A common question when planning a trip to a remote, exotic, destination is: when is the best period to go?
I wish there was a common answer too but there’s not. Every place has differences in the climate that need a specific answer. Speaking of Mauritius as I’ve been planning the trip there, and then accomplishing it, I’ve discovered what are the common pitfalls of any specific period of the year.
So, when to travel to Mauritius?
January to March: avoid
This is the wet cyclone season. If there’s a cyclone interesting Mauritius, you’ll have a high chance to meet it when if you go in the first 3 months of the year. Even without a cyclone, it’s the wet season and rain is more probable to occur, especially in the interior. I’m not talking of torrential rain for days but it will rain, probably also for a few consecutive days.
Being in the middle of Mauritius’ summer, temperatures are also high (around 30°C) which, with the high humidity given by the rain, makes it for a sweating day.
So regardless of the cyclone presence, the climate in this period is not conducive to a good vacation. The answer to when to travel to Mauritius is clearly not January-March.
November to April: humid summer
So, together with the first 3 months of the year, the end of the calendar year and April make for the Mauritian summer. It’s hot, 30°C or more during the day, it occasionally rains on the coast and pretty often in the interior. Plus, many tourists from the Southern Hemisphere have days off work and obviously Mauritius is a wonderful place to spend the holidays in.
Expect thus to find a very warm ocean water, hot and humid climate and plenty of tourists. The interior will be at its wettest so if you’re aiming at doing trekking or hiking the terrain will be more difficult, even swampy in some points. Probably not your best bet.
Also consider the winds from the east that usually bring the rain: the east coast will be subjected to them and will be cooler. This may be a boon if you don’t tolerate the hottest temperature.
Last advice: prices for accommodation may be higher then usual during the Mauritian summer. Tour operators will leverage on the fact that it is summer there, despite not being dry, and will charge you more for the same packages. Be aware of this.
May to October: a very warm winter
From May, the rain subsides, reaching its lowest of the year between June and September, the middle of winter for the Southern Hemisphere but peak summer for the Northern one. Accordingly, most tourists you will find during these months will be from the north side of the Earth, Europeans, Canadians, Americans, some Chinese and Japanese and so on. Their number won’t probably be very high as, as said previously, tour operators promote Mauritius more during their summer and when it’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere tourists are discouraged to make the trip to Mauritius.
This is a mistake. The weather is still very warm, 25-26°C at least during the day, feeling 3-4 degrees more under the sun; sun itself is hot anyway and there’s no much wind to refresh you, but, again, for the east coast that is windier than the west one. I chose an hotel on the north coast for my visit and there was a constant breeze, with only one day with a true wind. The evenings only were somewhat chilly, along the lines of 15-16°C at their worst, which should make you pack a light jacket or a cotton sweater for the coldest nights.
But that’s about it. There is no risk of a cyclone, no much rain as the Mauritian winter is the driest period of the year, the island isn’t overcrowded and sea and air temperatures are still within the range of what could be considered “summer” anywhere else.
My suggestion is thus to go after May but before the end of October if you can. Bring something to cover yourself for the nights and, perhaps, avoid the east coast if you dislike the wind but go, as it is the best period of the year to stay in Mauritius.
In conclusion, or as a tl;dr, to answer the original question: when to travel to Mauritius? From May to October.