Mauritius is a great starting destination for families who want to combine adventure with leisure time. There is a lot more than the beautiful beaches.
That’s the view of our travel designer Filip Paces. He loves Mauritius for the soft family adventure and easy logistics, especially for families who rarely travel outside Europe.
Filip shares his expertise in this article, talking us through many things you probably don’t know about Mauritius.
Mauritius Has Comfortable Logistics
I often plan trips for families who are relatively conservative in their destination choice. They want a short flight, with a nice room, nice beach and nice pool. I encourage them to be a little more adventurous.
With these clients I often recommend Dubai. It’s a six-hour direct flight. You have nice weather, amazing hotels, pool and beach. If the kids can handle Dubai then do Mauritius.
You have the Indian Ocean trio. Seychelles are quite wild to start. For the Maldives you fly to Dubai, then to Male. Now it’s important to note that many amazing resorts, like Velaa Private Island or Soneva Jani, require a seaplane transfer, sometimes even a domestic flight. This adds another leg and although it’s only two more hours at most, including waiting in the seaplane lounge, that’s challenging for some families. If that’s your family, consider one of the resorts reachable by private speedboat, like One&Only Reethi Rah, or perhaps a private seaplane.
With Mauritius you fly via Dubai. Then it’s usually less than one hour by road to your hotel.
The flight time to Mauritius is actually longer than to the Maldives (also consider flying Air Mauritius via Paris or Turkish via Istanbul). But many families find the logistics easier, because you touch down and reach the resort in a private car.
Sometimes my job isn’t just explaining the best hotels. It’s about recommending a destination, a lifestyle, an idea. For families, it’s often about managing the logistics to make travel stress free. And of course that’s super personal. This is just an overview. It all depends on how comfortable you are as a family.
Mauritius is an Easy Adventure Destination for Families
Mauritius is not a super adventurous island. You can’t compare it to Costa Rica or Ecuador. However, it’s not a huge island. You can drive across Mauritius in two to three hours. It’s easy to combine activities and not waste your holiday time in the car.
Mauritius offers multiple things to do – you won’t just sit on the beach. Rent a driver-guide for the day. He knows the island. He’ll change the program based on how you feel and what you want on the day.
Want Filip To Plan Your Indian Ocean Holiday?
I really recommend Casela Park, it’s somewhere between an African safari and zoo. They have a small game reserve with zebra and giraffe, they even have lions. On the way you can stop at Chamarel Waterfall and Seven-Coloured-Earth. Nearby there’s a reserve for giant tortoises.
If you have older kids then stop at Black River Gorges. The sacred lake Grand Bassin has lots of temples to different gods. You are in nature, exploring another culture, not in a museum. It’s a one-hour experience and you don’t need to plan it, it’s just on the way.
In general Mauritius is less financially demanding than the Maldives, especially because the activities on land are quite friendly on your wallet. So if your budget is limited you can generally do more. The flip side of this is that Maldives islands are more secluded and you have more exclusivity and privacy.
Where to Stay in Mauritius
Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita is the best place I’ve stayed on the island. This and One&Only Le Saint Geran you can really sense the higher level of luxury and service. They’re mostly suited to couples, but because of the large villas they’re also a good option for families.
In general, Lux* hotels are ideal for families. They all have a colonial, traditional style, like red English phone booths where you can call back home for free. You have kids clubs, programs for different ages, an ice cream truck driving around.
They hide messages in bottles all around the property. Kids can search for them and when they find one they win something – perhaps a complimentary spa treatment for their parents!
I stayed at Lux* Le Morne in 2018 and was disappointed. It just wasn’t up to standard and I haven’t recommended it since. Lux* Grand Gaube is far superior. In 2021 they opened Lux* Grand Baie and I can’t wait to check it out.
For the iconic Le Morne mountain location choose Paradis Beachcomber instead – it’s a fabulous family resort. There are other great options as well. But it all depends on what your family likes – so get in touch with me for personal advice!
How You Spend a Week in Mauritius
Arrive at the resort, make yourself comfortable, spend a couple of days at the beach, using the kids club. Rest. Relax. Chill out.
First activity, go to Casela. Your driver is your guide and best friend. The island is small and he knows the best places. So make it a day out based on your mood and interests. I told my guide I like white rum. We visited a shop in the middle of nowhere to taste and buy white rum from small plantations, stuff you can’t find in duty free.
Back at the resort, spend one or two more days at the beach, by the pool. Then go explore somewhere else. You can do a dolphin cruise, rent a yacht, do some big game fishing. Maybe fly over the island by helicopter or seaplane.
Mauritius has this nice combination of things to do. You can spend a week at the beach but you can also explore and experience something new. It offers enough activities to fill your holiday, especially for the kids.
Le Morne is the famous image of Mauritius, the main advertisement picture. I didn’t know you could go to the summit. I was a bit scared. Do I need some mountain climbing training? Do I need a sherpa?
No, just take comfortable shoes and even kids aged over 8 can do it. From the top you see the whole island and this underwater waterfall. It’s not real, but from Le Morne it looks like the sea is forming a waterfall.
What’s the Current Situation in Mauritius?
Mauritius recently removed the restrictions. Over the last two years sales for Mauritius went down, whereas Maldives went crazy! That’s changed now.
If you are vaccinated you only need to do a test on arrival for Mauritius. By July 1st Emirates will increase from one to two daily flights to Mauritius, on A380s.
I’ve been to the Maldives three times and it’s great. It’s all about the villa, the beach, the sea. Mauritius is a well rounded destination. It can offer lots to anyone. Stay at the pool or beach if you want. Also be adventurous and try something new.
Ask me more about it. I’ll answer all your questions and help plan a trip to any of the Indian Ocean islands.