Mauritius, a tropical island paradise and one of the world’s top luxury tourism destinations, is a place everyone should visit at least once in their life. It possesses a wide range of natural and man-made attractions. The island benefits from a tropical climate with clear warm sea waters, attractive beaches, tropical fauna and flora complemented by a multi-ethnic and cultural population that is friendly and welcoming. We have compiled a list of tips for you, so that you can spend wonderful holidays on the paradisiacal island of the Indian ocean!
Well if you are not good at reading maps: Take taxis! Booking a taxi for the day for sightseeing and excursions in Mauritius is a good solution: it’s practical but remains a little more expensive than renting a car … in return, the driver often serves as a guide!
Budget: € 55/65 day approx. (2300/2700 Rs).
We advise you to negotiate before and see it on the spot. Avoid taking taxis offered by your hotel which is often more expensive than the other ones.
Rent a car: Do not forget your Map of Mauritius! This is a very practical solution to wander around the island … But you must remember to book well in advance during peak season (indeed most major international rental companies make specials if you book in advance). There are quite a few local brands that have set up shop and offer rates which are often lower (be careful when it comes to the condition of vehicles and the conditions for assistance, insurance, the deductibles …). With those you can provide for a Budget of about 25 € per day. Most will deliver the vehicle at the airport with or without charge.
The big international rental companies like Avis are all available from the airport with a budget that starts rather around € 35/40 per day. Feel free to go through a broker who may offer negotiated prices in the largest rental companies (international or local) and you get a level of rates that might surprise you.
When you got your car, let the adventure begin! Remember that driving is on the left but priority is given to vehicles coming from the right, beware of dangerous overtaking and avoid driving at night. Please note also the lack of visibility: the sugar cane fields can completely obstruct the view in some crosses.
Change you money in town! Exchange offices of the city center are preferable to those hotels (Hotels Mauritius) and banks where commissions are often much more important. It is best to withdraw some money at the airport for the transfer (if not included) and wait to be there to make changes in a separate offices. Do not hesitate to compare and to bargain! Note that many retailers allow you to withdraw money in cities and you can also pay by credit card at major hotels, shops in most cities of the island… Check before leaving on fees charged by your bank.
Do not book your excursions and activities in advance! Even if you are visiting Mauritius during the peak season and you’re afraid of not finding trip to your foot, do not worry: you’ll probably be overwhelmed with proposals on the spot! You will come across a vast number of local agencies and you can even get better rates on site since you can negotiate consistently while promoting competition. It is not worth taking trips offered by your tour operator, they are almost always expensive.
Take masks and snorkels! Do not forget to put those in your suitcase, otherwise you will be obliged to rent all the time and this quickly become expensive because you will always be wanting more! Snorkeling (also called PMT: Palmes-Masque-Tuba) allows you to penetrate a stunning underwater spectacle: colorful fish, aquatic plants, turtles, stingrays and even dolphins or (friendly) sharks … No need for special skills: this activity is accessible to everyone, even to the children pertaining they know how to swim! Take some precautions though: wear bathing shoes, put 1 shirt or 1 combi …
Best spots you should not miss: Blue Bay Marine Park, West Coast (Flic en Flac, Le Morne …), near Flat Island (passes between Flat Island and Ilot Gabriel) Pereybere, Balaclava, La Cambuse and Belle Mare…
Eat Local Specialties. If you want to eat the same products that you eat at home they will return you 20 to 30% more expensive (yoghurt, meats, imported industrial products …) than the local prducts.
With small local restaurants, it is easy to eat cheap in Mauritius. It normally costs around Rs 500/600 (- € 15) for 2 and at noon, one can lunch on the go in small huts or beach carts (samosas, donuts, dholl puris, fresh fruit) for Rs 100 for 2 (€ 3). Another option is to opt for the “world food”, eating Chinese in Mauritius costs almost nothing! Make finding in the markets and look for fruits while making lots of bargains: you can also eat lots of little typical local snacks for some Rupees.
Speaking of cost of living, make sure you take your cosmetics! Sunscreen, mosquito repellent products but also health and beauty in general (as baby diapers) are quite expensive on site (as they are imported), plan your stock before you go!
Buy your spices at the supermarket! In fact, supermarkets are the best plan to do you tropical shopping – Curry powder, vanilla beans, rum, cinnamon, peppers … Their “spices” stall are well supplied and it’s not expensive at all, though – at the market they, oddly, are!
You should also know: the importation of any weapon is prohibited in Mauritius (even knives, even under artificial form) and severely punished, it is also illegal to possess a defensive weapon like tear gas, do not forget to take your shoes off in every temple you visit (pay attention to your outfit) and observe some decency rules (nudism forbidden, topless to avoid …)
Have a great time in Mauritius!