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How to Travel Mauritius on a Budget? (Advice from a Local)

by Steph

Wondering how to travel Mauritius on a budget? In this Mauritius budget travel guide, I’ll share all my tips and tricks on how to save money when backpacking Mauritius!

While Mauritius Island sometimes goes unnoticed by most travelers, it has so much more to offer beyond its white-sand beaches and luxurious resorts. 

Trekking through verdant national parks, chasing waterfalls nestled between sugar cane fields, walking along secluded beaches, or admiring the vast ocean from the edge of a cliff cost absolutely nothing!

If you don’t mind leaving the all-inclusive resorts to the honeymooners, this guide will show you exactly how to travel Mauritius on a budget! 

Good news for those backpacking Mauritius – all of the beaches are free!

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Backpacking Mauritius: Budget Travel Guide

When I’m traveling abroad, I always get asked the usual “where are you from”, and when I reply that I’m from Mauritius, most people tell me that they have always wanted to visit but that it’s too expensive. 

Sure, if you’re coming from Europe or the US, plane tickets might be slightly expensive but once you land on this beautiful island, you’ll feel overwhelmed by all the things you can do without breaking the bank.

Below are some tips to help you plan a budget trip to Mauritius!

How to Find Cheap Accommodation?

If you’ve been wondering whether Mauritius is expensive, you’ll be pleased to know that Mauritius has a wide range of accommodation options, from all-inclusive resorts to budget B&B, and guesthouses. 

Guesthouse or Budget Hotel 

You can easily find a cheap guesthouse from US$ 25-30 a night on booking.com. Some offer free breakfast or access to a shared kitchen, so look out for those if you want to cut to cost even further. Below are a few budget accommodations in Mauritius:

  • Riverside Holiday Home: Apartment located in Grand Rivière Sud Est on the east coast of Mauritius that comes with a fully equipped kitchen, TV, washing machine, and private bathroom starting from US$ 32 including breakfast.
  • Casa Frangipani Mauritius: Located in Trou D’Eau Douce, this apartment costs about US$ 37 per night and has a fully-equipped kitchen, private bathroom. The location is great, within walking distance of restaurants, supermarkets and the beach.

Click here to browse cheap accommodation on booking.com

two twin beds at Vanilla House - Mauritius budget travel
Staying at Vanilla House in Black River is a great option for those traveling Mauritius on a budget

Airbnb

On Airbnb, you can also find some pretty decent private apartments with a fully equipped kitchen for about US$ 30-50 or even an entire villa for about US$ 110 a night.

Tip: Look for accommodations that offer free drinking water. You can save money in Mauritius by not buying bottled water every time and at the same time reduce your plastic consumption.

Camping  

If you’re more on the adventurous side and don’t mind giving up the luxury of your own private bathroom, you can camp on the beach. No need for a permit or anything else – wild camping in Mauritius is free and legal!

Almost all beaches have shower and toilet facilities but they are only open between 7 a.m and 7 p.m and finding a clean one can somewhat be a hit or miss. Also, don’t bring any valuables as petty thefts do happen sometimes. It’s best to lock them up out of sight in your rental car.

Finally, make sure to check the weather condition before camping, especially during the cyclone season between December and March. 

How to get around Mauritius on a Budget?

Bus  

The best way to save money when traveling around Mauritius is to take the bus. Sure they are sometimes too slow or too fast (depending on the driver), but the price for a bus ticket will rarely cost over US$ 1. 

Prices vary between Rs 12 (US$ 0.30) and Rs 34 (US$ 0.85) according to the distance traveled with the exception of air-conditioned buses which will set you back about Rs 40-50 (US$ 1-1.30).

The bus system is pretty efficient and connects all major towns and villages, so if you’re sticking to the main tourist attractions, traveling by bus will definitely help ease your travel budget for Mauritius.

Tip: You can check out this website for all the bus routes in Mauritius. 

Private Car 

I wouldn’t recommend hiring a car with a driver unless you absolutely need to as this can quickly eat into your budget. You can instead rent a car for as low as Rs 1,000 (US$ 25.45) per day. Gas costs Rs 44 (US$ 1.10) per liter while diesel costs Rs 35 (US$ 0.90) per liter. 

Some of the attractions in the south of Mauritius aren’t easily accessible by bus, so having your own rental car is the way to go. Plus, if you’re traveling with friends, you can split the cost!

Tip: Pay in cash when filling your tank, using a credit card will sometimes incur a fee of about 2%.

Scooter/Motorbike 

A cheaper alternative is to rent a scooter or motorbike. These can be obtained for about Rs 600 (US$ 15.25) per day.  

Metro Express  

For now, the metro is only available between Rose Hill and Port Louis but will also connect Quatre Bornes and Curepipe in the future. Tickets cost between Rs 20-30 (US$ 0.50-0.75).

Traveling by Metro Express can help you save money in Mauritius
Metro Express at Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis

Taxi 

Metered taxis are not available in Mauritius, so you have to negotiate with the driver before getting in. A private taxi ride from the airport to your accommodation should cost about Rs 1,000.

But in reality, it might be slightly difficult to get this price as a tourist. But you might get a discount if you bargain.

Shared taxis are also available in most towns and villages and they really help to keep costs low. Prices are fixed so don’t pay more than Rs 50 (US$ 1.30) for a single journey in a shared taxi.

How to Save Money on Food?

Mixing African, Chinese, Indian, and European influences, the food in Mauritius is deliciously diverse and cheap! Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius, was even voted as one of the best street food cities in the world, so make sure to taste some of the local dishes before leaving the country.

Street Food  

If you’re traveling Mauritius on a backpacking budget, the best way to save money is to eat street food. Seek street food stalls with the longest queue for the best and most authentic Mauritian dishes.

Food like the Dholl Puri or Faratha cost only Rs 13-20 (US$ 0.35-0.50) while others like fried rice and noodles, or Briani cost between Rs 60 (US$ 1.50) and Rs 150 (US$ 3.80) per dish. 

fried noodles with egg on top - cheap food in Mauritius
Fried noodles

Related post: 30 cheap street food to eat in Mauritius

Local Restaurants

If you prefer eating at restaurants, choose the smaller and more local establishments instead of high-end restaurants that serve mostly international dishes coupled with a hefty price tag. 

Tip: Alcohol and even bottled water tend to be more expensive in restaurants, so it’s best to buy those in supermarkets.

Cook your own meal 

If you have access to a kitchen, you can save money by cooking your own meal. Fruits and vegetables are usually cheaper at local markets. Most markets are only open on certain days of the week except for the Port Louis Central Market which is open 7 days a week. 

Tip: Some markets also have a street food section where you can get cheap and delicious meals for about US$ 1-2.

Things to do in Mauritius on a budget

The beauty of Mauritius lies within its many natural attractions, whether it’s beaches, national parks, forests, or waterfalls.

What I love the most about Mauritius is that most attractions are completely free to visit! It costs absolutely nothing to visit all the beautiful beaches of Mauritius. Just bring your mask and snorkel and you can easily spot the incredible marine life just a few meters from the shore. 

Cloudy sunset on Mon Choisy beach in Mauritius
Mont Choisy Beach

You can also pick up a local beer from any nearby supermarkets and enjoy a sundowner on a super low budget.

Most museums are also free to visit except for a few that require a small entrance fee. 

Hiking is free as well. The Black River Gorges National Park, in the center of the island, requires no entrance fee at all. Most of the trails are well-marked and perfect for all fitness levels and can be explored without a guide. For more challenging hikes, you can hire a local guide from Rs 1,500 (US$ 38).

Free Things to do when Backpacking Mauritius

Gris Gris Beach – The best place to witness the rugged side of Mauritius with sea caves, blowholes, hidden waterfalls, and spectacular cliff views.

Eau Bleue Waterfalls – A series of six waterfalls with incredibly clear blue water.

girl swimming at Eau Bleue Waterfall Mauritius
Twin waterfalls at Eau Bleue

Black River Gorges National Park – The best hiking spot in Mauritius with an abundance of hiking trails to choose from.

Bras D’Eau National Park – A less popular hiking spot found on the east coast of Mauritius.

Le Morne Brabant – A UNESCO World Heritage site that rewards the most intrepid hikers with a view of Mauritius’ underwater waterfall!

Tamarind Falls (7 Cascades) – A moderate-level hike that takes you to 12 waterfalls.

waterfall flowing from the top of a cliff at 7 Cascades
Tamarind Falls (7 Cascades)

Le Pouce Mountain – The third tallest mountain in Mauritius but also one of the easiest hikes in Mauritius with a 360-degree view of the entire island.

Le Souffleur – A spectacular blowhole in the south of Mauritius that’s a bit hard to get to but so worth it!

Savinia Beach – A secluded beach situated on the south coast of Mauritius, not too far from Le Souffleur.

waves crashing against the rocks at Savinia Beach - Mauritius on a budget
Savinia Beach

Macondé Point – A viewpoint on a hairpin turn in the south of Mauritius offering panoramic views of the south coast.

Cascades 500 Pieds – One of the tallest waterfall in Mauritius located in the Black River Gorges NP.

Alexandra Falls – Another waterfall in the Black River Gorges.

Street arts in Port Louis – Explore over 60 colorful murals in the capital city of Mauritius.

street art of a women wearing mask in Mauritius
Street Art in Port Louis

Related post: 40 Top things to do in Mauritius

More tips to help you save money in Mauritius 

Avoid visiting during the high season 

Mauritius boasts a tropical climate year-round with temperatures averaging between 27 and 31 degrees celsius. Travelers who come from colder regions will find the weather ideal even during the winter/low season (May to October).

December to February is the high season so, hotel prices will skyrocket at 2-3 times the normal rate. If you travel anytime outside of these months, you’ll be able to save a considerable amount of money, especially on accommodation.

Money Exchange  

When exchanging money in Mauritius, avoid commercial banks or any other international companies and instead look for local companies. For example, I found that “Money King” in Port Louis offers much better rates.

Bargain 

When shopping at local markets or for activities such as island hopping or snorkeling, always bargain for a better deal.

people walking around the central Market in Port Louis Mauritius
Barganing is a must when shopping at the Port Louis Central Market

Buy a Local Sim Card 

Buying a local sim card will help you avoid steep roaming fees. There are only three mobile networks in Mauritius – MyT, Emtel, and Chili, with MyT providing the best coverage.

The price for a prepaid sim card starts from Rs 100 (US$ 2.55). Emtel also has a special tourist sim card which costs Rs 400 (US$ 10.15), including Rs 100 credit and 100 GB data valid for 15 days.

There you have it! The ultimate guide to traveling Mauritius on a budget! Make sure to also check out my guide to saving money for travel and tips on how to create a travel budget. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below.

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