It’s no secret that Mauritians love to party. Which is one of the reasons why the island has marked itself as one of the best destinations for Christmas and New Year: unlike most parts of the world, the end-of-year festivities in Mauritius are bathed in warm, tropical climate with at least eight hours of delightful sunlight during the day. Instead of a snowman, you could always build a sandman on one of the many picturesque beaches that look like they’ve just been plucked out of a postcard!
Rest assured though that the lack of snowflakes tumbling gently to the ground does not mean a lack of festive spirit. Quite on the contrary, the entire island is bathed in an exhilarating atmosphere that starts at the very beginning of summer. Being one of the major tourist destinations in the world, you can certainly expect your fair share of activities and packages to ensure that your Christmas and New Year in Mauritius goes off with as much merriment as possible.
Here are some of the best ways to celebrate Christmas and New Year in Mauritius in 2019.
Christmas in Mauritius
With Christmas carols blaring in every mall, the reemergence of red Christmas bonnets, and Santa’s grottos popping up virtually everywhere, there’s no denying that Christmas is right around the corner. Expect thrilling parties on the beach in the week leading up to Christmas, punctuated by thumping beats of sega- the local folkloric music. This is also the month where you’ll probably have to battle the crowds, something that most people don’t seem to mind, given the undeniably festive atmosphere that reigns all over the island.
December being one of the warmest months on the island, you can expect a perfectly pleasant, sunny climate with the temperature ranging from 25 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius. In some regions, it can get a tad too humid or hot, so be sure to arm yourself with comfortable clothing and plenty of mineral water.
- Food and Drink
Mauritians are notorious foodies, and they certainly bring out nothing but the very best ingredients for Christmas. While the British Christmas turkey is slowly gaining in popularity around the island, the star of the menu that you’ll find in most Mauritian households is the roasted chicken, stuffed with mashed potatoes, and served with a side of crispy iceberg lettuce. Meat being something of an expensive delicacy in Mauritius, some families also choose to serve up a traditional meat curry with white rice and salad. Roast beef, flatbreads, and sweet-sour fish may also feature on the menu, courtesy of Mauritius’ multicultural roots. These are normally served alongside ice-cold Phoenix beer, the local brew and a firm favorite among Mauritians.
- Street Hawkers
If there’s one thing the streets of Port Louis, the capital city, is known for, it’s for its street hawkers. Lined up on both sides of the streets, the hawkers sell just about anything from toys for the kids, clothing, accessories, colorful sarongs, and even souvenirs such as handmade rattan bags, as well as shell or coral jewelry sourced directly from the Indian Ocean.
- Shopping for the Christmas Tree
While Mauritians do not necessarily go for the traditional fir trees, you’ll find that the island provides an abundant number of similar-looking trees that are decked out and placed in Mauritian households. Tropical Christmas trees include Cypress, Auracaria, and the more popular Cedar tree. Christmas tree vendors will normally line the trees up the side of the roads in the week leading up to Christmas. Artificial trees are also very popular and available in just about every supermarket or mall.
- Best Christmas Activities on the Island:
Mauritius is awash with an extensive variety of festive activities to indulge in during the festive season. Here are some of the best options.
- Christmas Market
One of the most popular Christmas markets in Mauritius is hosted by L.A City Trianon, located in the center of the island. Hosted by various charitable non-governmental attractions from all over the island, this market offers an assortment of Christmas decorations, handcrafted jewelry, and artefacts of various kinds. On weekdays, L.A City Trianon is open until 8pm, 9pm on Fridays, and until 9.30pm on Saturdays.
Address: Trianon Shopping Centre, Trianon 72258
Phone number: 466 8985
- Christmas Gala Dinner Ferney Restaurant Maritim Crystals Beach
Christmas in Mauritius just wouldn’t be complete without indulging in one of the yearly Christmas Gala dinners. Head over to Ferney Restaurant at Maritim Crystals Beach where you can spend three hours enjoying a buffet-style dinner. This includes unlimited drinks such as local beers, soft drinks, local spirits and wines, as well as the prized Mauritian ‘Ti Punch’ rhum cocktail.
Address: Coastal Road, Belle Mare 41604
Date: 21 December, 2019
Phone Number: 402 7800
Price: Rs. 1950/adult, Rs.975/child (3-11 years)
- Christmas Lunch Buffet Avalon Golf Estate
A sprawling estate brimming with sunshine and acres of deep green, Avalon Golf Estate is reputed across the island for its annual Christmas lunches. This feast consists of various delicacies, including traditional fare and more adventurous offerings, including Guinea fowl, sea urchin cappuccino soup, and more.
Address: Bois Cheri Road, Bois Cheri
Opening Hours: 7.30am- 6pm
Phone number: 430 5800
Price: Rs.2200/adult, Rs.1100/kid (7-12), Rs.660/kid (3-6)
New Year’s in Mauritius
New Year’s in Mauritius is, if possible, even more festive than Christmas. This is when everyone gets all pumped up and hyper, ready to welcome the new year in grand pomp. Since fireworks are legal and freely available around the island, everyone stocks up for the 31st, and at midnight, the sky becomes ablaze with a symphony of colors, noises, and sparks as the whole of Mauritius celebrates together.
- Traditional New Year’s Food
Visit any Mauritian family on New Year’s Eve and you might just emerge 10 pounds lighter and five times happier. This is when all the delicacies roll out: in fact, most Mauritians save up all year to indulge in a scrumptious, multi-course meal at the end of the year. For starters, families usually serve Chinese soup dumplings accompanied by Mauritian fried snacks such as samosas, crispy split pea balls, spring rolls, and the likes. The main course may include fish, chicken, meat, and duck, accompanied with a side salad and served with rice, baguette, or ‘faratas’, a flaky Mauritian flatbread.
- Shopping Frenzy: Best Places to shop/late night New Year’s shopping
Mauritians love to wear new outfits for the New Years, so you can expect the shopping malls to be packed to the brim during the festive season. Below are some of the best shopping spots in Mauritius in December:
- Markets: Quatre-Bornes Market in the center is arguably among the most popular since it offers a variety of products to choose from. The Port Louis market located near the tourist hub of Grand Baie in the North also features various shopping opportunities.
- Bagatelle Mall of Mauritius: This is by far, the biggest mall of Mauritius, making it a firm favorite among locals and tourists alike. Bagatelle Mall flares to life during the festive period, with fairy lights, Christmas trees, and rhythmic music to welcome the New Year. Along with different shops to fit just about every budget, this mall is also home to a sprawling variety of restaurants, cafes, and food stalls, including a fruit juice bar where you can sample fresh sugarcane juice.
- Pamper yourself in anticipation of New Year’s Eve
It is something of a tradition in Mauritius to flock to the spas in December, ensuring both your physical and mental well-being prior to the parties. Mauritians love to dress up and having the perfect skin and hairstyle for New Year’s Eve is an integral part of the culture on the island. For this reason, this is the best time to indulge in various body treatments since the month of December offers plenty of deals and discounts, including:
- New Style Esthetique
Located in Black River, on the sunny west coast of the island, New Style Esthetique offers different body treatments, including hot oil massages, couple massages, and more. Prices vary according to treatment. A couple hot oil massage for example, may set you back around Rs.2500 per couple, with an infusion, coffee, or tea served after the treatment.
Address: Royal Road, Black River
Opening Hours: Mondays 11am- 5.15pm, Thursday to Friday 9am-5.15pm, Saturdays 9am-4pm. Closed on Sundays.
Phone number: 483 1794
- Candock Wellness
A unique amenity in Mauritius, Candock Wellness gets especially busy during the weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve, so be sure to book well in advance. Candock Wellness is a floating spa whereby all body treatments are done on a motorized platform that floats serenely on the shimmery turquoise lagoon while experienced therapists work the stress out of your body. This spa does cater to couples, offering a blissful combination of couple’s massage followed by lunch or dinner with complimentary beverages. All while you’re floating on the gentle waters of Grand Gaube lagoon. While the massage-dinner-drinks package costs around Rs.10,000, you can certainly book cheaper options such as the hour-long relaxing massage for just around Rs.2000.
- New Year’s Eve parties in Mauritius
If you would like to welcome 2020 with pomp and fervor instead of staying in, you can check out the following New Year’s Eve parties:
- Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel
This 5-star business hotel located in Port Louis’ Caudan Waterfront is famed for its exceptional New Year’s parties. You have a choice of three parties, each held in a separate area of the hotel. Feast in one of the two restaurants, dance the night away, and as midnight chimes, look up to enjoy a magnificent show of fireworks right in front of the harbor.
Address: Caudan Waterfront, Port Louis
Phone number: 4037207
Prices: Rs.3,950 for the party in Yuzu Restaurant and Rs.3,200 for the party in Brasserie Chic restaurant
- New Year’s Eve at LE BLUES
Located in vibrant Grand Baie, LE BLUES boasts a restaurant featuring live-music in an open-air setting overlooking the lagoon. For its New Year’s Eve Party 2019, the restaurant is organizing a vibrant gathering fueled by beers, wine, cocktails, and bubblies of various types. Countdown to midnight by joining the DJ in a toast and enjoy the spectacle above as the whole island bursts into fireworks.
Address: Royal Road, Grand Baie
Phone number: 2631093
- New Year’s Eve at Château Mon Désir
If you fancy a posh party in an exquisitely elegant, French-style atmosphere, this is the place to be. Set in an actual colonial-style castle, this restaurant is hosting one of the most sought-after New Year’s Eve party of 2019. Guests can enjoy a picturesque setting, complete with a choice of indoor or outdoor seating to enjoy a six-course menu. A champagne aperitif and live entertainment are also included in the package.
Address: B41, Balaclava
Phone number: 204 1000
Price: Rs 4,790 per person
- OMG Club
If you’re seeking a more thrilling and younger vibe to bid adieu to 2019, head over to OMG nightclub, often hailed as one of the best clubs in Mauritius. This venue lies in Grand Baie, on the north coast, and is known for its fun New Year’s Eve parties. While the dress code is casual, there are some specific codes for theme nights which are organized on a regular basis, including both Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Address: Grand Baie Road, Triolet
Opening Hours (Regular): Saturdays, Fridays, and Wednesdays: 11pm to 5am
Phone number: 263 8906
After the festivities
New Year may be over but that doesn’t mean that your vacation has to be over too. Quite on the contrary, you will find that Mauritians do allocate themselves some time to recover from over-indulgent festivities before resuming their regular work routine. As such, the first three days of the new year are official bank holidays, but most companies and businesses don’t restart until the 5th of January. During this period, there’s a pleasant lull around the island, whereby everything moves at a much slower pace- probably because everyone is so weighed down by the abundant buffets!
This is one of the best times of the year to head over to the beach. In fact, to recover, several locals set up a tent and camp on one of the numerous beaches. Ask any Mauritian and they’ll tell you that the sea, sand, and vitamin D is the best hangover cure anyone could possibly wish for. Some of the best beaches in Mauritius for camping include Le Morne Beach in the west, La Cuvette in the north, Flic en Flac not far from the center, and Saint Felix Beach in the south.