Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Honeymoon in Mauritius


I got married in 2010 and wanted my honeymoon to be a very special experience. After months of planning, scanning hundreds of sites, reading reviews on Internet, I zeroed in on Mauritius as my honeymoon destination. In this post I will discuss my experiences with my Mauritius trip, from an Indian's perspective. This post could be useful to you if you are planning a honeymoon or a vacation in Mauritius.

Mauritius 

Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean. Its only 65Km by 45Km in size, smaller than most districts in India. Most of the citizens are of Indian origin while some people being of African or French descent. Majority of the people in Mauritius are Hindus. Mauritius is known for its cultural diversity, and it has almost the same proportion of Hindus and Muslims as we have in India. But the similarity ends here. The culture, language, food etc. is completely different than India. Also since humans first set foot in Mauritius in about 1500s,  it doesn't have a very rich or interesting history like India.

 

First Impression

When we arrived at Mauritius and were driving towards our hotel, I couldn't help but notice that Mauritius was more well maintained and cleaner than most tourist destinations in India. But having said that, I didn't find anything mind blowing or awe inspiring on our way to the hotel. I was a bit disappointed but was hoping we would find something more interesting in the days to come.


Food

By far, food is the biggest problem with a trip to Mauritius if you are an Indian. Although most of the inhabitants are of Indian origin, their food habits are completely different from people in India. You get Dal, Roti, Sabzi etc. in Mauritius, but it simply cannot be compared to what we eat in India. People in Mauritius prefer food with very little salt or spices and its very tasteless by Indian standards (and it has a very weird smell). Plus it is very expensive. A lunch meal will cost about 700 INR or more for one Thali and its not worth it at all. If you are a vegetarian, you are in a bigger trouble as vegetarian food is even more tasteless. Me and my wife used to be on empty stomach a lot of times. We used to have a healthy breakfast in our hotel in the morning, since they served us bread, butter, jam, eggs, juices etc. for breakfast, which are the same anywhere in the world.


Beaches

Mauritius has some very beautiful beaches. They are also better maintained than beaches in India and less crowded too. Remember that unlike Goa, Mauritius is not warm throughout the year, and if you go in winter season (April to August), you will find it really difficult to bear the cold wind on the beach and playing in water would be out of question.

The ocean in Mauritius is very clean too. The water is crystal clear. Some places its blue and some places green. A lot of places the water is only about 10 feet deep, and being so clear, you can easily see through it till the sea floor. This is another place where Mauritius scores over Indian destinations like Goa or Kerala.



Places to Visit

Church near Port Louis
Apart from the beaches, there are a few other places you can visit like Ganga Talao, the gigantic Shiva statue, city of Port Louis, waterfalls, churches, fort etc. Most of the historical places fade in comparison to historical places in India. No one goes to Mauritius for its historical places and I thought that many of these were missable. But since they were on my tour itinerary, we had to visit them. There is also a Seven Color Sand, Black Valley etc. but I didn't find anything amazing about these places.

Our tour operator also took us to a Ship model factory, a diamond "museum", some shopping areas and malls. I found these visits a waste of time and felt that we were being made to visit these places only on the hope that we will buy something (probably the operator had his commissions fixed). If you miss to see these place, it won't be a huge loss.

 

Things To Do 

 

Catamaran Cruise  

This packages costs around 2500 MUR and includes a cruise whole day cruise on a Catamaran and a so called "Swim with the Dolphins" experience. The cruise is really good and we enjoyed the good weather and the clear oceans. They serve drinks and snacks on the cruise and there are some performances by the crew. They stop on a beach for 1 hour to let you play on the beach. The "Swim with the Dolphin" part was disappointing though. They hinted as if you will actually get to swim with the dolphins or at least get to see them close. But they just get some dolphins to swim around your boat with professional swimmers circling the dolphins and ensuring they swim around the boat for some time.

Illex Island package

This package costs around 6500 MUR and takes you to a Illex Island on a high speed boat. Here there are some good beaches and you visit a hidden waterfall along the way on boat. It also includes a few adventure activities like para sailing and under sea walk. Under sea walk is a unique experience where you literally walk below water wearing oxygen pots around your head. Having said that, don't expect to see undersea sights like National Geographic. Though the water is very clear, there are hardly any fishes and its nothing like the Coral Reef. They manage to get some Tiger Fishes by luring them with food, but thats all.

 

Conclusion

Over all, I found Mauritius to be clean and beautiful, but considering the time and money it takes to reach there and the fact that we have places like Goa, Kerala, Lakshyadeep, A&D Islands in India, I felt the value for money of my Mauritius trip was on the lower side. Also, I got the impression that Mauritius is a bit too commercialized and the locals and our tour operator were only interested in extracting money from the tourists. If you do plan to go to Mauritius, I would suggest to hire a car and go about on your own than being on the mercy of your tour operator.



Disclaimer: This blog is about my experience in Mauritius and is subjective in nature. You might have a totally different take on this. Please take my opinions with a pinch of salt.