Mauritius is a beautiful island off the east coast of southern Africa that definitely needs to be on your bucketlist!
I chose to visit it as part of my 2019 bucketlist quest to see the World’s best, and wasn’t disappointed! The scenery is similar to a mini-Hawaii, with lush mountains and a few waterfalls, plus endless clear blue beaches.The people are friendly, food is amazing, and you’ll have an amusing time catching glimpses of the extinct but not forgotten Dodo bird!
Here’s an idea of what to do and where to stay in Mauritius for a week! It includes the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure! Plus a few essential tips you’ll need to know!
Where is Mauritius?
Mauritius is so small that you probably would never be able to find it on a map unless typing it into a search. It’s just East of Madagascar, and in close proximally to Comoros, Reunion Island, and the Seychelles!
It’s in the Indian Ocean which means the ocean waters are clear, blue, and warm! There’s also lots of beautiful ocean wildlife! That also means though that there’s a cyclone season, so be sure to plan your trip during dry season which is from May to November. (Cyclone season is January to March!)
Local Currency, Exchange Rate, & Tipping
First and foremost, the local currency in Mauritius has Dodo Birds on the bills! Ok now on to the useful information:
Most places in Mauritius accept credit cards, but it’s always advisable to get cash out for tips and souvenirs! I only took out about $100 US for the week and it was enough, but I was also on half-board at my hotels!
Local Currency: Mauritian Rupee
Current Exchange Rate: 1 MRP = 0.028 USD
Tipping: Tipping isn’t expected but always appreciated, especially for tour guides, drives, boat skippers, bell hops, etc. I’d say about 10% of bills is a good tip, or between $1-5 for included services like the bell hops.
Colonization, Language, Ethnicity, & Religion
Mauritius never had any indigenous people on it when it was discovered. Dodo birds yes, but no people. The Arabs were the first to discover it, followed by the Portuguese back in the 1500’s.
Then the Dutch arrived in the 1600’s and ate all the Dodo birds, causing them to go extinct. Later the French took over, but were finally overthrown by the British. So the last colonization was by the British, which is why you’ll see a log of English influence.
In 1968 though Mauritius gained its own independence, so now it’s not owned by any European countries. Booyah.
Languages: English, Mauritian Creol, French
Religion: Roman Catholic
What’s This About the Dodo Birds?
To be completely honest, I didn’t know that Dodo Birds were endemic to Mauritius (meaning they only ever existed there). After learning that, and also learning that they went extinct after the Dutch ate them, I hoped maybe there was one in a zoo somewhere, but no such luck.
The Dutch literally ate them all to the point of extinction in the 1700’s. They used to look somewhat similar to turkeys but with giant beaks according to locals.
I describe them as what the offspring of an Ostrich and Toucan would look like. But maybe you can just imagine them from Alice in Wonderland.
Random fact: The first ever fully reconstructed Dodo Bird skeleton was recently sold for $671,000 in an auction.
Mauritians haven’t forgotten their extinct endemic bird though; you’ll still see images of it all over the island! It’s even on the local currency!
Where to Stay in Mauritius
After an extremely long and rugged roadtrip around Madagascar, I decided I deserved a little spoiling! I was with three other content creators, so we got a two bedroom villa at Four Seasons Mauritius Resort at Anahita.
The Four Seasons property is massive, and located on the beautiful southwestern coast of Mauritius. It’s so big in fact that the best way to get around is by buggy, which you can request at any time, or by bicycle that’s included with your villa!
A magnificent breakfast is served both a la carte and buffet style, and even includes a juice bar and champagne station! For dinner you can choose for three delicious restaurants; French, Italian, and Asian Fusion! We even got a special treat one of the nights at the Chef’s Table, where we learned how to cook local Mauritian dishes!
There’s a ton of fun things to do at the Four Seasons besides eating all the yum food and relaxing at your villa too! For starters, the infinity pool is simply stunning, and there’s two private beaches (one for adults only) with stunning mountain views.
You can also rent non-motorized water sports, like paddleboards and kayaks. Or jump on the hourly boat transfer that takes you to the private Four Seasons beach on Il le Cuerx! There you’ll find a chic outdoor eating area and the most Instagram worth beach bar I’ve ever seen.
Other things that really stood out to me about the Four Seasons was how friendly and attentive everyone that works there is!
We also stayed at the Westin Turtle BayResort and Spa in the northern area of Mauritius, closer to the main city. This was another beautiful property, with two incredible infinity pools, and five amazing restaurants!
They can even set up a special breakfast upon request at the end of their jetty, that can include a 15 minute shoulder massage!
Best Ocean Adventures in Mauritius
You definitely need to get out on the water at some point when you’re in Mauritius! It’s said that the best public beach on the island is Blue Bay, which you can go to on your own, or take a boat tour!
The boat tours generally all include: Lighthouse island, River Waterfall, BBQ fish lunch, and snorkeling. Here’s more details:
We took a half day boat tour to see as much as possible, including a shipwreck, waterfall, and BBQ fish lunch on Ill de Cuerx! We left from Blue Bay, so immediately got a glimpse of the Kool-aid blue water that’s so clear that you can see all the reefs and fish below!
After a while you’ll see a real shipwreck in the distance! Only about half of it is left, but it’s from the 1800’s and is a French boat that hit the reef and wrecked. There were a lot of shipwrecks that happened in this area actually, from all the attempted invasions.
There was only one “way in”, which was through a channel in the ring of reef, deep enough and calm enough for a boat to pass. But when the French were in control, they shot down any other ship that tried to pass, until they were eventually conquered by the British.
We weren’t able to get as close as usual to the river waterfall because some sort of investigation was happening. We weren’t able to find it in the news, but there were definitely a lot of police, coast guards, and divers looking for something in the water in front of the waterfall…
Our last stop was the public area of Ile Aux Cerfs, which didn’t feel very public because the boat tours each designate a secluded area of beach for their guests. We pulled right up to our little surrounded by mangroves, and sat at an adorably set table under a tarp.
For the lunch we started with deliciously BBQed fresh white tuna filets that I thought was the main dish so ate two pieces. Then they brought out juicy, buttery, lobster tale and it wasn’t long before I was in a food coma!
It unfortunately started raining after lunch, otherwise we would have gone snorkeling as well, so I hope you have great weather!
Best Outdoor Adventures
There’s many outdoor adventures to be had on the inland parts of Mauritius as well as the coastal ones!
In fact I experienced the most epic zip lining I’ve probably ever done in the World! It zips you to the top of a waterfall and then you get to zip back by jumping off the waterfall! I even did it in a long flowy skirt!
((Check out my Travel Photography Gear Guide to get the items I used for this epic selfie))
The ziplines are just one of the many things you can do at this nature adventure park called La Vallee des Coleurs! We started out by driving ATVs along the dirt roads to get to the main attraction; Valley of Colors.
This peculiar area of land is said to have 23 different colors of soil, though it’s hard to tell unless it’s sunny or you see it above like I did with my drone.
Nearby the mound of colored Earth, there’s also a beautiful waterfall tucked into the woods. It’s one of three waterfalls that I saw in total at the nature park.
You can also see tortoises and deer, which I spotted from the first zipline, that’s 1.5kms long, making it the 4th longest one in the world.
Random fact: Deer are not indigenous to Mauritius; they were brought over by the Dutch after they ate all the Dodo Birds because they needed something else to eat.
Hopefully this post has convinced you to add Mauritius to your travel bucketlist! As always, if this has helped you plan your trip, please return the help by sharing on Pinterest or Facebook!
Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Mauritius Tourism Board, Four Seasons Mauritius, and The Westin Turtle Bay, however all experiences, opinions, writing, and photos are my own besides the extinct Dodo bird.