Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa, best known for its stunning natural beauty. Holidays to Mauritius are often special occasions, such as for a wedding or honeymoon, and we can't think of a more romantic destination for such an event. This means that there are plenty of top-quality resorts, but if you've got your heart set on a cheap holiday to Mauritius in 2014, don't despair! There are plenty of great value places to stay too - although flights don't ever hit rock bottom.
Mauritius holidays also encompass stays on neighbouring (even smaller) islands of Agalega, Rodrigues and St. Brandon. Across all of these you will find more scenic spots, lush gardens, picture-perfect beaches, historic monuments and exotic wildlife than you could hope to take in on one holiday - so expect to desire to return again and again!
With great weather all year round, you can enjoy a Mauritius holiday any time of year. April is the rainiest time, and the cyclone season is from January to March. Most travellers from the UK see Mauritius as a great winter sun destination, but May to September are great months for a cheap holiday - the weather is warm and dry and rates are up to 50% lower!
Most people on a holiday to Mauritius head to the east of the island at Belle Mare. Belle Mare holidays provide a beautiful coastline of coves and lagoons, with lovely white sandy beaches. Mauritius holidays wouldn't be complete without plenty of time spent in the sea swimming, scuba diving, windsurfing and more - even something intriguing called an underwater walk. Here are our top five must-dos as well, just to give your holiday that extra something.
Port Louis is best known for its shopping - look for local crafts like handmade flowers and jewellery, as well as its Penny Black Museum dedicated to old stamps. For a stunning view, climb Le Pouce from Petit Verger, which is a two-hour easy climb. If that sounds like too much effort, then take a stroll up Signal Mountain instead, which is what the locals prefer to do!
Black River Gorges National Park, a lush inland area boasts a plethora of animals to spot such as macaque monkeys and the Paille-en-Queue bird, known for its long thin tail feathers. Survey the park from Black River Peak viewpoint for more photos that will make everyone jealous.
Eureka is the name of the largest French colonial mansion on the island, and it's quite a sight to behold. It has no fewer than 109 doors, so you can imagine there are a fair few rooms, as well as a completely wraparound balcony. Be sure to take your costume and a towel as there's a lovely bathing spot beneath a waterfall too - reach it from the ebony and bamboo track in the garden!
Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens in Grand Baie showcase the amazing plant life that thrives in Mauritius. It's more than just flora and fauna though, with models of buildings showcasing how the island used to look, including a sugar mill. Look out for Pont des Soupirs which has a river running under it and water from the nearby canal flowing over it. Hiring a guide comes highly recommended as you'll have a much more informative visit.
Rodrigues island is not a quick option, at 340 miles from Mauritius, but once you get there you'll see how the "Anti-Stress Island" got its name. There are only seven streets here in one village with a tiny population so expect plenty of opportunities to get back to nature.
The fastest way is to hop on a direct flight to Mauritius, which usually run from London Heathrow to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (MRU). The flight time is around 12 hours, although of course if you're on an indirect flight this can be much longer. If you have a connection along the way make sure that you really are saving a lot of money - often there's very little difference. And watch out for how long you are stopping over for as you don't want to waste all of your precious holiday time in transit!
If you're on a Mauritius package holiday then it's very likely that your transfers will be included in the holiday price, so you won't have to worry about how you'll reach your accommodation. It's always best to check though, so you won't have any nasty surprises when you touch down - if adding them is an option then it's definitely the easiest way.
Alternatives are fairly limited, with private hire taxis the best bet. Make sure you agree the fare before you embark! There are also buses which are fairly tourist-friendly and you pay onboard. Make sure you have some smaller bills and ask the controller for directions. It'll be more of an adventure but it'll certainly add to the experience.
Where you stay in Mauritius should depend, to some extent, on when you travel. The island has a microclimate, which means that although there is little distance separating different parts, the weather can vary fairly dramatically. This includes isolated rain showers so if it's raining on you, it's worth considering a very quick change of scenery.
If you're travelling in the UK summer, then the north and west are more sheltered - although the north can lack any wind, making the heat quite sticky. During the UK winter, the east coast is a better bet for a holiday to Mauritius. Obviously, one way to get a cheaper holiday to Mauritius is to go against these rules, and perhaps travel around the island more with all those saved pennies.
There are plenty of luxury resorts with their own private beaches to choose from when it comes to arranging your holiday in Mauritius, but if you want to splash a little less cash it's worth looking out for holiday rentals - these are quite often available at great rates, and having your own kitchen can help you make even more saving too.
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