More often than not, an all-girls' trip breaks away from all budget restraints for one simple reason: women have to be particular about a lot of things. Therefore, we opt for places that are travel friendly and provide safe accommodations, which always come at a cost higher than expected. But what if I tell you, there's a picture perfect east African island waiting for you - that is not just breathtakingly beautiful, but safe, clean, hygienic, pocket-friendly and an adventure-filled terrain?
Mauritius, just a seven-hour flight away from India, is an African paradise. Adjacent to Madagascar and the Seychelles, Mauritius is an island with a historical undertone too important to miss. A volcanic island populated by immigrants, Mauritius boasts a confluence of culture, religion and tradition, and at the same time, exhibits a surreally strong bond between locals and tourists. With the sapphire blue ocean and the sky blending at the horizon and white sands sparkling at your feet, Mauritius is a tropical paradise bound to allure any mortal. So, if you are planning a getaway with your girlfriends or sisters, let the winds of Mauritius sway you with a budget far less than anticipated.
Visa on arrival
First things first, Mauritius has a visa-on-arrival system, which easily saves a lot of money and the extra hassle for you and the girls. If you've got the return ticket and proof of accommodation, Mauritius will grant you a 60-day visa on arrival.
Best time to visit
Keep in mind that located in the southern hemisphere, seasons and temperature patterns in Mauritius are opposite to ours. Hence, Christmas is celebrated in peak summer, whereas July and August experience the coolest weather conditions. Mauritius is also cheaper during its pleasant winter season.
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For the cheapest flight option, select a price-drop option on your desired flight booking website so that you are notified whenever there's a cheap flight available to Mauritius. If you book 3-4 months prior, you might also get a return flight in less than 30k. Air Mauritius is a good option if you want direct flights, which operates through Air India in the country.
1 Mauritian Rupee (MUR) is equivalent to 1.97 (almost 2) INR. The best and most hassle-free place to get your currency exchanged is at the Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport after you land. In India, banks charge more, so get hold of an agency that might sort you out. You can also carry your Forex card with a decent balance, since International credit and debit cards charge a lot of hidden money that we only get to see once we get back home.
Commuting in Mauritius
Mauritius is a tiny island with majestic views at every corner. Taxis stationed at every hotel provide for a good commute option, although the cheapest option is to hire Minibus excursions, which is a great way to get around as tourists. But rely on public transport. You can find buses to the north and south conveniently from Curepipe, the central point. Buses going to the West coast (Flic en Flac, Chamarel, etc.) can be taken from Quatre Bornes.
Where to stay
There is no dearth of good stay options in Mauritius. Look for homestays and service apartments with kitchen and basic amenities. For a group of women, these apartments and homestays come even cheaper than hostels. Most of these places offer complimentary water and have a stocked fridge. All you need to do is just cook. Instant noodles is a great way to survive on a budget vacation, and so is good old-fashioned bread-butter. If booked in advance, Airbnb will get you good sea-facing villas or apartments at 2-5k INR per day, which is a steal! But also be open to trying the local Creole cuisine, as food is always an integral part of travel. For one lavish dinner, you could opt for Palm Court at Lux* Grand Gaube. The ocean-view dinner table with soft breeze and delectable food is something worth mentioning.
Primarily divided into five regions, the island of Mauritius has much to offer at every location. Utilise the best of the island and divide your stay accordingly. To stay, pick the west and north, for these will get you ocean views unmatched by any other destination in the world.
What to do
Mauritius is a heaven for any adrenaline junkie. From sea adventure to quad-biking, zip-lining, submarine diving, scuba and snorkeling - there is no stop to how your girlfriends and you can have unlimited fun.
Other than these, there is Casela World of Adventure Nature Park for your typical African safari. There's La Vallée de Couleurs, a scenic park known for its landscape with 23 coloured earth. Big on sugarcane plantation, Mauritius has some of the best rum distilleries in the world. Rhumerie de Chamarel is one such place that will take you around the factory, explaining the interesting distilling process and ending with a tasting of some over 15 kinds of rum! Tickets to most of these can be booked online prior to your visit. A decent 25,000 INR will cover your expenses for these activities.
Just plan ahead, and get the best of Mauritius on a budget.
About the author: Always on the go, Sayantani Chakrabarti is the kind of traveller who never longs for the destination, but craves for a memorable journey. When she's not travelling, Sayantani likes to lounge with a pacy book and some Sinatra in the background. Her blog called I Chronicle is testament to her unyielding passion.
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