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Everyone (including pre-wedding me) assumes that arranging your honeymoon should be one of the best parts of planning your wedding. For some that may well be true, but in reality there is a lot of pressure on your honeymoon to not be ‘just another trip’.
To start the process, my then fiancé and I sat down and wrote a list of the things we wanted from the perfect honeymoon. Phrases like ‘once in a lifetime’ and ‘paradise’ were immediately written down, along with lots of conflicting ones such as my ‘relaxation’ vs his ‘lots of activities’.
Usually we book all of our trips ourselves, but in this instance (and faced with a long list of expectations) we relied on the expertise of a high street travel planner. I have to say it was well worth it, as she quickly wrote off several of our destination ideas because they were 1) out of season, 2) out of budget, or 3) too boring.
That was when the idea of Mauritius was first suggested. It was a lot cheaper than somewhere like the Maldives, offered beautiful beaches, lots of activities, amazing food, diverse culture and some amazing hotels. We quickly booked, and three days after our wedding we set off on our 11 hour direct flight.
We chose to stay at a hotel on the North West side of the island, not far from the island’s capital of Port Louis. In April Mauritius is nearing its winter (peak summer is Dec – Feb), but we still enjoyed temperatures of between 26° and 30° every day. It did rain a few times, but far from the rain we know in the UK, these showers were warm and over in around 15 minutes (just enough time to grab another cocktail).
The local currency is Mauritian Rupees, but Euros and Dollars are also accepted. You don’t need a visa if you’re staying less than three months (you just need to complete an entry and health card on the plane before you disembark), and most hotels offer a mix of 230V/50hz plugs.
For our first few days we were glued to our sunbeds, enjoying the beautiful pool and beach, but we quickly wanted to explore more of the island. Firstly my husband set about booking as many water sports and activities as he could, including water skiing, paddle boarding, sea kayaking, snorkelling and glass bottom boating. If you go all inclusive, these should all be included free of charge, which can be a great saving.
Next we moved our attention to exploring the land, and booked a tour of the south of the island. If you prefer to explore without a tour guide, it’s pretty easy to rent a car and take yourself off for the day. The roads are all well-made and easy to navigate, plus they drive on the left, however the driving standards are a little ropey in my opinion (think driving in central London but everywhere).
We opted for a professional tour guide, who immediately explained to us that Mauritius is a real melting pot of French, Chinese, Creole and Indian cultures, which not only creates some mouth-watering food, but also means you can explore everything from cities to rainforests and churches to Hindu temples.
During our tour we visited the Black River Gorges National Park (boasting more flora and fauna that you can process), the Chamarel Waterfall (the highest waterfall in Mauritius), the Seven Coloured Earth (one of the most famous things in Mauritius), the Trou aux Cerfs crater (a dormant volcano), the sacred Grand Bassin lake and Hindu temple, plus the mesmerising Ship Model Factory in Floreal.
This gives you a taste of just how much there is to do and see on the 2,040 square km island. I could easily have spent another week exploring, and I practically had to drag my husband away from the water skis…
In summary, it was the perfect honeymoon destination for us, but it would be an injustice to label Mauritius a couple’s only destination. It offers so much more than romance (which the sunsets alone offer in abundance), there is plenty for seniors, groups and families too.
Looking for a paradise destination, with plenty to see and do, fascinating history, interesting culture, fantastic food and beautiful beaches? Then Mauritius is the destination for you.
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