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. 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.
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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.
Our Mauritius Trip
Still exploring the diverse continent of Africa, 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.
Our fabulous resort was an adult only beach front oasis. And like most resorts do on the island, it offered day tours, catamaran trips, cooking lessons, massages, kayaking, all kinds of activities to keep you busy. You really did not need a car. You could just sign up for the activities at the front desk, add in transportation, 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
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 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, 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.
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
Taste Mauritian Rum
Places to Taste Rum
- Le Rhumerie de Chamerel
- Litchquor Ltd.
- Château de Labourdonnais
- Le Village Boutique at the L’Aventure du Sucre (below)
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
There are many unique and fascinating temples in Mauritius to visit.
Mauritius Travel Guide
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.
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.
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)
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 for Mauritius:
- 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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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!