Mauritius Holiday Planning Guide
A small but surprisingly multicultural island in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius sits just east of Madagascar and offers a white-sand coastline lapped by sapphire waters. The contrasts of colors, tastes, and cultures here makes a vacation in Mauritius richly rewarding, with plenty to do along the coast and deeper inland. A tour of Mauritius usually includes long stops at the island's beaches, which serve as launching points for deep-sea fishing trips, dolphin-watching excursions, and scuba diving adventures. Farther away from the water, you can discover a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. Mauritius is made for explorations on foot, with several volcanic summits and a large national park sheltering abundant species of indigenous plants and birds.
Places to Visit in Mauritius
Regions of MauritiusRiviere Noire District
: Famous geological formations including colorful rocks, crater pools, and sandy beaches wait for adventure seeking visitors to this region. Pamplemousses District
: Opportunities to swim with dolphins, bird-watch, and dive make this district a jewel of Mauritius tourism.Savanne District
: Serene beaches suitable for snorkeling and water sports, nature reserves, and hiking trails of this area represent top Mauritius attractions.Riviere du Rempart District
: A mix of rustic and urban, this district acts as a melting pot of cultures and religions, with plenty of European-styled buildings and historical sites to enrich your Mauritius sightseeing experience.Flacq District
: Sandy beaches with luxurious five-star hotels offer opportunities to swim, snorkel, and dive in Flacq, which also hosts some of the country's largest open-air markets.
Cities in MauritiusPamplemousses
: Soothing gardens stand out as a trademark of Pamplemousses, along with historical buildings turned into museums.Chamarel
: Explore the fascinating geological features around Chamarel, home to several distilleries with a rich rum-producing heritage.Grand Baie
: Various bars, restaurants, and beach resorts dot the place and add to the impression of a tourist capital. Cascavelle
: With its shopping centers and fancy accommodations, Cascavelle remains a top choice for a comfortable Mauritius vacation. Port Louis
: In Port Louis you'll be able to taste the local cuisine while socializing with the native population and witnessing the customs of a nation.
Popular Mauritius Tourist AttractionsIle aux Cerfs
: Go snorkeling, diving, or sailing off this island, where many operators provide lessons for a wide choice of water activities and sports.SSR Botanic Garden
: The oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere greets its visitors with an enormous selection of plant species, local as well as exotic.Casela World of Adventures
: Observe lions, cheetahs, and zebras while at this Mauritius attraction, where you'll also find playgrounds, ziplines, and rope bridges.
Chamarel Coloured Earth: The rainbow-styled sand dunes of Seven Colored Earths shouldn't be missed on your tour of Mauritius.La Vanille Nature Park
: Many species live here, including tortoises, deer, and crocodiles--a mix of tamer animals roam the petting zoo.Chamarel Waterfall
: See a mighty waterfall crash through the lush vegetation, with a possibility to swim in the shallow waters of the base pool.Rhumerie de Chamarel
: Find out about Mauritius' rum production at this eco-friendly yet modern distillery. L'Aventure du Sucre
: A tour of this factory-turned-museum reveals a history of Mauritius' sugar production, as well as the development of its rum industry.Flic en Flac Beach
: A tranquil lagoon with clear and calm water stands as a water sports paradise, with snorkeling, swimming, diving, and sunbathing as prominent activities.Pereybere Beach
: The clear waters off Pereybere Beach hold no secrets to divers, while the sandy shoreline offers a good range of modern amenities.
Planning a Mauritius Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Mauritius with Kids
As an island nation, Mauritius offers tons of possibilities for entertainment by the sea. It also boats inland nature reserves with abundant animal and plant life, all of which provide steady stream of fun activities for the whole family.
A Mauritius vacation can be very kid friendly, especially in places like Riviere Noire District
, where fascinating natural wonders allow children to explore, learn, and let off some steam.Pamplemousses District
with its botanical gardens, nature reserves, and big aquariums also appeals to kids.
In Flacq District
, visitors of all ages can find something to do, whether it's socializing with the locals or trying out some water activities.
Things to Do in Mauritius with Kids
Places like Flic en Flac Beach
and Pereybere Beach
allow families to relax on the sand and enjoy exciting water activities during their Mauritius trip.
To see native animal life from up close, take the kids toLa Vanille Nature Park
. For authentic safari experiences, head to Casela World of Adventures
. If your kids love colorful marine species, Mauritius Aquarium
may be just the place for you.
The almost-alien sights of Chamarel Coloured Earth will surely capture the attention of the youngest, while a bit older children may enjoy the cultural side of the island in museums like L'Aventure du Sucre
Tips for a Family Vacation in Mauritius
For the best experience during your Mauritius vacation, plan your accommodations and activities in advance to avoid stress and save money during your visit.
Seek adequate accommodation facilities with rooms suitable for children--this shouldn't present a serious problem, as most establishments across the island cater to families with kids.
Although Mauritius enjoys a tropical climate, a patch of brief cold weather (from June to September) may bring the temperature down to "sweater-needed" levels, so pack your clothing accordingly.
Numerous discounts for families staying with children can help you vacation on a budget--during low season, some hotels will even allow kids to stay for free.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Mauritius
Cuisine of Mauritius
An interesting blend of European, Indian, and Chinese with a hint of French influence, Mauritian cooking adds an exotic twist to standard dishes.
One of the most popular dishes you'll try while on a Mauritius tour is briyani, a rice dish with beef, chicken, fish, mutton, or vegetables (sometimes with yoghurt and spices).
Another favorite is dholl pori, a fried flatbread stuffed with yellow peas and served with bean curry, chutney, and achar (pickles).
Vanilla desserts make the bulk of the nation's sweeter specialties. Be sure to try the Mauritian sugar, which may sound like a regular ingredient, but the art of sugar production was perfected here for centuries, so expect the unexpected.
The best place to taste a dozen types of sugar is L'Aventure du Sucre
, a former factory that now functions as a museum.
Rum and its variants tend to be the spirit of the island. Taste some of the best at Rhumerie de Chamarel
, and eco-friendly distillery.
Shopping in Mauritius
Choose from quality textiles, jewelry made of diamonds, and handcrafted model boats in places like Grand Baie Bazaar
, a bustling market with mainly artisanal handmade products.
Shopaholics on a trip to Mauritius should stop by Bagatelle Mall of Mauritius
, one of the largest malls on the island that hosts many stores selling the world's leading brands in fashion, entertainment, and leisure.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Mauritius
Interesting Facts About Mauritius
● The dodo was a flightless bird that resided on the island centuries ago--although extinct, the creature remains the national animal of Mauritius
● Mauritius has the most population per square kilometer in Africa, and is the 17th most densely populated country in the world
● Mark Twain once said, "You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius."
● Sugarcane is the country's agricultural symbol and major product, planted on 90 percent of Mauritius' arable land
Things You Should NOT Do in Mauritius
Mauritians eagerly welcomes tourists and tend to be tolerant of different cultures. Following a few simple rules will save you from pushing the local tolerance levels to the limit.
Beachwear shouldn't be worn outside beach areas. In this conservative country where family values are highly regarded, swimming or sunbathing topless should definitely be avoided.
Dress conservatively when visiting religious Mauritius attractions, ensuring that you cover your legs and other exposed parts of your body before entering the site.
While many temples require visitors to take off their shoes, some Hindu shrines will also require you to remove leather items like belts.
Some temples forbid taking photos, so ask for permission and never assume snapping pictures is acceptable by default.
Holidays & Festivals in Mauritius
As an island densely populated by various cultures and ethnicities, Mauritius hosts holidays reflecting the population's Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist traditions.
Chinese New Year is celebrated between late January and early February with widespread feasts, fireworks, and parades of costumed, dragon-and-lion-themed dances. The main events happen in China Town in Port Louis
Thaipoosum Cavadee, a Tamil Hindu festival, takes place between January and February. During it, devotees with piercings and skin hooks dance in a trance-like state on the city streets.
Eid-Ul-Fitr, a Muslim festival that celebrates the end of Ramadan, begins at the end of September. At that time, the fast ends with prayers, feasting, and charitable activities.
Useful Mauritius Travel Tips
Common Greetings in Mauritius
Two languages dominate in Mauritius--English and French.
Most of the population (around 90 percent) speaks Mauritian Creole, so learning a couple of phrases in this tongue can go a long way with the locals on your Mauritius vacation.
Greet people with "bonzur" (hello) and "bonswar" (good evening), and use courtesy phrases like "sori," "si ouple," and "mersi" (sorry, please, and thank you, respectively).
Climate of Mauritius
With mild tropical weather throughout the year, Mauritius represents a constantly pleasant getaway place.
You can choose between two seasons for your Mauritius holiday--rainy, warm summer (November through April), and dry, colder winter (June through September).
Average temperatures hover around 25 C (77 F) during the summer, and 20 C (69 F) during the winter.
Most of the precipitation falls in the summer, so keep that in mind as you finalize your plans for a trip to Mauritius.
Transportation in Mauritius
In a relatively small island country, traveling around Mauritius shouldn't represent too many obstacles.
With no railway system, the country relies heavily on its buses and taxis. You can always find a taxi at hotels, airports, and bus stations.
Several express bus lines link Port Louis
with other main towns.
If you choose to rent a bicycle, car, or scooter, bear in mind that Mauritians drive on the left side of the road.
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience on your Mauritius vacation, organize a helicopter trip over the island and see the paradisal beauty of the country from a bird's perspective.
Tipping in Mauritius
Although not obligatory, tips are highly appreciated by hotel and restaurant staff, who receive relatively low wages and generally provide outstanding service to foreign tourists. Tip in cash and in person to ensure the reward ends up in the right hands.
To reward hotel staff who cared for your Mauritius holiday, add 5 percent to the total of your bill. Tip the cleaning staff and bellhops a few rupees on a per-day basis, or use your own discretion and the level of service provided to decide how much to leave behind.
Particularly helpful taxi drives should be given 100 to 200 rupees for day tours or pre-arranged trips.