Sunday, November 27, 2016

Eleven Things You MUST do in Mauritius!

A few months ago, AirAsia X launched thrice-weekly direct flights to Mauritius. The island is awesome, but hasn't really been on many travelers radars - so we thought we'd dig through our photo archives and write a bit about what the island has to offer. So without further ado, here's our Eleven Things you MUST do in Mauritius!

Note: Our time spent in Mauritius was in 2011 (five years ago), so some of these may be a little outdated. But we hope it helps you anyway!

#1: Stay at a Beach Resort

Many hotel resorts will try to sell you an "All-Inclusive" package where everything is included - breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. In my opinion, unless you plan on never leaving the hotel, go for the "half board" package instead - this is basically the all inclusive package without drinks and lunch at a significant discount. Taking this package gives you the flexibility of, you know, actually going out to visit the island without feeling like you're 'wasting money.' Typically, both packages will also include health club and gym usage, and free basic water sports such as sailing, glass bottom boat, snorkeling, water skii'ing and para-sailing. You'll need to pay for things like spa/massage and scuba diving, though.

I visited two hotels during my stay in the island.

Le Meridien:
- The Good: Service is good, people are friendly, the breakfast buffet is awesome and overlooks the swimming pool/beach. At nights there are also a couple of pretty good restaurants. Free internet access in the rooms.
- The Not-so-Good: Beach is a bit small, hotel is a bit old, and the free water sports are quite limited (only snorkeling and glass bottom boat).

The Intercontinental:
- The Good: All their rooms overlook the beach, and are very nicely designed. Comprehensive free water sports, and the restaurants are also awesome. There are also live bands at nights, and there are more activities such as a Sega dance on weekends.
- The not-so-good: Breakfast restaurant doesn't have much choice and the layout/design of the buffet is kind of rubbish. Also, you need to pay for internet in the rooms, which is really "WTF" considering that they provide free wifi in the lobby. TV is an "internet" based system that sucks.

#2: Visit a Public Beach

As you might expect, almost the entire island is full of beaches - only the south-western area (which has no coral reefs) has cliffs and rocks instead of sand. What you probably wouldn't expect, however, is that Mauritius beaches are, to be honest, not really that nice. In my opinion, we have our own beaches like Redang and Perhentian that are way better.

The biggest difference is that because of the weather, it's very pleasant to relax on the beach in Mauritius. You don't get that "hot and sticky" feeling that you get on Malaysian beaches - the wind is cooling and refreshing.

#3: Visit a Sugar Factory.

80% of the island is planted with sugar cane - this is because Mauritius has basically only 4 industries: sugar, textiles, tourism (and some financial services). so somebody had a bright idea of combining sugar and tourism by converting an old sugar factory into a museum of sorts. It mixes a lot of information of Mauritius history as well, if you're into that sort of thing.

#4: Hang out at Caudan Waterfront

Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius. They've converted part of the port into a commercial centre with restaurants, shopping centres and cafe's - it's a nice place to hang out at night, although even on weekends it pretty much dies by 11-ish pm.

#5: Watch the Sega

The Sega is the 'national' Mauritian dance. I don't actually know how authentic this is, seeing as it was in a hotel, but here are the pictures anyway!

#6: Go sightseeing - Trou Aux Cerfs

Located in Curepipe, somewhere in the middle-ish of the island, is the volcano crater of Trou Aux Cerfs. Of course, there isn't exactly that much to do here ... just sightseeing and taking photos!

#7: Go sightseeing - Old buildings and Churches

These are dotted all around the island and perfect stops to stretch your legs if you're on a road trip.

#8: Go sightseeing at Chamarel

Chamarel is the name of an area - there's two main attractions here: a 100metre waterfall (that apparently grows a lot bigger than in this picture during the rainy season), and a mound of multi-colored dirt, caused by different metal oxides, called the chamarel seven coloured earths.

#9: Scuba Doo

We don't know how good or bad the Scuba scene is (cos we don't dive), but we did try scuba-doo instead, which is a motorized scuba scooter. Was pretty fun!

#10: Swimming with dolphins.

That's me. swimming with dolphins. Do I need to say any more? I managed to chase a group of ~10 dolphins down and touch one of their tail fins!

#11: Casela Nature Park

There's a bunch of things to do in this park. There's a mini zoo where you can see birds and animals, a mini petting zoo area where you can feed deer, chickens, goats and turkeys, and a pond for catch and release tilapia fishing. You can go on safari, or you can go on safari on segway, or on quad bike, or even walk with lions! You could easily spend an entire day here and not be bored.

If you've got any questions or updates or if you know anything that's changed in the last few years, do let us know in the comments below!