This tiny island located somewhere in the Indian Ocean is a place close to my heart –Mauritius, an island that is known for its beaches, lagoons and reefs. My dad first took us to this country on the year 2009 and we have been coming to visit every year since then. I remember my dad telling me how it was like the very famous Hawaii but minus the tons of tourist and commercialism. He had so much love for the place.
So, where in the World is Mauritius?
When you look at a world map, sometimes it’s barely a dot, in some maps, it’s not even there… but have a look at Google maps; their closest neighbor is Reunion Island which belongs to France, only 220 km away (which explains why there are a lot of Europeans spending their holidays on the island) and on the West you’ll come across Madagascar, a bigger island that is 805 km away. The East coast of the African continent is about 1800 km further west.
Our first time in this country, my family stayed in Hilton Mauritius. It was absolutely remarkable; their staff and their service were impeccable – genuine smiles all throughout the day&night . Their room and amenities were amazing and during that stay my dad made us try wake boarding for the first time and scuba diving. We also had a private dinner (lobster and wine) on the beach, complete with candles and local musicians playing on the side of our dinner tent. After dinner, we just went stargazing; we watched the sky and talked about astronomy.
A little trivia, according to Wikipedia: “The island of Mauritius is relatively young geologically, having been created by volcanic activity some 8 million years ago. Together with Saint Brandon, Réunion, and Rodrigues, the island is part of the Mascarene Islands. These islands have emerged as a result of gigantic underwater volcanic eruptions that happened thousands of kilometres to the east of the continental block made up of Africa and Madagascar.”
Capital: Port Louis – in the west of the island, where you will find Le Caudan Waterfront: a shopping mall at the bay where you can shop with locals.
Language: Mauritians are quite comfortable in speaking English with tourists but the main language is Creole and a lot of people also speak French; there is a lot of French influence in the island. A little trivia about Creole: this language was created by the slaves in the 18th century to be able to communicate with other slaves and with their French masters.
Mauritius is a nation of immigrants; from India, China, UK, Europe, South Africa. So, the culture, food, language of the place is very diverse. No shortage of great food on the island!
Currency: Mauritian rupee (rough estimate: 1 USD =30 MUR)
Mauritius has a tropical climate; it is naturally tropical in the coastal regions with forests in the mountainous areas. The country does experience seasonal cyclones but they do recover quickly.
They have 2 seasons and the seasons are opposite to the Northern hemisphere: a warm humid summer from November to April, and a relatively cool dry winter from June to September. The warmest months are December and February and the coolest months are July and August.
The best time to visit:
In all my visits, I would say that October is the best time. But of course it all depends on your interests and how you prefer to spend your holidays on an island; it’s either hot hot hot weather (your sweat will start trickling down your spine if you walk under the sun kind of hot weather) with lukewarm sea or warm mornings & warm to cool afternoon weather with chilly nights and cool sea.
The sea temperature is 27 degrees Celsius during summer compared to 22 degrees during winter.
For sports and activities:
The wind is much more calm during the summer, which will be perfect if you wanted to surf, SUP and do some kayak. But just take note that they do have cyclones in the summer and of course the wind would be very strong; weather in Mauritius could be quite unpredictable. Now, If you’re a kitesurfer or just have dreams of trying out this sport try visiting in the winter. I’ve watched kitesurfers in Mauritius before and during winter… It’s such a fun sport to watch!
Other activities would be hiking; Mauritius has some of the most amazing places to hike and amazing views when you get to the top. Running and biking are also fun activities that you could do whatever the season is.
For surfers, swimmers and lover of water activities: The island is surrounded by an outer reef that is somehow responsible for the calm and turquoise blue lagoons perfect for swimming and water sports… The outer reef also happens to serve as a safety net for water sport enthusiasts who have a fear of sharks.
Transportation around the island:
I would highly suggest in renting a car. A friend of mine who now lives in Mauritius but used to live in Hong Kong said she had a hard time going to places when his partner wasn’t with her because the heat would sometimes be unbearable if you wanted to just walk to places and buses only have certain times for pick up in a location.
When my sister and I visit Mauritius, we stay around the area of black river where our financial adviser and his family live and somewhat adopts us. He rents a small car for my sister and I, so that we could go around the place (grocery store, public beach, etc.) more conveniently.
There are a lot of car rentals at the airport and around the island.
Another thing, the driving here is on the left-hand side of the road. In the Philippines, we drive on the right-hand side and when my sister and I first drove in Mauritius, it was a bit confusing at first but it was easy to adjust and as long as you have driving license, it’s pretty safe to drive around.
How to get there:
From the Philippines we have 3 routes to choose from:
MNL-HKG-MRU: With this route, we usually fly Cathay pacific; Manila to Hong Kong and then Air Mauritius from Hong Kong to Mauritius. (Our friends from Hong Kong told us they got really cheap tickets flying from HK to Mauritius)
2h 20min MNL-HKG then 9h 45min HKG-MRU
MNL-KL-MRU: This usually has the cheapest ticket out of the three routes. We fly Malaysia Airlines from Manila to Kuala Lumpur and then Air Mauritius from Kuala Lumpur to Mauritius.
3h 45min MNL-KL then 7h 20min KL-MRU
MNL-DXB-MRU: The Emirates airline with the Dubai stop over is the one that I highly recommend. It might be the most expensive choice of the three but it is the most comfortable one and it’s worth it. Big leg room on the plane, comfortable airplane seats, beautiful airport; LOTS of engaging deals in this shopping haven: from gadgets, to perfumes, to a wide selection of chocolates, top brands, designer brands for handbags and clothes… they have it all. Plus, lots of restaurants and cafe’s to choose from!
8h 35min MNL-DXB flight then 6h 35min DXB-MRU flight.
For other flights:
Air France and Air Mauritius are the two major airlines serving Mauritius with daily flights taking off from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
Visa Requirements: For Filipinos Visa is needed.
Mauritius is a pretty laid back island and there’s definitely something for everyone. From very expensive villas and resorts to cheap apartments, a variety of food choices and cuisines and quite an assortment of activities: from high energy sports like kitesurfing, surfing, cycling, hiking, to relaxing activities like reading a book on a very clean public beach, riding a horse, or just grabbing coffee and pizza at an Italian restaurant. You could also join a catamaran cruise with your friends, rent a private boat and go dolphin watching with your family or go watch the always beautiful and mesmerizing sunset with your partner. May it be an exciting vacation that you’re searching for filled with exhilarating activities or a romantic getaway for your anniversary or honeymoon… It’s a destination worth the the trip and the $$.
More posts on beautiful islands here: