Mauritius… It’s Bliss.
The warm tropical air hits you straight away like a big hug – you’ve arrived. Smiling faces welcome you, palm trees bend over slightly as if they’re trying to say hello, their fronds waving gently to you in the breeze. This is Mauritius, and you’re in for a treat.
For a small island, Mauritius’ main island seems endless. As you drive towards your hotel, the landscape constantly changes, from highway to city, to mountains, to coastline. There’s nothing like the fresh air feeling after stepping off a long-haul flight or the adrenaline of seeing a new destination for the first time. For us, all this was heightened by being at the start of our honeymoon.
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Stay somewhere great
The first four nights of our holiday were spent at the Radisson Blu Poste Lafayette (which is amazing, and you can book it here). I’m not going to talk too much about what happened after we moved hotels (if you need to know, click here). This hotel, though, was lovely and set on a glorious beach. It’s classed as 4-star, but it’s 4.5-star for me. Huge rooms with a really comfy bed and cable and all the room amenities you need. The service is really accommodating and the food is amazing. I could have sat and eaten at the resort all day. We also booked a couples spa package (which we were given at a large discount because we were honeymooners!) and it was sublime.
We were on a slight budget though so the Radisson Blu was perfect for us. It had absolutely everything we needed and more, but at a fantastic rate. However, if you’re after something truly luxe, Mauritius is the place to be. Based on client feedback, some of my favourite truly five-star options are the One&Only Le Saint Géran or the LUX*, both in Belle Mare, or for something not quite so extra but still honeymoon worthy, the Trou aux Biches Beachcomber is a wonderful option.
Culture in spades
One thing I really, really loved about Mauritius is the cosmopolitanism. I didn’t expect it to have a big, bustling city, but Port Louis is beautiful. Like a mini Paris to walk around an explore, but it has a cool harbor too and water taxis will take you across. Museums, temples, mosques and a gorgeous Botanic Gardens are all there to explore.
Mauritius also has the highest Hindu population outside of India, and this is reflected at Grand Bassin, a huge lake in a crater where the Ganga Talao temple stands. This intricate temple is an absolute must-see, as is the crater.
One of my favourite aspects of Mauritius was the food, and how the different cultures within Mauritius shine through each dish. Fresh seafood, flavour-packed curries, and creole spices all combine to produce a cuisine unlike anything else I’ve ever tried. I’ve attempted to recreate several Mauritian dishes at home but I just can’t get them quite right… I think this is because some of the street food, in particular, are made from family recipes handed down through generations and not found in recipe books.
Careful with the dollar bills
The currency is the Mauritian Rupee, but be warned: a lot of pricing is in line with the Euro, especially in resorts and for tourist activities. This means if your currency doesn’t compare favourably (like, say, the Australian Dollar) Mauritius is going to be expensive. We found getting around the worst: there’s no public transport outside of Port Louis so you’ll need private taxis to get from place to place. You could also cut costs a bit by hiring a car if you’re comfortable. Mauritians drive on the left, which is nice for those of us from the colonies! Many of my clients have done this and it’s definitely what we’ll do next time to keep the costs a bit more reasonable.
Get on board…
The best activity we booked was a sailing trip to Ile aux Cerfs. We spent a whole day cruising around on a catamaran. Think crystal waters, drinking Mauritian rum and eating a gorgeous Mauritian barbeque on board. There was the opportunity to get off the boat and walk around the island, or you could just float around in the water and enjoy the day. At different points, beautiful fish appeared and we snorkeled with them. We also stopped at a spot just off the coast for some parasailing and the views are just incredible. It was one of the best travel days I’ve ever had.
We also took a sailing trip out to Ile aux Benitiers to see the Diamond Rock and laze by the water… another day spent swimming, snorkeling and eating that delicious seafood barbecue lunch Mauritians do so well.
We tried a dolphin swim a couple of times but inclement weather ruined one outing. On the other, it was pretty disgusting to be honest and not something I’d ever try again. Picture twenty boats chasing around one terrified dolphin and hundreds of people trying to swim with it. So I think to really find your bliss, ditch the dolphin swim and focus on all the incredible scenery you’re surrounded by.
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…or go overland
Sailing is just the start. Head out to Chamarel to see the multicoloured sand dunes. These dunes are vibrant colours thanks to the mineral deposits contained within them. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, head out on a quadbike tour or go skydiving. For romance, there are endless sunset dinners and cruises to book.
Most resorts have tour desks and I highly recommend this option. It means you can get a feel for the place and decide whether you want to take it easy or be active. I recommend this because if you’re looking at brochures or websites from home, it’s so easy to get overexcited. Next thing you know you’ve accounted for every minute of your trip because there’s just so much to do. Which means all of a sudden you can’t head to the spa on a whim, or just take some time to relax with a cocktail on the beach or by the pool.
Pick the right resort, consider your budget carefully, and be okay with taking each day as it comes. My three tips for a perfect Mauritian holiday. If you keep these things in mind, Mauritius is a destination that will provide the best memories for the rest of your life.
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