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Why Mauritius should be at the top of your travel to-do list right now

Nov. 05, 2021
7 min read
Luxury beach with mountain in Mauritius. Sandy beach with palms and blue ocean. Aerial view (Photo by Nuture/Getty Images)
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When I told my family and friends I’d be traveling to Mauritius — an island nation off the eastern coast of Africa — the vast majority of them said, “Where — the Maldives, you mean? Or Madagascar?”

Not quite!

As a traveler, I’ve always been attracted to more low-key destinations; ones that aren’t the most popular on Instagram, but rather the places you read about in a novel or saw once in a travel guide.

As a child, I kept a globe in my bedroom that had been a birthday gift from my father. I’d scroll endlessly and aimlessly, taking note of countries that I’d never even heard of but hoped to visit one day.

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I wasn’t a traveler and had never even been outside of the United States, but I’d always imagined what life outside of my hometown of Hampton, Virginia, looked like.

Years ago, before I could even pronounce the country’s name, I found Mauritius on the globe in the Indian Ocean. I didn’t know much about it other than the beautiful photos I’d seen on Google Images, but the idea of visiting had always stuck in my mind.

So now, two decades later, I’m finally on a flight to the country. I have my own reasons for wanting to visit, but there are at least three reasons why Mauritius should be at the top of every traveler's list right now.

You don't need a seaplane or boat transfer

Here at TPG, we talk about (and visit) the Maldives — a lot. So much so that it often feels like I’m one of only a very few colleagues who have never visited the island archipelago.

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But that’s for a reason.

See, while the beaches of the Maldives and the impeccable service are enticing, getting there is not.

After landing at the main airport in Male (MLE) most travelers have to take a seaplane or speedboat to their resort. I would consider myself an AvGeek and I love planes, but I also have a queasy stomach. So, the idea of spending 20 minutes on a 15-seat DHC-6 Twin Otter seaplane makes my stomach turn. I also get seasick, so a speedboat (even one with gorgeous views) is out of the question.

And this is why I’ve been keen to visit Mauritius instead. Once you land in the country, you’re there: no seaplane or boat transfer is required to get to your hotel.

Even though both Male and Mauritius are well over a day away from the U.S., the last thing I want to do after traveling for a long time is to have to travel some more.

There are also cost factors to consider. It can cost as much as $745 for transfers to reach some of the larger Marriott and Hilton resorts in the Maldives, and even the more economical options still hover around $150. These costs can add up, especially if you’re traveling on a budget or with a family.

Instead, my car transfer was just $64 each way after departing the airport in Port Louis. That means I can save my money and use it for treats on the ground instead, such as massages or island tours. Mauritius is known for its beautiful white-sand beaches and hiking, and I’d rather enjoy these activities than exhaust my vacation budget on hotel transfer resort fees.

It's easier to visit

I enjoyed my stay in Phuket this summer, partly because it didn’t require a hotel transfer. But it was still difficult and headache-inducing to travel to Thailand during the pandemic.

So, with that experience in mind, I was prepared for an arduous application process to visit Mauritius, which is even more off the grid than Phuket. I was surprised, however, to see how easy it was to confirm my trip to the island.

There was no application process, in fact. All I had to do was be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, show proof of insurance and show a negative PCR test taken with 72 hours of departure. There’s also an easy-to-use travel form that I filled out the day before I left that I showed upon arrival into the country.

I found the directions from the Mauritian tourism board to be very straightforward, which wasn’t the case when I visited Thailand. It seems like the country really wants to make things simple enough for tourists who are eligible to enter the country and don’t want to put unnecessary hurdles in place for these travelers. If you’re interested in visiting and you’re fully vaccinated, here are the requirements:

  • Present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure.
  • Arrange COVID-19 insurance health coverage.
  • Take a mandatory antigen test on arrival at your hotel (Day 0) and again on Day 5 of your stay. You can explore the island after you receive a negative result from your antigen test on Day 0.
  • Fill out the mandatory health forms before or during your flight to Mauritius.

If you are not vaccinated, here’s what you need to do:

  • Present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure.
  • Book a 14-night quarantine stay in an official quarantine hotel, including meals and transfers.
  • Arrange COVID-19 insurance health coverage.
  • Stay in your hotel room for 14 nights, with all meals delivered to your room.
  • Fill out the mandatory health forms before or during your flight to Mauritius.
  • Take a PCR test on arrival (Day 0), on Day 7 and again on Day 14 of your stay.
  • After a negative PCR test on Day 14, you can freely explore the island and move to new accommodation or go home.

Note that unvaccinated travelers are also only permitted to stay at two hotels on the island: Gold Beach and Grand Bleu.

As I noted, these directions were pretty straightforward and more accessible to follow than some of the other places I’ve visited during the pandemic, such as Phuket and Turks and Caicos. If you’re looking for a hassle-free vacation, Mauritius could be a solid option.

COVID-19 cases are down

When you’re traveling halfway around the world, you can’t help but think about what would happen if you get a positive test before your flight home. But given the country’s low coronavirus case rates and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, I feel comfortable visiting Mauritius right now.

The highly transmissible delta variant affected nearly every country, and small countries like Mauritius were not exempt. But the government has managed to keep positive cases down since an August and September surge.

The country has confirmed 18,000 positive cases and 196 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Currently, 67% of the country is fully vaccinated, a figure far higher than much of the African continent, which has struggled to vaccinate its population due to a lack of vaccine sharing. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists Mauritius at Level 3.

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023