. When I visited, I was struck by the mountain’s natural majesty and the weight of its historical significance as a symbol of the country’s fight for freedom and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the most unforgettable experiences I had at Le Morne was witnessing the surreal ‘underwater waterfall’ illusion at the mountain’s base. This natural wonder appears as a dramatic cascade into the ocean depths. Still, it’s a trick of perspective best viewed from the air. To truly appreciate the phenomenon, I recommend taking a seaplane tour, which offers the optimal viewpoint.
The illusion unfolded beneath me from above, creating a moment I’ll always cherish. It’s a reminder of nature’s capacity for beauty and illusion, making Le Morne Brabant a place of historical significance and natural wonder.
BOOK HERE | Lagoon Flight
Black River Gorges National Park: A Tranquil Escape at Chamarel
My visit to the Black River Gorges National Park led me to one of Mauritius’ most breathtaking scenes, and the journey there was just as remarkable. As I followed the signposts pointing towards the Seven Colored Earth Geopark, anticipation grew with every kilometer. Just 3 km further, the park unveiled its top attraction: the majestic Chamarel waterfall. Cascading down 100 meters from a basalt cliff that whispers tales of the earth’s ancient history, this waterfall is a true spectacle of nature.
What made my experience at the park uniquely serene was the timing of our visit. Arriving close to closing time, we found ourselves enveloped in a peaceful tranquility, almost having the entire place to ourselves. This serendipitous timing allowed for a more intimate connection with the surroundings. The quietness of the park, with just the sound of the waterfall and rustling leaves, created an almost meditative atmosphere.
BOOK HERE | Chamarel: 7 Colored Earth Geopark Entrance Ticket
Chamarel Coffee: A Taste of Local Agriculture
Amidst this calm, I discovered the fertile lands that nurture Chamarel Coffee, a rare delight as it’s the only coffee produced in Mauritius. The sight of coffee plants thriving in the volcanic soil and the knowledge of their historical roots added a layer of depth to our visit.
The Black River Gorges National Park, particularly during the quiet hours before closing, reminded me of nature’s profound beauty and stillness. It was a moment of solitude and reflection, standing in awe of the natural wonders of Mauritius.
Île aux Cerfs: Paradise Island
Île aux Cerfs is a stunning island off Mauritius’s east coast. With its unspoiled beaches and crystal-clear waters, this paradise is a perfect getaway for relaxation and sunbathing. The island also offers a range of activities, from golfing on its renowned course to thrilling water sports like parasailing and snorkeling. Visiting Île aux Cerfs was the highlight of my trip, providing a perfect blend of leisure and adventure amidst breathtaking natural scenery. For an exhilarating experience, consider a day trip to Île aux Cerfs by speedboat, which adds an extra thrill to the adventure.
BOOK HERE | Catamaran Cruise to Ile aux Cerfs from Pointe Jerome
Best Adventure and Activities in Mauritius
During my trip to Mauritius, I discovered an island that offers various adventures and activities for every type of traveler. From the adrenaline rush of kitesurfing at Le Morne to the peacefulness of hiking through the lush trails of the Black River Gorges National Park and the immersion in local culture by visiting the markets, each experience left a lasting impression on me. Mauritius is not just a destination but a collection of thrilling adventures and deep natural connections that promise to make your visit a treasure trove of unforgettable memories.
Snorkeling and Diving in Mauritius
- Popular Sites: Mauritius is encircled by stunning coral reefs, making it a paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Flic en Flac and Blue Bay Marine Park are among the top spots for underwater exploration.
- Marine Life: Expect to see a diverse array of marine life, including colorful coral, tropical fish, and even sea turtles.
BOOK HERE | Trou-aux-Biches: Submarine Tour to the Star Hope Wreck
Whale and Dolphin Tours at Tamarin Bay
Mauritius is a beautiful place to experience rare and ethereal moments, such as swimming with whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. During my visit, I noticed the island’s respectful approach towards wildlife. The magnificent creatures are never lured or herded for tourists’ entertainment.
Suppose you embark on a catamaran or a private boat tour across the island’s turquoise lagoons. In that case, you have a 90% chance of observing or interacting with these marine animals while always maintaining a respectful distance. For scuba diving enthusiasts, Mauritius is an ideal destination. The vibrant coral reefs and mesmerizing underwater wildlife make for an unforgettable diving experience.
BOOK HERE | Tamarin: Swim & Snorkel with Dolphins + Lunch
Hiking Tours in Mauritius
- Scenic Trails: The island offers numerous hiking trails that cater to all fitness levels. The hike to the summit of Le Morne Brabant is popular for its breathtaking views and historical significance.
- National Parks: The Black River Gorges National Park is a must-visit for nature lovers, offering lush greenery and the chance to spot rare bird species.
Wildlife Tours and eco-tours in Mauritius
- Unique Wildlife: Mauritius is home to unique flora and fauna, some of which are endemic to the island. Guided wildlife tours in reserves like the Casela Nature Park offer encounters with animals like giant tortoises and exotic birds.
Île aux Aigrettes: A Sanctuary Amidst Adversity
The Île aux Aigrettes nature reserve, spanning 26 hectares, is managed by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. It serves as a sanctuary for protecting endangered and endemic species. You can only explore this reserve through a guided tour that starts from Pointe Jérome. The experience of visiting this reserve is both enlightening and humbling.
Walking approximately 3 km amidst native tree species, I learned about the diverse wild birds inhabiting this area, including the Mauritian kestrel. The reserve is a thriving habitat for 14 pairs of these birds. This counts as a significant conservation success, considering their status as the world’s most endangered bird of prey in the 1970s.
It is hard to believe that this area witnessed the most impactful environmental disaster just two years ago in Mauritius. A Japanese bulk carrier ship collided with the reef, leading to a catastrophic leak of 1,000 tons of fuel oil into the Indian Ocean. As I walked through the reserve, I was reminded of the fragility and resilience of nature.
BOOK HERE | Île aux Aigrettes & la Vanille Park
Vallée de Ferney: Stepping Into a Prehistoric World
If you’re fascinated by walking through a 400-year-old forest, Vallée de Ferney is a must-visit destination. Situated just 2 km south of Vieux Grand Port, this 200-hectare reserve is a scene straight out of Jurassic Park. It is only accessible only upon request.
My journey through Vallée de Ferney was not just a walk in the woods but a walk through history and a testament to successful conservation efforts.
Lesser-Known Activities for Adventurous Travelers
- Kitesurfing: Le Morne has excellent wind conditions, making it a hotspot for kitesurfing.
- Canyoning: For those seeking an adrenaline rush, canyoning in the canyons of the Black River Gorges National Park offers a thrilling experience.
- Catamaran Trips: Set sail on a catamaran to explore the island’s stunning coastline and hidden coves. Trips often include opportunities for snorkeling and dolphin watching.
BOOK HERE | 3 Islands Catamaran Cruise with Lunch + Snorkeling
Where to stay in Mauritius?
A wide range of accommodations in Mauritius cater to all budgets and preferences. Whether you’re looking for luxury resorts or cozy guesthouses, there’s something for everyone on the island. Here are some top choices:
- Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita: A synonym for luxury, offering exquisite villas and world-class amenities.
- Royal Palm Beachcomber Luxury: Known for its impeccable service and elegant setting.
- Constance Belle Mare Plage: Perfect for those seeking picturesque beachfront relaxation.
- Bubble Lodge: An eco-friendly option for a unique experience closer to nature.
- Veranda Tamarin Hotel and Spa: Offers a budget-friendly yet comfortable stay with excellent facilities.
If you’re planning a trip to Mauritius and looking for accommodation, there are several options to consider. Each lodging offers a unique experience tailored to your travel style and budget. Whether you prefer luxury, boutique, or eco-friendly accommodations, you can find the perfect place to stay. If you would like more detailed insights and tips on selecting suitable lodging, read my in-depth post on the best places to stay in Mauritius here.
How many days are sufficient for visiting Mauritius?
Although Mauritius is pretty small, it’s jam-packed with wander. If you want to take things slow and indulge in the colorful culture, you will need at least 15 days on the island. A week would give you a glimpse of what’s behind the curtain of this luscious paradise, but it’s nearly enough.
The Melting Pot of Mauritian Cuisine
“We are a colorful amalgamation of Indians, Chinese, Creoles, and Europeans,” my driver Hossen jokes. This aptly summarizes Mauritian cuisine, a delightful mix of sweet and spicy flavors that mirrors the island’s diverse cultural heritage.
A Feast of Flavors: From Banquet Stew to Tamarind Treats
Imagine a banquet stew accompanied by an exotic banana and eggplant curry or the tangy delights of tamarind used in refreshing lemonades and sweet jams. The island’s streets are a testament to its culinary richness, with fresh coconuts and lychees available at every turn.
Street Food Scene: The Allure of Dhal Puri
In a small, bustling eatery called Dallas Snack, located in the city’s heart, locals line up for a culinary gem – the best dhal puri in town. The taste of spiced yellow split peas in a smooth paste, wrapped in a soft flatbread and infused with curry, offers a burst of flavors that encapsulate the essence of street food in Mauritius.
Cultural Sensations: A Walk Through the Markets
As I walked past the colorful market stalls, the air filled with incense, a gentle reminder of the island’s predominant Hindu culture. This stroll is a culinary exploration and a journey through the island’s cultural mosaic, where each dish and aroma tells a story of heritage and community.
Delving Deeper: Food Tours and Cooking Classes
Local food tours and cooking classes are invaluable for those eager to explore Mauritius’s culinary depths. These experiences provide more than cooking skills; they offer a window into the island’s culinary traditions, bringing you closer to the heart of Mauritian culture.
Mauritius: Cultural Insights
Mauritius is a diverse country where many cultures coexist and influence daily life. The island’s traditions and festivals, such as Diwali and the Chinese Spring Festival, are essential to experiencing its unique cultural heritage. If you want to immerse yourself respectfully in the local customs, approach people openly. Make sure you also ask for permission before taking photos of them or religious sites. By engaging with the locals, you can gain meaningful exchanges and a deeper understanding of the island’s rich cultural tapestry.
Practical Tips for Travelers planning to go to Mauritius
- Safety: Mauritius is generally safe, but taking standard precautions like safeguarding valuables is always wise.
- Health: No specific vaccinations are required, but protecting yourself against mosquito bites is essential. Although tap water is generally safe, it’s recommended that individuals with sensitive stomachs opt for bottled water.
- Travel Insurance: It is always wise to have coverage for any unforeseen medical or travel-related issues.
- Currency: Mauritius’s official currency is the Mauritian Rupee (MUR). ATMs are easily accessible, and most establishments accept credit cards as a mode of payment.
- Language and Communication: English and French are widely spoken, making communication easy for most travelers.
Conclusion: Is Mauritius worth visiting?
Mauritius is a beautiful island located in the Indian Ocean. It offers various experiences that I have tried to capture in this Mauritius Travel Guide. It’s vibrant and has breathtaking landscapes and a myriad of activities. Mauritius is more than just a destination; it’s a journey of discovery.
Whether you’re seeking relaxation on pristine beaches or the thrill of adventure in unspoiled nature, this guide aims to help you navigate and enjoy all that Mauritius has to offer. I encourage you to explore its wonders and share your stories.
If you have any questions or feedback about your experiences or my Mauritius Travel Guide, feel free to reach out or leave a comment. Let’s continue the adventure together and maximize your Mauritian journey!
Frequently Asked Questions About Mauritius
Mauritius is most renowned for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and luxury resorts. The island is also famous for its rich cultural diversity, vibrant festivals, delicious fusion cuisine, and unique wildlife, including the now-extinct dodo bird. Its natural beauty and cultural richness blend makes Mauritius a unique and appealing destination.
Mauritius offers a rich culinary scene blending Creole, Chinese, European, and Indian influences. Must-try dishes include Dholl Puri (a flatbread filled with yellow split peas), Creole Fish Curry, Gateaux Piment (chili cakes), and Mauritian Biryani. The island is also famous for its fresh seafood.
For many nationalities, a visa is not required for stays of up to 90 days in Mauritius. However, it’s essential to check the latest visa requirements based on your country of origin before traveling. Visitors must have a valid passport, return or onward tickets, and proof of accommodation.
As mentioned in this Maurtius Travel Guide, Mauritius is generally a safe destination for travelers. The crime rate is relatively low, and the locals are hospitable and friendly towards tourists. However, like any travel destination, it’s important to take standard safety precautions. This includes safeguarding your belongings, especially in crowded areas. make sure you are being cautious when swimming in the ocean due to currents, and following local advice for any natural hazards. It’s also advisable to have comprehensive travel insurance and stay informed about local laws and customs for a safe and enjoyable visit.
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