MAURITIUS Travel Tips
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Located off the east coast of Africa, Mauritius is a small island nation that’s perhaps most well-known for luxury travel. The truth is there’s so much more than resorts and beaches.
It’s an island with incredible diversity – both in culture and landscapes.
A nature lover’s dream, you could be among giant tortoises in the morning, hiking to dramatic waterfalls by noon and beach hopping by the afternoon. It’s all reachable in a few hours too!
What’s more, the island boasts a rich cultural heritage and incredible food scene – partly to do with its diverse mix of Indian, Creole, Chinese and French ethnic groups.
After visiting Mauritius and falling head over heels for it, I’ve put together a travel guide for the island to help you plan an amazing trip. Read on for my best Mauritius travel tips.
Mauritius Travel Tips: Quick Information
Capital city: Port Louis
Currency: Mauritian rupee (Rs) Click here for the latest conversion rates.
Electricity socket: Types C (two round pins) and G (three rectangular pins in a triangle pattern). Voltage is 230V. Make sure you pack a universal travel adapter to be on the safe side!
Visa requirements: Whether or not you need a visa to enter Mauritius depends on your nationality. Most countries, including the UK, USA and those in the EU, don’t need a visa unless you’re planning to stay for over 60 days. Visas and stay extensions are issued free of charge. Click here to find out whether or not you need to apply for a visa.
Transportation: Public transport runs across the island but it’s somewhat limited. There are standard and express bus services that run from Port Louis to the north, south and main towns between 5:30am to 8pm. Times vary. There are no trains.
If you want to get around Mauritius, I recommend that you don’t rely on public transport. Hire a car instead. Use RentalCars to compare prices. Everything in Mauritius is about a 2 hour drive at most to get to.
Alternatively, you can use taxis. All hotels and accommodation across the island will help you book them. Another option is a small group or self-guided tour which covers all your transport.
Get all the best Mauritius travel tips in this ultimate guide to the island!
Best SIM card: Prepaid SIM cards with a range of plans can be picked up at the airport and shops across the island. They’re pretty inexpensive too, starting from 100 Rs (about £1 GBP). Look out for my.t, Chili and EMTEL.
Another way is to get a TravelSim SIM card that can be used in over 135+ countries worldwide. Choose between a physical SIM card or eSIM that can be downloaded onto your device.
Safety rating: Mauritius is ranked 28 out of 163 with a score of 1.570 on the Global Peace Index (the lower the score, the more peaceful the country). That’s more peaceful than the UK at 34, France at 65 and the US at 129!
Mauritius is one of the safest countries to visit in Africa and overall, the risk of crime is low. It’s still a good idea to keep an eye on your valuables at all times and protect yourself with travel insurance. My go-to is Holiday Extras.
Culture: Mauritius is unique as it has a diverse mix of culture concentrated on one small island. About 68% of the population is Indian origin, 27% are Creoles, 3% are Chinese and 2% are European.
There’s no official religion so the island is full of churches, mosques and temples. The holiday schedule is also a busy one to reflect the diverse population. Once a year, there is a huge pilgrimage to the sacred site of Grand Bassin for Maha Shivaratri.
Among the traditional customs is the Séga, a folk dance that has been passed down the generations. It can be traced back to the 18th century when it was performed by slaves. There are also reggae and saggae music styles.
Language: The official languages of Mauritius are English and French. Approximately 90% of the population also speak Mauritian Creole, otherwise known as Morisyen. Other languages are Hindi, Chinese and Urdu. Most Mauritians are bilingual or even trilingual.
Time zone: GMT+4
Climate: Mauritius has a mild tropical maritime climate throughout the year. Summer, which is November to April, is hot and humid. It’s also typically cyclone season. Winter, June to October, is generally cooler and drier. May and October are transitional months.
I visited Mauritius in October. The weather was good on the whole, but I did get some rain for the first few days. The temperature was pleasant, climbing up to around 30 degrees Celcius maximum.
MAURITIUS Trip Planning
Once you’ve worked out the time of year you want to visit, the next steps are budgeting and planning your packing list. These next few tips can help:
Your biggest travel expense in Mauritius is actually getting there. Since the island is tricky to get to (two seven hour flights from the UK), it’s not really known for being a budget travel destination.
Having said that, it’s definitely possible to stick to a budget and not break the bank. You just have to plan what you want to do and budget accordingly.
One of the best ways to keep costs low is to visit in the low season which is May to September. There are fewer crowds, hotels are cheaper and temperatures are a little lower but still tropical.
When dining out, look for street food vendors (there are plenty in Port Louis) rather than swanky restaurants. Head to local restaurants rather than eating at the resort ones.
The great news is if you’re a nature lover, you can get away with doing a lot of free or cheap activities such as beach hopping, swimming, snorkelling, hiking and cycling.
Your two biggest expenses on the island are accommodation and transport. There are a couple of hostels in Mauritius. You can also look for cheap and cheerful guest houses and hotels for as little as £15 a night.
There are some great options that are modern, clean and have gorgeous beachfront settings. Always read the reviews if you’re unsure.
In regards to transport, hiring a bike or using public transport are probably the cheapest ways to get around. Buses don’t go everywhere though so you might need to book taxis.
Here are some suggested budgets for your stay in Mauritius:
Backpacker: You can get by on £45 a day if you stay in cheap accommodation, do cheap or free activities, avoid fancy restaurants, cook your own meals and use local buses and taxis.
Mid-range: A typical mid-range budget is about £65-£82 a day. That’s of you continue to stay in budget hotels and rentals, eat at affordable restaurants and use taxis and public transport.
Luxury: A luxury budget is from £150+. That’s staying at luxury resorts, dining at upmarket restaurants, travelling by private transfers and doing lots of expensive activities.
Editor’s tip: The average budget prices are not too different from what you would spend in Australia, the UK, some parts of western Europe and the USA. It’s still cheaper than New Zealand and Scotland!
What to Pack for Mauritius
Mauritius has a warm, tropical climate so you can get away with packing lighter clothing.
Most restaurants prefer that you don’t wear shorts and flip flops so bring some slightly smarter trousers or skirts when dining out.
Bring a light scarf to cover your shoulders if you’re planning on visiting any religious sites.
Swimwear, a sun hat and sunglasses are essentials when travelling to Mauritius. So is a reef-safe sunscreen.
You might not need it but a lightweight waterproof raincoat is always a good idea in case you get caught out in a shower. It happened to me a few times!
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Sustainable Travel in Mauritius
Mauritius is a small island nation in the Indian ocean with the disadvantage of being pretty far away from most places so flights are long so it’s not ideal from a carbon footprint point of view.
However, tourism is a vital part of the nation’s economy as it helps fund many of its economic and sustainable developments. Just like many small African nations, the arrival of the pandemic caused many sustainability and conservation efforts to suffer.
No tourists meant many nature reserves and wildlife parks had prolonged closures. The decreased income resulted in shrinking budgets for conservation, according to a report by the Commonwealth.
Tourism is important to Mauritius. As a sustainable traveller, seeking out activities that benefit the local community will help strengthen conservation efforts for generations to come.
If you’re worried about your carbon footprint when visiting this long-haul destination, treat it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Travel sustainably while you’re there by:
- Staying at eco-friendly hotels and accommodations
- Joining tours that give back to the local community
- Supporting ecotourism by visiting nature reserves and national parks
- Visiting in quiet seasons to limit crowds
- Hiking with local guides
- Recycling your waste wherever you go
- Keeping single use plastic out of your suitcase
- Avoiding unethical activities and wildlife experiences
- Supporting local businesses
- Following the principles of Leave No Trace when in nature
- Offsetting unavoidable emissions through Gold Standard certified schemes
Best Things to Do in Mauritius
As I mentioned before in this travel guide, Mauritius is the land of adventure with so much to offer for everyone. Here are the top places to visit and best things to do and places to visit in Mauritius.
Keen to know how to fit all this in? Read my full 10 day Mauritius itinerary.
See giant tortoises
The tiny reef islet on the east coast of Mauritius is a protected nature reserve and home to some incredible wildlife – including giant tortoises!
Giant tortoises are native to Mauritius but sadly, the endemic species suffered the same fate as the dodo and went extinct in the 1700s.
The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation has now introduced the Aldabra Giant Tortoise from Seychelles. The best place to see them is Ile aux Aigrettes as it’s as close to the wild as possible.
Read my guide to Ile aux Aigrettes here.
Mauritius has some beautiful reefs offshore. Many of them are vulnerable and protected in marine reserves.
Some of the best ones to snorkel in are Anse le Raie Lagoon in the north and Blue Bay Marine Park in the south.
Help the reserves stay healthy by removing any plastic you see, wearing reef-safe sunscreen and not touching the coral.
Visit ILE AUX CERFS
Ile aux Cerfs is a beautiful private island with white sandy beaches, a couple of restaurants and a golf course. The best way to visit is on a full day cruise on board a 45-foot catamaran.
Highlights include snorkelling, dolphin watching and a BBQ lunch. You get to explore Ile aux Cerfs in your own time before heading back.
Visit Sir Seewoogasur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden
Located in Pamplemousses just outside Port Louis, the Botanical Garden is a fascinating place to see tropical plants from around the world. Discover plants from Asia, Africa, Europe and more.
Founded by Pierre Poivre in 1770, it features a colonial-era mansion and famous giant waterlily lake.
The entrance fee is 200 Rs for non-Mauritian visitors.
Do some beach hopping
There are plenty of picture-perfect beaches all over Mauritius – particularly along the east coast. Some of the best beaches to explore include:
- Flic en Flac – one of the longest on the island
- Grand Baie – the place to go for a plethora of watersports
- Trou aux Biches – for epic sunsets
- Belle Mar Beach – the epitome of white sandy beaches
Visit Chamarel’s Seven Coloured Earth
One of the best things to do in Mauritius, Chamarel’s Seven Coloured Earth Geopark has a stunning natural spectacle of sand dunes that are streaked with different colours – like Rainbow Mountain in Peru.
The best time to visit is on a dry, sunny day when the colours really pop. Avoid it in wet weather as it tends to look a bit muddy.
The entrance fee is about 200 Rs and it will give you access to some tortoise pens and quite possibly the most beautiful waterfall in Mauritius too!
Admire Ebony Forest Reserve
Just around the corner from Chamarel Seven Coloured Earth is Ebony Forest Reserve, a haven for threatened native flora and fauna.
You can support the conservation project through a number of activities.
The most popular one is a guided or self-guided tour up a 300m walkway through native bush to reach Sublime Point Lookout.
The viewpoint gives you stunning panoramic views out across Mauritius to the sea.
You can stay at the lookout and enjoy some refreshments at the tiny cafe, or you can continue on up to Piton Canot, a mountain with even more views.
The entry fee for Ebony Forest Reserve is 300 Rs.
Hike Le Morne Brabant
Le Morne Brabant is a westerly peninsula which is known for its huge basalt monolith rising 556 metres above sea level.
Just off the coast of this striking UNESCO World Heritage site sand and silt give the illusion that the island is about to be sucked down a huge underwater waterfall!
You can hike Le Morne Brabant with an experienced guide (it’s advisable as this hike is steep and challenging). It takes four hours to complete and it will give you some of the best views of the island. View how to do it here.
Enjoy Grand Bassin
Grand Bassin, otherwise known as Ganga Talao, is an important Hindu pilgrimage site.
The sacred crater lake sits 550 metres above sea level and has Hindu temples and shrines dotted along its shoreline. It’s also home to a 33 metre statue of Lord Shiva towering above the trees.
You can visit Grand Bassin, walk around the lake, meditate and spot local wildlife such as fish, eels and monkeys!
Do a food tour in Port Louis
The colourful streets of Port Louis are a must when visiting Mauritius. A great way to immerse yourself in the local culture while you’re there is to do a street food tour. Experience the best culinary delights like a local that tourists don’t easily find.
Sample delicious bites such as Indo-Mauritian “faratas” (fried dough bread) served with Creole “rougaille, Mauritian dumplings and Franco-Mauritian pastries.
Mauritius has a diverse culinary scene with plenty of French, Creole, African, Indian and Chinese influences.
Visit the National Parks
There are national parks and nature reserves all over Mauritius that you can explore. Head to Black River Gorges in the highlands for slightly cooler temperatures, mountain trails and Gorges Viewpoint.
Another one is Bel Hombre Nature Reserve, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve nestled in the south of the island.
The protected area of 1300 hectares is a tropical landscape of native forest, mountainous terrain, rivers and lush vegetation.
Endemic species such as the Pink Pigeon, Mauritian Fody and Echo Parakeet can all be found here.
Activities in the reserve are all about adventure and conservation. Trek with an expert guide, take 4×4 safaris, enjoy a picnic pod or explore by buggy!
Drink tea at Bois Cheri
Tea has been produced by Mauritius since the 19th century. The biggest plantation on the island is Bois Cheri Tea Factory.
You can learn all about the history of the industry at the on-site museum and see how the factory works today.
Another must is the tea tasting chalet. Located just a short coach ride through the plantation, the picturesque chalet offers tea tastings ith beautiful views over a small reservoir.
Look for deer and long-tailed macaque monkeys through the trees!
Do a tour of Mauritius
Doing a small group or self-guided tour of Mauritius is one of the easiest ways to get around, particularly if you don’t want to drive or you’re travelling solo. All your transport is sorted too.
Check out a view of my favourite tour operators:
Pure Breaks is a responsible travel company that helps you build personalised itineraries for the place you want to visit. They’re completely flexible and tailored to you.
Pure Breaks does lean more towards luxury travel but it ensures that all accommodations and activities are ethical, sustainable and give back to the destination.
If you want easy access to activities and day tours, GetYourGuide is the place to go. It offers a range of day trips which cover most of the island so you can alternative between busy and relaxed days.
Trips and excursions tend to be more budget-friendly depending on what you pick. Look out for activities marked with a Badge of Excellence or sustainable certification.
Browse GetYourGuide tours below
here are lots of day trips and activities in Mauritius. I’ve rounded up 11 of the best to help you choose. Each one is based on my own experience, reviews, sustainability, and of course, itinerary. View them here.
Mauritius Travel Guide: What to Eat
Mauritian cuisine is a delicious fusion influenced by the country’s cultural diversity. Here are some of the best things to eat and drink in Mauritius:
Gateaux piment: These are essentially chilli fritters. A common snack among street food stalls, they’re small deep fried balls that are utterly delicious and moreish. Eat them with lashings of fiery coriander chutney.
Mauritian cari: You can’t miss a hearty Mauritian cari (or, curry). It’s typically fish, chicken or seafood cooked in a masala sauce. This homely dish is served with rice and roti (flatbread) to mop it up.
Bol renversé: This Chinese Mauritian dish is an upside down stir fry, prepared in reverse. It’s a one-bowl meal served with rice, vegetables, chicken and a fried egg.
Rum: This spirit is one of the island’s biggest exports thanks to the sugar plantations. Mauritian rum is made from sugarcane and has sweet caramel notes. Head to Rhumerie de Chamarel Distillery for a guided tour and rum tastings!
Vanilla tea: Tea is another big export in Mauritius. You can get all kinds here from tropical spiced to black teas. Visit Bois Cheri Tea Plantation for a tea tasting experience with amazing views.
If you want to sample Mauritius’ culinary delights, I recommend doing this street food tour of Port Louis. It’s highly rated and you get to eat authentic Mauritian food!
Eating in Mauritius
I always say that one of the easiest ways to save money when travelling is to buy food from local supermarkets and cook at your accommodation. This is somewhat tricky in Mauritius as there are no hostels.
You will have to look at self-catering guest houses, aparthotels and holiday rentals (I’m not a massive fan of Airbnb but that comes down to personal preference).
If you do find self-catering accommodation, the supermarkets to look out for are Super U, Intermart and Food Lover’s Market. You can also head to the markets and get produce from local vendors.
Editor’s tip: pack a cold food bag to help perishable food last longer when you’re travelling around. This one is so useful!
Restaurants, Cafes and Bars
You have a lot of options when dining out in Mauritius. The good news is that you can make it as cheap as expensive as you want.
A meal in a cheap restaurant is about 275 Rs (around £5). A three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant is about 1500 Rs (£27). A domestic beer is around 90 Rs (£1.60).
To keep it even more budget-friendly, eat at street food vendors for as little as 40 Rs. A meal at a fast food restaurant is about 200 Rs (£3.60).
If you’re keen to stick to a budget, look for self-catering accommodation. If that’s not possible, choose a hotel with breakfast included, grab a street food lunch on the go and eat at a budget-friendly restaurant in the evenings.
Where to Stay in Mauritius
Mauritius’ accommodation is a lot more than just luxury resorts. From glamping to holiday rentals, guest houses hotels, B&Bs and ecolodges, there’s something for every travel style, preference and budget.
I’m a big fan of the ecolodge as it allows you to really connect with nature and the island in an eco-friendly way.
There are some beautiful ecolodges dotted around Mauritius that give you an authentic experience without a hefty price tag.
Use Booking.com to help you find the best places to stay in Mauritius. Agoda is another great option for staying at rentals and resorts.
Whatever you do, always read reviews before booking your accommodation.
- Read my guide to the best places to stay in Mauritius for every budget and travel style!
Use Booking.com to help you find the best places to stay in Mauritius. I also love Agoda for finding amazing accommodation at decent prices.
Recommended Booking Resources
Books about Mauritius
Apart from this travel guide, here is some more reading material to inspire your trip to Mauritius:
Golden Bats & Pink Pigeons: If you’re interested in the wildlife of Mauritius and intrepid travel, this book is a great read. Written by Gerald Durrell, it documents his adventures on the island rescuing wildlife from extinction. His tales are entertaining but carry the sad note of human destruction.
Lonely Planet Mauritius, Reunion & Seychelles: You can’t go wrong with a classic Lonely Planet guidebook featuring all the best things do to, where to stay, budget travel tips and more. The next edition of this book is out November 2023.
Eve Out Of Her Ruins: I’m always here for fiction books that tell us more about a place. Written by Ananda Devi, this story explores areas of Mauritius that tourists don’t see. It’s a beautifully written and brutally honest account of life on the fringes.
Mauritius Travel Inspiration
Need more Mauritius travel inspiration? Check this video courtesy of Mauritius Now.
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