Part one: Practical travel tips for your first Mauritius holiday
1. You can visit Mauritius year round. Mauritius enjoys a mild tropical maritime climate throughout the year. It has two seasons: a hot, humid summer (with average temperatures between 25°C and 30°C between November and April) and a dry winter (with average temperatures of around 20°C, between June and September). The best time of year to plan your Mauritius holiday for is during October and November. And here’s a calendar of events of interesting things happening on the island.
4. English is widely spoken in Mauritius, especially in the hospitality sector, alongside Creole and French. During my visit I had the opportunity to practice a little bit of French and almost everyone we came across spoke English. If not, they called a friend who could.
5. Affordability and budget: Mauritius is much more affordable when compared to its nearby neighbouring Indian Ocean islands of the Seychelles and Reunion. Mauritius uses the Mauritian Ruppee, which at the time of writing was Rs34.02 to the US dollar, Rs48.03 to the British pound, and Rs2.84 to the South African rand, which makes a Mauritius holiday much more affordable than other tropical island destinations.
There’s accommodation for every budget (more about that in part two) and it’s recommended that you budget around between $100-$200 (around R1 200-R2 400 or Rs3 300-Rs6 800) per day (inclusive of accommodation, meals, transport and activities) for a comfortable stay. Your budget should obviously be adjusted based on the kind of traveller you are.
6. Venture beyond the resorts: I think that one of the biggest mistakes that first-time travellers make is that they remain in their resorts during their Mauritius holiday. Don’t get me wrong it’s a marvelous idea if you’re looking to chill out and just be. But I feel that there is so much more to the island than at a fully-inclusive resort. Read my other post about Mauritius beyond the resorts for inspiration of where to go and what to do.
While there’s no uber or e-hailing taxi services such as Taxify in Mauritius, there are metred taxis – just ask at your hotel’s reception. All legitimate taxis have a taxi sign on top as well as a yellow square box indicating their route on their doors.
12. Like South Africa, Mauritius is very multi-cultural. This island nation has influences from around the world. Arab seafarers beached their boats on the shores, while Portuguese navigators sailed these waters and stopped to repair their ships. The Dutch, French and British colonised the island. Plantation owners made use of slaves from Mozambique and Madagascar,as well as low-cost labourers from India. With time the migrant Chinese also made Mauritius their new home, as they opened shops on the island to cater to the growing population.
Part Two: Accommodation guide to Mauritius
I spent a week exploring Mauritus (<— read more about the Indian Ocean Island there) during my first trip in late 2016, and for three and a half days during my second visit in early 2018. I stayed at three World Leisure Holidays-affiliated resorts the first time and in the capital city, Port Louis, the second time. This resort life was a first for me, though that’s one of the reasons why people come to Mauritius on holiday, so I wanted to share my experiences with you and suggest alternative accommodation options on this Indian Ocean island.
Sugar Beach Golf and Resort Spa (West coast)
Sun Resorts’ Sugar Beach and La Pirogue Resort and Spa, which neighbour each other on the western coast of the island, are blanketed in palm trees and indigenous vegetation to give them that tropical paradise vibe you’re after on an island getaway holiday. This plantation-style resort is sandwiched between a lagoon and the ocean and while it welcomes families and honeymooners, there are sections that are solely reserved for love birds. All guests receive complimentary access to the 18-hole Tamarina golf course, which is only an eight-minute drive away.
La Pirogue Resort and Spa (West coast)
La Pirogue captures the genuine spirit of Mauritius with its newly renovated thatch-roofed bungalows along the sunset coast, in the shape of the billowing sails of a pirogue. This was my favourite resort, by far. It feels very authentic and the rooms are set in a circular shape within tropical gardens, each with an ocean view. La Pirogue is asked for by name when it comes to its al fresco seafood grill on the beach, accompanied by sensual sega dance performances. We indulged in everything seafood, from a sushi and crab soup starter to grilled juicy langoustines, line fish and calamari stew boiled in a traditional Creole sauce.
Ambre Resort and Spa (East coast)
This all-inclusive, adults-only resort is attractive to honeymooners and couples for its relaxing atmosphere. The infinity pool beckons you to take a dip on arrival, unless you prefer the various water sports on offer or want to work out at the fully-equipped gym instead. Sun Resorts’ leisure island Île aux Cerfs – a short drive and boat ride from Ambre and nearby Long Beach – is one of the most visited attractions in Mauritius. Here you can tee off at one of the world’s most beautiful golf courses, an 18-hole, 72-par course designed by Bernhard Langer, or go parasailing, tubing and test the horsepower on a speed boat. Later, eat at one of the three restaurants or two bars.
Long Beach Golf and Spa Resort (East coast)
This resort is situated along the famous Belle Mare beach and is ideal for those looking to re-energise with its many sports, activities and water sports on offer. It’s perfect for younger travellers or families wanting an active holiday that offers something for everyone. The kiddies and teens clubs will keep the youngsters busy with stimulating activities while mom and dad get some downtime. With five restaurants that offer a selection of Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Mauritian cuisine alongside cosmopolitan flavours you’ll barely have enough time to work up an appetite.
Le Suffren Hotel and Spa (Port Louis, north-west coast)
This business hotel in the capital city of Port Louis in the north-west part of the island is located just across the waterway from the La Caudan Waterfront, which has an industrial look at feel. The hotel offers a free water taxi to the waterfront for its guests. The spa – with its gym, steam room and hydro pool – was by far my highlight. Though there’s no beach here to swim there is an outdoor pool with loungers on beach sand beneath parasoles, facing the harbour and waterfront. When booking ask for a room on the second floor facing the water. I found that throughout our stay it took a long time for the food to be served, much longer than usual, and perhaps it was the fact that we were a group of 11, but the food often arrived at different times, so make sure you order well ahead of time.
Airbnb and holiday rentals
There are more than 300 Airbnb rentals across the island for all budget types that you can explore when planning your Mauritius holiday. You’ll find private apartments with stunning sea views to tree houses and standalone rooms. Also do a search engine search for holidays rentals and villas in Mauritius.
Are there any tips you have that I may have left out? Please tell me in the comments below.
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I was hosted by The Mauritius Tourism Board on occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Independence from Britain in early March 2018. My 2016 trip to the Sun Resorts properties was hosted as part of my freelance work. As always I retain full editorial control of everything published on this website, but you already know that. ;) Some photographs are used with permission from Sun Resorts.