Located 1132 kilometres to the east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is a world-class holiday destination. The island nation borders the Tropic of Capricorn benefiting from a year-round sunny climate which coincides with the presence of sumptuous beaches and lavish resorts. Mauritius is a famous destination for business trips, family holidays or honeymoons alike. However, all that richness often creates the illusion of a luxury destination. That is when we come to the rescue. Read on for our Guide of top ten tips for visiting Mauritius on a budget.
A 10-hour flight separates Europe from this iconic island that is often referred to as: incredibly perfect, geographically and chromatically impeccable with lush vegetation and unique culture. A culturally mixed population is proud of the plethora of natural sights, mountains, immaculate lagoons that surround it.
Book your flight online
The first and perhaps most important step is to find a cheap flight. For the best prices, you should start your research online. There are many online flight price comparators like Skyscanner that can help you find the best flight deals to Mauritius. What we like about Skycanner is that the platform allows you to choose the cheapest month.
This is ideal if you have not yet decided when to go. In the low tourist season in Mauritius from May to September, you can find two-way flights from Europe to Mauritius for around 500 €. It’s pretty good and if you’re wondering if the weather will be nice during this period; yes, the average temperature for these months is 26 ° C.
Move around the cheap way
If your stay includes a transfer service between the airport and the accommodation, this will already help you save. But if you rent a small independent accommodation, it is likely that the transfer is not included. In this case, it is better to rent a car. In Mauritius you can find car rental offers from € 25 per day, and even less if you rent for more than a week. At Easycab, we are known for offering the cheapest car in rental Mauritius. Add to that the price of gasoline which sells for around 1 euro per liter and the fact that the island has a road network of 2,500 kilometers of rather good quality, you have the ideal way to move around inexpensively and in complete autonomy.
If you are not in a hurry and autonomy is not a necessity, there’s even more affordable; use public transport. The bus is the most economical form of transport in Mauritius, in terms of price. The journey between Port Louis, the capital and Grand Baie, a renowned northern seaside resort costs a little less than a euro and takes around 40 minutes. You can visit almost everything by bus as the network covers the whole island, its tourist attractions and its many beaches. However, it should be noted that buses still take longer than cars to reach their destination.
Choose vacation rentals and small hotels
If you are looking to take advantage of the island’s plethora of sites and beaches during the day, it may be better and much cheaper to opt for vacation rentals. Of course, this is not a golden rule, there are vacation rentals for all budgets. Rates start from 10 € per night for 2 people. To be closer to the sea, you can also opt for small independent hotels on the coast. The price of the rooms starts from 15 euros per night for 2 people.
Explore the island on your own
The tours and excursions offered by large resorts and agencies are quite often well organized. But the constraints can be unpleasant: high prices, imposed schedules and programs, group trips … So, if you are looking to explore the island differently, do it at your own pace, with your own rental car for example. Here is a list of the best places to visit in Mauritius.
Try local street food
Delicious, inexpensive and available everywhere, street food is a must for anyone visiting Mauritius. You will enjoy it for really cheap and it’s easy to find. You can try the Dholl Puri, a vegetarian pancake for 15 rupees, a glass of Alouda, a refreshing drink made from milk or a fruit juice for 15 rupees or 3 Gato Piment for 10 rupees. We also recommend Chinese-Mauritian cuisine with fried noodles, dumplings and wan-tan.
Note that foods are sometimes spicy and contain gluten. If in doubt, always ask the seller.
Try free activities
Many things to do in Mauritius are free. You just have to go there and maybe rent equipment if necessary and you’re ready to go. For example, you can climb the mythical Morne Brabant Peninsula for free. This site, which is also a historical place in local traditions, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To enjoy aquatic activities, snorkeling can be practiced on all public beaches. We recommend the Blue Bay Marine Park. You will need to take a boat to reach the marine park, but it is well worth the small price of around 8 € per person.
Here are other activities and places to see without entrance fees:
Explore the waterfalls
Surf & kite-surf
Historic sites & religious monuments
Discover colonial cities and more
Attend local events and festivals
With its multicultural society, Mauritius is an outdoor theater for events and festivals. Check the calendar and enjoy local festivals. If you visit the island at the start of the year, do not miss the Chinese New Year celebrations celebrated in the capital Port Louis. In March, do not miss the celebration of Maha Shivratree when almost half of the local population pilgrims to the sacred lake of Grand Bassin
Shop like a local
Visit the markets and shop like a local. You can find lots of interesting souvenirs in expensive tourist shops, but you can find more or less the same handicrafts for a fraction of the price in local markets. You will find traditional spices, local sugar, rum, vanilla, Mauritian tea, and handcrafted textiles like paréo, sari and pashmina. The price of these artisanal products can vary according to the markets, but do not hesitate to haggle, Mauritian traders like to mingle.
Book your excursions in advance
If you want to explore the popular outer islands like Ile aux Cerfs or Ile aux Bénitiers, we recommend booking your excursions well in advance to benefit from favorable prices. Depending on the tourist season, the price of excursions and boat transfers will sometimes vary. Moreover, several operators (when contacted directly) do not take deposits. So, go ahead and reserve your excursions.
Use your credit card instead of cash
Easy right? But it is still worth mentioning because exchange rates can sometimes get unfavorable. Credit card payments are accepted almost everywhere on the island: Visa, Mastercard, American Express in particular.