One debate that is as popular than the Android v/s Apple is probably Maldives v/s Mauritius, umm… atleast in the travel space! I get atleast 15 queries a month on – “Which beach vacation should I take?” and here are some more FAQs answered. I’m a big fan of both the islands but for different reasons.
So let’s dive right in and help you pick out your best holiday option.
1. What’s The Fundamental Difference?
Maldives is made up of more than 1,000 coral islands and each island has a resort of its own. The capital, Malé, is the only place that is accessible by road from the airport. It has a busy fish market, restaurants and shops on the main road. However, to get anywhere else, the only mode of transport is by the sea.
Maldives and Mauritius share the same Indian ocean. However, there is something magical about the Maldivian waters. Crystal clean and so blue that it will take your blues away.
So, I’m saying choosing one island between the two is really a matter of your taste & mind frame. If you wish to have a retired holiday where the only agenda is to stare into the deep blue waters, go to Maldives. But if you have Dora The Explorer hat on every time you travel, its better to quietly book your tickets for Mauritius.
Is that the end of the discussion? No, here are some more factors which you must consider.
2. How Do I Get There And Is It Expensive?
Maldives is relatively closer to India than Mauritius. Though unfortunately in case of Maldives, not many airlines offer direct flights from Mumbai and Delhi.
A return flight from Kochi to Maldives would only cost you about Rs 15,000 and would take you only about 1.5 hours. Talking of Mauritius, direct flights by Air Mauritius and Air India go at least 4 times in a week. The flying time to this tropical island is approximately 6 hours and the cost of the ticket would be a minimum of Rs 35,000.
The difference in price is quite glaring and this is not just restricted to airfare. Food is also so freaking expensive in Maldives that even a regular size chicken burger will set you back by 40$ but that’s not the case in Mauritius. All kinds of cuisines in all price ranges.
However, the best thing about both the places is free visa on arrival and its for free, atleast for 90 days! I am sure you’d be done with all sight seeing and chilling in this time.
3. Getting Around The Island
Maldives is made up of a lot of coral islands and the only mode of transport here is by the sea.
Mauritius is one big island with many beach resorts and various sightseeing options. In Mauritius, you can rent out a car, drive around and explore the seven coloured earth or the nature parks. A Mini Convertible for 5 days in Mauritius for exploring the entire island would be approx. INR 35,000.
Maldives is a relaxed, laid-back place who want to switch off from the rest of the world and can stare at the infinite ocean endlessly. But if you are someone who likes to be on the move and exploration has always been on your agenda, head to the Mauritian island.
5. Which Island has Better Hotels?
All those gorgeous water bungalows photos floating around the internet, well, most of them are from Maldives. Not to forget, Mauritius is also home to some of the award winning beach resorts around the world. Most hotels/resorts in Maldives are luxurious & expensive. They make a perfect choice for an indulgent holiday.
However, there are plenty of options in Mauritius, from AirBnbs to hostels to five star hotels. Unfortunately, none of the hotels here have overwater bungalows but the ocean view villas are good enough. Waking up with the view of the sea is good in any part of the world.
6. What About Your Taste Buds?
In Maldives, you are restricted to only one resort, the only option you have here is to try the restaurants that particular hotel offers. Each resort usually has about 5-6 restaurants offering different cuisines.
On the other side, Mauritius is one big island with multiple restaurants and various cuisines to offer. And this is not restricted to only fine dining. Head out to Grand Baei and eat at the food joints to get the local flavour.
Oh! Did I tell you about the colorful vans that serve delectable ice-creams here.
7. What Else Can You Do There?
Maldives has an underwater restaurant. I hope you are sold there.
If not, it does have a number of beaches like Sun Island, Bikini, Alimatha, Veligandu and Biyadhoo. You must visit the Fish market and National Museum to get a complete insight on how to people live here. A number of mosques and fishing tours will keep you occupied as well. And guess what? Spas are just the best here!
In comparison to Maldives in case of sight-seeing, you’ve stuck treasure if you are in Mauritius.
Yes, being an island even Mauritius has a number of beaches but it has other natural sight-seeing as well like Black River Gorges National Park with rainforests, waterfalls, hiking trails and wildlife. Capital Port Louis has sites such as the Champs de Mars horse track, Eureka plantation house and 18th-century Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens. You cannot miss the Crystal rock and if you’re with your kids, you can go to the Casela Nature Park and La’Aventure du Sucre.
Maldives is a place to relax and give your muscles some rest but for people who are just as hyper active as I am there are a few options like: Dolphin Watching, Fishing Tours, Scuba diving, Snorkelling, Surfing and a few more Water sports.
You will never ever run out of options to do in Mauritius. Okay first, who won’t want to swim with wild dolphins and go whale-watching? The adventure junkie in you will be very happy with all the Quad Biking, Zip-lining and trekking options in Mauritius. In water sports you could go for scuba-diving and sub-scooter ride in the ocean. Indulge in some serious golfing and sky-diving as well.
8. Which Island Has a Better Marine Life?
With the marine life in Maldives consisting of Baby sharks, Manta rays and turtles along with the world’s largest fish, the Whale Shark (none being dangerous), the island offers some of the best diving and snorkelling opportunities in the world.
Meanwhile, Mauritius’ marine life consists of 18th century ship wrecks and a few recent ones which have created beautiful artificial reefs. It is certainly a home to many sponges and colorful sea anemones and even fishes like Damselfish, Trumpet, Boxfish and Mauritian scorpions.