Mauritius is one of the most popular outlying sunshine destinations with a multicultural population of relatively Indians who run a lot of establishments. It used to be all five-star luxury resorts, but recently, a change is emerging.
All visitors can now taste the local food, learn about history, and submerge in its culture—this tiny island is encircled by turquoise water and boasts beautiful scenery.
It’s a destination for all travelers, either for an active or relaxing holiday. But if you want to see some nature, you’ll have to get away from the sea and go deeper inland—this could be the most vacation one can ever have. Mauritius is more than just bounty beaches. The island is also home to some of the world’s rarest plants and animals.
Rent a car In Mauritius
The most comfortable way of exploring the island is to rent a car. Driving around Mauritius can have some awe-inspiring moments, and the road structure is quite good. But if you don’t feel comfortable driving on the left side, taxis and buses are available for an affordable price.
Different car rentals can be found at the airport, making it very convenient for travelers to have a vehicle before leaving the airport. However, you need to book in advance to get a reasonable price. And also necessary to read a company’s reviews before booking.
However, if you need a recommendation, we rent a vehicle from Pingouin -they are pretty good, and we have no issues. All correct, from check out until returning the car.
Arriving at Mauritius International Airport
Things you need for immigration at the airport in Mauritius: return air tickets and hotel reservations.
Currently, Mauritius is open to vaccinated or unvaccinated visitors – so it’s good news. But, there’s a but – you must fill in the pre-departure form 72 hours before your trip. So here is the link to the document and print it out.
The airlines will ask for this document during check-in at the airport, and you maybe show this again when arriving in Mauritius.
As for a tourist visa, check on this link if your nationality is eligible to enter the island without needing a tourist visa.
Budget and prices in Mauritius
We traveled to Seychelles before flying to Mauritius, so I can say that Mauritius is a little bit cheaper than Seychelles.
For budget and prices in Mauritius, you can go as low as 40 euros per day for two people, which is not include lodging if you cook yourself – groceries are cheap.
Some days we spend more, especially visiting two tourist sights in one day. But there are more places to see on the island without costing you money, so you need a car.
Shopping is expensive in Mauritius. Anyway, I didn’t intend to go shopping in Mauritius, I was comparing the prices at home, and they’re indeed pricey.
Even in the market, I find the souvenirs are expensive. Haggling is a big word, but you won’t get the lowest price you want. The best place to hunt for souvenirs is at the supermarkets, especially the bigger grocery stores, which have a section for Mauritian handicrafts.
Lodging costs in Mauritius
You will find budget accommodation as low as 50 euros in Mauritius if you’re not picky. We opted for self-catering apartments/bungalows, which are pretty good for the price, with car parking, swimming pool, and free internet.
Staying in apartments in Mauritius is cheaper than hotels, but the locations are usually outside the center, so it is necessary to have a car.
We spend 326 euros on accommodations in one week. We were based in different places for mainly two nights and drove to the tourist attraction during the day.
Two nights in Tamarin, third and fourth, we move to Grand Bay, fifth and six nights, we were in Trou D’Eau Douce. On our last day, we stayed closer to the airport at Blue Bay. As you can see, the accommodations in Mauritius aren’t that expensive.
Unmissable things to do in Mauritius
The hidden Tamarin falls
Regardless of wherever you go, everyone visits the same tourist attraction in Mauritius. But this is the only site we haven’t met anyone. There is a viewpoint for Tamarin falls, but finding the falls themselves is not easy.
Car navigation wouldn’t find it. Instead, we used the mobile app, maps: me – offline navigation. A helpful resource that brings us from A to B.
The falls haven’t signed well, but the maps will surely take you there. Park the car near the temple (there is only one temple); you never miss it.
Then, walk for about 300 meters passing through a sugar cane plantation. Just be aware that it can get 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 in Mauritius 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. Each layer show different shades of color with sun alteration. So the best time to visit is when it is dry and sunny.
Nearby are the Chamarel waterfalls of 83 meters, the highest waterfall in Mauritius. There is an admission of 125 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. You find out how the rum is produced from a sugar cane and a tour of the distillery. Also, you will have the opportunity to taste seven different kinds of rum. The factory closes at 3 pm, so be on time if interested.
Curepipe, Trou Aux Cerfs
The city occupies the highest point of the central plateau, on average 545 meters high, and is 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 and is now one of the preserved national heritage sites and turned into a leisure park and a significant tourist attraction.
How to get there: If you self drive, download the maps.me on your phone. It is quite a helpful GPS for walking and driving, especially for Mauritius, which is not up to date on google maps.
Coming from Pamplemousse, we took the freeway B17 and continued 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 is situated on the northern tip and is known for its beautiful Pereybere beach. Furthermore, the beach is accessible by public transport so you may expect many people around you.
It is the liveliest town of Mauritius, with plenty of restaurants, bars, shopping malls, etc. 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 nightclub. 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. There are different botanic gardens in Mauritius, so it is confusing for everyone.
The Garden is one of the renowned parks in Mauritius because of its giant water lilies and 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
It truly is a beautiful place with a lake that surrounds by temples. You shouldn’t miss this place during your trip to Mauritius. The most prominent Hindu Temple on the island, and in 1998 it was declared a sacred lake. As for tourists, it is unusual to see how the religious significance of this lake. It’s a free attraction. You can visit the temples even if you are not Hindu, but dress appropriately.
There are many open markets in Mauritius, but the largest and very popular is Flacq – 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 are necessary. The tourists charged twice as the locals. But don’t be a fool and pay directly the price that burden for you without asking for a discount. Try to go low on the price; if not, definitely ask for 20 to 30% off the price.
Strolling at Port Louis
I dislike most of the capital, but Port Louis has a pleasant harbor to stroll through – fascinating museums, a central market, and many 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 Chinatown? Are you surprised? That an island like Mauritius has an authentic Chinese neighborhood.
The quarter here means trade business with a few shops and places where you can eat reasonably authentic Chinese food —or just sniff 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 was 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 is often 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 on a water taxi for 450 rupees (11€) for a return ticket.
This uninhabited island, about 87 acres in size, comes 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 is full of crags and sea urchins. But don’t worry, when you arrive on the island, you get all the information to avoid any incidents.
You can do a lot of activities on the island, but it’s pretty expensive. Snorkeling is the best thing to do without costing a penny if you bring your snorkel gear. 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 named Frederik Hendrik. However, there’s nothing much left on the fort. But a short stroll around gives an overview of how this place was before.
Also, there is a small museum, in which exhibits of ongoing archaeological activities on the site cast features of the Fort Frederik Hendrik are displayed.
Mahebourgh- a non-touristy town
It was our last day in Mauritius, and we stayed nearby as we had our flight the next morning. I’m finally found tranquility in a place where no other tourists around.
Mahebourg is a sleepy town often skipped by visitors. In fact, the old colonial village is worth a visit. A pleasant stroll on the waterfront can feel relaxing, especially in the afternoon. The Mahebourg market was also worth wandering; not too busy as the other market on the island.