Although Mauritius can be considered a small island, with its 58 km from north to south and 47 km from east to west, it is unfortunately not exempt from presenting important economic differences in its territory. In fact, an invisible line divides the island into two realities that have developed differently for geo-political reasons and which will give you a different perception of the country. If you intend to explore Mauritius far and wide, you will notice what we are going to tell you, whilst if you are about to choose a place to stay for the whole holiday, then maybe we will help you to decide which part of the island is the best for you.
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All of Mauritius territory is dotted with accommodation, so you can stay anywhere in the island, however you can distinguish a more touristic and lively part, with many services reserved for tourists, and a more wild and let’s say elected part, but less equipped. There is no a privileged part between them, because it depends exclusively on you and on the way you would like to live your holiday. When it was our turn, we were very undecided because we did not find clear information on what could be the most strategic or most exclusive places on the island, in fact the beaches are all beautiful, the tourist attractions are scattered throughout the hinterland. Now we hope to help you to make your decision.
Port-Louis is the capital of Mauritius and is located in the North-West part, it represents the economic and administrative pole of the island and it is evident that the whole surrounding area has developed much more than elsewhere. Try looking at a map and you will immediately notice a dense network of neighboring streets and towns with the borders not well defined. Consequently, all this part of the island is richer, cared, maintained: you will see medium-high category cars, many restaurants, hotels, modern public transport, services and shops of large multinational chains. The whole northern tip of the island and the west coast till Flic en Flac are included.
The traffic raises with the hectic life of this area and you will notice a worsening of the air quality on the roads that approach the capital (especially because here there are no strict rules on pollution like in Europe). In general, in this part so developed you will feel pleasant if you are looking for a fully comfortable holiday, without major problems of moving from one location to another (even without a rented car), with a wide choice of restaurants and lively evenings. You will be facilitated in organizing excursions to the islands around Mauritius and you will be able to enjoy discounts and concessions given the competition between the agencies.
Everything changes in the South-East, life here seems to be stopped 50 years before. The inhabited centers outside the turnover of tourism are basically poor, the luckiest families have brick houses that are mostly dilapidated and not plastered, but there are also people who live in sheet metal shacks and recycled materials. You can see clothes hanging out to dry on the side of the road, children running on the sidewalks while cars speed past, dogs and chickens that run freely.
The roads are less cared and more dangerous to travel, with more unruly drivers; moreover they are continually beaten by small trucks full of sugar cane which on the way lose twigs from their load (this part of the island is richer in plantations). The means of transport are outdated and polluting (including public transport buses), services for tourists are in short supply, there are few restaurants, a few food stalls close to the most famous beaches.
There are not many agencies, you will find just someone on the beach organizing motorboat excursions. In the evening there is not much to entertain (unless you are in a good accommodation facility) and it will be better for you to have a car to move independently. You will look around and feel exactly where you are: in Africa. If what you want is to meet a different culture, here you will touch it with your hand.
However, the fact that part of the island has fallen behind is not totally a negative aspect. In fact, many luxury resorts have exploited the potential of wild and unspoiled nature to plant their dream structures: the part that goes from Bel Ombre to Le Morne is a succession of 5-stars structures inaccessible to the curious, with enchanting beaches and quiet waters protected by coral reef.
Consider that Mauritius is small enough to be explored entirely regardless of what your starting point is, but if you want to minimize daily trips we suggest you to opt for a traveling trip, choosing two or three different accommodations in different parts of the island: it could be a good compromise to visit the attractions of the hinterland and enjoy the sea in several stretches of coast.
We used the southern coast as base for the exploration of the whole island, we fell in love with this context for the fact of feeling in Africa, face to face with a reality very different from what we come from and to which we are used to. The first time we went to the more industrialized area we couldn’t believe our eyes and we were very impressed…negatively speaking. Now you have the tools to decide more consciously where to stay in Mauritius, but don’t miss our next articles, they could be decisive to seal your choice.
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