Things to do in Mauritius – Trip to the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean

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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.

A silhouetted boat and rocks at sunset.
One of the main reasons to got to Mauritius is for these stunning sunsets from the all-inclusive resorts.

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. Ugh.

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.

A boat is docked at one of the small islands off of Mauritius
The cornflower blue skies, the turquoise water, and the many days of sun calls to tourists and honeymooners to visit Mauritius.

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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, and we found so many things to do in Mauritius.

A beautiful red bird in a red berry bush
Mauritius sports some tropical flora and fauna.

Our Mauritius Trip

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.

After arriving, we picked up our obligatory rental car and headed to the north of the island to check into our resort. We loved the Recife Attitude, because it was small; there were never too many people about.

I think there was only about 40-50 total, but after breakfast they all went different directions. By the pool and on the private beach we never saw more than 15 other people. It was quiet and relaxing.

A tree tunnel not far from the airport.
Surprises abound on a drive through Mauritius, like this tree tunnel we stumbled by.

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. 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 and leaving the resort for one or two of their seven days. The rest of the time is for relaxing, pampering at the spa, swimming in the crystal blue water, and just soaking in the warm sun. Unlike many resort goers, we did make ourselves leave our resort.

The Best Things to Do in Mauritius

  • Beach and water sports
  • Catamaran Day Trip
  • Visit Port Louis, the Capital City
  • Take in the 7 Colored Earths
  • Do a Rum Tasting
  • L’Aventure du Sucre
  • Visit the colorful local markets
  • Take a Walk through the SSR Botanical Garden
  • Learn to Make a Local Dish, take a cooking lesson
  • Visit a Museum
  • Go Shopping for Dodo Souvenirs
  • Try some Amazing Local Food and Drink
  • Take a drive finding some fantastic viewpoints and lesser visited spots
Kite surfing in Mauritius
Kite surfing in Mauritius.

The Beach and Water Sports

Mauritius is all about having fun in the sun! With 130 kilometers of beaches, you will be able to enjoy some great relax time every single day. Alternately, you can kayak, beach comb, parasail, windsurf, kite surf, take a boat tour, enjoy a sundowner in an infinity pool.

Catamaran and other boats parked near day trip island in Mauritius.
A Catamaran day trip to one of the smaller islands is a must-do in Mauritius. The catamaran parks and swimmers and beach combers jump off to enjoy the day.

Catamaran Day Trip

Everyday there are plenty of catamaran trips that take you out, sailing, around the islands, and then drop you off and let you play in the sand and water somewhere different than your hotel. It’s a full day of fun and sun, and one thing that everyone should do.

Port Louis

Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius is a great day trip. You can eat, shop, visit the sights, walk around the old town with its beautiful French colonial architecture, visit some museums, and of course do any business you might have.

The multi-colored sands of Chamarel brightly exhibit their levels of color.
The 7 Colored Earths in Chamarel is a geopark worth taking a visit to see.

Chamerel’s 7 Colored Earths Geopark

One of the more noted tourist attractions on the island, this patch of exposed sands show the various layers of metals that are found on the island. We went on a rainy day, which really accentuated the colors.

Not far from the parking lot is the Chamerel waterfalls which has two main streams flowing from the top of the hill, through a C-shaped indent. It is a gorgeous place to take photos.

From the parking lot, you enter through the ticket booth and begin the circuit around the many colored sands. The walk around the park will not take you long, so it’s great that there is a small cafe on site to really allow to take in the views longer. There is also a tortoise enclosure on the property.

Wesite: 7 Colored Earths Geopark
Hours: Everyday 8:30-5:30 (summer), 8:30 – 5:00 (winter)
Cost: 250 Rs

Sign for the Rhumerie de Chamarel
The Rhumerie de Chamarel is one place to stop and taste the local run in Mauritius.

Taste Mauritian Rum

Places to Taste Rum

Mauritius, well known for two centuries for growing superb sugar cane has only in the last few decades been producing a variety of rums. There are a few places to try the unique varieties found on the island, and even if you are not a rum connoisseur they will surprise you.

We did a rum tasting at the shop in the L’Aventure du Sucre. I was amazed at the different kinds of rums, and I loved the spiced and dark rums.

Interior exhibit at L'Aventure du Sucre.
L’Aventure du Sucre is part museum, part restaurant, and part shop. Don’t miss it.

L’Aventure du Sucre

We went to the L’Aventure du Sucre to visit the museum and exhibits about the history of sugar cane. The walk through the exhibits was a fantastic way to get to know the unique history of Mauritius and how it was populated specifically for the production of sugar.

From there, we had lunch at the onsite restaurant, La Fangourin, where we tried the local vanilla infused Crème Brulée, amazing! We also visited the shop, La Village Boutique, where we sat and tried a number of local rums.

Local Mauritian infused vanilla is the star of this creme brulee dessert.
At Le Fangourin, the restaurant in L’Aventure du Sucre serves up this amazing local vanilla infused crème brulée for dessert.

We were surprised that visiting this sight would take up so much time. If you go, and you plan on having lunch and a tasting as well as taking in the history exhibits, plan on it taking a minimum of three hours.

Hours: Everday 9:00 – 5:00
Cost for Museum: 425 Rs adults, 200 children

Visit a Local Market

We visited two markets, the Central Market in Port Louis and the market in Mahebourg. The one in Port Louis was a little more commercial, not only featuring local produce, but also offering a collection on the second floor of souvenirs and beach wear. It’s a must stop in the capital city.

Fruit and vegetable stand at the Mahébourg market.
The Monday Mahébourg market sells everything from local produce to baskets.

The market in Mahebourg is much more local. For example, people go there to buy their food for dinner. The produce all looked very inviting. Unfortunately, other than a few pieces of fruit, we had no kitchen so we just wandered and took photos.

Hours: Port Louis – Monday thru Saturday 5:00-5:30, Sundays 5:30 – 11:30
Mahébourg – Only open on Mondays
Cost: Free

A gazebo in the botancial gardens provide this couple shade and relaxation.
The SSR botanical garden is a great place for a peaceful and relaxing stroll.

SSR Botanical Garden

The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (SSR) Botanical Garden in Pamplemousses is one of the highlights on the island. It was a relaxing walk through the various gardens. We enjoyed the lotus, the giant lily pads, taking a break in the gazebo, and the tortoise enclosure.

Hours: Everyday 8:30 – 5:30
Cost: 200 Rs

Cooking Lesson

Spoon stirring the chicken curry
We are learning how to cook a traditional Mauritian curry.

We love taking some recipes and food ideas home with us from every trip, so we were excited when our hotel offered a Mauritian Curry lesson. We made it ourselves and ate it for lunch.

Enjoy a Museum or Two

Mauritius has some great museums. You can find out all about the history, both economical and natural. Some of our favorite museums are the Natural History museum and the Aapravasi Ghat. Check out the various museums and find out what appeals to you. Most of the museums take less than an hour, so it’s a good thing to do during a rain shower.

Shopping

Stuffed toy dodo birds in a basket
Dodo birds, a symbol of Mauritius, are one of the best souvenirs of the island.

There are plenty of malls and shopping centers all over the island. The largest and most fashionable probably is Le Caudan Waterfront, but every little place will have local foods and souvenirs. We brought home some Mazavaroo, a sauce made from peppers, that we used in many dishes after we got back.

Popular souvenirs in Mauritius:

  • Dodo bird stuffed animals or carvings
  • t-shirts and beach wear
  • handmade basketry
  • rum, vanilla, or other local foods
  • local sugar

Try Local Food and Drink

You can’t go to Mauritius without exploring the array of local foods on offer. With a background of Chinese and Indian immigrants, the food selections are exotic and spicy. We had a couple of favorites, cheap eats, like dholl puri we’d grab on the go. And our favorite beverage was an alouda.

Lesser Known Stops

It’s worthwhile to rent a scooter or car, or maybe hire a driver for half a day to just wander around the island. There are so many beaches, views, and smaller sights that aren’t really included on the tours to stop by.

A shade tree and a view of the Souillac Marine Cemetery.
The Souillac Marine Cemetary is situated on the north end of the island.

Souillac Marine Cemetary

The Souillac Marine Cemetery is the “cemetery with a view” on the north of the island. Wandering around the graveyard is like being in another museum. It won’t take but a few minutes time to see it, but it’s well worth a quick stop.

This red-roofed church is an iconic spot in Cap Malheureux.
Many people stop at Cap Malheureux to take a walk around this iconic church.

Red Roof Church in Malheureux

This picturesque church in Malheureux, is a great place to take a stroll. In the back of the church grounds you can see railroad tracks going right into the sea, along with fishing boats and a great view.

Lord Shiva smiles from on high.
The Lord Shiva statue towers over the Grand Bassin.

Lord Shiva Statue

This 108 foot statue of Lord Shiva, the Destroyer is located near Grand Bassin, the holy lake. The mountainous area is cool and peaceful. Many people go to pray, make a pilgrimage or just enjoy a quiet stroll.

Mauritius Travel Guide

People sunbathing on the beach
Grand Baie beach is very popular with locals and tourists alike.

Where is Mauritius?

Mauritius is a tropical island paradise in the Indian Ocean. It is located in the Indian Ocean, south of the Seychelles, west of Sri Lanka, and east of Madagascar.

How to Get To Mauritius

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.

A mountain juts out of the sugar cane fields.
Le Morne Brabant is a natural world heritage site on the island. It’s shown here surrounded by sugar cane.

How Much Time Do You Need in Mauritius?

To get a good feel for Mauritius, you need a minimum of one week. However, if you want to be out on the water for a couple of days, have a few relaxing days, and see all the sights, we recommend ten days to two weeks.

Do You Need a Visa? How Long Can You Stay in Mauritius?

A visa is only required for a few countries, but the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, as well as most European countries do not require a visa to enter the country. If you are worried about your country’s status, check this list.

A shopping mall in Grand Baie.
There are plenty of shopping opportunities in Mauritius, like this mall in Grand Baie.

When you enter the country, the immigration official will look at your ongoing ticket and assign that many days to your documents. Staying up to 90 days, extending that to 180 days is not much of a problem.

You just need to make sure your passport is good for that long, you have a bank statement showing you will not be a burden, and an ongoing air ticket. You will need to go to Port Louis to confirm the extension, but it really isn’t very difficult. (Resource)

Giant land tortoises can be found all over the island protected in enclosures.
Giant land tortoises, like these two, can be found in many of the enclosures on the island.

What Immunizations are Required?

Along with your routine vaccines, it’s recommended by the CDC to have Measles, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and B, and rabies if you think you will come in contact with bats.

Other Health Tips:

  • Take a photo of your prescription for your medications and bring enough for your trip
  • Also prepare a health card to keep in your backpack with your name, language, health concerns, medications you are taking, allergies, etc.
  • Take along a water bottle with a filtration system so you can drink the water without buying bottled water
  • Don’t forget mosquito/insect repellent – There are plenty of mosquitoes all year long in Mauritius
  • Bring sun screen, hat, sunglasses to protect you from UV rays
Sunset through the beach umbrellas of our resort
Relaxation is the number one thing to do in Mauritius. Enjoy a sundowner at any of the resorts on the island.

Is it Safe?

Mauritius is a safe country to travel, but you should refrain from being out after dark in places like Port Louis or Flic en Flac.

Take normal precautions, like traveling with a buddy when you can, take care not to be too flashy with your gear or jewelry. Call a taxi to get back to your hotel after going out at night, and just always be aware of your surroundings. (Resource)

An ice cream truck on its route between beaches
Ice cream anyone? Here comes the ice cream truck making its beach rounds.

How to Get Around

When we started planning a trip to Mauritius we discovered that public transportation was available and fairly easy to use. However, it could be a bit challenging to get to some of the more out of the way places. Many people will rent scooters, cars, or just hire a driver for the day.

The island really is not large. 45 kilometers wide and 65 kms long, you can traverse the whole island in a long day if you are driving. There are also many day tours offered throughout the island that will provide transportation.

A giant water lily in the SSR Botanical Garden
A splash of tropical pink reminds us where we are wandering through the botanical gardens.

What is the Best Time to Go?

A tropical island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius has pretty warm temperatures all year long. There are only a few degrees differences throughout the months, ranging in the 70s all year long.

This graph of Average High Temperatures in Mauritius shows us that there is not much change throughout the year.
(Resource)

There is a rainy season which begins in December and goes through February. Then March and April are moderately wet as well. However, even during the rainy season, a typical month month would have about nine days of rain.

That still leaves two thirds of the month with sunshine days. The driest months of the year are September, October, and November.

Conclusion

Start making your plans early so you can find that perfect beach side resort. Diving, windsurfing, snorkeling, sailing, hiking, mountain biking. Shopping for rum, sugar, and spices. Eating amazing food from locally sourced fisherman and farms. Mauritius has so much to see and do, a week is barely going to be enough time!

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15 thoughts on “Things to do in Mauritius – Trip to the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean

  1. Pingback: A Spring Weekend Away in England - Reflections Enroute

  2. Pingback: top 15 things must mauritius | attractions | mauritius | lemonicks

    • Corinne Vail says:

      Barb, I would not say that it’s deserted. There are plenty of natural areas, but also plenty of towns, cities. It was great!

  3. Red Nomad OZ says:

    I hope to one day visit Mauritius – my niece recently married a man from there, and some of the pictures he’s shown us are AMAZING!

  4. California Globetrotter says:

    I’ve recently seen a lot of advertisements for Mauritius and my husband mentioned a long time ago he’d like to go! Maybe we should consider a tropical holiday one day! #wkendtravelinspiration

  5. Kristin Henning says:

    Nice work with the video. Seems you are getting pretty comfortable with this process. I’m in awe that you managed to drive and navigate whilst recording!

  6. Rhonda Albom says:

    I will be going to Mauritius in the not so distant future. My neighbours are relocating there and have lived there several times over the last ten years. It sounds (and looks) like a tropical paradise. They said we should come and visit.

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