“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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.)