Although I have written some lengthy posts on Mauritius, (which you can read here and here), I just want to highlight a few useful tips that may help in planning your holiday and making it more memorable. For people who have read my previous post, apologies for some repetition. Just trying to put all the points together in one place!
Things to keep in mind:
1) Book a comprehensive travel package:
As opposed to the usual holidays I plan and take, I found that it was much cheaper to book a holiday for Mauritius through a travel agent. Its worthwhile contacting several different travel companies and getting comparable quotes from each. A comprehensive package should include your flights, accommodation, transfers to and from the airport and your meals – full or half board, or just breakfast.
2) Full board or half board meal plans?
This is quite a point of contention – at least it was for K and me. We were unable to decide which option to go for until the very end! The below points may help you decide….
Full Board – this means an all inclusive package. Its an expensive option but includes all your meals, snacks, beverages – including select wines, beer, cocktails and in some cases champagne too. The mini bar in the room is also covered under this plan. This option works better if:
– you are traveling with kids (in between snacks and 4pm pancakes are offered in most resorts)
– you are going to make full use of the free drinks
– you are planning on spending most of your holiday in the resort and hence, will be dining in
Half board – this option includes only breakfast and dinner. You may also need to pay for any extra water and in-room tea/coffee that are consumed. This option is for for you if:
– you are looking at spending most of your time exploring the island outside of your resort
– you are ok with spending separately for the few drinks that you have at the bar (drinks are quite pricey at most resorts
– you want to try local restaurants and tend to get bored of eating at the same place everyday
Note: Most resorts allow you to upgrade to a full board once you arrive, in case you feel the need. So do not be disheartened if you have selected a different option!
3) Book your local tours through a company based in the town or village located close to you
If you are looking to save a little money, book the local tours through a company located near your resort rather than your own agent as the prices charged by your agent tend to be much higher. The same goes for water sports – prices charged by kiosks in fancy hotels are much higher than those charged a little further away from the resort.
4) Rent a car or hire a taxi?
If you are not nervous about driving in a foreign country and are comfortable with driving on the left, renting a car is a better option in my opinion. You get to see and learn more about a place when driving on your own, even if it involves getting lost a bit! Mauritians are very helpful and friendly and will willingly give you directions when asked. Most car rental companies give better deals when you rent for 3 days or more.
Note: if you are a little adventurous like K and me, rent a car from a local guy instead of a a big company. You will get a really good deal!
If you are just looking at getting from point A to B and not really sight seeing, then hiring a taxi is better. Although I did not try, i am told, its cheaper to hail a taxi on the road than to hire one from the hotel.
5) Tipping at the hotel, spa and restaurant
Tipping is not really a norm expected in Mauritius but if you are happy with the service, a 10% tip is considered good. Most resorts have a tipping pool and if you want to leave something for the staff, you can do so by putting it in the pool. This pool is shared by the housekeeping staff, bartenders, waiters at the restaurants and the other hotel staff.
The spa is not included in the pool and you most likely will need to leave your tip in cash – in the local currency.
For restaurants outside the resort, a 10% tip is sufficient as long as it has not already been included in your bill. If it has been included, there is no need to leave anything extra.
6) Best time to visit Mauritius
The island can be visited all year round but its best to avoid the rainy months – January to March, unless you really like rain!
November to April are the summer months and it can get really hot and humid. Excluding the rainy months, this time is ideal for visitors from the northern hemisphere to escape the winter blues!
May to October are the so-called winter months. But it does not get very cold in Mauritius. May and June are fairly busy on the island as most British and European families tend to make use of school holidays to visit. So if you are looking for some quiet, you should consider coming later in the year.
If coming in July and August, avoid the east and the south coast of Mauritius as it can get very windy in these parts of the island.
7) Where to stay in Mauritius?
The island is dotted with resorts, villas and holiday apartments. Depending on your budget and your interests, you can choose any type of accommodation – whether on the beach or inland, self catering or all inclusive, a five star or something cheaper.
Most beaches in Mauritius are lovely. But to be doubly sure, just read some additional information and reviews on Tripadvisor before choosing your hotel.
If you are more of the partying types and are looking to stay out late at night, it best to stay near Grand Baie. Its a small fishing village, very popular for its bars, clubs and night hot-spots. Although I didn’t go to Flic-en-Flac, I am told that the village is quite vibey.
8) Relax and have fun!