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Bird of passage

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MAURITIUS Road Trip: One Week Itinerary

Mahébourg Waterfront, Mauritius

Not many have heard of Mauritius, but a lot of you might have heard of the Underwater Waterfall. It’s the biggest waterfall on Earth and it’s in Mauritius, an island with azure waters and soft sands.

Mauritius or Île Maurice in French comes with peaceful comfort, tons of activities, amazing wildlife, great curries and seafood. It’s a relax place with excellence flow.

Le Mourne Public Beach

I met a lot of vacationers with months in the country, while some were stopping by for few days. However, if you have about a week to spare, with a driving license, then you are welcomed with a simple road trip itinerary that you could easily adjust to your preferences.

One of many scenic routes of Mauritius

Firstly, please note that you’ll see diversity in this country. You’ll hear locals speaking to each other in English, French and Creole. You’ll see people from around the world and everyone’s different. This is the last place to feel awkward, because warm welcome is opened to everyone visiting Mauritius.

Cap Malheureux Church, Mauritius

Secondly, please also note that there is no complication in doing the road trip here. The island itself is pretty small, driving from the very south to the very north takes about 1.45 hours, while from left to right takes only about 1.30 hours. Food is easy to find, fresh sugar cane juice is even easier to find and public toilets are everywhere. Foreign driving licenses are accepted, roads have clear signages, petrol filling stations open until late and parkings are mostly free. GPS is not needed, sim card is not necessary, only a free map from the rental place and you are ready to enjoy your week in paradise! 🚗

Day 1 - Arrival

There is nothing much for the arrival day. It’s usually the day to do all boring bits, like exchanging money or buying sim card. For driving around Mauritius, you wouldn’t need any internet or GPS to navigate because free maps that you could grab from the airport or at your accommodations are already very clear. Also, roads here are not complicated at all.

Mauritius’ skyline

When you exit the Arrival Hall of the airport, you’ll spot many bureaux de change and on the right, you’ll see a hub of car rental services. I’d say it’s a great place to choose your car, negotiate, make payment, deposit, load your baggages and go. The boring bits are over! 😆

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

Day 2 - Poste Lafayette, Pereybere to Grand Baie
  • Poste Lafayette Public Beach
  • Roches Noires
  • Pereybere Public Beach
  • La Cuvette Public Beach
  • Grand Baie Public Beach

Poste Lafayette to Grand Baie

So, I’m gonna kick this off with Poste Lafayette. There are many beachfront resorts in this area, so if you happen to stay here then you are very near. Taking B15, you might wanna stop at Poste Lafayette Public Beach, which has a small sandy beach area, suitable for swimming. You could park and walk towards the north. You’ll be at Roches Noires, where you will find a massive area of black rock, with amazingly loud wave crashing sound, a sign warning people not to swim and public restrooms. This place is extremely picturesque due to the contrasting colors of black rock and blue sea. It’s also very energetic!

Black rock at the northern part of Poste Lafayette Beach

If you follow B13, you’ll arrive at the Pereybere Public Beach. It’s one of the very crowded beaches on the island, but that’s because you could do a lot here. There are heaps of food vendors, choices of restaurants and souvenir boutiques. The sea itself is also very calm, very safe to swim or you could even rent a kayak and spend hours here as well.

Beach art at Pereybere, with cute admirer

Next up, it’s La Cuvette Public Beach. This beach is an odd one, because it features everything. Cliffs hang on one end, rocks decorate the other end and between them are short sandy beaches. It’s nice to walk through all of this and decide your spot. Plus, if you wanna stay for long, then you could simply switch up and there are few shower facilities in the area as well.

The final stop of the day could be Grand Baie Public Beach. It’s really close to La Cuvette. There are many restaurants, cafes, clubs and bars that are by the beach and some even hang just above the sea. If you are not driving, then this is a good stop for few drinks and party scenes can be found here as well. 💃

The very clear water of Grand Baie

Day 3 - Port Louis to Mont Choisy
  • Port Louis Waterfront
    • Fort Adélaide
    • St James Cathedral
  • Trou aux Biches Beach
  • Mont Choisy Public Beach

Port Louis to Mont Choisy

First thing first, let’s head into town for some morning treats! Around the city area of Port Louis, parkings are not free and you can’t just park anywhere like in other places. But, once you are happy with the parking, I’m sure you’ll enjoy walking around the city. It has amazing waterfront with loads of souvenir kiosks. Port Louis Waterfront is a good stop for food. However, you could wander around Fort Adélaide or visit the oldest Anglican church of Mauritius at St James Cathedral.

Stained-glass windows of St James Cathedral, Port Luois, Muritius; Minolta A3

You might ended up spending many hours in Port Louis but once you are ready, we could head out to more beaches! Next stop is on B36 and it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Mauritius. The blue water of Trou aux Biches Beach is decorated by colorful sunbeds and white fine sand. It’s also a good snorkeling spot as well as jet skiing and paddle boarding.

However, if you are looking for something just as nice, but with less people, then you might wanna go to a beach next to this, which is the Mont Choisy Public Beach. It’s very quiet and peaceful here.

The peaceful scene of Mont Choisy Beach

Day 4 - Le Morne Brabant to Flic en Flac

One of many amazing views from Le Morne

  • Le Morne Brabant
  • Le Morne Public Beach
  • Flic en Flac Beach

Le Morne Brabant to Flic en Flac

Personally, one thing that I think you should try when in Mauritius is to hike Le Morne Brabant. It has been declared a World Heritage by UNESCO. It’s the most preserved area of the island. It also holds a lot of history as well. This mountain was used by escaping slaves, who would committed suicide by jumping off the cliff here.

The view from the top of Le Morne, with an elegance cross

During the hike, you’ll get amazing views of the island and the wildness of this mountain. It’s a must! To get to the very top, it’s only illegal to be accompanied with Mountain Guides of Yanature. They are the only people who have the right access to the route, otherwise you’ll be trespassing. Click here for more information and reservation.

Yanature, Beyond the Peaks

After you are back on the sea level, then you might as well freshen up a little. There is a stunning beach very close to the base of the hiking route. Le Morne Public Beach is a perfect place to have a fresh dip. The water feels good and the breeze is pretty nice. It’s not only a good spot for swimming, but it’s also good for any other watersport activities as well. A perfect spot to catch some waves here is called One Eye.

Le Mourne and its blue water

But if you are looking for a place with more watersport facilities, then head over to Flic en Flac Beach. It has long white sand beach and great scuba diving sites, especially the one called The Cathedral. It has an arch that you dive through the dark and greeted by warm light on the other end.

Day 5 - Chamarel to Macondé
  • Seven Coloured Earth
  • Chamarel Waterfall
  • Macondé

Chamerel to Macondé

For today, we’ll gonna go off the coast for a bit. We’ll start at Chamarel Village. There is so much to see here. One place not to miss is the Seven Coloured Earth. It’s almost like a rainbow on land, with families of turtles! 🐢

Not far from here, there is a lookout point that gives you a whole sight of the Chamarel Waterfall. So, you’ll probably ended up spending many happy hours here.

Next stop is at the very south tip of the country, there is a sharp curve called Macondé. It has a small stairway that gives you a better look of the road, which is very panoramic.

View of an excellence curve at Macondé

Day 6 - Gris Gris to Mahébourg

Sun is setting nicely at Mahébourg Waterfront

  • Gris Gris Beach
  • La Roche Qui Pleure
  • Pont Naturel
  • Blue Bay Beach
  • Pointe d’Esny Beach
  • Mahébourg

For today, we gonna start at the very south area of the island. At Gris Gris, there is a big space of rock beach. It may not be a place to swim but it surely looks nice in picture. From Gris Gris Beach, you could walk to La Roche Qui Pleure. It’s a rocky tip that looks like a crying man, with crashing waves as tear.

Then onto something similar, but too nice to skip is the Pont Naturel. You’ll have to park quite far and walk towards the tip of the land, searching for a bridge and a hole. You might wanna watch out for surprise waves and splashes that come out of nowhere. 😂

For our next place, it’s Blue Bay Beach. This is a perfect place to snorkel. The reef is amazing with loads of colourful fish. The next beach is by the Coastal Road. Pointe d’Esny Beach is a hidden gem. The beach is blocked by buildings of resorts and hotels. You’ll have to park by the road and find small pathways that you could take on foot to the beach. It’s very calm here.

Last stop for the day is Mahébourg. It’s a small town with cute waterfront and loads of restaurants. At Mahébourg Waterfront, you could walk towards Pointe Canon, which is a memorial place that gives you the view of few tiny islands close by.

One of tiny islands that can be seen from Mahébourg Waterfront

Day 7 - La Cambuse and the farewell

For the last day, I want to end the trip at La Cambuse Public Beach. It’s a long beach with big trees that have odd shapes because of the wind. The water is extremely blue and there are toilet facilities as well.

Then sadly, we have to leave. On to the next journey!

Locals with their boat at Mahébourg

 

 

 

 

 

MALDIVES on a Budget: Malé City and Non-resort Islands

Maldives is one of the luxurious destinations for holiday. I’m lucky to be able to say that there’s one big tick off my bucket list. However, I guess many of us could agree that one of the factor holding us against this dreamy place are those bills. It’s expensive!

BUT it is possible to stay in Maldives on a budget, which is a better way to explore the Maldivian culture together with its great scenarios. You can do this by living with locals and explore places where Maldivians go.

Malé City

Apart from being the capital city of Maldives with probably more Maldivians than anywhere else, it is also the easiest place to go after arriving at the Hulhulé Airport. The most convenience way to go to Malé from the Airport is by Airport ferry service. To travel to other islands, it is fairly cheap and easy to use local’s Dhonis that departs from various jetties, depending on your destinations.

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The city itself is not very big. It is possible to slowly explore the whole city by walking. I’m not the best walker and I spent about 3 hours walking around the whole town, stopping at small groceries for some drinks and at some souvenir shops for small shopping sessions. Apart from saving some money, it’s also a good way to see around. It is possible to get a taxi, which is not too expensive. It shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes to get anywhere within the city despite the traffic. The maximum price for each journey is about 4 US dollars if you need bigger car for your luggages.

Places to visit in Malé City
  • Islamic Centre and The Grand Friday Mosque
    • Free entry
    • Open 24 hours, except prayer times
  • Hukuru Miskiiy (The Old Friday Mosque)
    • Free entry
    • Open 24 hours, except prayer times
  • Medhu Ziyaaraiy Shrine
    • Free entry
    • Open 24 hours
  • Maldivian Royal Palace, Sultan Park and National Museum
    • Entry: 100 RF
    • Sunday – Thursday
      • 10 am – 5 pm
  • Parliament
  • Local market
  • Fish market
  • Souvenir shops
  • Artificial beach

Islamic Centre is probably the first attraction you’ll see because it’s right by the main jetty and you can’t really miss the golden domes standing out among other buildings. Inside this beautiful architecture, you’ll be amazed by the ancient vibe from old calligraphy. It’s a house of the Grand Friday Mosque, which is one of the biggest mosque in Southeast Asia. It also houses conference hall and Islamic library.

Hukuru Miskiiy or the Old Friday Mosque is one of the oldest mosque, made of wood and coral stone. It’s filled with ancient tombstones of nation’s heroes like sultans and nobles.

Medhu Ziyaaraiy Shrine is a small white and blue tomb of Abdul Barakat Yoosuf Al Barbary, who brought Islam to the country.

National Museum is a very interesting place. This museum carries many objects that I’ve never seen before and many of them I don’t even know what they are for. I believe it’s because I don’t get a chance to learn or see much about things related to Sultans and I do believe it’s not a common thing for many other tourists as well. The museum is located inside the Sultan Park, which also houses Maldivian Royal Palace. The palace was an official residence of the President of the Maldives.

Meanwhile wandering along the waterfront, keep an eye out for the Parliament. It’s an elegant architecture that faces the shore, directly to the crystal clear water of the Indian Ocean.

Local Market is probably the best place to visit in the morning maybe before your journey to other islands as it’s only few minutes away from Ferry jetty and maybe you want to get yourself some snacks for the trip. There are various fruits and veggies I’ve never seen before and there are some good jams, nuts and dried meats to try. It’s a good place to localize yourself with local products and people’s routines.

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Right in front of the Local Market is the Fish Market, where it’s a lot more energetic. There are people constantly carrying big tunas or basket filled with fish walking around, telling you to mind their way or trying to do some business with you. It’s obviously not as quiet as the Local Market. Also, just across the street, there are local Dhonis parked and awaited. It’s a beautiful spot to take some photos of the colorful boats with blue background.

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If you want to get some gifts or buy some local arts and crafts, I would recommend going to Majeedhee Magu or Chaandhanee Magu. These are streets where there are lots of souvenir shops to buy yourself some cute little dhonis or coconut chocolate.

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Lastly, I don’t think you can miss the Artificial Beach, as it’s the place where you’ll find locals hanging around, eating, skating or exercising. In some mornings, there would be a group of ladies doing the water aerobics. Also, there is a place for you to shower, which can be really convenience if you already checked out of your accommodation and you just want to freshen up a tad.

However, it’s is really important to respect these places and their people. Remember to dress conservatively while exploring the city.

Local Islands
  • Himmafushi
  • Dhigurah
  • Maafushi
  • Mahibaadhoo
  • Dhiffushi
  • Villingili
  • Thilafushi

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These are some of the islands where local people go to enjoy the breeze and water. They are reachable by ferries or speedboat services. It’s important to check the service’s schedule. However, some of the islands are for living, while some of them are specifically for holidays.

Villingili is one of the later type of islands. It’s probably the easiest one to go from the city. You can easily go there by local ferry service and it runs frequently. It’s where you can be relaxing or be more excited with some water sports and activities. You could enjoy jet skiing, paddle boarding, banana-boating, windsurfing or even flyboarding and many more. The one I went to is at the One Love Beach and the people there are really nice. They even teach you if you are not familiar with these activities.

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Thilafushi is a very interesting one. It’s an artificial island to serve as the country’s landfill. It’s Maldives’ bin. If you decide to go there, make sure you have a scarf or something that would protect you from directly breathing in the strong smell.

Homestay with Airbnb

One of the best way to get a place to sleep, eat local food and enjoy fun activities within a budget is homestay. There are many options available on Airbnb. There are chances you might be able to participate in their activities like cooking or even fishing.

Sleeping at the Airport

If you are going sleep at the Airport, maybe because you just want to save some money for a night or because you landed late, here are what you will need to know:

  • no bed
  • no air-conditioning
  • no shower
  • mosquitoes
  • shops for food and drink do not open 24 hours
  • luggage storage
  • spa

I spent a night sleeping at the Airport and it wasn’t bad. There are 24 hours security and there is a place where you can pay to store each of your luggages. If you fancy a shower, you will have to pay the spa shop. If you want to grab some food but the shops are closed then you might want to take a ferry to the city and grab something from there. Lastly, use insect repellent as there are flies and mosquitoes.

Now that you know the cheaper way to do it, I hope that you are motivated to go there, otherwise go on Instagram and search for pictures of cute couple showing off their tan that pop against the white sand beach.

 

 

 

 

 

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