Under $100: Mauritius

by Akhil Kalepu

Nov 4, 2014

Le Morne Brabant, Mauritius © Dibrova | Dreamstime


Mauritius is a small island near Madagascar, about 1,200 miles off the African continent. The island’s strategic location in the Indian Ocean made it the subject of French and British colonizing, though the now independent state has a vibrant multiethnic and multicultural society. With an exchange rate of 35 Mauritian rupees for every U.S. dollar, there are a variety of fun things to do in the capital of Port Louis and the rest of the island.


The Mauritian capital has a reputation for being a shopping destination, especially for textiles and jewelry. Port Louis’ Caudan Waterfront is the city’s commercial development, with plenty of restaurants and shops to visit, as well as a great place to relax and people-watch. For a less commercial feel, visit the Bazaar of Port Louis, where locals sell a variety of arts and crafts. There are also street food vendors selling fresh fruit and seafood for less than $5, making it a good spot for a cheap brunch.


To get a sense of Mauritius’ history, check out the Blue Penny Museum located on the Caudan Waterfront. Exhibits depict the island’s colonial history and its role in the age of exploration. Numerous artifacts from that time period are on display, including one of the most valuable stamps in the world. Originally bought for $2 million in 1993, the Blue and Red Penny stamps date back to 1847 when Mauritius was under British rule. A wording mistake led to the stamps being pulled and reprinted, making the originals incredibly rare and valuable. Visitors can see the museum for around $8, but unfortunately the stamp is only open for half an hour in order to preserve them.


Now that the sun is out, it would be a good time to head north and spend some time on the beach. There are a countless number of beaches open to the public around the island, but two popular ones on your way north are Mont Choisy and Tour-Aux-Biches, about 45 minutes away from Port Louis. The white sands and clear water are popular with both tourists and locals, in addition to the diverse range of marine life.


Once the sun sets, it’s recommended you head further north to Grand Baie, the undisputed capital of nightlife in Mauritius. Most of the action is on Royal Road, and partiers often like to do the Grand Baie “Club Tour” starting at Les Enfants Terribles nightclub and heading toward Pereybere. This intimate nightclub has three bars with multiple DJs playing different music with covers usually less than $20. For more of a sports pub vibe, try Patch and Parrot where you can down a pint while watching a rugby or soccer match. Drinks, burgers and pizza usually cost around $3. For a more relaxing lounge atmosphere, try Bedroom Bar & Lounge, which is exactly what it sounds like. Chill music and beds make for an intimate venue that is popular with the locals.


For more information on visiting Mauritius, visit Tourism-Mauritius.mu.


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