MAURITIUS ITINERARY: It’s not just about beaches!

Mauritius beach

I’m going to share with you the best Mauritius itinerary right here to make you realise that Mauritius is NOT just a honeymooner’s holiday destination and infant it is perfect for solo travellers, friends, families and couples young or old to enjoy! Like most people, in my head Mauritius had always been a honeymoon destination, full of beautiful beaches and so the thought of visiting had never even crossed my mind. Until my friend suggested we go, and I’m so glad we did! This beautiful island has so much to see and do, from hiking, waterfalls, boat trips, visiting Colonial houses and exploring the culture in the capital Port Louis! Read on to discover an itinerary packed full of fun things to do in Mauritius!

Mauritius travel itinerary

Where Is Mauritius?

Where actually is Mauritius though? This little island country is known the world over for it’s miles and miles of white sand beaches and clear blue waters, yet most people wouldn’t be able to point out it’s location on a map or even what continent it belongs to! So let’s start with a little geography before we dig into our Mauritius itinerary.

Mauritius is an island located off the south east coast of Africa. It’s about 1,200 miles away from mainland Africa, with the much larger island of Madagascar inbetween Mauritius and Africa. On the world map Mauritius is literally a dot, it is so tiny. It is 40 miles long and 30 miles wide and just over 1.2 million people live here. The red dot on the map below is where Mauritius is located (map taken from Google maps).

Mauritius map

Should you visit Mauritius as a solo traveller?

Many solo travellers will be curious to go to Mauritius but may feel a bit uncomfortable going alone when it is typically a romantic place to visit. So should you visit Mauritius as a solo traveller? My answer is hell yeh! Do not let stereotypes bind you! Although I’m pretty sure if you’re a seasoned solo traveller you’ve learnt that already.

I’ve visited some of the most romantic places in the world alone (Paris, Amalfi Coast, Venice) and loved it. Visiting The Maldives alone might be a different story as there is not much to do except lie on a beach and go snorkelling. But Mauritius has a whole wealth of fun activities and interesting places to visit that you’ll be too busy exploring to even realise you’re alone!

If you’ve not done much solo travel before actually Mauritius is a great place to have your first taste of solo adventure! If you’re a bit worried that you’ll feel self-conscious about being there and being surrounded by couples, don’t worry. They’ll be so involved in themselves they won’t even notice you’re on your own. Don’t think everyone will think you got jilted at the altar and went alone on your honeymoon. Trust me, you will see other solo travellers in Mauritius. It won’t just be you and a whole island of loved-up couples.

Mauritius beach Mauritius beach

How long should you visit Mauritius for?

This is totally dependent on your circumstances and how busy you want your itinerary to be. But the great thing is that because Mauritius is not a very big country, even if you are here for just 4 or 5 days you’ll still get to see a lot of the island! Many people choose to spend a week in Mauritius which is a good amount of time, and the itinerary below can be done in 7 days. But if you want to have some down time to relax and really unwind, I would say 10 days would be perfect in Mauritius. If you do have less than a week, just pick and choose the places on the itinerary that you want to visit the most. 

Which is better, Mauritius, Maldives or Seychelles?

Out of the three, The Maldives is the most expensive. There is also a lot less to do in The Maldives than there is in Mauritius and The Seychelles. In The Maldives people mostly hang around their resort or go snorkelling as there’s not a lot else to do there. Therefore if you’re an active person and don’t want to sunbathe all day I would narrow it down to Mauritius and The Seychelles.

As a general rule, Mauritius is a little cheaper than Seychelles in terms of accommodation and flights. The two are quite similar, and after having visited both I don’t think I could choose between the two. Much like The Seychelles, there is a lot more to do in Mauritius than just beaches. This makes it a popular destination for people looking to enjoy the beach but also looking to get out and explore and discover a new culture. I found Mauritius to be quite similar to The Seychelles in many ways as there were lots of unique places to explore, plus they both share the laid-back island life culture and the local people are very friendly.

Just like in The Seychelles the people in Mauritius speak a mix of English, French and Creole so you’ll have no problem with any language barriers.

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Mauritius beach Mauritius beach

MAURITIUS ITINERARY

As I’m sure you’re aware by now, there’s a lot more to Mauritius than just perfect beaches. Let me show you with this Mauritius itinerary. I’ve split it up into areas of the island to make it more convenient for you. All the places follow a logical order so you don’t have to go back on yourself. I have started the itinerary in the south and have worked my way clockwise around the island. The reason for this is that the airport is located in the south of the island so it makes sense to start and finish it there. Feel free to miss out parts or spend extra in other areas if you wish, this is just a guide to help you!

South

Chamarel Waterfall & 7 Coloured Earth

First up on the Mauritius itinerary is the impressive 272 ft Chamarel Waterfall and the very Instagrammable Seven Coloured Earth. Entrance to Chamarel will give you access to both natural beauties and costs just 125 rupees (£2.50).

At Chamarel waterfall you can swim if you like. And then from there it is a short walk to the Earth of 7 Colours. These are earth dunes that are naturally different colours – 7 different colours ranging from reds and orange to violet. It is so unique and definitely worth a visit. Understandably to preserve the dunes you are not allowed to walk on them.

Curious Corner of Chamarel

Right opposite the entrance of Chamarel you’ll also find the Curious Corner of Chamarel – a really fun interactive gallery with lots of optical illusions such as a mirror maze and an upside down room. Entrance is 275 rupees (£5.80) and it is open from 09.30-5pm.

Le Morne Brabant

Very close to Chamarel is the impressive Le Morne Mountain. Le Morne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is historically and sentimentally very important to the people of Mauritius as many escaped slaves took refuge on this mountain. You’ll find the Slave Route Memorial dedicated to them at the foot of the mountain in front of Le Morne beach.

If you are up for the challenge you can climb Le Morne Brabant! You’ll be rewarded with stunning views and vegetation, especially once you reach the summit and look out onto the rest of the island and the ocean. However the last part of the hike is pretty scary and dangerous, so unless you’re fit I wouldn’t advise it.

Hiking Morne Mountain will take around 3.5 hours and you can do a guided tour if you wish (departing at 6am or 2pm) or do it without a guide, it’s up to you.

Either way, if you do decide to climb Le Morne mountain or not, be sure to also spend some time at Le Morne beach before you continue with your Mauritius itinerary – it’s a really peaceful beach!

South West:

Black River Gorges National Park

In the south west of the island you’ll find the Black River Gorges National Park – Mauritius’ largest National Park. You can do a half day hike through the rainforest with a guide where you’ll come across stunning waterfalls and the views are beautiful! Of course you can do the hike alone without a guide if you prefer but do be careful as it can be easy to get lost, so have a map (preferably an online one so it can track where you are) and keep your bearings.

Remember to bring mosquito spray as mosquitos are rife here. Also bring sturdy shoes as some of the paths can be very steep!

Grand Bassin (Ganga Talao)

Near to the Black River Gorges National Park is Grand Bassin – a crater lake in the middle of the mountains. Also known as Ganga Talao, you’ll find lots of Hindu temples and giant statues of Hindu gods here along the lake. Grand Bassin is a sacred place of pilgrimage for those of the Hindu faith in Mauritius and once a year many Hindus do the barefoot walk here from every corner of the island. Entrance is free.

West:

Flic en Flac

Flic en Flac is a popular beach on the west coast of Mauritius. Note when I say popular I don’t mean packed with tourists. We only shared the beach with a few other people! The beach here is lovely and you can lie on the beach, go swimming or do water activities such as snorkelling or scuba diving if you wish. There are restaurants on the beach where you can have a nice relaxing lunch or dinner and you’ll also find fresh fruit stands on the beach. There are even a few clubs here if you want to have a dance in the evening!

Mauritius beach Mauritius beach

North West:

La Maison Creole – Eureka

Not far from Mauritius’ capital of Port Louis is the elegant Eureka House – La Maison Creole. Eureka House is one of the last remaining Creole Colonial houses left in Mauritius. This impressive unique mansion dates back from 1830, when it belonged to the British and French aristocrats who were ruling the island. Visiting the Eureka House allows you to step back in time and to see how colonial life was back in the 19th Century.

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The rooms have been restored and are furnished with typical period furniture and you can stroll round the beautiful gardens and vegetation around the house. You can also have some traditional Mauritian cuisine here at the restaurant, and then if you stroll along the Moka river which Eureka House is on, you’ll come to some beautiful waterfalls you can swim in!

La Maison Creole is open 9am-5pm, 7 days a week.

Port Louis

The capital of Mauritius – Port Louis is located in the north-west of the island and definitely deserves a half day at least! Port Louis is a lively but compact city and it is here you will get a real taste of the culture in Mauritius and see their every day life! Head down to the busy Central Market for a taste of local market life – there’s lots of food and you can watch the world go by as you sit down for some food here. It also offers a nice respite from the sun as it is very warm in Port Louis whatever time of year you are here!

If you would like somewhere a little bit quieter and more quaint, a really nice part of Port Louis to explore is Cauden Waterfront. Here you’ll see lots of cute streets with nice shops and restaurants and you’ll be surrounded by lovely sea views. Not only this but they have the Blue Penny Museum here which explains the culture and history of Mauritius and is well worth a visit. Right next to the museum is Umbrella Square, with lots of brightly coloured umbrellas hanging from the sky like is popular in many countries these days! The weekend evenings are particularly lively here with lots of entertainment happening along the waterfront.

port louis Mauritius Mauritius beach

If driving to Port Louis:

Avoid driving around Port Louis during the morning and evening rush hours (8am-9.30am and 4.30pm-6pm) as the traffic can be very bad.

Also be aware parking can be quite tricky and hard to come by in Port Louis. If you park just a little bit out of the centre it will be a lot easier to find a spot and then just walk into town. Check parking fees as often it is free at the weekends and during the evenings.

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Gardens

Before you continue your Mauritius itinerary to the north of the island, be sure to stop off at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden. It is located roughly half way between Port Louis and Grand Baie and is free to visit! Also known as the Pamplemousses Botanic Garden, here you’ll find really big baobab trees and lots and lots of giant lily pads that are just beautiful to photograph!

North:

Head to Grand Baie (Grand Bay). Grand Baie is a lively touristic town with a really nice public beach. You’ll see the fishermen in their boats in the stunning blue water and locals selling fresh fruit on stalls on the beach. Take a stroll along Sunset Boulevard – Grand Baie’s shopping street, and be sure to hang around into the evening if you’re in need of some nightlife as the nightlife is really good here at Grand Baie!

From Grand Baie head to Cap Malheureux just a few more kilometres east. Cap Malheureux is absolutely beautiful and is a nice place to watch the sunset. There is a little red church here that stands alone and creates a stunning contrast against the blue sky and sea.

East:

Trou d’Eau Douce & Bellamare

The East of Mauritius is also full of beautiful beaches, in particular Trou d’Eau Douce and Bellamare which I suggest you definitely visit.

Mauritius beach Mauritius beach

If you would like to do a boat trip when you are in Mauritius I suggest to do one from Trou d’Eau Douce. From here you can take a boat to Île aux Cerfs (Deer Island).

Île aux Cerfs

Île aux Cerfs is a tiny island that is incredibly picturesque and this is a popular excursion for people to do. You can spend half a day or a day relaxing on the island, browsing round the little shops or doing watersports. It is not a desert island though if that’s what you had picture – there are lots of things geared at tourists here, including several restaurants. It is only about 500km from the mainland of Mauritius.

MAURITIUS ITINERARY AT A GLANCE

SOUTH:
Chamarel Waterfall
7 Coloured Earth
Le Morne Mountain.

SOUTH WEST:
Black River Gorges National Park
Grand Bassin

WEST:
Flic en Flac Beach

NORTH WEST:

Eureka House
Port Louis
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden

NORTH:
Grand Baie
Cap Malheureux

EAST:
Trou d’eau Douce beach
Bellamare beach
Île aux Cerfs (island)

Mauritius beach Mauritius beach

Female Safety in Mauritius

During my time in Mauritius I never felt threatened, uncomfortable or unsafe. Of course I was travelling with a friend and I wasn’t solo this time like I usually am, but even if I would have been travelling solo in Mauritius I’m pretty sure I would have felt very comfortable here. Mauritius felt a very safe place. Although this doesn’t mean you can be careless. Don’t just leave expensive valuables on show whilst you go off into the ocean for a swim, or don’t walk around with your bag wide open, especially if you visit the capital Port Louis. Still use your common sense and you should be fine.

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Transport in Mauritius

Car

If you plan to explore a lot of the island, the easiest and most convenient way to get around Mauritius is by car. If you can drive, I definitely suggest to hire a car as public transport can take a long time, whereas you’ll get to places very quickly by car. There are lots of car hire companies available at the airport – remember it is always cheaper to book it online beforehand than just turning up! Check rentalcars.com to compare rental prices. Bear in mind the roads can be narrow and steep in places so perhaps you’ll want an automatic car.

If you don’t want to rent a car you can use taxis to get around the island. Roughly a half hour taxi will cost around 750 Mauritian Rupee ($20 USD).

Bus

Alternatively you can use the bus to get around. There are two types of buses: standard and express (obviously the express ones are quicker). The travel time can quickly add up on the buses, so if you have a limited amount of time in Mauritius using the bus to get around can limit the amount of places you’ll be able to see. But it is a very cheap way to get around and you’ll get to meet the lovely local people, which is always one of my favourite parts of travelling!

The bus network is quite good – click here to see the easy-to-use website and plan your route. The website also gives lots of useful information about the buses. The bus is a great way to get around if you are on a budget – a short ride will cost you 15 Mauritius rupees (£0.30) and a long ride 30 rupees (£0.60). Therefore make sure you have change!

Top tips for visiting Mauritius:

  • Bring cash (Mauritius uses Mauritian Rupee) as some places don’t accept card (especially excursion trips).
  • Sunday is the day when all the local families go to the beach for the day! Bear this in mind if you had a quiet relaxing day on the beach planned! Although it is really nice to go along and see all the locals having picnic on the beach together.

Mauritius beach Mauritius beach

Where to stay in Mauritius

Now this totally depends on what you plan to do and see in Mauritius and of course your budget. If money isn’t an object and you just want to relax by the pool all day, of course you’ll want a luxury hotel. However I’m guessing you’re a bit of an explorer like me and plan to do a lot of sightseeing on the island, hence why you have got so far through this article. In which case you’ll want to keep accommodation costs reasonably low as you won’t be spending that much time in the hotel!

As I mentioned earlier, you can base yourself in one place for the entire duration of your trip as Mauritius is a fairly small island and so nothing is too far apart. However you also may wish to stay in a couple of different areas during your trip to avoid too much driving every day if you want to do a lot of exploring, it’s up to you. Personally I would recommend doing this – you can pick one hotel in the north and one in the south, as this is where the majority of the hotels are located.

Is Mauritius expensive?

Whilst Mauritius is a popular honeymoon destination, it is a lot cheaper than The Maldives and even The Seychelles, other popular honeymoon destinations. If you want to save some money, consider booking a self-catered apartment so you have the option to cook meals if you wish. 

When is the best time to visit Mauritius?

Mauritius has pleasant warm weather year round, though May until December is considered the best time to visit. January to March is cyclone season.

How to get to Mauritius

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (MRU) is Mauritius’ main airport and you can get direct flights here with Emirates, British Airways and many international airlines.

MRU Airport is located on the south east of the island near to the town of Mahebourg.

Do I need a visa for Mauritius?

Most nationalities don’t need a visa for Mauritius. Click here to see the extensive list of countries that are exempt from needing a visa to enter Mauritius. Other nationals can get a visa on arrival valid for 60 days.

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