Mauritius, the dream you can afford - 7 Days

A Mauritian holiday is the stuff postcards are made of. Its stunning landscapes, white sandy beaches and sparkling blue water were picked right out of an artist’s canvas. Add to this picture perfect setting, a tang of luxury with extravagant resorts and an amazing lineup of water sports. But as much as you’d like to spend your time swinging from beach to pool, bathing in the sun, taking tours on glass-bottomed boats or deep sea diving, there are other fun activities that would come calling out to you. You can choose from spending time at breathtaking nature reserves, magnificent colonial mansions, touring sugar factories or Hindu temples.

Overview

The island is full not only of beautiful geographic variations and historical sites but is also a fascinating melting point for cultural diversity. The people in Mauritius who form a cocktail of ethnicities are disarmingly warm and welcoming. The interesting mix of people brings with it a sumptuous platter of cuisines that includes Chinese, Indian, French and African meals. But the cherry on top has to be the party spirit on the island that would always keep your feet tapping.

Mauritius has a typically tropical climate with summer months extending from December to April and winter months from May to November. Summer can be extremely humid. The best time to plan a holiday in Mauritius is between May and early December. January and February are best avoided because they are cyclone months, and could be a dampener on the aspirations of water-sports enthusiasts and divers. While cyclones don’t usually hit Mauritius, cyclones way out at sea can bring days of stormy rain.

Itinerary

Day 1
Travel from Nepal to Mauritius

Meal: None

Fly to Mauritius. You will be greeted by a local representative and transferred to your hotel on arrival at Mauritius Airport. Check in and enjoy a delicious dinner at the hotel. Stay overnight.

Day 2
Island Excursion

Meal: Breakfast and Dinner

After delighting in a hearty breakfast, you head to the extraordinary island off the east coast of Mauritius called Ile Aux Cerfs. Traveling by speedboat you arrive early so you have the whole day to spend at leisure on the beach, enjoy the various water-sports which include water-skiing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Return to your hotel in the evening and enjoy your dinner. Stay overnight at the hotel.

Day 3
Leisure Day

Meal: Breakfast and Dinner

You have the day to yourself and you can choose to take a full day catamaran cruise, a hike to one of the splendid waterfalls around, or just explore the city and its famous haunts.

Day 4
North Islands Tour

Meal: Breakfast and Dinner

Your tour of the North Islands takes you to the most attractive spots in Mauritius around the sprawling city of Port Louis. Marvel at the regal colonial buildings at the Place Arms and spend some time shopping at the elegant boutiques and taking in the wonderful atmosphere at the Caudan Waterfront. Return to your hotel by the evening and feast on a marvelous dinner before retiring for the night.

Day 5
Leisure Day

Meal: Breakfast and Dinner

Breakfast is at the hotel and you have the day at leisure. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner at your hotel and stay overnight.

Day 6
South Islands Tour

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

After a hearty breakfast, you proceed for a tour of the South Islands. The majestic Trou Aux Cerfs is a dormant volcano which one must climb upto, for it affords brilliant panoramic views. The Grand Bassin Lake which is formed in the crater of another volcano is an important and sacred site for Hindus. Also known as Ganga Talao, there is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva near the lake. Move further on, to the extraordinary area of Chamarel where you can observe the magnificent Chamarel Falls splashing down into the Black River Gorges. The area is more famous though, for its remarkable multi-hued sand that is said to have been formed from volcanic rocks. The seven- colored dunes attract hordes of visitors and tourists and is truly a rare sight. Return to the hotel, freshen up and enjoy your dinner. Stay overnight at the hotel.

Day 7
Travel back from Mauritius to Nepal

Meal: Breakfast

You will be transferred to the airport after breakfast, to catch your flight back home with amazing memories.

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Places to Visit

Grand Baie Beach

Known as De Bogt Zonder Eyndt (Bay without an end) by the Dutch in the 17th century, Grand Baie is often referred to as a resort famous for its nightlife. But truly, it is a cosmopolitan and classy town crowded by tourists. People like to make this their base, eat, shop and go out in Grand  Baie for the variety  and quality  on offer. You can make day trips to the surrounding villages to enjoy good beaches. It’s also the primary departure point  for cruises to the northern islands. Public transport is good and you’ll find a range of accommodation from cheap  apartments to luxury  resorts.

 

Blue Penny  Museum

One fascinating way to introduce yourself to the history of Mauritian exploration, settlement and colonial  period would be to pay a visit to the Blue Penny  Museum. It’s not just for stamp collectors, it also exhibits maps, photographs and engravings from different periods of the island’s history. The pride of the museum’s collection are two of the world’s rarest stamps: the red one-penny and blue two-pence, both of which now rank among the most valuable in the world. 

 

National History Museum

The National  History Museum  is located  in a colonial mansion that has great historical significance. In 1810, injured commanders of the French and English fleets  were  brought here for treatment after the Battle of Vieux Grand Port. The story of the French  victory  is retold in the museum, along with salvaged items that include  cannons, grapeshot and wine bottles.  The museum also contains some fascinating artefacts, including early maps of the island  and renderings of some of the early fauna of Mauritius that was destroyed by the Dutch  – including, the ubiquitous dodo. 

L’Aventure du Sucre

This museum in the former  Beau Plan sugar  factory tells the story of sugar  in fascinating detail, while also covering the history  of Mauritius, slavery,  the rum trade and more. Most of the machinery used in the factory that was founded in 1707  is still in place  and former  workers are on hand to answer questions about  the factory’s history. At the end of the visit, you can taste four of the 15 varieties of unrefined sugar,  two of which were invented in Mauritius. Let your visit have a sweet ending  with a sugar-tasting session and a sticky  delight  in the stylish  café-restaurant.

 

Père Laval’s Shrine

The shrine of the French  Catholic priest and missionary Père Jacques  Désiré  Laval is associated with many  miracles attributed to visits  to the priest’s grave.  The coloured plaster effigy of the priest  on top of the tomb  has been  rubbed smooth in places  thanks to pilgrims touching it in the hope of miraculous cures.  In the same complex is a large modern church and a shop with a permanent exhibition of Père Laval’s  robe, mitre,  letters  and photographs.

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical  Gardens

These beautiful gardens are very popular with tourists. One of their main attractions is the park’s giant Victoria water lilies, native to the Amazon. Young leaves emerge as wrinkled balls and unfold into the classic tea-tray shape. January sees them at their biggest and most beautiful. It also has a great collection of palms of all shapes and sizes.

Black River Gorges National  Park

The island’s only national park is an astoundingly wild expanse of thick forest and home to more than 300 species of flowering plants and nine species  of birds unique  to the island.  You could drive or take a bus through the park and stop for soaking in the views along the way, but the best way to see the park is certainly on foot. A network of hiking trails crisscross the wild and empty Black River Gorges National  Park.  Just check the route and the current state  of the trails  at the information centres before setting off.

 

Lion Mountain

All trekkers  should  devote  at least half a day walking  up the sphinx-shaped Lion Mountain. It overlooks the Vieux Grand Port and offers a splendid view over the coast. The walk can be a little challenging but it will be well worth the effort once you climb up the lion’s back to reach its head. From here you will get a view right across the interior  of the island.

Domaine Les Pailles

Another day or half-day excursion can be booked  for the strange  sugar  estate turned theme park Domaine Les Pailles,  just a few miles outside  of the capital.  It has been transformed into a cultural and heritage centre offering rides on horse-drawn carriages, a miniature railway, a working replica of a traditional ox-driven sugar mill, a rum distillery producing the estate’s own brew, a spice garden, a quad-biking circuit and a children’s playground.

Yacht Charters

There are plenty  of cruise  options for you to pick from. The most popular choices  are from the day trips around the northern islands, which  include a barbecue lunch  and stops  for swimming and snorkelling. You can also take a sunset cruise, with the option  of dinner  on board.  There  is glorious  sailing ship at Grand Baie, called the Isla Mauritia, which  was built in 1852 and is claimed to be the world’s oldest  active schooner.

 

Diving

Divers can take a plunge in the beautiful waters of the island. The local diving industry  has moved down the coast to less built-up  Mont Choisy  and Trou aux Biches,  although several operators still maintain  a base in Grand Baie.

 

Undersea Walk

Non divers need not despair as Mauritius offers plenty of water activities  for them as well. An Undersea Walk provides the unforgettable experience of walking under  water wearing a diver’s helmet  and weight  belt. Solar-powered pumps  on the boat above  feed oxygen during  the 25- minute  walk. There  are trips every  few hours  from  09:00  to 15:00.

Coral Viewing

A number  of semi submersible vessels  offer coral-viewing tours. A trip lasts about under  two hours, with 30 minutes snorkelling for those  who wish to try it. Tickets  are available from hotels and tour agents.

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Mauritius, the dream you can afford
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