Exotic location, tropical climate, beautiful beaches, turquoise water and lush scenery, Mauritius is one of the most underrated islands in the world. Full stop.
The land of the Dodo bird – it’s been on my bucket list for over a decade! I finally had the opportunity to visit a few months ago for my honeymoon. When people asked where we planned to go for our honeymoon and I told them Mauritius, many asked me “why?” or “where is that?”. It was surprising to see just how many people didn’t know anything at all about this beautiful island nation just in the Indian Ocean.
Often times, when people think exclusive, luxurious honeymoon, they think: The Maldives. But, I’d choose Mauritius over The Maldives a hundred times over; and today, I’m sharing 10 reasons Mauritius should be on your bucket list too.
1. It’s not overrated
Okay, so this first point is somewhat relative. I know people in Europe and India have been going to Mauritius for YEARS (they obviously knew something we didn’t!). But, I’d go so far as to say that the average North American doesn’t know anything at all about Mauritius!
Mauritius isn’t overrated like—dare I say—The Maldives, Bali, Bora Bora or Hawaii (all of which have been over-frequented by tourists). From a true traveler’s perspective, this is a great thing, and I recommend going before Mauritius has become overrun with tourists.
2. It’s less expensive and less restrictive than The Maldives
You may have dreamt about that overwater bungalow in The Maldives for your getaway (btw, you can find those in Mauritius too). But, a good quality overwater bungalow in The Maldives is actually going to cost you an arm and a leg, and that same amount of money can go further at an equally beautiful (or better) resort in Mauritius.
In The Maldives (which is a 100% Muslim country), there are some important laws to be aware of. Other than on resort islands, alcohol is forbidden (duty-free can’t be brought into the country either). Women must dress moderately, there are no pork products, and public displays of affection are against the law. For the LGBT traveler, it’s important to know that homosexuality is illegal in The Maldives. On the other hand, in Mauritius, there are no such restrictions on food, alcohol and attire, and homosexuality is not illegal.
But, I’ll just stop the comparison to The Maldives right here because this post is not intended to be about that. Instead, it’s about why Mauritius (in its own right) should be on your bucket list. So continue reading on for more reasons why.
3. It’s a honeymooner’s paradise
Everything about Mauritius screams romance and resorts specifically cater to honeymooners. Couples’ massages, rose petals and flowers around your suite, candlelit dinners on the beach, and near complete privacy are all par for the course in Mauritius.
When we stayed at Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel, probably about 70-75% of the guests were on their honeymoon! There was a complete sense of calm, relaxation, and romance throughout the resort and it really was the perfect place to honeymoon!
4. It has world-class resorts
Some of the top names in luxury hotels (including One&Only, the Four Seasons, Shangri-La, St. Regis, the Oberoi) have long ago set up shop in Mauritius, and for very good reason. At the same time, you can find a large inventory of boutique resorts on the island. We were lucky enough to experience 3 resorts during our stay.
Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel
Located in the northern part of the island, Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel is beautiful, secluded, quiet, and has very friendly staff. We loved this boutique style resort! We could always find a beach chair at the infinity pool, it had little coves to explore and spot crabs, and the all-inclusive package definitely enhanced our stay!
One&Only Le Saint Géran
One&Only Le Saint Géran is just phenomenal and words alone can’t do this place justice. On a private peninsula on the northeastern part of Mauritius, this resort is said to have snatched up the best location on the island (and I don’t disagree!). It’s surrounded by white, sandy beach and there are over 4,000 palm trees on the property! Before being acquired by One&Only, Le Saint Géran was the first luxury resort in Mauritius, and there are families who have been visiting for more than 30 years. That being said, it was recently completely renovated into a beautiful, modern oasis, with bright and airy rooms with neutral tones, white columns throughout, and luxurious finishings. When I think of paradise in a resort, I think of One&Only Le Saint Géran!
Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita
I mean, comparing one spectacular luxury resort with another is not an easy feat! Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita was equally as impressive! On the eastern part of the island, there is direct access from the resort to Île aux Cerfs (for free), one of the islands off the coast of the main island and largest largoon in Mauritius. The property felt like a complete sanctuary, sitting at the edge of a lagoon and being comprised of only beach front and garden villas. Each villa has its own private garden and plunge pool, so it’s perfect for a secluded escape. We also ate some of the best resort food we had in Mauritius at Four Seasons Mauritius. Our lunch at Bambou not only afforded us amazing views of the pool and beach, but was also a wonderful taste of authentic Mauritian cuisine!
5. It has white sandy beaches, lagoons, reefs and cool islands
Mauritius’s coastline is approximately 330 km long, and all of the beaches along the coastline are public. Most beaches are safe for swimming, and you’ll be able to find amenities, like public washrooms, at many of the big beaches. The entire island is also surrounded by coral reefs and lagoons, which are ideal for diving and snorkeling. Our favourite beach was Point d’Esny, which had some of the most turquoise water I’ve ever laid my eyes on! It was also so secluded and we were the only ones on the beach for miles and miles for several hours! Apart from the beaches, there are beautiful islands that are great for day-trips, like Île aux Cerfs and the north islands.
6. It has magical sights and scenery
Juxtaposed against the idyllic beaches is an interior that is mountainous, lush, and has sights that look like they’re straight out of a movie – from waterfalls to giant lily pads, and pre-historic tortoises to multi-coloured geological formations. Mauritius is truly a magical place!
7. The people and culture are phenomenal
What struck a chord most with me was the culture in Mauritius, which reminded me very much of my Trinidadian heritage. The island has a history of Black slavery, Indian indentured servitude, Chinese migration, and European colonialism. Over time, the result is a fantastic melting pot of cultures, identities, and religions that co-exist harmoniously. Muslims, Hindus and Christians all live side by side. And since no one population can claim ownership to the island, there is a mutual respect for everyone. The people are also among some of the friendliest and most hospitable I’ve ever encountered.
Just head down to the bustling streets of Port Louis and you can witness this melting pot first-hand, as people of different creed and age go about their daily lives. The vibe in Port Louis and other larger towns is like night and day from the resort, so it’s not to be missed. You can grab a Phoenix beer and head to a bar to listen to the island’s indigenous Sega music.
8. The food is out of this world
Another by-product of the diversity in Mauritius is its rich cuisine, which has Afro-Creole, Indian and Chinese influences (in other words, it’s guaranteed to be delicious). My recommendation? Dive right in and eat like a true local! Beeline for Port Louis and get yourself a Dholl puri from a street vendor. Then head to an authentic Sino-Mauritian restaurant (like First Restaurant in Port Louis) to gorge on fried rice, mine frite (fried noodles), boulet (dim sum) and other delicious Cantonese cuisine.
Some other must-try dishes in Mauritius include:
- Gato piments
- Fish vindaye
My mouth is watering.
9. It has a booming economy and stable political scene
Mauritius has one of the most competitive economies in Africa and a long history of political stability, since gaining independence in 1968, making it a great place to do business, and yet another reason visit.
10. It’s one of the prettiest places to drive in the world
I always say the best way to explore a destination is to get out there and drive (or walk)! My biggest recommendation when visiting Mauritius is to rent a car and get off the resort to really experience the island! Car rentals are inexpensive and the entire island is very much drivable. In fact, it’s one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever done, as you go past giant trees that canopy the road and fields of sugar cane that are taller than you (my husband unfortunately never let me stop to take a snap)! While the roads are quite good, for the most part, it may take you longer than you expect to drive around Mauritius, because you’ll surely want to stop to admire the scenery!
So, ready to pack your bags for Mauritius? I’m already dreaming of my return!