Lesley Carter has been traveling the world since 2012 and has visited such destinations as Austria, Panama, Thailand, Mexico, Namibia, and most recently, Mauritius. Her journey to the island off the coast of Africa included all-inclusive hotels, safaris, submarines, and a pampering spa day. But perhaps the most full-filling part of her journey was exploring an amazing new destination with her daughter. Read on to discover Mauritius now with Lesley and her daughter, Athena!
What made you choose to visit Mauritius?
Crystal-clear turquoise waters always call my name, but I wanted something other than the Caribbean. I searched for a unique, family-friendly beach destination where I could travel with my toddler daughter and feel safe. I wanted something remote and luxurious with new experiences that I couldn’t get anywhere else. I also wanted tons of family activities and warm weather. Basically, I wanted it all. When I found Mauritius online, I knew it was the place for us immediately. All it took was a beach photo, and I was drawn in, but it was Constance Hotels that truly hooked me. They were the perfect blend of family luxury and adventure. Offering both high-end, beachfront accommodations and family-fun adventures, I wanted to give them a try.
How did you get to Mauritius?
Admittedly, the flights to Mauritius were not short. We flew overnight from LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) to Paris on Air France and then waited in the airport in Paris for six hours before continuing on to Mauritius on Air Mauritius. Although it took a long time to reach Mauritius, the process was simple. Athena slept on the overnight flight to Paris. As a parent flying with a toddler, the flight attendants on Air France were very helpful. They put us in a row with an empty seat, so my daughter, Athena, could stretch out. She slept most of the flight. By the time we arrived in Paris, she was ready to eat and play. We found a restaurant area and took our time. Then, we played in a children’s play area for a few hours before our next flight. It was nap time again, so she slept for the first few hours and then watched in-flight movies, played games, and colored for the last few hours. I travel with her a lot, so I was prepared with games and toys.
Can you give a brief itinerary of your trip? What were you most looking forward to seeing/doing?
I stayed half of the time at Constance Belle Mare Plage and the other half at Constance Le Prince Maurice. Transportation to each Constance property is included as part of the all-inclusive package. We planned one activity per day to avoid getting over-tired and hired a guide to drive us to each location and help us on our journey. Activities included Casela Nature & Leisure Park, Chamarel Colored Earth, Curious Corner, Crocodile Park, Blue Safari Submarine, and Easterlies Catamaran Cruise. We usually ate lunch at a new place each day. Since we had the all-inclusive package at Constance, we ate breakfast and dinner there. We scheduled a full day at each property for relaxation, resort activities, and beach time.
I was most looking forward to our spa day at Constance Le Prince Maurice. I’ve had many spa experiences around the world but none where Athena could join me. We were each given a massage at the same time, and then Athena had her finger and toes nails painted while I finished my full-body massage. She is, undoubtedly, a princess, and she loves being pampered. Joining me at the spa made her feel valued and like a “big girl.” She talked about it for weeks after we returned home.
I also looked forward to the full-day catamaran tour. We both love snorkeling and being on the ocean. It’s a fantastic way to sightsee and spend quality time together.
Did any part of your trip catch you off-guard, or was there something you thought you were prepared for but weren’t?
I had assumed that the weather in Mauritius was consistent throughout the entire country and for at least a few hours a day, but I was very wrong. The climate in Mauritius is tropical warm, tempered by the trade winds from the southeast. The direction of the trade winds greatly influences the amount of rainfall, and the eastern part of the island is considerably rainier than the western part of the island. The warm, humid season is from November to April, and the cool and dry season is from May to October. Since I was visiting in February, I was prepared for rain and brought the appropriate gear, but every hour of the day was a guessing game. We visited Casela Nature & Leisure Park, for example, and the sun was shining brightly when we arrived, so I left our rain gear in the car. We spent most of the day soaking wet because of that mistake. It rained, heavily, after only 20 minutes of visiting the park. We quickly learned from our mistake, but it was a struggle packing the right gear for the entire day.
Was there anything you expected to be strange and different but really wasn’t?
I expected the wildlife to be different. It’s part of Africa. I thought there would be more wild animals. I don’t know what I thought happened. Did I think the lions and giraffes swam to Mauritius? Did I think they floated there on rafts? It’s an island; it has a relatively low diversity of wildlife. The only mammals that we saw in Mauritius, besides bats and marine mammals, were the ones at Casela and Crocodile Park. There were, however, an abundance of reptiles on the island, many of which we found in our suite. Be prepared for geckos and the occasional mouse in your room.
What sort of travelers would you recommend visiting Mauritius?
Mauritius offers something for almost every traveler. With countless extreme adventures like skydiving, kiteboarding, windsurfing and hiking, it’s an adventure seeker’s paradise. The numerous luxurious properties pamper you like royalty, and the family-friendly options are equally plentiful. The turquoise waters are a diver’s dream, and Mauritius is among the top five best places to get married and take a honeymoon. Even budget travelers can find cheap all-inclusive options or camp sites in Mauritius. For solo travelers, I’d recommend a hotel like Club Med where group activities are planned and the nightlife is more active, but it’s still a great place to explore.
Are they any laws/customs that travelers should know about?
Well… you don’t want to be caught smuggling drugs in Mauritius. Trafficking carries a life sentence (up to 45 years) and importing 15 grams of cannabis could attract a one-year sentence and a fine of 100,000 Mauritian rupees. Prosecutions take a year or more to come to court, with detention until the trial. Bail is not usually granted for drug-related crimes, regardless of the type of drug.
On a less serious note, the police sometimes ask foreigners to show identification. You should carry a photocopy of your passport and your driving license and leave the original documents in a safe place.
The cyclone season in Mauritius normally runs from November to May. You should monitor weather updates and plan accordingly.
You don’t need a visa to enter Mauritius. On arrival, your passport will be stamped allowing entry to the country for 60 days. You’ll need to be able to provide evidence of onward or return travel.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required. It should have at least one blank passport page.
You will not be allowed to enter Mauritius if you have visited Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone within 21 days of the date of your arrival.
All pictures by Lesley Carter.