Mauritius in a week


Unlike a trip to any Asian or European country, a Trip to Mauritius does not require
months of planning. Its a small island country with a total area of nearly 2000
square kilometres having a length of 60 kms and width of 45 kms. Thus Mauritius's
circumference can be traversed within a single day by road if you want!
7-10 days duration is ideal to tour this small island country. The main and the only
distinct natural beauty which distinguishes it from other places on earth is the
turquoise coloured shallow sea water with clear sand base.
HISTORY:
Coming to the history of Mauritius, it had been inhabited by many foreign countries.
First the Portuguese came but did not stay for long as this piece of land had nothing to offer that time. Then the Dutch stayed for about 70 years and introduced sugarcane and
domestic animals. After the Dutch abandoned, the French took control and stayed for a
hundred years. For the next 150 years, until 1968, Mauritius was under British rule.
During British reign, they brought around 8500 Indian workers to Mauritius. Thus
today we see a complete mix of various cultures in Mauritius with a prominent impact
of French and Indian cultures. Though the British stayed for the longest duration,
they did not settle down here. The native Mauritian crowd today is majorly from India
 today who speak ''Creole'' which is a mix of broken French and Hindi.

TIME TO TRAVEL:
If you are planning for a trip to Mauritius, keep an eye on the air ticket prices.
As and when you get a good deal go for it. This is because the weather here is more
or less same throughout the year. Though they have a "so" called summer and winter, the
difference between the average temperatures between summer and winter is negligible!
ACCOMODATION:
If you are planning for a budget trip, the best way for choosing accommodation is via
AirBnB. For those who want to stay in resorts, one piece of advice would be- not to
book via online portals like Makemy Trip, Tripadviser etc. After doing lot of research
we have concluded that the online portals can never give deals as good as travel
partners. The scenario is very different for Mauritius than other countries. I first
tried booking through Travel Triangle and then switched to Antilog Vacations who gave
me a steal deal for my 7 day trip with half board stay (breakfast+dinner), all sight
seeing and private transfers.
There is another aspect of choosing accommodation. The big question is which part of
Mauritius should you choose to stay? If you are looking for hustle bustle, shops, sea
a bit of everything, then better to stay in Grand Baie area towards the north of
Mauritius. There are lots of apartments, hotels and resorts which you can choose as per
your budget.
PLACES TO SEE:
You can broadly divide the tour as East, South, South-West, North and North-west.
It is better to rent your vehicle rather than take the sight seeing package unless
its included with your accommodation. Let me come one by one to the places of interest
in each direction. Roughly, 1 direction attractions can be covered in 1 day.

Top East Attractions:
  • Ile aux Cerfs- Ile Aux Cerfs is famous for its sandy beaches, beautiful lagoon and big selection of activities and facilities.  Ile Aux Cerfs is a highly recommended location for snorkelling. The coral reef is beautiful and full of marine life, and together with the large black rocks that protrude into the water
  • Belle Mare beach-  long stretches of sandy pristine white, turquoise sea with crystal clear water surrounded by large casuarina trees. The beach is surrounded by unspoilt nature as there has been little development on this side of the island. Recommended for diving and deep sea fishing. 
Top South Attractions:
  • Le Morne Brabant
  • Chamarel Waterfall
  • Curious Corner
  • viewpoint over Black River Gorges National Park
  • Ganga Talao/ Shiva statue
  • viewpoint at enormous volcanic crater Trou aux Cerfs
  • Ship Factory at Curepipe
Top West Attractions:
  • Casela World Park
  • Flic n Flac beach
  • Port Louis-  Citadel Fort, Central Market, Caudan Water Front Shopping Complex.
Top North-West Attractions:
  • SSR Botanical Park
  • Sugar Estate and Museum
  • Ch√Ęteau de Labourdonnais
Top North Attractions:
  • Mont Choisy Beach
  • Trou Aux Biches beach
  • Grand Baie- Shopping malls and beach
  • Cap Malheurex Red Roof Church
MAP: There were no proper tourist maps available on the internet, so I prepared my own:

FOOD, SHOPPING, CULTURE & MISCELLANEOUS:
We got a chance to taste the local food and it turned out quite impressive. One must try the ''Dhol Puri'' which is actually a French food derived from the Indian ''Daal Puri''. The Rice, chicken, vegetables had a familiar Indian taste with a little tang and less of chillies. Creole food is not bland unlike western countries.
People here are hard working and helpful. They have great respect for their country and also give honour to tourists. However, they leave no spoon unturned to extract money from tourists. Thus its advisable to bargain a lot for any negotiations.  
Mauritius is a hell expensive country. A typical 2 course meal in an average restaurant would cost INR 1500 for one person. Bottled water prices vary from INR 80 to INR 300 for a litre. Its super economic to buy bottled water from nearby supermarket than that from hotel as the price is double at hotels. Souvenirs like fridge magnets can vary between INR 300 and INR 500. At a mall in Grand Baie, there is a supermarket on the ground floor which sells the cheapest souvenirs.
Mauritius has good roads with scenic views so a self drive is very enjoyable and economic. Petrol prices are soaring at Rs 100 a litre and car rentals vary from INR 1500 to INR 3000.
Weather here is very hot and humid. So light clothes, sunglasses, hats and kind are very essential. Hotels normally provide free snorkelling equipment and beach towels which is very useful.


MY DAY WISE ITINERARY:

DAY 1:
We reached Mauritius at 12:00 noon after a 7 hour Air India flight. Grabbed some quick bites from a SUBWAY located just outside the small airport. It took an hour to reach our resort which is called Coral Azur Resort. Our resort was strategically located at Mont Choisy, very close to 2 famous beaches- Trou Aux Biches beach and Mont Choisy beach. The Resort was a superior 3 star property with all rooms facing the sea. It also has a small private beach. We stayed on 1st floor on Room 301 which was quite spacious. The property is old and requires improvement at some places. Have a look at our resort premises in the video below:


We took some rest and relaxed that day. Enjoyed the sea in the afternoon from our hotel. In the evening, explored the locality, grabbed some bottled water from the nearby supermarket and enquired about rentals. Since we booked half board accommodation, dinner was included. Dinner was lavish with a wide spread English menu.
Air Mauritius

Our Resort Lobby

Coral Azur Resort Entrance

Coral Azur Resort Lobby

Private beach in our resort

Sunset at the Pier at our Resort


DAY2:
Day2 started with a 1 hour long drive to Belle Mare. There were lots of water sports available.  I did not have any experience of diving so went for under sea walk. They take you to some distance into the sea via a speed boat and you land up at their station in the middle of the sea. They equip you with special helmets with oxygen supply and you climb down towards the sea bed and walk freely with the colourful fishes! 
On our way back we took a shower and changed clothes at the changing room as we were completely wet.
After doing some activities we went to Trou D'eau Douce Village which took around 30 mins from Belle Mare.  We were first asked to hop on a speed boat. Though the sea was calm, at times, the ride became very bumpy.  A 20 mins long ride took us to the GRSE  waterfall amidst backwaters. The views were stunning both sides. We hardly stayed for a minute or two near the waterfall and started our way back and this time started for lle Aux Cerfs. Another 30  mins later we could sight the beauty with shallow turquoise water and forestry island. The Island was a bit crowded and everything was priced superlatively. Thank god we carried some food and water along with us else, it would burn a deep hole in our pockets! We spent some time lazying around the island and returned back after an hour at the pick up point. 
We reached hotel after a long one hour drive and were too tired  to sneak peak at the resort activities. After a power nap, went for dinner straight. And thus ended day 2!
Bella Mare
On the way to backwaters

Backwaters Journey

GRSE Waterfall

lle Aux Cerfs

lle Aux Cerfs


DAY3:
Today's trip was dedicated to my son as we were going to Casela Nature Park.  After a hefty breakfast at our resort, we started at 10:00 am. An hour long drive took us to Casela. Mauritius has great roads and amazing views both sides of vast sugarcane fields and hills. At Casela, they provide us with maps and we are to follow the map and proceed. The zoo ia very nicely maintained and very green. Though it was very hot and humid, were were able to enjoy because of the shade provided by trees.  We saw several variants of birds, monkeys, hippos, horses, zebras, cubs, giraffe, lion and so many other animals. There are activities inside the zoo like giant slides and roller coaster ride. We had a quick lunch at a restaurant inside the park. The dholpuri was amazingly good and I suggest everyone to try it. Post lunch we went for jungle safari. Our Safari van was animal printed  and had a good view. Safari experience was very good and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the wild animals.  We took 5 hours to traverse through the nature park. There is a souvenir shop at the exit from where we purchased a few fridge magnets. The sun had already set when we reached our resort.
Casela Nature Park

Casela Nature Park Map

Casela Nature Park

Casela Nature Park
Casela Nature Park


Casela Nature Park

Casela Nature Park

Casela Nature Park Safari Vehicle

Casela Nature Park Safari Vehicle




DAY4:
Day 4 was our trip to the capital, Port Louis.  A 45 mins drive took us to the capital. Unlike other days, we experienced huge traffic jam few miles before touching the city. The city beholds lovely sight surrounded by mountains and sea.  Our first stop was at citadel fort from where one can get a 360 degree view of Port Louis. Next one was Caudan Waterfront and the main shopping mall of Port Louis. The caudan waterfront is very picturesque and we clicked numerous pictures. The Mall lobby had very interesting decorations. One of them was an umbrella decor on the roof. We spent an hour there and then started for Cap Malheurex towards the north.
It took another 45 mins to reach there and we were simply mesmerised seeing the crystal clear sea with turquoise coloured water. With the beautiful sea at the backdrop stood the beautiful Red Roof Church. I just felt to just stay there and not go anywhere else, it was so peaceful! A lady was selling chicken and rice (Creole food) beside the church. It was lunch time and we were hungry. The food was pure bliss and I think everyone who visits cap Malheurex should eat from this small shop. We returned back to our hotel post lunch and took a short nap. 
After a power nap, we took a stroll to Trou Aux Biches beach and watched the sun set from there.
Citadel Fort, Port Louis

View From Citadel Fort, Port Louis

Citadel Fort, Port Louis

Le Pavillon Mall, Port Louis
Caudon Waterfront, Port Louis


China Market, Port Louis

Port Louis

Port Louis

Cap Malheurex

Red Roof Church, Cap Malheurex

Sunset from our resort


DAY5:
On Day 5 we toured the southern part of the island. We started a bit early (at 9:00) as it was going to be a long day. A 1.5 hours ride took us to our first stop which was at ADAMAS diamond duty free shop.  It had a small museum which displays the whole life-cycle of diamond from ore to jewellery. The next stop was at a ship making factory at Curepipe. I have made a video of  the process of ship making.


Adjacent to the factory they have an emporeum where you can purchase souvenirs, miniature ships, and jewellery. I purchased a couple of bracelets and some fridge magnets but felt that they were unnecessarily expensive. 
The Next stop was at Trou Aux Cerfs- an extinct volcanic crater. It now had dense forest overgrown on it and just a mere view point.  After clicking a few pictures, we again started travelling towards south. By the time we reached Grand Bassin, it started raining in cats and dogs. We somehow managed to take few pictures beside the gigantic Shiva statue and got back into the car. 
Our Final destination of the day was Valley of Colours Nature park. It was going to be activity filled second half so we had power packed lunch at the beautiful in-house restaurant inside the park. The restaurant had great view and the Indian Food was quite tasty.  My first activity was walking through 350 meter Nepalese Bridge. It was 3rd largest Nepalese bridge in the world. An experience to remember for lifetime- an amalgamation of fear, hope, achievement, joy and so many feelings as I was on the middle of the dwindling bridge, taking baby steps on the meagre planks! I missed to bring any camera so I missed a selfie on the bridge below which was deep dark valley.
I was escorted back from the other end of the bridge to the main office in a quad bike.  Rain wasted some precious time. Then we went for boogie ride across the valley. A boogie was a quad bike for the entire family. After a quick practice session, my husband became a confident driver and we traversed through the up-down terrains efficiently. We stopped by a  waterfall, giant tortoises and 23 coloured earth during our boogie ride. We got drenched in torrential rains towards the end. A piping hot coffee was the need of the hour and after the coffee we felt better. There is a souvenir shop beside the coffee shop at the park which was priced quite reasonably. We grabbed couple of mementos from there. It was quite dark when we reached our resort that day.
ADAMAS Diamond Museum
Trou' Aux Cerfs, Volcanic Crator

Trou' Aux Cerfs

Handmade 2 meter long ship
Shiva Statue at Ganga Talao


Lunch at the beautiful restaurant at Valley of Colours

Nepalese Bridge Walk!

Boogie Ride

Inside Valley of Colours Nature Park

23 Coloured Soil, WaterFall, Giant Tortoises inside Valley of Colours Nature Park


DAY 6:
Day 6 was our leisure day and no sight seeing was included for that day. So, we took a public bus to Grand Baie from our resort. It was a very cheap means of transport and reached within 20 mins. The grandeur of Grand Baie is way beyond words. A very beautiful establishment of modern shops and malls beside the turquoise sea. We enjoyed in the sea for a long time and then walked towards one of the malls. There is a supermarket on the ground floor where we were astonished to find dirt cheap fridge magnets! Bye that time we had already purchased enough souvenirs so did not buy much. Only if this serendipity was earlier, we could have saved a lot of money :(
We had local food on the sea-shore from a small street vendor, tempted to try with our Cap Malheurex experience. However, this one was not that great.  Post Lunch we took a bus to Mont Choisy Beach. Mont Choisy beach was the broadest beach which I saw in Mauritius. It was too heavily crowded. We somehow managed to settle on one corner, took a nap under the trees. There were lots of vendors selling food, toys, beach-wear, clothes across the beach and it seemed like a huge open air fair. After spending some more time, we went back to our resort. Afternoon spent on swimming at our resort. Every evening there were beautiful music and dance performances by artists in our resort. Day 6 had Indian menu at dinner along with bollywood numbers presented by artists. We enjoyed thoroughly and went to bed early.
Grand Baie Beach

Grand Baie Beach

Grand Baie Beach

Local Food at Grand Baie Beach

Grand Baie Main Market place

Mont Choisy Beach

Trou' Aux Biches Beach

Sunset at Trou' Aux Biches Beach



DAY7: 
It was another leasure day for us. We chose not to go anywhere but relax in the resort and make use of the resort amenities. We also had 1 free lunch which we availed on Day 7. We bid adieu to our resort at 5:00 pm in the evening. Our flight was delayed for 3 hours which we had to spend at the airport, unfortunately.
At our Resort


At our Resort

At our Resort





EXPENSES


Item Details USD INR
Flight For 3 Pax 98000
Package 6N-7D Half board+ pvt transfers+ entrance fees 74000
Activities Casela (included in our package) 67
Under-sea-walk Photos 76 5092
Under-sea-walk 30 2010
Speedboat waterfall (2 pax) 56 3752
Speedboat lle aux cerfs (2 pax) 56 3752
Nepalese Bridge (1 pax) 22 1474
Buggy (per family) 150 10050
Water for 3 Pax for 7 days 2000
Food for lunch for 3 Pax for 7 days 7500
Shopping Souvenirs, bracelet, fridge magnets 10000
Transport In bus to/from resort to Grand baie via Mont Choisy 300









Comments

  1. Nice blog thanks for shareing instersting information about selfdriving .

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