Family Travel Tips to Mauritius

by Lexa Pennington / Nov 19, 2013 /
Lexa Pennington's picture

Have you been yet to Mauritius? If your kids are checking destinations off on a map, they might be begging you to plan a trip here. It’s a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar (the 180th largest nation in the world). Your kids probably know that it was the only home of the Dodo bird.  But besides the Dodo bird (which has a draw of its own), what else is there to see and do with your family? Plenty!

 

Culture

Mauritius is full of culture – and many languages are spoken, including English, French, Creole, and some Asian languages. Head to Domaine Les Pailles, a Mauritian cultural and heritage centre. In this 3,000 acre historic theme park, which was developed from a sugar estate, you can eat at 4 restaurants, explore a museum and local history, take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, ride a mini railway, tour a spice garden, ride on a quad-biking trail, and play in the children’s playground. Mauritius is a melting pot, diverse and multicultural. I love to show kids places like this – it teaches diversity young, which is always a good thing.

 

That Dodo Bird

Alas, this extinct bird was hunted to death by visiting Dutchmen. You can, however, pick up a fluffy toy Dodo bird at the airport. That would have been a very funny scene in Ice Age.

 

Dodo Bird

Flickr Creative Commons: Biodiversity Heritage Library

 

Nature

Head to the Casela Nature and Leisure Park, where you can see all kinds of animals – and ride around on a segway! You can also try your hand at ziplining here, or quad bike the trails.

Love bugs? Be sure to visit La Vanille Reserve des Mascareignes, one of the world’s biggest insectariums (you can also avoid 2,000 crocodiles and find 1,000 tortoises). Check out fossils, view the aquarium, and play on the playground.

Be sure to explore the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens (more commonly known as Pamplemousses). Your kids will delight in the enormous water lilies. You’ll also see tortoises and stags. Located in the north, open daily 8:30am-5pm.

 

Amazonian Water Lilies from ProjectExplorer.org's Mauritius series.

 

 

 

Shopping

Hit the outdoor local markets in most towns; the biggest are in Port Louis and Centre de Flacq. Be sure to give them a camera to “buy” spices, herbs, and colorful vegetables. These photos will last much longer than anything they could buy. I usually make a treasure hunt checklist for markets – find something pink, purple, blue, poky, spotty, oval, rectangular, bumpy, etc.

 

Speaking of colors…

Kids (well, anyone, really) will go CRAZY at the Seven Colored Earths in Chamarel. It looks like something out of a movie, and is located at Black River Gorges National Park. Take a look…

 

 

 

But really…it’s all about the beach.

Naturally, since it IS an island. There are more than 93 miles of white sandy beaches here (and the accompanying clear, warm water), and the island is surrounded by the world’s 3rd largest coral reef.

But what can you do?

Swim, snorkel, take a glass-bottomed boat, water ski, SCUBA dive, kayak, windsurf, kite surf, swim with dolphins, ride in a submarine, use a sub scooter, and more. You’re protected in these lagoons, and can splash and play to your heart’s content.

 

And, even if you never leave the beach, you’ll leave Mauritius content.

 

Beach, Mauritius

Wikimedia Commons: Romeodesign

 

 

Travel Tips

 

Where to Stay

The Long Beach Mauritius is very family-friendly - including large family rooms, and a great Kids Club.How to Get Around

 

How to Get Around

If you rent a car, remember to drive on the left! There are also other options: a public bus, and taxis.

 

What to bring

Don’t forget the sunscreen, as you’ll spend plenty of time on the beach or in the water. Bring bug spray, if you have a favorite kind for your kids (our daughter is allergic to most). Pack water shoes – some of the beaches are coral.