White sand beaches with volcanic mountain backdrops, a melting pot of cultures, and more surprisingly, the affordable luxury — Mauritius has been described as one of the world’s most overlooked islands. With a direct flight from the UAE, here’s everything you need to know before you go…
- Travel from UAE to Mauritius is a direct 6.5 hour flight with Emirates.
- The island has very relaxed visa rules that allow passport holders from most countries a visa exemption or visa on arrival.
WHERE TO STAY
- Big spender: At the high end of the luxury hotel spectrum, the One&Only Le Saint Géran, Mauritius is a great place to splurge. Surrounded by coral reefs on the island’s eastern coast, it was named in Condé Nast Traveller’s 2019 Gold List as one of the best resorts in the world.
- Mid-range: The Seasense Boutique Hotel & Spa offers 5-star luxury at 3-star prices. This laid-back boutique resort is also adults-only.
- On a budget: The island is packed with low-cost resorts like Solana Beach which offer special all-inclusive rates that include drinks, dining and excursions.
THINGS TO DO
Mauritius might be best known for its white-powdered beaches, but the island has so many other cool experiences on offer…
- Go trekking… at Black River Gorges National Park, Mauritius’ biggest national park, famous for its waterfalls and breathtaking vistas.
- Enjoy dolphin watching… at Tamarin Bay on the island’s west coast and swim with pods of bottlenose dolphins in their natural environment.
- Explore nature… at Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, widely considered to be one of the most beautiful gardens in the world — the giant water lilies are its most popular attraction.
- Play with giant tortoises… at La Vanille Nature Park where hundreds of giant Aldabra tortoises wander freely.
- Visit the island’s capital… of Port Louis for a day packed with history and culture. Check out the Caudan Waterfront for museums and Central Market for fantastic street food.
- Chase waterfalls… at Black River Gorges National Park, the largest protected forest of Mauritius, where you’ll be treated with a view of the famed Alexandra waterfall.
- The easiest way to explore the island is by hiring a taxi for the day for a flat fee.
- Rental cars are widely available if you want the freedom to explore at your own pace. Take note that Mauritius drives on the left.
- Don’t rely on Google Maps as it’s not optimized for Mauritius.
- Hiking should only be done with a guide; you’ll find many locals offering their services at popular nature spots.
WHAT TO EAT
Reflective of the island’s diverse heritage, Mauritian cuisine is influenced by many cultures including French, Indian, Creole and Chinese. It’s best to step outside your resort to experience the incredible street food on offer. Don’t miss…
- Gajak… deep-fried snacks sold on the backs of motorbikes and food stalls; they range from gateau aubergine (eggplant fritters) to manioc goujons (cassava chips).
- Dholl puris… derived from Indian paratha, they’re considered to be the Mauritius’ unofficial national dish.
- Sugar… Mauritius produces some of the world’s best sugar, with almost 90% of the island’s agriculture cultivating sugarcane. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss sugar museum L’Aventure du Sucre.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Trou aux Biches is considered one of the best beaches on the island.
- Sample the local rum – it’s one of the island’s most famous exports.
- Cash is still king in Mauritius, so don’t rely on using credit cards to make purchases.
- Be prepared to haggle on everything from souvenirs to excursions.
WHEN TO GO
The weather in Mauritius is warm and pleasant throughout the year, but it’s best to plan ahead before you visit…
- The best time to visit Mauritius is from May to December when the weather is cool, dry and sunny.
- Avoid visiting during the wet cyclone season from January to March.
- Take note that the island’s west and north coasts are warmer and drier than the east and south coasts.