If you have forever dismissed Mauritius as a luxury traveler's paradise and have avoided taking that much-awaited trip, you have come to the right place, because I’m going to change your mind for good!
Mauritius is a spectacular little island nation lying off the eastern coast of Africa, beyond Madagascar. Being an island nation comes with its host of benefits - lush green natural surroundings, ocean water with a myriad shades of blue melting into the azure sky at the horizon, and the powdery white stretches of sandy beaches. For an ocean-lover, Mauritius is the crème de la crème of all beach destinations!
But for way too long, Mauritius has been known as a destination for the ones with the big moolah, not for people like us trying to keep a tab on their budgets after every spend. But that’s not entirely true! Mauritius has a lot to offer to those who are not after the luxurious resort-life it is famously known for, if you plan your trip right.
When to visit
Mauritius is blessed with a tropical climate, characterized by warm, sunny, humid days. However, the time between May and December sees a slight slump in the humidity and the temperature, making it the best season to visit the island. By all means, avoid a trip during January through March to steer clear of the cyclones that hit the island during that time.
How to get there
The airfare is probably going to be the single biggest expense in your the entire trip and is likely to set you back by about INR 75,000 for return tickets for two from India. But before you get discouraged, here’s some good news to make up for it. The Mauritian visa on arrival comes absolutely free of cost for Indians and nationals of many other countries! There may not be free lunches in this world, but there sure are free visas if you care to explore.
Where to stay
Accommodation in Mauritius is almost synonymous to expensive all-inclusive resorts. Yes, those are there and they do offer unmatched services, but it’s not the only way to go! Mauritius has tons of gorgeous beach-side villas that you can rent for a fraction of the cost, without compromising on the views. Honestly, it’ll be hard to find a place with “bad views” because of how gorgeous this island anyway is. Check out some of these drool-worthy villas on AirBnB and get ready to transport yourself into a tropical paradise! You can find rooms starting as low as INR 2000 per night.
However, if you are an adventure-seeker, I have to tell you this - camping is FREE and LEGAL on all public beaches in Mauritius! Most beaches are equipped with toilets and some have shower facilities too; however, they are only open from 7 am until 7 pm. So if you can work around that, and happen to have a tent on you, accommodation is literally free of cost!
What to eat and drink
If you are on a budget, the best way to save on food and drinks is by eating and drinking like the locals. In Mauritius, you will find an abundance of reasonably priced Indian, Chinese and French food, which also reflects the population mix of the country. Local restaurants and small roadside shops serve a variety of delicious food items ranging from Chinese fried noodles to Indian-style curries. Seafood is found in plenty for obvious reasons, and can be eaten grilled, fried or even curried. A plate of food at a local inexpensive restaurant will cost you around INR 200-300. You will also find Mauritian markets teeming with fresh fruits. Visit a local market and stock up on delicious fruits to take care of sudden hunger pangs without blowing up your budget.
Another cost center for many of us is the drinks. But budget travelers rejoice! Think local and OD on fresh coconut water, easily available on the beaches or even on the roadside. This is a delicious and healthy way to keep your budget in check. And for those of you who cannot think of a beach-side holiday without a few pints of beer, Mauritius’s locally brewed Phoenix beer will come to your rescue. Buy them from local supermarkets instead of fancy pubs to get them at a cheaper rate.
What to see and do
Mauritian beaches are glorious, no doubt! But if you really want to see Mauritius like a local, look beyond its beaches. Here is a list of a few activities and sites you can enjoy without having to splurge too much.