Mauritius is Just an Island

I really wanted to love Mauritius. You think of it as so exotic and want to be in awe. I had heard mixed, mostly indifferent or negative, things about it coming in but I came in with an open and excited attitude about the island nation. I had heard that it was just a big and touristy island that is indistinguishable from many others. I had also heard it was expensive and the type of place you stay at your hotel and don’t really leave. I wish I could disagree with those comments in total but I have to agree with many of them. However, Mauritius is a beautiful place and a nice place to spend a few days relaxing if you are the type of person that likes big hotel resorts-unfortunately I am not that type of person.

I arrived at the airport from Rodrigues and went to get a taxi. The fixed rate to my hotel in the northern part of the island was about $70. There was no shot I was paying $70 one way for any taxi ride and I was willing to take the bus but managed to negotiate the ride for $40-it did take an hour and half to get there so it is reasonable. But this was the start of the expensiveness.
I arrived at the Le Meridien Hotel and I was greeted by a huge open air lobby area (above) that was very attractive albeit hot as hell. I then went to the desk to check in and she looked confused. So that confused me and then finally I realized I had to go to some other desk to check in. The guy who checked me in was pretty dense and told me to sit down on the couch. Finally after 45 minutes of waiting for him to get his act together I asked for the manager as I was pretty annoyed and just wanted a shower.

I still don’t get what happened but the bottom line was the manager hooked me up with free breakfast each day and the royal suite in the private Nirvana section of the hotel. That sounds good I thought and I thanked him and went to my amazing two story suite overlooking the water. It had a Jacuzzi in my bedroom and also a six head shower. The rate for this room would be 1750 euros a night or like $2500 or so-you’ll have to wait til later to find out what I paid. I could get used to this I thought as I got showered up to head down to dinner.

There were four restaurants in the hotel and I went to each of them to see what they had. As I walked into each one the host met me at the door and said I couldn’t come in wearing shorts and they were fully booked. This pissed me off to no end. It was about 100 degrees and humid, I was sweating profusely and why wouldn’t I be wearing shorts as we are on an island. So I just continually said don’t worry about it and finally decided to eat at this place called 180 degrees which was the buffet.

I didn’t want to eat there because the buffet cost $50, yes $50, not including drinks or taxes. So before I sat down I went to the concierge to ask about a taxi into town as I didn’t want to get robbed for a generic buffet. He told me the taxi could take me to Grand Bay (the alleged touristic village) for $100 each way. I said it is only a 20 minute drive. He nods, snickers and says yes the hotel taxi has a set rate at night.

I asked him to call me a regular taxi. He says he can’t do that. I ask why and he says because of security reasons. Flabbergasted, I say this is Mauritius, not Baghdad! He just says sorry sir but that is the price. How can I get a regular taxi I ask? You need to walk 5km to the main road he tells me. Seriously annoyed I walk away and begrudgingly sit down for the buffet.

As I go to sit they tell me I can’t wear shorts and I just said I don’t have any pants (which is true because I gave the jeans away after gorilla trekking) give me a break and go and sit down. They didn’t seem to care and in the next 5 minutes I had 4 different servers ask me for my room number. I continually said 447 and that I just told the other guy but they kept asking. It was really annoying as it makes you think all they want to do is charge you for stuff. I asked how much a soda or beer was and they said like $10. I said can I just have water and of course they bring me a bottle and charge me for it, $9. Even at Yankee Stadium a water is only like $4.50 or so!

Anyway, dinner was whatever, a very generic buffet you get at any hotel. Then I went to walk around the hotel and there was absolutely nothing to do. As you can imagine it is all honeymooners and old people here. That’s fine but I was annoyed because if I actually wanted to go into town where there is some life, it would cost me at least $200. So I was pissed and felt trapped. I went to watch TV instead and go to bed early.
Luckily the sun rose in the morning and I had my free breakfast and a nice day at the lovely infinity pool. The Nirvana pool is for adults only so there were no kids screaming or running around. This was fine but again, it made for a really boring time. I have to say it was a pretty relaxing day at the pool as the beach is only OK here (below) at the hotel but I would’ve liked a little more action. At least some reasonably priced options or some music or whatever.
I hate bitching about prices, but I hate getting ripped off by such a large margin that it makes you mad and gets in the way of enjoying yourself. I understand at a big hotel you pay a premium for food and drinks etc. However, $50 for a buffet, $200 for two twenty minute cab rides and oh yeah, $45 for suntan lotion really pisses me off and I refuse to bend over and take those prices. This is the most overpriced hotel I’ve ever stayed at.

I feel badly being negative and underscoring the beauty of the island but in truth, it is relatively indistinguishable from many others and mass tourism and big resorts is their business. This is a “sit on your ass” island. There isn’t much else to do. If I came with a group of friends or something it would’ve been much better. There are no volcanoes to hike or real adventures to be had. The capital of Port Louis is whatever-a typical crowded and dirty island capital with bad traffic. It has a tired waterfront that is trying to be like the V&A in Cape Town but doesn’t even come close to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

That stuff is fine, but for me, I prefer a little more action as opposed to laying around in the sun for a few days. A good friend of mine who last year came here on her honeymoon said it best; “Mauritius is just an island. It’s a nice island but it’s a long way to go to lie around at a big resort pool as you could be anywhere in the world”.
So basically, Mauritius is very cost prohibitive and it is the type of place where you don’t really leave your hotel if you stay at a resort. My advice is choose wisely and check prices and packages ahead of time and rent a car as I should have done. I stayed at Le Meridien because I got a sweet hookup from Starwood and I did get the amazing royal suite all for $60 for the two nights. Obviously, I knew what I was getting myself into but you still hope for the best. I hate when the hotel room is the highlight of your stay-well that and the sick infinity pool. However, I am just baffled by the prices here and I am really looking forward to going to the Seychelles-that is if I ever get out of the Mauritius airport as I delayed here again. Allegedly it is only for two hours as opposed to the 9.5 the other day. Aaaahhhh it feels like home!

In the Seychelles, I will also be staying at a Le Meridien but only for two nights as I will be on 4 different islands in 5 days. Hopefully, I will not get bored; there is only so much sun I can take! Going to honeymoon places alone can be pretty lame at times! Plus they have more reasonable accommodation and different classes of it to choose from in Seychelles. I have also been assured there are other options outside the hotel if the prices are outrageous there as well. We shall see…

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  1. Too bad, I thought it would be lovely to go there. The hotel does look fantastic though.

  2. Pictures look great but I see how it could be boring.

  3. Pereybere beach is very nice. Too bad you couldn’t get there.

  4. see any dodo birds?

  5. Hi Robin, I did not get there as Mauritius is tough to get around without a car as I said and if I ever go back I will definitely have a car. Andy, no dodos-sorry!

  6. And why couldn\’t you walk 5 mins down the road to grab a regular taxi? Or planned ahead and rented a car?

    Anywhere in the world is boring if you refuse to get transportation!

    On top of that, the island has a very extensive network of extremely-cheap public transportation. Buses. Could have caught that during the day and gone anywhere on the island.

    But no, it\’s easier to complain.

    And for your information, Port Louis is a fascinating city. It\’s too bad you restricted yourself to the Waterfront when you could have visited the exotic bazaar, authentic ethnic restaurants, myriad of temples from all religions and unusual museums.

    By the way, there\’s good hiking in the center of the island(gorges covered in dense forests).

    And there\’s such a blend of cultures there\’s almost always one festival or the other going on.

    I lived in Mauritius for 5 years and had an exhilarating time. If you found it to be just a boring and typical island then you lack an adventurous spirit, don\’t you now?

    • Oh Sandra, there is nothing fascinating about the capital. Port Louis is overcrowded, humid, hot, stinky place,with few good restaurants and a big market that you wished you avoided it in the first place….even the beach on the picture doesn’t look great and Perebeya is just an OK beach.

  7. Hey Sandra and thanks for your comment but you apparently have some facts wrong. The walk was 5km to get a local cab and also, there is nothing interesting or fascinating about Port Louis. I did see the temples you referred to and didn’t mention them because I don’t feel they warranted mentioning. Also, if you consider complaining about extortionate prices then you must have endless amounts of money or enjoy bending over. I do not.

  8. Im originally from Mauritius, and I think it’s ridiculous to complain about the entire country when you just see it from one point of view. Yes, you pay premium price if you want to go to a hotel, and not investigate. If I went on vacation and stayed at The Ritz I would expect it would cost more than staying at a b&b. Locals get by on the bus system everyday… Sandra is right about Pt louis, the gorges, the temples. Im confused by the beginning when you said you “arrived from Rodrigues”. Where did you fly from?

  9. Hey Vana, I transited Mauritius to get to Rodrigues without stopping then came back and stayed on Mauritius for a few days. Also, there is a difference between a premium for quality and extortion when it comes to hotel prices and what’s reasonable.

  10. He gave you the royal suite for $60 and you complain about the other hotel prices ?!!
    Give something in return man.

  11. Fair enough Yannis.

  12. Hey Lee,

    We are planning our honeymoon and decided on Seychelles + Mauritius since we can basically book the whole trip on Starwood (St Regis in Mauritius & Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove on Seychelles). Your posts were the most insightful ones I came across during my research. Now I’m debating whether we should skip Mauritius altogether or just spend less days there instead of a 5 day/5 day split. We are def planning on renting a car, and I did read on tripadvisor that Mauritius has some interesting things to do like the Lion walk & the Gorges, as well as the temples, etc, but am now second guessing whether it’s worth it. Like you, I HATE being extorted, and we’re also not resort-y people and prefer to immerse in local culture, explore unexpected gems, etc.

    What are your thoughts? Should we nix Mauritius or shorten our stay? Thanks! You have a new follower btw – we’ll be checking out your blog in the future before our travels!

  13. That’s really sad. On my visit to mauritius, we were pampered by the resort we stayed in: Calodyne Sur Mer. Considering the cost to visit the place is not really worth. But 1 time visit is a must. We were on a package by Makemytrip/Seaside holidays, so travelling or hiring a car was not a problem for us. Hotel staff was quite helpful, so we didnt really find any problem.

  14. Hi all, I came across your blog while looking for feedback from travelers going to Mauritius.
    I am originally from Mauritius and now live in Perth, Australia.
    I think Lee has many valid points. Before traveling to a new place, it is worth learning a bit about the culture, being informed about things to do etc… as visiting any country can result in a negative experience. Having a contact in Mauritius really is something that could change your entire experience. This is why we have created a Tour operator business who can look for a place that suits your budget, plan your activities and be there whenever you need some action! Even if you are bored at 11pm and looking to do something, just call your assigned guide and a car will come and pick you up and take you wherever you want to go! This might sound like a sale pitch, but seriously, our aim is to show you all the great things you can do in Mauritius and you won’t necessarily get it in a 5 start resort on your own!
    Please feel free to send me an email at [email protected] if you decide to Visit the Island and I’ll promise you an experience you will never forget! Happy travelling…

  15. Even I went to Mauritius and enjoyed a lot there were clean beaches like at blue baie and grand baie. Nightlife was amazing there were pubs, strip clubs, casinos and lot more to do.

    You can check out this link there and find that there are lot more things which you can do

  16. I visited Mauritius and had the most amazing time. Use local taxi’s as they will take you all over the island and will negotiate a good rate with you, or hire a car.
    There is loads to do! You can visit the pamplemousse gardens, the wildlife park, glass bottom boats, catamaran island trips, go the black river gorge national park, snorkelling or diving, jeep safaris, volcanoes and waterfalls, horse back riding, game reserve.
    The historical temples on the island are magnificent. Ok they may not match up to Thailand, but they are still lovely.
    In fact there is enough to do to keep you going for months. It just takes forward thinking and planning ahead and not just getting there and saying I don’t know what to do.
    I would always go all inclusive in the hotels so you don’t have to pay for meals, or B & B and head inland and eat where the locals eat. Don’t go to top hotels and expect the food and drink to be cheap. It’s all in the planning and research.

  17. He is completely right! This is a boring island to avoid… hours away from any civilized place!

    Just ridiculous what people think about this boring place!

  18. To John if mauritius is so boring to you why go there , you should have gone to Europe where all you guys like to be mauritius is a beautiful island n peaceful , we don’t critized England or usa so y do it to us if u don’t like it don’t come

  19. And to Lee
    I’m sorry that you didn’t get to enjoy yourself as a british born mauritian myself I go n see family but I make a plan on where I was going like the beautiful waterfalls n the temples the volcano site the history is their but u needed to do research like mark twain said mauritius is the pearl of the ocean god made the heavens then made mauritius. I know there are crooks their but their are genuine people too ask n if the hotel wasn’t up to standard you should have move hotels that what I would do think first

  20. If ever u want to go their again I b happy to show you the island n make u really enjoy it we all are no so bad [email protected] if ever u want to come back

  21. oh You really had a bad experience on your trip , but these pictures are really amazing . thanks for you suggestions . Kashmir Tour Packages

  22. Paints a totally wrong picture of the island….no wonder you’re having a boring time and spend much money….next time try to travel around the island as an individual tourist and choose.cheaper accommodations, there are plenty. Mauritius is not only about its beaches,it’s about the amazing variety of ethnicities,its very kind people and there’s a lot to see….

  23. I have plans of visiting Mauritius is December.
    What should I expect??

  24. As someone born in Mauritius and who left to live overseas a long time ago, I can tell you the island is very beautiful, but run by corrupt greedy indians who are in the process in turning it into a third world country, a little india. Its such a shame.

  25. Hi Lee, My partner and I went to Mauritius in Oct ’14 and we stayed in Flic en Flaq but we luckily hired a car and managed to get to 90% of the island. On the final two days of our stay, we checked into a lavish hotel but didn’t enjoy it as much as the other accommodation in a self contained apartment. He couldn’t believe it when he heard that some tourists just go to the hotel and stay there and don’t get to see the sights. It was a little expensive but I was glad to show him where my ancestors came from, where my parents married, lived and worked. Hope you have a better experience next time.

  26. After reading your review I had to comment. Now I’ve never been to Mauritius but I’m hoping to soon. But to make a review based on being stuck in an overpriced resort hotel is hardly fair to the island. I’ve done quite a bit of travelling and a bit of research/preparation beforehand usually sets you off on the right foot. That is what I am doing now and there’s seems to be plenty of cheaper options and lots to see and do on the island. To me, you sound like a box ticker, you claim to have been to every country in the world but did you just go to tick that particular box or have you really visited, explored and got to know these places? For me that’s what travelling is about, not just rushing in and out of a place to say you’ve been there. Your review really annoyed me, I’ve read many other bloggers reviews who have actually explored where they’re visiting and given fair reviews. Yours is just based on a hotel resort, not the island itself!

  27. I’ve just read your “about” part of your page and I can’t believe you’ve wrote a review like this! It’s such a naive review considering what you claim to have done and seen!

  28. No one should listen to what this guy said. I went to Mauritius this summer and its an absolutely incredible place. The people are so friendly and there is soooo much to do I am going back this summer because the 2 weeks I spent there wasn’t enough to see it all and I loved it so much I want to go back. If you sit in a resort and complain that Mauritius is boring or expensive then you clearly haven’t done your research about the island. The island is easy to navigate so renting a car is a great idea as it allows you to truly experience everything the island has to offer. The list of things to do is incredible, there are countless islands around the mainland that you can visit by boat or catamaran that each offer their own unique beauty. There are incredible historic sites to visit such as the Balaclava ruins or the Chateau Labourdonnais. There are beautiful beaches all around the island, each one is different and so beautiful it feels like paradise anywhere you go. The hiking at le Pouce, le Morne, the Black River Gorge and the 7 Cascades are amazing, so many hidden waterfalls to swim in and the views are simply breathtaking. You can swim with WILD dolphins and whales, an experience that you can’t even describe in words it was so amazing. Just to name a few more things, ziplining and quad biking in the mountains, walking with lions, snorkeling or scuba diving, horseback riding, experiencing the incredibly diverse cultural aspects of the island, tea tasting in a plantation, cliff jumping, parasailing the list could go on…
    The part about Mauritius being expensive is also a joke, if you stay at an expensive hotel and order food at their restaurant, then yes its expensive. But any other restaurant is cheap and any of the organized activities can be easily bargained for at a fair and cheap price.
    If you are debating going to Mauritius…GO, you won’t regret it. I’m traveling all the way from Canada again this summer because it’s that worth it. It’s an experience like no other.

  29. ibrahim khalil says

    Btw i think this guy comes from that third world country South Africa.

    Where people get carjacked and yes where 49 murders happen every day.

    so no wonder Y so many south africans are settling in our paradise island.

    besides Port Louis is the most LIVABLE CITY IN AFRICA and who gives a shit to what this slum dweller of johannesburg has to say.The mercer livablity index 2016 has put PORT LOUIS as the best city in Africa leaving behind the third world cities like Cape town and durban etc..

    peace from Mauritius.

    oh and I cant wait to visit South Africa for my tour of slums as we dont have slums in our Mauritius.

    it would be a nice experience to see how people live with no electricity and high crime rate and rampant HIV and also how do they feel that they will die perhaps at the age of 56 to 6o years as thats the average life expectancy in that third world slum country.

    peace from Mauritius

  30. I came across your blog while looking for reasons that other Americans don’t know about Mauritius because this has been one of those places we have visited that has gotten ” Where is that” I am so sad that you missed out on the real Mauritius. So many people want to say that they have been to a multitude of countries but they stay in some chain hotel, all inclusive resort or cruise ship and don’t venture out. That is almost like getting your passport stamped without leaving the airport at all.. We just got back from two weeks on Mauritius. We rented a car and stayed in small residence, local owned places in Pereybere, Flik en Flak and Blue Bay. We had a blast. We covered the entire country from hiking in Black River Gorges National park to snorkeling in Blue Bay Marine park. We toured SSR botanical gardens and Maison Eureka. We were even able to to be at the Grand Bassin during Maha Shivaratri. The food is amazing and the people are so kind. It was extremely inexpensive when you have done your research. Truthfully the more local it is the cheaper it is. The best meal we had was from a food cart off the public beach of Pointe aux Piments. We had 4 Roti chaud and 4 fried chili balls for $3. Left full with a belly full of something we had never had before. I hope that people that stumble upon your little blog will look further and try Mauritius, not like a tourist… instead like a true adventurer.

  31. A honeymoon, and perhaps even a wedding in Mauritius are definitely an option for us. There are so many gorgeous hotels right by beautiful beaches, and getting pampered in a spa in Mauritius with such incredible scenery has always been a dream of mine!

  32. I was in Mauritius for an incentive trip Organised by my company. It is a boring place and the people are dishonest . I asked the driver about wanting to buy Swimming suits. And he brought me to the shop. Was cheated by the people there. They charged 4400 rupee for a swimsuit and a shirt for wearing over the swimsuit. Initially they agreed to use my local currency and gave me discount. All my friends heard them saying ok ok but do my dismay they still charge me 4400.. they lied .. very dishonest people. I swear I will not go again .its a place that trick the tourist .. boring and unsafe . There are better resort , better service and value for money else where … sad… don’t wanna spend more money for nothing . Will stay in the hotel room instead of spending money to boast their economy by greeting ripped them

  33. Perhaps your post should have been entitled, \”Le Meridien Hotel is just another expensive hotel\” since you only talked about your negative experience at the hotel and absolutely nothing about Mauritius itself? I guess we should all thank you though for the heads up about the Le Meridien!

  34. Traveller2013 says

    Ive been there and i can say it is indeed a beautiful island with white sand beach. Not too crowded and good to relax. Ive never been disappointed with their food. I really love their food. Rotti chicken/poulet and bullet soup was my favorite food to eat there. If you want to visit Mauritius the first thing you have to to is to rent a car. With a car you can go anywhere you want. Road trip, Go to the mountain, beaches and disco at night. If you dont have a car you will be bored. Especially the bus are until 6pm only. And the taxi are expensive. The only thing i dont like there is when youre a tourist they will give you expensive price. I remember when i was staying in flic en flac and i wanted to go to cascavelle i was in hurry that time and the bus was late so the taxi came and ask for 300 rupees just to go to cascavelle. So we decided to rent a car 20krupees monthly for an old car and 25krupees for a new model car. It was a bit expensive. It was like you rented an apartment for a month. But it was worth it though. We go everywhere in mauritius using the old car and we didnt have any problem with it 🙂 and oh.. the shops are closing early so if you want to buy something, buy it before 5pm. For groceries they close at 8:30pm. for clothes shop they close at 4-5pm. So that is the 2 things i didnt like in Mauritius. But i love mauritius. They will greet you bonsoir/goodevening at night. The place i would really like to visit again is the seven coloured earth. Its good to relax there while drinking a cup of coffee and looking at the landscape while birds are singing. It is so relaxing. we will definitely go back there but we need to save a lot of money again. If you want cheap but not boring place go to asian countries like Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia. It is really really cheap there. With 30–60 euros you have a very nice room hotel already. But it depends on the season. Ive been to philippine palawan and i can say it was an amazing island. The most beautifu coral reefl i have ever seen in my entire life. For nightlife and beaches go to boracay, cebu or in thailand. for surfing go to siargao. Just be wise and be careful of the scammers. there are always scammers everywhere in the world. Sorry for my english grammar ?

  35. Definitely over-rated. If you are a tourist, going around in the villages, it’s like you’ve got a tag on your forehead reading skin me alive with 10X the normal prices. I really did not appreciate that and in fact won’t be returning to the Island. My experience, of course. Hope you have it differently.

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