There’s Something About Mauritius

“Where in the world is Mauritius?”

“What language do Mauritians speak?”

“What is so special about Mauritius?”

These were just a few of the questions Scott and I received from friends before our departure to Mauritius last month. We had a general idea of where the island is located, but I’m ashamed to say that we didn’t have decent answers to the rest of these questions.

The island of Mauritius is a somewhat well-known destination in Europe, but it’s not frequented by too many Americans or Canadians. It’s located 2,000 miles off the southeast coast of Africa, so it can be quite a trek for those traveling from the United States or Canada. (It took us about thirty to thirty-five hours to travel from San Diego to Mauritius). That’s not to say this destination is not worth the long hours in the air.

St. Regis Mauritius Sunrise 
Sunrise at the St. Regis Mauritius

St. Regis Mauritius Sunset
Mauritius is an entire nation of immigrants, many of which are from India. The official language of the island is English, however, more people speak French and Mauritian Creole. The fact that almost all of the locals speak English makes this an ideal destination for English-speaking travelers. Creole is the informal language and is spoken in homes and between friends. This language was created by the slaves in the 18th century because they needed a language to communicate with other slaves and with their French masters.

A good portion of the island is surrounded by an outer reef, which creates calm and piercingly-blue lagoons for swimming and water sports. This also creates a safety net for water sport enthusiasts who have a fear of sharks.
 

Mauritius Travel Tips

Sunrise at the Four Seasons Mauritius
Lagoon at Bambou Beach at the Four Seasons Resort at Anahita
 

The Best Way To Get to Mauritius From The United States

We are all about helping others learn from our mistakes, so here’s one of them: if you are headed from the United States to Mauritius, go through Dubai instead of Paris.

The Dubai route eliminates a few key inconveniences. The Dubai airport is one of the most comfortable places to spend a long layover, and after your first flight, you will want some time to relax. I recommend giving yourself at least a six-hour layover. This will let you stretch your legs, get a room at an airport hotel, sleep a few hours, and take a shower. Trust me, two twelve-hour flights in a row may not seem that bad on paper, but it’s not something either of us wants to experience again anytime soon.

Mahebourg Mauritius Sunset 

If you go through Paris, there is a chance you will have a stop on Reunion Island. That might not sound too bad in theory, until you realize last minute (ahem… like we did) that you only have three hours to clear customs at Paris Charles De Gaulle, grab your luggage, and maneuver your way to catch a bus (that will most likely be late) to Orly airport, which is over an hour away. The Paris route is fine, as long as your second flight goes directly to Mauritius on a flight that leaves from Charles De Gaulle, but the Dubai route is better.

Once you arrive, you can either rent a car or let someone else do the driving for you. We knew we would be too tired to drive on our arrival, so we booked car transfers instead. Your hotel will likely offer this service, or you can book through Maki Car Rental who offers tours and transfers, as well as car rentals.

Mahebourg Mauritius Sunset

 

The Best Time To Visit Mauritius

My only complaint about Mauritius is the unpredictable weather in the winter. I personally love hot, hot, hot weather when I’m visiting an island because I want to be in the ocean at all times. If you prefer balmy weather and lukewarm ocean water, like we do, I suggest visiting in their summer (November to May). The wind is also calmer during the summer, which will provide those glassy ocean conditions which are perfect for surfing, SUP and kayaking. However, if you like mild temperatures or any water sport that requires wind, such as kitesurfing, then winter is the time to visit.

Mauritius Travel Tips - When to Go & Where to Stay!
Ile aux Cerfs Island Mauritius Africa
 

Why We Loved Mauritius

Besides the welcoming locals, the laid-back island vibe, and the stunning views, our trip to Mauritius came with a few firsts. It marked the first time Scott and I have been to Africa and yet there wasn’t a need for malaria pills or special immunizations. Scott tried water skiing for the first time and, thanks to his instructor at the Four Seasons Resort, he did an excellent job. It was also his first time sailing. I guess you can throw in the first time he capsized a boat too. (I’m glad I didn’t join him on that boat ride.)

Sailing on West Coast of Mauritius, Africa
Waterskiiing Four Seasons Mauritius Resort
Snorkeling Le Morne Mauritius, Africa
We’ve been to dozens of tropical islands, many of which don’t require thirty hours to reach by plane, so what makes Mauritius so special? That’s a great question and it’s something I can’t answer in just one blog post, so you’ll have to stay tuned to find out!
 

Plan Your Trip to Mauritius

After traveling consistently for over 10 years, we’ve come to trust and rely on a few websites to help us find the best deals on flights and accommodation.

Flights:

  • Momondo is the first place we check when searching for cheap flights. It searches hundreds of sites for the best fare and includes both standard and budget airlines. The price calendar feature shows the cheapest days to fly in your preferred month of travel.

Accommodation: 

 

Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them in their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by signing up for weekly emails and following her on .

  • These photos! But ESPECIALLY the first one. Man, this is what I needed today on a cold, dreary almost-winter morning.

    I went to Mauritius with Semester at Sea three years ago and fell in love with it. Definitely did not feel like Africa to me (though I loooove Africa).

    • I bet Africa is very different. One of these days I’ll make it to the mainland. And I’m so not ready for winter!!

  • I have to admit that I was so impressed by the pictures you took, I didn’t even get around to reading the content. Well done!

    • Haha. That’s how I read all of my travel pieces — by looking at the photos. 🙂 If the photos are amazing then I’m usually sold on a destination.

  • Frank Braun

    really a very great place in the world.What an exotic island to visit!

  • Wow, this is really my idea of living the dream! Actually… going to Reunion Island is very high on my list! I had never heard of Mauritius until last year but never read a post about it before. This was really nice to read! Thanks for all the tips! I hope I’ll be needing them one day 😀

    • It was quite a far trek for us, but well worth it! I hope you make it there someday. We stopped over on Reunion on our way, but just had a quick layover.

  • I want to go there with my wife one day. Your pictures look incredible. Such an amazing place.

  • Ivy Kriste

    Beautiful pictures…I’ve experienced the same in Maldives

  • Carlotta

    Wow, it looks fantastic! I’m always looking for new beautiful beaches and this for perfectly. Beautiful photos!

  • Add this one to the bucket list! Your photos are really amazing! No, really.
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Ooty Tour Packages

    Great place for honeymoon couples. They enjoy a lot.

  • Thanks, you activated my apetite to read more about Mauritius.

  • So amazed that you travelled over 30hours to visit my native island! 🙂 Love your awesome tips.

  • Jhon jaka

    Nice pics Christy

  • Oh, dying to go here now! I’m so intrigued now. It looks magical and your pictures are unreal.

  • Nice Article. But i need to make some corrections as i schooled in Mauritius.

    The official Language of Mauritius is English and French. French has been the official language longer than English, that is why the speak French more than English. There are people who don’t understand jack in English but they’re mostly the uneducated ones. Almost everyone speaks French creole which is the most spoken language.

    Nice post once again.