Whilst most tourists generally chose to stay in the coastal resorts, there are an increasing number of visitors who might consider staying in small privately owned villas or with local families. This presents a number of advantages, both for the tourists and local hosts but requires a certain amount of planning and local information.
Mauritius is generally advertised for the luxurious hotels and gorgeous sand beaches, and rightly so. There are some exquisite resorts and if you can afford it, go for it as the hotels are worth every penny and afford a once in a lifetime experience. However, if your budget does not allow you a bit of luxury, do not despair. You can still spend a holiday of a lifetime in paradise Mauritius for a fraction of the cost.
There are indeed a number of places to stay and things to do in Mauritius that will not cost you an arm and a leg. The coastal areas are full of small and medium villas and flats for hire at a reasonable price. Most of these small places are only a stone throw from the sandy beaches so you can literally just walk down the beach when you feel like it. Mauritius is a relative safe place and the people friendly and always ready to help, in case you do get lost. However, like in most paces nowadays, caution is imperative. Avoid wandering on your own in Mauritius after dark and make sure your belongings are safe. If you are staying in a private bungalow, make sure all the doors and windows are shut at night. Whilst Mauritius is a beautiful place, paradise indeed, the level of crimes and petty thefts are not negligible and you need a minimum amount of caution if you want a quiet and pleasant holiday.
If you are staying in a small guesthouse, eating is no problem at all. The streets are bristling with small restaurants, supermarkets and prices are very affordable. Mauritius has a very diverse cuisine, whatever your taste. Indian and Chinese meals are readily available in every street corner and you can also find European food if thats what you fancy. Unlike some countries, Mauritius has a pretty good health and safety record and it is generally safe to purchase and eat food almost anywhere. If however you have a sensitive stomach, do avoid the street vendors and the dholl puris which is a local flat bread filled with vegetable curry.
Staying with the local people will undoubtedly open up another facet of Mauritius to you. Hotels are great and pleasant but if you are not careful, you could end up not seeing much of the local lifestyle and culture and that would be a shame. There are NGOs who will arrange for a local host to accommodate and look after tourists against a small payment. You can stay with a family and thus experience first hand the way of living in Mauritius. This can not only leave you with some memorable experience but your host will also be blessed with your company and your contribution.
As the tourist industry in Mauritius grows and the number of tourists quadruples in the nest seven years or so, no doubt staying with the local people and small guesthouse will become more prevalent and a win solution for everybody in Mauritius.