Mauritius - The bewitching Indian Ocean Island famed for its pristine beaches has been a much sought after vacation hideaway for several centuries now and if you are an Indian, there are hundreds of reasons to visit this speck of paradise, where many a Bollywood blockbusters have been shot since the early 1970s.
Hats off to the Mauritian government, filming on the island comes with several incentives and rebates which Bollywood producers have lapped up. The film that truly catapulted Mauritius on the radar of Indian tourists big time was the two decade back Shah Rukh Khan blockbuster - Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
Off late, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been reiterating his commitment to further strengthen the age old bilateral ties between the two countries in all spheres and the bonhomie was amply reflected viz-a-viz the dignified presence of the Mauritian Prime Minister H.E. Pravind Jugnauth who graced the Swearing-in Ceremony of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and his Council of Ministers on 30th May 2019.
The Oberoi Beach Resort, Mauritius, is a much sought after hideaway, particularly for Indian visitors and is ideally located on a little speck of paradise - Turtle Bay, which in itself is a natural marine park. Kudos to the Oberoi group’s vision for sustainable tourism, Turtle Bay’s ecological balance remains unspoilt and virgin. This magnificent beachfront hotel is well spread out over twenty acres of sub-tropical gardens, offering guests’ with a lifetime’s opportunity to bask in the balmy Mauritian environ.
You don’t have to look far if you have a penchant for vernacular architecture as the Oberoi property here offers traditionally designed Mauritian thatched roof accommodations. The cultural performances by the natives every evening are worth going miles to see. A review by The Telegraph reveals the hotel’s grandeur admirably.
A beautifully formed basalt beachfront retreat with luxury pavilions and private pool villas set in tropical gardens on Turtle Bay. It's one of the island's most romantic hotels, with mountain views, gourmet restaurants, a holistic spa and top-notch service.
Mauritius isn’t just about balmy beaches and underwater sea life. The island nation has a bit of history too. Port Louis, the bustling capital city is named after King Louis XV. Founded in 1735 by the French Governor General - Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais, the city happens to be the administrative headquarters of Mauritius.
Mauritius’ colonial past is best experienced with a visit to Les Aubineaux - easily one of the nation’s great piece of colonial architecture dating back to 1872, which is bang in the middle of a tea estate. This great heritage house was thoroughly revamped in the year 2000 and today serves as a museum.
You thought tea is only produced in Assam and Darjeeling? Think twice as the village of Bois Cheri in Mauritius produces a rare variety of tea and happens to be one of Asia’s oldest tea plantation estate, dating back to 1892. A guided tour of the tea estate could be a very rewarding experience as visitors are offered the opportunity to savour a variety of tea flavours.
Leaving behind the Bois Chéri plantation site, as you move further ahead in search of Mauritius’ colonial past, the historic edifice of Saint-Aubin, built way back in 1819 when the French ruled the island nation is an absolute treasure-trove - the mind blogging fact is that Saint - Aubin was built out of the wreckages of old ships. Try to coincide your visit in the morning hours and make sure you have enough time to indulge in the luncheon spread - consisting of signature Creole dishes.
Mauritius is often referred to as “Mini India” due largely to the vast similarities in terms of culture and the presence of an ever increasing numbers of the Indian diaspora. No wonder, Indian movies are hugely admired by the Mauritian folks. Amazingly, in Mauritius, Bhojpuri happens to be the official language and what lures Indian visitors to this Indian Ocean island is the triad of culture-cuisine-colours with the opportunity to indulge in bespoke luxury that remains unmatched at the global tourism arena.
Port Louis, the cosmopolitan hub and the capital of Mauritius is buzzing with activity. Guided walking tours are by far the best mode of transport when it comes to discovering the city’s many facades, historical sites. For instance the Champ de Mars, which happens to be the oldest race course in the whole of southern hemisphere is a revelation in itself. So is the La Place D’Armes - the historical hub of the city that serves as the connector to the city’s seaside and the magnificent Government House.
Built during the tenure of Governor Nicolas de Maupin (1729-1735), the Government House is easily one of the most iconic edifices of Port Louis and is the seat of the Mauritian parliament.
If you venture towards Fort Adelaide, the hilltop fort not just offers mesmerising panoramic views of the city and beyond but is also the venue for numerous concerts and cultural performances. Try to coincide your trip when there is a concert. Check out for exact dates by consulting with Mauritius Tourism.
When it comes to safeguarding the contribution of Indians who migrated from India, a visit to the meticulously maintained Aapravasi Ghat is a must. This is the site where Indian immigrants first landed and ultimately settled down. Today, this historic site has been conferred with the distinction of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Further on the historical trail is a visit to the Bank of Mauritius Museum, located on Sir William Newton Street. The museum takes visitors on an astonishing journey dating back to the 12th century Arab era. The coins minted by the colonial rulers, particularly the gold and silver coins are absolutely precious as they are vintage. The museum is open on weekdays from 9:30 till 16:00 and entry is free of cost.
The spiritual side of the city is best reflected viz-a-viz the church of Marie Reine de la Paix. The uphill climb, all of 82 steps to the summit offers amazing panoramic vistas, inclusive of the city’s beachfront.
For those on the hunt for authentic Mauritian souvenirs and designer stuff, the bustling Caudan Waterfront is a must visit site. Here at this vivacious seafront stretch, visitors can purchase not just Mauritian art and handicraft items, but also gorge on epicurean delights, courtesy the numerous fine dining restaurants that serve the very best of international cuisines.
China Town - the hub of all things Chinese is another interesting neighbourhood of Port Louis. Legend has it that in the latter part of the 1780s, many Chinese migrants arrived from mainland China, particularly from the Guangzhou region by Colonial ships owned by French or British merchants in search of a better life in Mauritius.
The present-day China Town ‘Camp des Chinois’, is a vivid reflection of the Chinese people’s preeminent position in Mauritius’ trade and commerce arenas. If you are travelling during the annual Chinatown Food & Culture Festival (check out with Mauritius Tourism) for exact dates, you can rest assured of having a whale of a time - great food, music and an eclectic crowd.
The Mauritian touristy experience is best summed up by Mark Twain, the legendary writer who was so obsessed by the surreal beauty of Mauritius that he unequivocally quoted:
Mauritius was made first and then heaven, and heaven was copied after Mauritius.
Traveller’s Fact File
Innovative Discovery Options
Increasingly, to make the most out of their Mauritian holidays, visitors rely on Cruise operators that offers an outstanding touristy experience in terms of quality.
High end luxury hotels like - The Oberoi, Sofitel, St. Regis, Four Seasons, Shangrilla etc... have all set up luxury hideaways that offers not just luxury, but opulence of a scale that remains unmatched. For honeymooners - Le Touessrok, Maradiva Villas Resort & SPA, Angsana Balaclava, One & Only Le Saint Géran, The Oberoi Mauritius, Shanti Maurice – A Nira Resort, Riviere des Galets, St. Regis Mauritius Resort, Le Morne are the best options.
Mauritius being a small-sized island nation, 60 km lengthwise and 50 km across, many visitors embark upon self-driving option to explore the hidden delights. Although you are assured of great scenic vistas, you need to be aware of the fact that in Mauritius driving is on the left and priority is given to vehicles that come from the right. You need to have a valid international driving license. Jeeps and 4WDs can be hired from Hertz, Avis, Sixt Budget and Europcar. Buses are readily available but can be a bit time-consuming and the services not up to the international standards.
For a thrilling over-the-sky aerial view of the mesmerizing Mauritian landscape below, helicopter rides are becoming popular.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (SSR) is the island's only international airport and all airlines land here. Depending upon your hotel’s location, transfers to yours can take anywhere between 10 to 90 minutes. Taxis can be hired easily.