Dreaming of Tropical Paradise and Mauritius
When I’m daydreaming at work, I visualize tropical islands with palm fronds clattering in the breeze. I long to feel the sand between my toes as I saunter down the beach to the water’s edge. I tentatively put in my toe and then my whole body, so I can swim in the clear, azure waters. Then the door to my room opens with my next class coming in.
Even though, I’ve woken up from the dream so many times, I really wanted to make that dream a reality, so Jim and I started researching tropical vacations. To be honest, this is not something we do as a general rule. You know us, we like to drive, explore new cities, not really lay on a beach, but we found the perfect place to do everything we wanted. Mauritius.
Before we started researching this trip, I knew next to nothing about this small island country. I knew it was located in the Indian Ocean, south of the Seychelles, west of Sri Lanka, and east of Madagascar. I was surprised that a small island so far away was, for us, a direct flight from Munich which made the choice to go here that much more palatable.
As we researched, we realized Mauritius had it all. One thing we wanted to do is spend some time on those pristine, sandy beaches just relaxing, maybe reading a book. However, we are two itchy travelers that can’t be content to just sit around for a week, so we needed some sights to see, both natural and man-made. We were in luck.
Where to stay on Mauritius
After arriving, we picked up our obligatory rental car and headed to the north of the island to check into our small, but perfect resort. We loved the Recife Attitude, because it was small, so there were never too many people about. I think there was only about 40-50 total, but after breakfast they all went different directions and by the pool and on the private beach we never saw more than 15 other people. It was quiet and relaxing.
Our resort, as all of them do on the island, offered day tours, catamaran trips, cooking lessons, massages, kayaking, all kinds of activities to keep you busy. You really did not need a car if you signed up with them and they carted you around to your activities, and I know many people who did this and were extremely happy. I think the most common agenda for people visiting the island was to book their perfect resort (all levels are available depending on your dream and your budget), then book a catamaran tour and a day trip, so leaving the resort for one of their seven days. The rest of the time, they relaxed, pampered themselves, swam, and just soaked in the warm sun.
We did make ourselves leave our resort. Of course we had to learn about the tumultuous history of the island, eat some local food, and do a little shopping. You can do all of this in a one day excursion to Port Louis.
Port Louis Travel Guide
Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius, and our first glimpse of it was driving through on a Sunday morning, giving it a sleepy look. However, we headed back mid-week and the city was bubbling over with activity.
We first headed over to the Aapravasi Ghat where 70% of today’s Mauritians’ ancestors first stepped on the island as indentured servants. The ghat is a now a museum chock full of information, both static and interactive. It’s a must-see when visiting Port Louis.
Then we headed over to the Central Market, which is open daily and located across the street and a block down from Aapravasi Ghat, an easy walk even in the humid tropical heat. A two-story building, the top floor is basically for visitors looking for souvenirs. You can buy stuffed dodo birds, sarongs, beach towels, and plenty of other souvenirs. We weren’t immune; after some serious haggling (don’t pay the asking price here, no matter what) we bought a t-shirt and sarong. Even after getting the price down 75% from the starting price we still paid too much, but at least they are usable items.
On the bottom floor of the market is where the locals go. It has many food stalls from butchers to produce, and then at one end are the vendors selling street food. This was our main reason for going. We couldn’t wait to try two items, the dhal puri, a burrito-like fried bread wrap filled with curry and spices, and to chase it down a refreshing alooda, a flavored tapioca drink. We found them both and indulged. Our lunch cost about $7.00 for the two of us, and it was delicious!
There are a few other sights to see in Port Louis and one’s that you should pick and choose depending on your interests.
- Postal Museum – A small museum located in the post office building with lots of photos, stamps, and memorabilia from the island’s history.
- The Natural History Museum – Famous for its skeleton of one of the last dodo birds. They are said to have gone extinct in Mauritius.
- Blue Penny Museum – Maybe the Mauritians favorite claim to fame, the Blue Penny Museum house two very special stamps from early colonial history. These stamps are so valuable that they are only on exhibit for ten minutes on the hour. When you arrive, find out what time the next view will be.
For more information on Port Louis museums, you can go to this website.
Then just walking in the downtown area, you can see beautiful colonial architecture harkening back to the time when Mauritius was a part of the British Empire, as well as enjoy the coolness of the some of the green spaces that boast huge Banyan trees.
After a full day of stomping the pavement in the vibrant capital city, we headed back to our resort for our sundowner cocktail, complete with local rum, and a dip in the infinity pool as the sun dove headfirst into the Indian Ocean.
Are you ready to check in to your exclusive tropical resort in Mauritius? Sample some awesome choices here…
Have you been to Mauritius? Could you tear yourself away from your resort to explore Port Louis? What are your tips?
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