Take A Budget-Friendly Tropical Vacation To This Breathtaking Island Nation

One glimpse at the teal waters and hammock-dotted beaches of Mauritius, and it seems impossible that it could be checked off your bucket list without paying a pretty penny. While this stunning island nation near Madagascar is not typically regarded as a budget-friendly destination, believe it or not, it can be done. All it takes is a willingness to swap the usual tourist stops for more wallet-friendly activities.


Surprisingly, many of the island's outdoor activities don't cost a dime. You could spend an afternoon perusing through one of a dozen outdoor markets (free), trek one of the many scenic trails inside the Black River Gorges National Park (free), or lounge around on the island's wallpaper-worthy beaches, like Le Morne, Belle Mare, Flic en Flac, and Tamarin (all free). That way, you're in a better place to splurge on once-in-a-lifetime excursions, like a 15-minute seaplane flight over a mind-bending underwater waterfall via LagoonFLIGHTS, which is around $162.

Low-cost activities to fold into your itinerary

After you've checked the free activities off your bucket list, you still don't have to worry about breaking the bank. There's a wide range of excursions you can choose from. For example, Mauritius is well-known for its diving scene, boasting more than 200 spots for exploring coral reefs, sunken ships, and a plethora of marine life, like stingrays, eels, turtles, and octopuses. A half-day tour through a dive center associated with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) will run you anywhere from $79 to $108. If you're not up to date on your certifications, a snorkeling trip is another affordable option. For nearly $51, check out one snorkeling tour via Viator that gives tourists the chance to swim with dolphins in the wild.


Back on land, La Vallée Des Couleurs Nature Park is another budget-friendly gem for nature lovers and adrenaline junkies alike, prized for its waterfalls, rock garden, and hikes through a volcanic landscape. Admission for non-residents costs under $9, with plenty of activity packages to amp up your experience. One of the major draws is the web of zip lines across the park, including one of the longest lines in the world. A great mid-range package for non-residents is the Adventure Tour, which costs less than $30 for six zip lines.

More tips for exploring Mauritius on a budget

To save some cash, the best time to visit is during the low season from May to September. The weather will still be comfortable but the prices will be lower than the high season from December to April. If you can swing it, book your trip dates without overlapping with any holidays or school vacation times, as those times tend to draw crowds.


As for food, your best bet is to explore the street food scene instead of fancy restaurants. You'll be able to pick up some fried noodles for $2 or samosas and roti (a type of flatbread) for less than 50 cents a piece. For sit-down meals, opt for small restaurants and sample your way through soups and rice dishes for $1 to $2. Another easy way to save money is to take public buses around the island instead of taxis, which will only set you back a buck or two.

Finally, there's accommodation to think about. Mauritius has no shortage of luxurious beachfront resorts with dreamy amenities. If you decide to go all in on where you sleep, try to book as far in advance as possible to get the best deal. Resorts are not the only option out there, though. There are plenty of affordable Airbnbs to choose from, ranging from $25 to $103 per night. Even better, you can camp for free on any public beach, giving you access to world-class views without paying five-star prices. That, alone, is well worth the visit.