The toughest part about going on a holiday is deciding the destination. Easy connectivity, time taken to reach, weather, food to suit your dietary preferences and budget are some of the important considerations when it comes to taking a decision. If it is a family holiday, it is only fair that there is something in it for everybody.
I recently spent a week in Mauritius. Here are the 8 reasons why I think you must visit Mauritius for your next holiday.
While my focus is on travellers from India, the post is relevant to travellers from anywhere in the world.
Let us straight go for the best reason. Visa for Indian passport holders is on arrival for a period upto 60 days and wait for it, IT IS FREE! Isn’t that music to our ears, when many other visas involve doing mountains of paperwork and shelling out the big bucks?
These are some of the requirements you may need to show upon arrival at immigration- proof of stay, confirmed return flight tickets, sufficient funds for expenses during your stay (minimum of USD 100 per day). For a stay beyond 60 days, you need to apply for a visa from the Mauritius High Commission (Delhi) before departure.
Air Mauritius has direct flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai to SSR International Airport. From Mumbai it is a 6 hour direct flight. We traveled on this one and I found the timings to be very convenient- a departure of 6.30 am in the morning and reaching Mauritius at 11 am, which is perfect for reaching the hotel by check in time.
3. Pristine beaches with blue waters
This is a no brainer. The azure blue oceans are first thing that come to mind when you hear the word Mauritius. And it delivers on this promise and more. Crystal clear waters reflecting the blues of the sky, friendly enough to drive a boat in or snorkel or scuba or simply sit on the sands and admire, this is the most beautiful reason to visit Mauritius.
Mauritius is blessed with pleasant weather round the year. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, the warmest months are Dec-Jan-Feb and even in these months the temperature is at an average of 28°C. July is the peak of winter and temperatures are around 21°C. Mauritius has a lot of microclimates and driving around the country, we experienced a summery morning, a rainy afternoon and a wintry night, all in one day.
The travel bug has bitten us Indians good and proper, but many of us still seek comfort in Indian food, even while traveling abroad. While I will try absolutely anything vegetarian, a lot of Indians get drawn to Indian restaurants and cuisine even when far from India.
Finding Indian food is not at all a problem on the island. For example, at the InterContinental Mauritius Resort Balaclava Fort, I noticed an entire Indian section for breakfast. They were serving freshly made puris, aloo subzi, vermicelli upma, vada, masala chai, masala omelettes and more during our stay here. This resort also has a dedicated Indian restaurant called Veda.
A lot of street foods could totally make Indian palates happy. Besides Indian food, you love exploring different cuisines, then Mauritius is the melting pot of African, Creole, Chinese and French cuisines. Vegetarians and vegans have many options in almost all restaurants and cafes.
Another reason to visit Mauritius is our shared culture, given how over 65% of the population is from Indian descent. Mahashivratri, Diwali, Eid, Holi are all celebrated here with much fanfare. A visit to Apravasi ghat is a must to understand how Indians landed in Mauritius as indentured labour in the 1830s to work in their sugarcane fields and suffered immeasurable hardships, eventually making it their home.
Even through Mauritian Creole is the official language, everyone here speaks English. Quite a few people of Indian descent understand Hindi and speak the language too. The waitresses at Salt of Palmar, Flacq (one of the hotels we stayed at) were only too happy to converse with us in Hindi, telling us that it helped them practise and stay in touch with the language. There is indeed no language barrier for tourists from India and that itself feels very non-intimidating when you are visiting a country for the first time.
7. Mauritian rupee
At an exchange rate of 1 Mauritian Rupee= 2 Indian Rupees, it is quite pocket friendly. There are hotels and experiences to suit all budgets. Unlike Europe, Australia, US etc. at least the conversion rate is not a killer.
8. More than just beaches
Even if you love the sand and the sea, after 2-3 days of relaxing by the ocean, the spirit seeks out other vistas and adventures. In this regard, there is plenty to explore in Mauritius, be it water sports, nature trails, hiking, cultural places or wildlife parks.
After coming back from a week in Mauritius, I can very well understand why Mark Twain said “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius”. The memories of the picture perfect beaches and the warmth of the people will stay on with me for a long long time.
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Disclosure: My trip to Mauritius was hosted by Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority. The views in this post are entirely my own, as is everything else on this blog.
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