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Mauritius’ Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is located in the south east of the island, close to the village of Plaisance and the town of Mahebourg.
If you are staying in one of the northern beach resorts (for example, Grand Baie, Pereybere, Mont Choisy and Trou aux Biches), then you will face a journey of close to one hour by taxi from the airport to your accommodation.
I knew prior to my visit that getting from the airport to Grand Baie by public transport would be extremely difficult and time consuming. It is just about possible, but it involves a slow bus ride from the south east to the capital, Port Louis, and then the need to transfer from Victoria Square bus station to Immigration Square bus station, before a final 30 minute bus ride to Grand Baie by express bus. So, if your trip doesn’t include an airport pick-up, then getting a taxi is the only feasible option.
I asked a young lady at the airport’s tourist information desk and she confirmed that getting to Grand Baie by bus was not a realistic option. She also suggested that a taxi for the 65km journey should cost me around 1,600 Rupees (approx. 30 GBP).
I made my way out of the airport and there were plenty of taxis waiting for arriving passengers. A driver put my bag into the boot of his car and I jumped into the front seat of his modern taxi.
The journey from the airport to the north involves taking the country’s only motorway (the M2) right through the centre of the country to Port Louis. The route passes through lots of nice scenery in the island’s sugar cane covered interior, passing by the mountain village of Curepipe, before arriving at Port Louis. My driver pointed out the interesting sights along the way and told me about his country.
I thought that the driver was driving rather erratically. At times we seemed to be crawling along at a snail’s pace despite being in a 90 km/h zone with very little traffic on the road. And then, at busier points, the driver would speed up and overtake other vehicles. He also seemed to meander between lanes quite often.
At Port Louis, my driver asked if it would be ok for him to go for a coffee and a snack, as he had been awake since 4am and had nothing to eat or drink. He invited me along, but I was too tired after a long flight, so opted instead to sit in the taxi while he popped off to a café for 5 minutes. Suitably refreshed, he returned and proceeded to drive in the wrong direction towards Tombeau Baie, having seemingly got confused about the location of my accommodation in Grand Baie. I pointed out the address to him and he made a detour back onto the motorway, passing through Pamplemousses and eventually arriving at Grand Baie, more than an hour after leaving the airport.
The driver dropped me off outside my apartment and asked for 2,600 Rupees (approx. 50 GBP). I thought I had misheard, and handed over the 1,600 Rupees that I had been told to expect to pay. After a bit of haggling, we settled on a fee of 2,000 Rupees.
At the end of my stay, the owners of my accommodation booked me a taxi back to the airport, at a cost of just 1,280 Rupees (approx. 25 GBP).
If your holiday in Mauritius does not include transfers to your accommodation in the price, it is probably a good idea to contact your accommodation and ask them to arrange for a taxi to pick you up at the airport. If you sort out your own taxi upon arrival, you will likely face a taxi bill of 2,000+ Rupees to get to the northern coast.
Updated Mar 14, 2008
Triolet Bus Services (TBS) operates buses in the northern region of Mauritius, connecting the northern coastal towns and villages with the capital, Port Louis.
Express buses leave for Port Louis approximately every 30 minutes during the day from Royal Road in Grand Baie. Non-express buses, operating between Cap Malheureaux and Port Louis, stop every few hundred metres along the route, with stops at Pereybere, Grand Baie, Mont Choisy, Trou aux Biches and Pamplemousses.
The following information regarding express buses was correct at the time of my visit in February 2008:
- Express buses leave from Royal Road in Grand Baie, with the main terminal located outside La Jonque restaurant;
- Buses from Grand Baie and other northern areas arrive at Port Louis’ Immigration Square bus station. Buses to and from the south of the island depart from and arrive at Port Louis’ Victoria Square bus station. The two bus stations are about 20 minutes walk apart;
- The journey between Grand Baie and Port Louis takes approximately 30 minutes by express bus and costs 23 Rupees / 0.40 GBP each way. Non-express buses complete the journey in around 60 minutes;
- Bus tickets are purchased on board from a conductor. Simply take a seat and wait for the conductor to come around, either before the journey begins or shortly after setting off;
- The bus station at Immigration Square is chaotic and very confusing for visitors. There are no visible signs to indicate where the express buses to Grand Baie depart from. I had to ask several people for directions, and each one told me to make my way to the back of the station (an area with dozens of buses parked up seemingly randomly), where I eventually located the red and white Triolet bus that was heading to Grand Baie.
Written Mar 15, 2008
The buses that connect the villages and towns on Mauritius’ northern coast are operated by Triolet Bus Services (TBS).
Buses operating on the route between Cap Malheureux and Port Louis stop every few hundred metres, including stops in Pereybere, Grand Baie, Mont Choisy and Trou aux Biches.
I caught a Port Louis-bound bus between Grand Baie and the beautiful beach at Mont Choisy during my visit to the island in February 2008.
The bus ride from Grand Baie to Mont Choisy took a little over 5 minutes and cost 14 Rupees / 0.25 GBP.
Simply wait at one of the roadside bus stops (black and white poles with “Bus Stop” written in English on them) and flag the bus down as it approaches. Take a seat on the bus and wait for the conductor to collect your money and issue you with a ticket.
Buses are frequent during the day (one will probably come along within 10-15 minutes), but do not run at night.
Written Mar 15, 2008