Recently my wife and I were blessed enough to travel to Mauritius for a week for our honeymoon. We’re excited to get back and visit the country and the beautiful beaches. I’ve decided to blog about it so I don’t forget when we return to Mauritius. Here’s our tips on visiting Mauritius based on our recent experience.
The locals aren’t well off and it’s a fairly ‘poor’ country where the locals aren’t earning that much – but that doesn’t stop them from being outright friendly.
Whenever I travel, I try to talk to as many locals as I can to find out their story and what it’s like to live in the country I’m visiting. Mauritius is built off of tourism so the locals are easy to talk to and love to share stories and facts about Mauritius.
Don’t worry everyone can speak English and French. So getting around and getting help is easy.
So this is something you always try to find out when visiting a country. The country seemed safe-enough to go for walks without worrying about being mugged or attacked.
However, I was still vigilant about my surroundings when going for walks in and around town or visiting the market – keep your valuables protected in any country you visit.
Sea Shoes And Snorkeling Gear
Snorkeling in this paradise is amazing. There is almost no current as the lagoon is protected by a reef and the water is very warm (You don’t even need a towel when you get out – think of Durban/South Coast type of warmth). Definitely bring your own snorkel gear as rentable gear isn’t always the best or works the best.
So you know those funny sea shoes that people wear or diver’s use? Invest in a pair, some of the beaches have hundreds of sea urchins that made us very hesitant to go into the water as they often live around rocky areas (Don’t worry they don’t move much but can hurt if you stand on it!).
Sunscreen, Lots Of It
So we finished a bottle of sunscreen in the first couple of days at Mauritius (Fair enough it was some new brand we never used and it actually wasn’t a lot of sunscreen).
However, sunscreen is almost a hundred Rand more than the price sold in South Africa. A sunscreen that sells here for R175 (roughly $13 USD) is R299 ($20 USD) in Mauritius.
It get’s fairly hot there, we went during winter and the temperatures reached high 20’s (in Celsius).
Taxis And Getting Around
There are an abundance of private taxis that you can use to get around the island. They can be expensive and it may be worth hiring a car (one note about driving in Mauritius is that the roads are windy and quite narrow but drivers seemed to be patient).
At the time of this writing a 1 hour drive one way and the taxi waited 2 hours for us and took us back to our hotel was 2,500 Rupees which was around 1,000 Rand and roughly $80 USD.
Don’t forget to try and ask them for a cheaper price and be prepared to barter.
Where To Get Souvenirs
Traveling anywhere foreign can be expensive to bring back gifts for loved ones. Now, we did get ‘caught’ in buying some over-priced goodies at tourist places but we learnt.
Do yourself a favor and look at going to a supermarket like Super U to get souvenirs and they had everything at the market and more – including flavored rum.
It seems that there are Super U’s all over the island and just ask the locals where is the closest one to you.
What Side Of The Island To Stay
This time around we were actually on the right east side of the island, which is known as the windy side. We didn’t have bad weather, there was one or two days where the winds reached a speed of around 25-30km/h.
Our hotel, Solana Beach Resort, was a great spot to relax on the beach and lounge about. The beach in-front of the hotel wasn’t the best for swimming, but was more ideal for snorkeling.
“West is best”. For those that haven’t been to Mauritius, I’d suggest in trying to get to the West as it seemed like excursions could be in walking distance of hotels when we visited the West.
The north side may also peak interest as it’s close to the capital, Port Louis.
The airport is in the South East side of the island, but don’t worry you can get from any side of the island to the other in an 1 – 1.5 hour drive.
The South also looked interesting when visiting for the day, it seemed to be the least developed area of the island.
All Inclusive Holiday – Is It Worth It?
YES YES AND YES! If you are booking a holiday package through a travel agency, ask them about all-inclusive deals. These all-inclusive deals would include all meals, drinks and some snacks.
Hotels are overpriced and we got our moneys worth for all-inclusive package because of the pricing:
- A single gin and tonic or gin and orange juice was R150 ($11) for a small glass.
- Cocktails range from R120 – R200 per cocktail.
- Cappuccinos / Latte’s are around R75 per cup.
- Our hotel had some decent deals for 3 or 4 course meals for around R500 per person which included Lobster, Prawns, Marlin and local fish.
To put it into concept, if there are two people and you each have one drink with every meal worth R120 each will calculate to R5000 for 7 days (just for drinks).
So definitely look into an all-inclusive package when booking your trip. If you’re doing self-catering, don’t worry the supermarket pricing is about the same as South Africa pricing or slightly higher.
Would We Go Back?
Definitely! We are eager to return to Mauritius and learn a bit more French so we can hold a conversation with locals. We would stay in a different location (even though we thoroughly enjoyed staying at our hotel – we had some of the best food we ever had in our lives and we love food!).
Staying in a different location let’s you experience new things and we would try to stay in the West this time around. So if you’re looking to go there, you don’t need a Visa as a South African citizen just a valid passport that expires well after your return (a few months will be okay). Safe travels!