While visiting Mauritius, it is possible for you to discover the island by taxi, public bus transfers and rental cars.
Grab a Taxi
Taxis are to be found everywhere on the roads and many taxi drivers will approach travellers themselves before you even get a chance to approach them. It is important to always choose the taxi services that have a black taxi mark on the side of the car stating a number and an area in which they operate.
Always negotiate the price, taxi meters are rarely used in Mauritius and you'll usually be ripped off if you get into a taxi without agreeing on a price first. Most taxi drivers will charge you 200-400 rupees to take you from one point to another in towns, for a full day trip expect to pay around 2000 rupees. Some taxi drivers will always try to sell you tours as they get a commission for bringing clients, if you are not interested to make it very clear to them! Most taxis connected to hotels and guesthouses have agreed on a fixed price in order to avoid any rip-offs, but in case you are not staying in a hotel, it is important that you negotiate beforehand.
Taxis charge slightly more at night and some cheeky drivers may ask for an extra fee if you want the comfort of air-con, not to forget mentioning that some taxis charge around Rs 1 per minute waiting time, it seems to be minimal, but it adds up if you stop for lunch or do some sightseeing on foot, so make sure that you got all-inclusive in your price beforehand. At the airport you will see a taxi desk with set prices to just about anywhere on the island.
Travel a la Mauritian style
If you wish to explore Mauritius like a local, the public buses are a unique and authentic way of discovering the island. The bus routes criss-cross the entire island and you will have the chance to meet the local people. To grab a bus, you need to look for the poles alongside the road stating “Bus stop,” if you don’t know where to find the nearest bus stop, ask a local, they will gladly help you. You will notice two types of buses in Mauritius, standard and express; we recommend using the express if possible as they are air-conned and much faster since they only stop at the larger bus stops.
Buses operate from 5.30 am - 8.00 pm in the bigger cities and 6.30 am - 6.30 pm in the countryside, however notice that there is a late service between Port Louis and Curepipe until 11:00 pm. Taking the bus takes longer than other transfers, to give you an idea, a trip from the airport to Port Louis might take up to 80 minutes. Buses normally runs every 15 minutes on larger routes, and every 60 minutes on smaller routes, but notice that express buses are less frequent. The prices are very cheap and start as from 15 rupees for shorter trips and up to 35 rupees for longer trips. You buy the ticket with cash at the conductor who will come to you when seated. It is important to keep your ticket as inspectors may join on board and check the tickets. Every time you change bus you will need to buy a new ticket and if you don’t know where to get off let the conductor know and they will gladly help you. If you do know where to get off, you just have to use the buzzer button which is often located at the windows.
There is no direct bus between North and South which means you may have to change your bus. There are two main bus stations in Port Louis, one for buses going to the south (Victoria square), and another one for buses going to the north (Immigration square). There is a bus shuttle between the two stations, but the distance can also be walked and takes 10 minutes.
Travel at your own pace – rent a car!
Renting a car in Mauritius can give you more freedom and flexibility and you not only save time, but you also save money. However, there are few things to be aware of beforehand. Mauritius drives on the left side of the road, in case you are not used to driving on this side it is important to take it nice and slow, getting to know your car beforehand and slowly get used to Mauritian roads that can be very busy and some places very narrow.
You will be able to rent a car at the airport itself and you will also find several different rental companies across the island who will all provide you with the necessary paperwork and formalities. You have to be 18 to be able to drive in Mauritius, however to rent a car you will need to be minimum 21 years old. If you are under 25 you will have to pay a premium for your lack of experience although with some companies, this drops to 24. A tourist in Mauritius is allowed to use his driving license from his native country; however, it is important to always have your papers, driving license and passport on you whenever you drive.
In Mauritius you are allowed to drive 60-80 km/h on open roads, 40 km/h in towns and 100-110 km/h on motorways. There are fixed speed cameras around Mauritius, you will find them on yellow poles on the side of the road, if you’re caught, a speeding ticket will be sent to the registered address of the vehicle or to your car hire company who will pass on the ticket to you. We do not recommend to drive having consumed any sort of alcohol, the drinking law when driving is restricted and you may not have more than 50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood in your body, this equates to around one drink. Seatbelts are compulsory and there are no tolerances for using the phone while driving. If you have access to WIFI when on the road we recommend you to download the app Waze which can help you navigate around Mauritius.
All rental cars should have an emergency contact number on a sticker inside the windscreen which you should call if you get into difficulty. If you’re in a private car, use a local garage or contact the police for further assistance. If you are involved in an accident you should call the emergency services but this is only necessary when there are injuries or major damage. While waiting for the police take photographs of the scene and stay calm. These are numbers to use in case of an emergency: Police 112, Fire 114, and Ambulance 115.
Sightseeing and transport all in one - Book a driver guide who takes you around!
Don't worry about a thing. A driver guide is a knowledgeable professional guide who shows you the sights and takes you to the must-see places. The driver guide often works for reputed Tour Operators or Destination Management Companies, or as a freelance guide. They will give you in-depth information and will take your around safely. Book a driver guide.