Maldives or Mauritius – which one is better for a honeymoon and for families looking for an idyllic seaside getaway? Apart from the fact that both destinations begin with the word ‘M’, Maldives and Mauritius have a lot in common. They are both island getaways located in the Indian Ocean. However, Maldives is a part of South Asia, while Mauritius is in East Africa. Thus, both locations are quite different when it comes to culture and languages. But how do you choose the best paradise? Let’s see how Maldives and Mauritius compare.
Maldives vs. Mauritius Beaches
Beaches in Mauritius feature dramatic mountainous backdrops, often thickly covered by rainforests. They are highly reminiscent of the beaches in Thailand, Bali, and other well-known coastal getaways. On the other hand, the beaches of Maldives are striking in their unblemished beauty. Here, the focus is on the otherworldly ocean and the pristine white sand. Often, there are beautiful resort villas with Maldivian rooftops in the backdrop. So, while beaches in both Maldives and Mauritius are stunningly beautiful, the former truly has no parallel.
Resorts with some of the best beaches in Maldives:
- Soneva Fushi: The eco-friendly villas of Soneva Fushi lead straight to deserted beaches whose aquamarine waters reflect the sky to perfection.
- Kandolhu Maldives: This honeymooner’s paradise is full of romantic beaches that invite you and your better half to take dreamy sunset walks.
- One&Only Reethi Rah: The beaches at this resort are ideal for water babies, as there is much to do, including snorkelling, sailing, canoeing, and kitesurfing.
A few of the best beaches in Mauritius:
- Trou aux Biches on the northern coast has a rich coral reef ideal for snorkelling. Sunbathing on the white sand is pure pleasure, as is watching the sunset.
- Blue Bay Beach on the less touristy eastern coast is a part of the spectacular Blue Bay Marine Park. The crystal clear water is great for swimming.
- In the south, Gris Gris Beach is fringed by sheer cliffs. From the top, you can feast on mesmerising views of the sea and crashing waves. A garden adjoins the beach.
Maldives vs. Mauritius Diving
If you’re considering Maldives and Mauritius, chances are that you plan to go snorkelling or diving. Both destinations feature gorgeous reefs and lagoons that are perfect for underwater exploration. But which one is better? When you go snorkelling in Maldives, you will encounter turtles, manta rays, tropical fish, baby sharks, and if you’re lucky, even whale sharks. None of these creatures pose any risk to your safety. In Mauritius, you will have the opportunity to explore 18th century shipwrecks and swim with sea anemones, sponges (like Sponge Bob!), scorpions, boxfish, trumpetfish, and colourful damselfish.
There are many diving sites in Maldives suited to both beginners and experts. Expect to see mysterious caves, overhanging formations, and narrow rocks jutting out from the ocean bed. If you want to see the famous whale sharks, Gaafu, Thaa, and Ari Atolls are your best bet. Reef sharks abound all over. Mauritius is famous for its artificial reefs formed by sunken old Japanese ships. Make sure to explore the Cathedral, a renowned diving site off the coast of Flic-en-Flac. Roche Zozo is an underwater rock formation and Whale Rock is a spectacular crater close to Ile Ronde. You can always get your PADI certification in both Maldives and Mauritius if you don’t yet have your license.
Maldives vs. Mauritius Attractions
Maldives is ideal for a relaxed holiday packed with a lot of water activities and resort excursions like beach picnics, sailing tours, and cultural programs by night. Although there is some sightseeing and shopping to do in Male, the capital, overall, Maldives is not packed with too many attractions. However, Mauritius is home to several national parks, volcanoes, and botanical gardens that nature lovers and outdoorsy travellers will enjoy. Some of the popular attractions include Black River Gorges National Park, Le Morne Cultural Landscape, Crocodile & Giant Tortoises Park, and SSR Botanical Garden.
Must-do things in Maldives:
- Go island hopping and explore the lagoons and reefs at various secret spots
- Embark on sunset cruises and have dinner at the beach followed by stargazing sessions
- Take glass-bottomed boat rides or dive right into the pristine water
- Have private sandbank picnics with your better half and enjoy luxurious spa treatments
- Enjoy theme dinners, sustainable fishing sessions, and private movie screenings in the open air
- Learn to surf and spot dolphins and manta rays
Must-do things in Mauritius:
- Explore the waterfront and racetrack of Port Louis, the capital city
- Go shopping and fishing at Grand Baie in the north, and don’t forget to laze on the beaches as well
- Go hiking in the arresting rainforests of Black River Gorges National Park
- Spot giant tortoises at Rodrigues and go on a historical tour of Port Mathurin
- Take in the most photogenic beaches at Le Morne and go snorkelling in the secret lagoons of Mahebourg
- Spot dolphins at Tamarin and go swimming in the beaches of Flic-en-Flac
Maldives vs. Mauritius for Honeymoon
For honeymooners, Maldives has a definite edge over Mauritius as it is much more private, peaceful, and romantic. You also have a larger variety of adults-only and honeymoon-friendly resorts to choose from. Honeymoon trips are typically not meant to be hectic and Maldives offers just the right pace for a memorable holiday with your soul mate. The beaches of Mauritius are usually more packed with tourists and you won’t have the feeling of having the entire place to yourself.
Maldives vs. Mauritius for Families
For families, both Maldives and Mauritius could work out to be good options. However, Maldives is more suited for families with older children who can appreciate the underwater and participate in most of the activities. If you’re worried that your kids will get bored with the peace and quiet of the Maldives, you’ll find that most family-friendly resorts are equipped with kids’ clubs and a variety of entertainment for the little ones. In Mauritius, you and your family will find enough nature, wildlife, and eventful beaches to occupy your time.
Maldives vs. Mauritius Hotels
There’s no competing with Maldives when it comes to world-class luxury accommodations that redefine all notions of being pampered. If it has always been your dream to stay in an overwater villa and walk out onto your own terrace and find only the pristine sea surrounding from you every side, Maldives should be your choice. There are numerous private island resorts equipped with excellent beach and overwater villas, infinity pools, array of restaurants, and indulgent spas. Mauritius has a wider variety of affordable accommodation but they don’t offer the kind of exclusivity that Maldives does.
Maldives vs. Mauritius Food
When it comes to local cuisine, Mauritius scores over Maldives. However, the truth of the matter is that you can have the entire world on your table in Maldives! Most of the luxury resorts feature a variety of dining options and restaurants helmed by world-class chefs who dish out everything from curated meals to locally inspired flavours and international favourites. Maldivian cuisine is heavy on fish and seafood and slightly reminiscent of Indian cuisine with its rice and gravies. On the other hand, the local food in Mauritius is varied and interesting, with influences from France, Africa, and India. Chinese cuisine also makes an entry in the street food, which is flavourful and delicious.
Maldives vs. Mauritius Cost
It is true that Maldives is a bit more expensive than Mauritius due to the seclusion of the resorts. Luxury accommodation does not come cheap, and you don’t have too many options outside of your resort when it comes to food, excursions, and shopping. That’s not the case in Mauritius, where resorts are surrounded by bustling city centres and lots of shopping malls and restaurants. Food in general tends to be more affordable in Mauritius. However, you can save a lot of money in Maldives by opting for all-inclusive or full board resort plans.
Maldives vs. Mauritius Culture
Maldives and Mauritius are very different culturally. The former is predominantly Muslim, while the latter has a vast majority of Hindus. Historically, Mauritius was colonized by many different nationalities including the Dutch, the French, and the British. This reflects in the diversity of its people and the varied architecture.
Maldives, on the other hand, has a Buddhist past, with brief colonization by the Portuguese and the British. Thus, the island also exhibits many different architectural styles. A visit to either destination offers fascinating glimpses into their respective pasts and present ethnicities. Mauritius has no official language, while Dhivehi is the official language of Maldives. However, English is widely spoken and understood in both destinations.
Maldives vs. Mauritius Shopping
Shopping is not a major highlight in either destination but Mauritius offers more options. While in Maldives, you’re likely to be limited to the boutiques at your resort unless you spend some time in Male. The capital city is home to lively fish markets, street markets, and Island Bazaar, a luxury home décor and souvenir store. There are a few other boutique stores and beachwear stalls on the island as well.
As for Mauritius, you’ll find all the usual suspects: high-end malls, smaller stores, and tons of markets catering to every kind of product. You can get lovely souvenirs at Le Craft Market at the Caudan Waterfrontin Port Louis and branded goods at Grand Baie Bazar, a shopping mall. Neighborhoods such as Rivière du Rempart and Plaines Wilhems are great for retail therapy.
Maldives vs. Mauritius Climate
Both Maldives and Mauritius have sunny, tropical weather all year round. So if you were expecting the time of year to be a deciding factor for your choice, you’re going to be disappointed! However, there are some things to keep in mind. The average temperature in Maldives varies from 23 to 31 degree Celsius, while for Mauritius, it’s between 20 and 28 degree Celsius.
Neither destination differ much during summer and winter but you do have to be mindful about wet weather. It’s better to avoid Mauritius from December to February as cyclones are frequent, making it unsafe to go diving. The wet months in Maldives last from May to October. But June is the month with the heaviest rainfall. So if it’s a year-end or New Year’s Eve trip you’re planning, Maldives is your obvious choice. But if you want to travel during the middle of the year, you might want to go for Mauritius.
Other Things To Consider
Getting a visa to visit Maldives is very simple for most nationalities. You can usually get a free 30-day visa upon arrival which suffices for vacations. Just make sure you’re carrying your resort reservations, return flight ticket, and proof that you can sustain yourself financially during your stay. The local currency is Maldivian Rufiyaa but US dollars should work at the big resorts and you can easily convert your currency or use your credit card for payments. Since Maldives is an Islamic nation, alcohol is not widely available. You can usually only get it at luxury resorts.
It’s not difficult to get a visa for Mauritius either, though policies are not as relaxed as Maldives. Credit cards work well in Mauritius as well, and most residents speak English and French. The local currency is Mauritian Rupee. One advantage is that public medical facilities are often free of charge. If planning to rent a car, make sure to drive on the left side of the road. Since most beaches in Mauritius are public beaches, topless sunbathing is not allowed.
In conclusion, Maldives scores over Mauritius in terms of privacy and romance. Luxury accommodation in Maldives is a class apart, with resorts occupying their own islands. This also makes the Maldives safer than most other destinations. On the other hand, Mauritius has a more active nightlife and richer terrestrial biodiversity. Both destinations offer a wide array of beaches and water sports with stunning reefs and lagoons. But the extreme seclusion of retreats in Maldives makes it an experience like no other.