Mauritius is one of the most popular outlying sunshine destinations with a multicultural population of relatively Indians who ran a lot of establishments. It used to be all five-star luxury resorts, but recently, a change is emerging.
All visitors now can taste the local food, learn about history, and can be immersed in its culture — this tiny island surrounded by turquoise water and boasts some beautiful scenery.
It can appeal to all kinds of travelers, whether for active or just a relaxing holiday. But if you want to see some nature, you’ll have to get away from the sea and go deeper inland — a perfect destination for a diversified holiday.
The best way of exploring the island
The most comfortable way around is to rent a car. The road structure on the island is pretty good. But if you’re not comfortable driving on the left side, taxi and buses are available for an affordable price.
Having a car and just driving around can lead to some awe-inspiring moments as you experience. There are dozens of rentals at the airport. Prices for a vehicle varies per company. With the Pingouin car company, we pay 196 euros for one week, a super-budget price.
Mauritius is more than just bounty beaches. The island has some fascinating nature, and it is also home to some of the world’s rarest plants and animals.
Important notice! Arriving at SSR International Airport
If you are coming on holiday packages, you’re all set. But if you’re an individual traveler, you’ll need proof of a reservation for a place to stay and return ticket. It is the first thing that immigration will ask.
I haven’t expected that Mauritius is so strict to the independent traveler. In our case, we hadn’t any problem; we got everything prepared.
We have exactly one week in Mauritius. I have checked the stamp to our passport; they only gave us ten days visa on arrival.
So, in my opinion, after reviewed our documents, the tourist visa that given to us based on the return flight. It is confusing for the traveler. Therefore, inform well if you are staying longer than ten days.
Prices and cost in Mauritius
Mauritius is much more affordable than Seychelles. You’ll find budget accommodation as low as 20 euro if you’re not fussy. We opted for self-catering apartments/bungalows, and they’re a good value with a private swimming pool and free internet.
Dining out is pretty much cheaper than in some European countries. For example: going to a midrange restaurant, you pay around 12€ per person for three courses meal. A taxi cost from 5 euro and public buses are cheap for 1€
The only thing that costly is shopping malls. Shopping here is not affordable than in your home country. For souvenirs, head to the markets, but prices aren’t so low as you may think.
Haggling is a big word, but you won’t get the lowest price you want. Another excellent place to hunt souvenirs is at the supermarkets. Not every store carries them, but the bigger ones have a department for Mauritian handicrafts.
Accommodation for one week
Here is the list of places where we stay on our one-week trip to Mauritius. All are self-catering apartments or in the bungalow with private parking, and some of it has a private swimming pool — the average price per night between 50-100 euros. But you need a car, as some of these lodgings set up outside the center.
We have based in different places for two nights and drive during the day to the tourist attraction.
Our first two nights, we stay at Lacasepoz chalet in Tamarin. An affordable bungalow for the price of 54€ per night.
The third and fourth, we move to Grand Bay at Turquoise Le Petit Prince with a swimming pool, the price per night is 55€.
Fifth and six nights, we were in Trou D’Eau Douce at Beach Villa Palmar for 100€ a night, also with a swimming pool. We base here for Ile aux Cerfs. It is a big house and can occupy up to eight people.
On our last day, we were staying closer to the airport at Blue Bay, as it is a short drive to the international airport of Mauritius. Villa Hibiscus, a private house with a swimming pool for the price of 63€ per night.
The hidden Tamarin falls
Regardless wherever you go, everyone visited the same tourist attraction in Mauritius, but the only site we haven’t met anyone. There is a viewpoint for Tamarin falls, but finding the falls itself is not easy. Car navigation wouldn’t find it.
We used the mobile app, maps: me –offline navigation. A useful resource that brings us from A to B.
The falls haven’t signed well, but the maps will take you there for sure. Park the car near the temple (there is only one temple) you never miss it. Then, walked for about 300 meters passing through a sugar cane plantation. Just beware: very slippery by going down, once you reach the falls, you have the area on your own.
Black River Gorge
Your journey will not be complete without visiting Chamarel and the Black River gorge. The best way of getting there is by car or going on tour. You can combine this trip with Chamarel.
As one of the top attractions of Mauritius, it can be so crowded. The national park is excellent for hiking, where you see several waterfalls in-between nature. A breathtaking experience!
Seven Coloured Earth and Chamarel Waterfalls
A unique phenomenon site found in Mauritius. The colors of the soil originate from volcanic rock, in each layer show different shades of color with sun alteration. So the best time to visit when it is dry and sunny.
Nearby is the Chamarel waterfalls of 83 meters, the highest waterfall in Mauritius. There is an admission of 150 rupees per person for colored earth along with Chamarel falls. Nothing is free in Mauritius except the beaches.
Also, the Chamarel Rhumerie is worth a visit. There’s an entrance of 400 rupees, which is pricey in my opinion. You find out how the rum produced from a sugar cane and a tour in the distillery. Also, you will have the opportunity to taste seven different kinds of rum. The factory closes at 3 pm, so be there on time if you’re interested.
Curepipe, Trou Aux Cerfs
The city occupies the highest point of the central plateau, on average 545 meters high and dominated by the nipple of Trou aux Cerfs. A dormant volcano with a well-defined cone and crater. It looks like a valley with lots of vegetation all around. The nature in the city and the area is exceptional.
La Cave Madame - Roche Noire
There are a few caves to visit in the area of Roche Noire, but La cave madame is one of the appropriate to visit. This Cave had for long-neglected and converted into a waste dumping site.
In September 2003, it was rehabilitated and inaugurated. It is now one of the preserves national heritage sites and turned into a leisure park as well as a significant tourist attraction.
How to get there: If you self drive, download the maps.me on your phone. It is quite a useful GPS for walking and driving, especially for Mauritius, which is not up to date on google map.
Coming from Pamplemousse, we took the highway B17 and continue to A6 and drove straight to B16.
You see the small gate entrance from the road. It’s free admission.
Grand Bay, and Pereybere Beach
Grand Bay, situated on the northern tip. Also known for its beautiful Pereybere beach. Furthermore, the beach is accessible by public transport, so you may expect a large number of people around you.
It is the liveliest town of Mauritius with plenty of restaurants, bars, shopping malls, etc. Even more, you can endlessly stroll to a long boulevard, or hopping one of the many bars — also a prime place to watch a sunset.
For the fun makers, it is a place to be. It has the best vibrant nightlife on the island, from a cozy pub to a night club. Also, a departing point for island hopping to Coin de Mire and Ile Plate. An ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Pamplemousse Botanic Garden
The exact name is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden. As there are different botanic gardens in Mauritius, it is confusing for everyone. The Garden is one of the renowned parks in Mauritius because of its enormous water lilies. The park is large enough to spend half a day.
There is an admission of 200 rupees (7€) for foreigners, and local guides are available if you are interested in a guided tour. If not, you can wander endlessly through avenues. Different kind of plants present in the park is unique, and the trees and shrubs are so beautiful.
Grand Bassin or Ganga Talao - The Sacred Lake
The most prominent Hindu Temple, and should not be miss during your trip to Mauritius. In 1998 it was declared as a sacred lake. For the Hindu people, this is considered the holiest place in the country. As for tourists, it is unusual to see how the religious significance of this lake. It’s a free attraction, and you can visit the temples around the lake, but dress appropriately.
Flacq - the largest open market of Mauritius
There are many open markets in Mauritius, but the largest and very popular is Flacq. Also, the most colorful market in the country. Wednesday and Sunday are the best days to visit, as all the stalls are open. As for similarity to any public markets, haggling skills needed.
Tourists charged twice than the locals. But don’t be a fool pay directly the price that burden for you without asking for a discount. Try to go low of the price, and if not, definitely ask 20 to 30% off the price.
Strolling at Port Louis
I mostly dislike the capital, but Port Louis has a pleasant harbor to stroll, fascinating museums, central market, and a lot of shopping opportunities. But not necessarily to empty your wallet, as there are lots to keep you up. Drive or take a taxi up to the Citadel for a city view.
How about strolling through China town. Are you surprised? That an island like Mauritius has a real Chinese neighborhood. The quarter here means trade business with a few shops and, of course, places where you can eat reasonably authentic Chinese food —or just sniffing the culture.
Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice de Cap Malheureux
A10 minutes drive from Grand Bay, along the coastal road, you find this creme-red roof church. The Catholic church Notre Dame Auxiliatrice built in colonial style. It stands in a beautiful rustic place in Malheureux, the fishing village.
The most photographed church and often shown on every postcard of Mauritius. The church commonly used for a wedding ceremony. And mass offers every Saturday and Sunday.
Ile Aux Cerfs- the most beautiful island of Mauritius
Ile aux Cerfs is just 15 minutes away from Trou d’Eau Douce. The cheapest way to get there is hopping to a water taxi for 450 rupees (11€) for a return ticket.
This uninhabited island of about 87 acres in size, comes pretty close to what can be called a paradise. However, most visitors to Mauritius never leave the country without visiting Ile aux Cerfs.
So in a term of tourism, the island is packed with day-trippers. It has white powdery beaches, but the water full of crags and sea urchins. No worry, when you arrive at the island, you get all the information to avoid any incidents.
There’s a lot of activities offers on the spot but quite expensive. Snorkeling is mainly the best thing to do without costing you any money.
Bring your snorkel gear if you visit the island. There are restaurants and stalls for souvenirs. That said, everything is expensive on the island.
Fort Frederik Hendrik
It is not something you see every day. Thus, having a vehicle is worth it. Easy to stop anytime, anywhere — the story of Mauritius discovery starts here.
The site contains and remains of the fort erected by the Dutch in 1638 name Frederik Hendrik. However, there’s nothing much left on the fort. But a short stroll around gives an overview of how this place before.
Also, there is a small museum. In which exhibits of ongoing archaeological activities on the site cast features of the Fort Frederik Hendrik is displaying.
Mahebourgh- a non-touristy town
It is our last day in Mauritius, and we were staying nearby, as we have our flight the next morning. I’m finally found the tranquility in a place where no other tourist around.
Mahebourg is a sleepy town often skip by visitors. In fact, the old colonial town, worth a visit. A pleasant stroll on the waterfront can feel relaxing, especially in the afternoon. The Mahebourg market was also worth to wander, not too busy as the others.