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Holiday showdown: Mauritius versus the Maldives

  • Inspiration
  • By Ashleigh Simmons
  • Published 09 January 2018
  • Revised 10 January 2023
  • Published 09 January 2018
  • Revised 10 January 2023

When it comes to paradise, both Mauritius and the Maldives spring to mind. The decision of where to go just got a whole lot easier.

These Indian Ocean gems boast endless views of cerulean waters, powder-white sands and pure tranquillity for hours on end. Mauritius and the Maldives are spectacular destinations that cater for honeymooning couples, adventure lovers and families of every size.

But which location is perfect for you to live out your holiday dreams?

Winged Boots has made this decision easy for you so all that’s left to do is pick up the phone, tell us your choice and simply watch your perfect getaway fall into place. Let's dive into Mauritius vs Maldives. 

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Let's go to the beach

Mauritius beach
Maldives beach with overwater bungalows in distance

Mauritius: You certainly won't be disappointed with a beach holiday in Mauritius. Boasting excellent beaches wherever you turn, you’ll be entered into a heavenly dream with one step on to the sands of Ile des Deux Cocos. This incredible island is a haven of tranquillity that’s fringed with calm cerulean waters and powder-white sands that are perfect for soaking up the rays. For those who prefer their beach experience with a little more exhilaration, watersports are always accessible and designed to give you thrills, laughs and an abundance of unforgettable memories.
Maldives: This destination is iconic for its beautiful beaches that are simply the definition of perfection. With sand so soft you’ll feel as if you’re walking on clouds and waters so translucent that they resemble a sparkling mirror, you may as well set up camp right there on the shore. Plus, there’s a beach in Mudhdhoo that looks like something directly out of a Disney movie. When night falls, there are microscopic organisms in the sand which react with the water tension to give off illuminous shimmering light. Don’t believe us? See for yourself!

Wildlife to remember

Ile aux Aigrettes, Mauritius
Manta ray in the Maldives

Mauritius: Ile aux Aigrettes, a small island nature reserve off the south-east coast of the mainland. Under the care of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, the island has become a haven for endangered species from plants to wildlife. It's perhaps most famous resident is the giant tortoise. The species native to Mauritius sadly suffered the same fate as the dodo and went extinct. However, tortoises were brought over from Seychelles and are now making a comeback. You can see these magnificent creatures plodding freely across the island when you do a wildlife tour. Plus, your money goes directly to supporting conservation. 

Maldives: As for what to do in the Maldives, this destination is the ultimate go-to for aquatic adventures and marine wildlife that are out of this world. Those staying at One&Only Reethi Rah can embark on a memorable voyage onboard a yacht, catamaran or traditional Maldivian dhoni and can enjoy animal encounters with rays, turtles and whale sharks. There’s more where that came from. One of the best wildlife experiences in the Maldives is in the waters of the Baa Atoll. Hanifaru Bay is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and from May to November, it's home to manta rays and whale sharks. Grab a snorkel, go with a guide and swim with these serene creatures. Although, large, they're gentle giants and only feed on plankton!

Calories don't count

Authentic Mauritius market with colourful produce
Seafood dinner in Maldives

Mauritius: If you’ve come to Mauritius to eat, you certainly won’t be disappointed. With the island’s cuisine an affluent combination of Chinese, Creole, French and Indian dishes, your taste buds are sure to be tantalised from start to finish. If there’s one thing you have to try while in this gorgeous country, it’s an authentic curry and we promise – it’ll be like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. Although using the same base to a traditional Indian curry, Creole curries have less spice but a whole lot of flavour and are served with rice or bread, lentils and a variety of delicious chutneys. Have a sweet tooth? Mauritius also produces some of the world’s best sugar which is used in an abundance of tasty desserts found throughout the island.
Maldives: With the sparkling ocean occupying large amounts of the Maldives, it’s no surprise that fish is dominant in a lot of the Maldivian diet. The cuisine is a large influence of Arabic, Indian and Oriental flavours which are sure to be miles above your local takeaway. Coconut lovers are in luck too, as this furry fruit is in abundance on the islands and is used as a staple ingredient in a plethora of local dishes. But, for those who prefer their food from dry land and without coconut, there’s plenty to fill your stomach with. International cuisine is easily found in the Maldives, perfect if you want to stick to home comforts while on holiday. Oh, and remember, its best to stick to bottled water just to be on the safe side.

Dive if you dare

Diver ready to hit the Indian Ocean
Couple scuba diving with turtle and other colourful marine life

Mauritius: Although not as popular for diving as the Maldives, Mauritius’ underwater kingdom most certainly can’t be ignored. There are also plenty of PADI dive centres dotted throughout the island which provide a memorable experience and a professional service. If you want to ease yourself in to the diving world, Mauritius offers a brilliant Underwater Walk that’s perfect for seeing gorgeous marine life up close and personal. With a speedboat that picks you up from Grand Baie, you’ll voyage to the north side of the island and, after a quick safety briefing, be equipped with a helmet with a transparent visor. The experience immerses you around four metres below the surface so all you need is a swimming costume and plenty of enthusiasm!
Maldives: The Maldives takes the top spot for diving in the Indian Ocean – and it has the accolades to prove it. The crystal-clear waters of every part of this gorgeous island are just waiting to be explored so grab your snorkel and your flippers and get ready to dive below the surface. Many of the luxury resorts in The Maldives have a PADI dive centre on-site, ideal for those who are pros at the underwater experience or complete beginners in search of trying something new. Explore below the surface and be greeted by large schools of vibrant fish, reef sharks and colourful coral that have to be seen to be believed. If you’re desperate to swim with turtles, both the South Malé Atoll and the South Ari Atoll areas are prime locations.

Luxury awaits you

Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa Luxury Mauritius holiday
Luxury Maldives hotel One&Only Reethi Rah

Mauritius: This beautiful destination is home to a whole host of incomparable properties that will have you returning over and over again. With fantastic cuisine, five-star amenities and everything in between, the hotels dotted throughout this heavenly island are nothing short of the best of the best.

We all know that a personal touch can make all the difference while on holiday and you certainly won’t be let down by the fantastic hospitality and staff that go above and beyond to ensure your getaway is as seamless and relaxing as possible. If you’re simply dizzy with choice, let Claire Baker, one of our personal travel managers, put her two cents in:

“If you’ve never experienced perfection – now is the time. Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa is truly out of this world, located on the West Coast of the island and just minutes away from the nearest beach. Have a deep tissue massage at the spa and thank me later,” Claire Baker, personal travel manager.

Maldives: There certainly isn’t a shortage of luxury hotels and resorts that are guaranteed to cater to your every need here. Despite all the fabulous activities that are available off-site, staying put in your fabulous hotel definitely won’t be frowned upon – yes, they really are that amazing. Boasting some of the best names in the hotel industry such as Jumeirah, Four Seasons and Shangri-La, visiting the Maldives is nothing short of faultless. Think elegant over-water villas, top-notch hospitality and a whole host of brilliant facilities that will have you smiling from check-in to check-out. Too much to choose from? Take a look at what our managing director, David Ox, had to say about the fabulous One&Only Reethi Rah:

 “I recently just spent my honeymoon in The Maldives staying at the gorgeous One&Only Reethi Rah and it was a truly decadent experience. The over-water villas are honestly something out of a fairy tale and the staff treat you like nothing less than royalty,” David Ox, Managing Director.

The Maldives versus Mauritius: which is better?

Le Morne, Mauritius
Seaplane in the Maldives

If you're still stuck between the Maldives and Mauritius, we've answered some of your most burning questions below: 

I’m travelling with my kids who are under 10 and a little fussy. Where should I go that will accommodate them with ease?

If you’re on the hunt for an Indian Ocean destination that’s suitable for the little ones too, you can’t go wrong with either Mauritius or the Maldives. Most of the resorts have incredible Kids' Club facilities that will keep the children occupied for hours as well as including some amazing opportunities for children to learn about the local environment and wildlife. Many resorts also offer additional babysitting services, so parents can still indulge in luxurious date nights in this romantic destination. 

I’m torn between Mauritius and the Maldives for my honeymoon destination. Which would you say is more on the romantic side?

The Maldives or Mauritius for a honeymoon is a particularly tricky question, but we can help. It goes without saying that the Maldives is the quintessential honeymoon destination. Pure paradise in every way, this Indian Ocean gem boasts tranquillity and relaxation of the tallest order and, most importantly, seclusion. It’s the perfect spot for bringing in the first days of married life. However, everything the Maldives offers Mauritius also has in abundance but with the potential opportunity for more adventure and activity, so it totally depends on what kind of honeymoon you are looking for.  

When’s the best time of year to visit the islands? 

Mauritius is at its sunniest, coolest and driest between the months of May and December. In the Maldives, you’ll experience the best weather from November through to April. Both have decent length good weather seasons and are a good options for a winter sun get away from the UK. 

I’m planning to spend my entire time getting spa treatments. Where would you suggest?

If we really had to pick one, it’d be the Maldives. The tranquil and picturesque setting will make that massage twice as relaxing.

My friends and I always love trying something new on holiday. Where’s the best place for our adventures?

Definitely Mauritius. There's plenty of wildlife, walks and incredible attractions. 

I want a holiday in an overwater bungalow. Where should I go? 

The Maldives is the destination for you. It's particularly well-known for its gorgeous luxury overwater villas and bungalows, with top ones including Soneva Fushi, Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas and Joali Maldives. 

There's only one place where you'll find overwater villas in Mauritius  and that's Constance Prince Maurice!

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