When most people think of Mauritius, all-inclusive resorts, package deals and expensive dollar signs will probably come to mind. Being budget and independent style travellers, we set out to dispel this myth! We spent 19 nights visiting Mauritius DIY style over July / August 2017 and found the island to be perfectly suited for self-exploration.
We were based in the south of Mauritius for the most of our stay, but having our own transportation allowed us to also spend a few days circumnavigating the entire island stopping at almost every single beach and tourist attraction to make sure we could give our opinion on all that the island has to offer. Although not a budget destination, we were so pleasantly surprised with our overall spending to explore such a magnificent tropical island.
This is a summary of all there is to see and do as we explore the entire island starting in the south and circumnavigation the island in a clockwise direction.
For more general information and travel tips on how to travel Mauritius DIY style, you can read our Blog Post How to DIY Holiday Mauritius or listen to our Podcast Episode 27. If you are considering Mauritius as a kitesurfing destination, be sure to listen to our Podcast Episode 26, which is all about Kitesurfing Mauritius.
GENERAL TRAVEL TIPS FOR MAURITIUS
Camping is allowed on most public beaches for free
There are generally clean bathrooms and showers facilities at most public beaches
You will find food vendors aplenty around most beach areas
BLUE BAY / POINTE D'ESNY (south-east)
This is nice and close to the airport so why not start your holiday here. The area has crystal clear blue waters and white sand. You can walk in and snorkel the shallow reefs or take a boat out to the deeper reefs to snorkel. This little bay, which has been listed as a Marine Park since 1997, contains superb coral beds and abundant undersea life that is unequalled in Mauritius.
At first, this just looks like a parking lot but be sure to walk down to the small beach or even just enjoy the view of waves crashing on rocks. Do try some local snacks from the street vendors.
SOUTHERN MAURITIUS ROAD TRIP
The road just hugs the coast from Souillac via Riambel, Bel Ombre, Baie du Cap and Choisy before you hit Le Morne Brabant. It starts off with some small secluded beaches and then extends to long stretches of white sand and shallow crystal clear waters. There are so many shady forest picnic areas right on the coast. Be sure to stop at Captain Matthew Flinders Monument at BAIE DU CAP. As you approach the southwestern tip, you can admire the iconic Le Morne Brabant. Note that there is only access to the mountain trail from this side, you must go around the mountain to reach the kite spot.
LE MORNE BRABANT
This is our favourite spot for kitesurfing at Le Morne Kite Beach
Climb all the way up LE MORNE BRABANT mountain for magnificent views
Reflect for a while at the Slave Route Memorial
Stay in the little town of La Gaulette if you are here to kitesurf
Admire the Seven Colored Earth
Visit Chamarel Waterfall
Taste the local rum at Rhumerie de Chamarel Restaurant & Rum Distillery
Drive through Black River Gorge National Park
Visit the Sacred Lake of Grand Bassin Hindu Temple Complex
WEST COAST BEACHES OF MAURITIUS:
Tamarin Bay is a wonderful calm beach area. You could very possibly be there alone in the week whereas over weekends it is usually packed with locals. On Friday and Saturdays, there can be campfires, singing, dancing, drinking and partying. This is also the best place to go swimming with dolphins. You can read our Swimming with the Dolphins in Tamarin Bay Blog Post for more about our experience or watch the video on YouTube.
Flic en Flac is one of the longest beaches in Mauritius. It has white sand and forms a perfect turquoise blue lagoon which is perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
NORTHERN BEACHES OF MAURITIUS:
Pereybere has the most stunning sunsets. The beach, together with the small beachside promenade, has a lovely fun vibe to it.
Mont Choisy is a stunning almost 3km long stretch of white sand and turquoise water. The slight bend of the beach creates a beautiful bay. There are plenty of trees for shade and lots of fun water activities such as water skiing, parasailing and jet skis.
Trou aux Biches is another smaller but popular beach in the north, mostly surrounded by resorts.
Grand Baie is also home to many resorts. There is lots of boat and catamaran traffic. In our opinion, the water in the small swimming area is not that clean. It is a popular area due to a large shaded picnic area. There are also food trucks and trinket vendors in this area.
Bain Boeuf offers a great view of Coin de Mire Island. There are benches attached to the walls so you can sit back comfortably and relax under the shades of trees. The beach does become rather narrow when the tide is high but it is still fairly long. This is not that great a beach for swimming but is where many boats depart for scuba diving.
Cap Malheureux Bay has a well known red-roof church of Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice de Cap Malheureux. The view of Gunners Quion Island from here is superb. There are a couple of stalls with snacks and drinks.
Anse La Raie is wonderfully peaceful and quiet. Here you can enjoy stunning views of the north Indian Ocean. There are also great opportunities for both snorkelling and perhaps a bit of kitesurfing if the wind is good. The beach is not ideal for swimming but it’s a great open space with nice views and some quietness away from the hustle and bustle of other beaches.
Butte á l’Herbe beach is the forgotten beach of Mauritius. The area is actually an island, connected to the mainland by a couple of small bridges and driving across can feel somewhat precarious. There are decent facilities, public restrooms and a maintained beach area with benches and huts. This is a shady and a great place to have a BBQ and enjoy the day.
ACTIVITIES IN THE NORTH OF MAURITIUS:
Relax on one of the many beaches
Visit Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens
Taste local rum at L’Aventure de Sucre
Go shopping at Port Louis Central market
Watch the horse racing at Champs de Mars horse-racing track in Port Louis
The best time for scuba diving in Mauritius
In summer the water temperature is about 28 C compared to 22 C during winter. If you have dived before you already know that warmer sea temperature attracts more sea life and visibility is at its best. For the best diving conditions visit anytime during October, November and December. March and April are also good for diving in Mauritius but try to miss the peak cyclone months of January and February.
EAST COAST BEACHES OF MAURITIUS:
During the winter months, the east coast can be cold and windy. Poste Lafayette is a popular kitesurfing spot. The beach itself is protected by a coral reef and provides for both a sandy beach and a sandy seafloor. The flat water and fresh breeze it can make it a fun spot for kitesurfing.
WHAT TO SEE ON THE EAST COAST OF MAURITIUS:
Stop and enjoy the view at the jetty at Bois des Amourettes. North of Vieux Grand Port we stopped to see the Frederick Hendrick Museum and the ruins of a fort the Dutch built in the late 16th century.