I think the past six months has been the longest time in a while that I haven’t traveled anywhere. And by ”haven’t traveled anywhere” I mean that I have only been traveling for work. I’ve been to Finland nine times, to Denmark three times, and done some travel within Sweden. So while I’ve spent plenty of time sitting on planes and waiting at different airports, I haven’t felt the thrill of going somewhere I haven’t been before in a long time.
Around Christmas I was really itching to book a trip somewhere, anywhere. My boyfriend really wanted to go some place warm, where we could just relax and do nothing, but I was unsure. I haven’t been on a beach holiday since something like 1995, so I wasn’t even sure if I like it. We looked at some destinations, but everything seemed to have inconvenient flight times or long layovers.
After searching online for a couple of days, we ended up booking a package trip to Mauritius. Direct flights between Helsinki and Mauritius, airport transfers, and hotel with all-inclusive for two weeks, cost about 2550€ per person. I did some research on Mauritius and it seems like most people come here on a package trip with all-inclusive as the resorts are located in areas where there aren’t much more than the hotel and the beach. Even around capital city of Port Louis, most restaurants close before sundown and only at Caudan Waterfront there are some restaurants, which are open during the evenings.
When you book a package tour, you expect that everything is included, but of course we needed to pay separately for the hotel transfer and if we would’ve wanted to have a meal during the flight, that would’ve been additional cost as well. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but the cost was something like 25€ per person one way. When I thought about paying this money for a horrible airplane meal, my brain just said “no way”. They did serve a breakfast on the way there and a small evening snack on the way back even for those passengers, who opted out of buying meals and they we decidedly not good, so I didn’t regret our decision. On the way there we bought some baguettes with soft drinks and on the way back we bought subs from Subway at the airport. Not ideal meals, but I’m convinced they tasted much better than the food served on the plane.
I first flew from Stockholm to Helsinki the day before as I didn’t want to risk missing the flight to Mauritius due to e.g. bad weather. I spent a day working from the Finnish office and in the evening we took a taxi to the airport. The flight left at 18:55 and would arrive in Mauritius at 8:35. We had no issues with border formalities, but they were really interested in the countries you’ve travelled to in the past six months (especially Asia, South America and Africa) and we were asked about cough and other flu symptoms on two different forms.
As we booked airport transfer we just needed to find the TUI guide, who told us which bus to take to our hotel. Super convenient when you don’t want to think about anything, I must admit. There were plenty of money exchange counters in the arrival hall, but we decided to withdraw money from the ATM, which was located just outside the hall. We withdrew about 80€ worth of cash in case we’d need it and that was actually more than enough as we didn’t really buy anything.
Our hotel was called Riu Le Morne and it was located in the southwest corner of the island, about an hour and a half from the airport. It was a boring drive with a view of sugar cane fields and not much else. We checked in, got our all-inclusive wristbands, changed into our bathing suits and went to lie down by the pool as the 12-hour flight isn’t the easiest one.
The hotel itself was fine, nothing super fancy, but everything worked, wifi signal was good even at the pool, plenty of food, and quite attentive service. On the downside, the food was mostly ok, but not great, and login was allowed for only four devices. As we had two work laptops, two tablets, two work phones, and two personal phones between us, this was not enough and it was absolutely impossible to get additional logins even if we would be willing to pay for them.
The hotel itself is huge, but we booked our stay at the adults only part of the resort, which was absolutely perfect as there were no children running or splashing around, although some adults would’ve needed some behavioral guidance as well. There was a buffet and three restaurants (French, Asian, and Indian) on the premises. Buffet was free for all, but while you didn’t need to pay anything extra for food in the restaurants, you needed to book a table in advance. As I mentioned, food was only ok. Some of it was good, but most of it was quite tasteless or dry, which was disappointing.
The next four or five days went exactly the same. We woke up around nine, went to breakfast, changed into swimming suits and lie by the pool or on the beach, had lunch around one, headed back to the pool, picked ourselves up from the poolside chairs between four and five, shower and heading for dinner around six thirty. I worked for a couple of hours every other day, but otherwise I was reading, listening to music or an audiobook, and just relaxing. I also slept at least ten hours per day. I thought I would hate this, as I get bored pretty quickly, but maybe this was just what I needed.
I must admit that yes, it got boring on occasion to scroll for updates online, but for the first few days I really didn’t mind that I haven’t seen anything outside the resort walls. Of course this had to change, as it’s insane to come this far and not to explore the island, so we booked three trips with TUI. Actually a company called Summer Times has almost a monopoly on tourist transportation and excursions on Mauritius, so while we booked with TUI, we used Summer Times buses for transportation and on one trip even the guide.
So we booked the first trip to visit the two small islands on the east coast (160€ per person), the second one to visit Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius and the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden in Pamplemousses, near Port Louis (50€ per person), and the third one to see the beautiful nature in the south of Mauritius (99€ per person). So together these three trips cost us 309€ per person.
So out of two weeks on the island, we got outside the resort walls only three times. Yes, after initial bliss of relaxing and having zero commitments, it got boring. There isn’t that many things to see and do and we’re not into water sports, so the selection is a bit limited. There was an opportunity to go and see dolphins or swim with the dolphins, but during my research of Mauritius, I got the picture that this activity is very much unethically done by majority of operators, so we decided against that.
The weather was quite good almost all the time (we were there from 22nd of March until 4th of April). It rained a little bit every few days, but for the last two days it rained almost incessantly, so I got a chance to catch up with my work emails. All in all, I would say that I’m happy I visited Mauritius, but these kind of beach resorts aren’t really my cup of tea for more than just a few days.