The bus is your best option for transportation on Mauritius, and it's how most people get around. As there is no direct bus from one end of the island to another, you must transfer. The only drawback to the
bus is that your trip will take longer than with a taxi, as every time someone needs to get on or off, it means another stop. Taking the bus also gives you the chance to see the island the way it really is,
at a slightly slower up-close pace. Instead of just one Bus Company for the island, there are actually quite a few -- and while they all generally operate in the same fashion, they each specialize in different
areas and routes. For those staying in Grand Baie or elsewhere in the north, you'll need to take a bus from the airport to either Port Louis or Curepipe, and transfer there to a bus headed up north.
There IS a scheduled, non-stop express bus that departs from Port Louis to Grand Baie for Rs35/US $ 1.10
You cannot leave the airport without having dozens of taxi touts asking where you want to go, and then volunteering to take you there -- but you don't need to rely on a taxi to get you to your destination.
There is a bus stop just outside the airport: from the terminal, walk about 100m straight and keep going right through the car park. On the other side of the car park is only a bus stop that serves buses going
to Curepipe and Mahebourg. Besides a driver, each bus has a conductor responsible for collecting the fares... you don't pay as you enter, but once you take your seat, the conductor will walk down the aisle
and collect the fare. When an inspector comes on board, you'll be asked to produce your ticket as proof that you've paid your fare.
The fare from the airport to Curepipe is Rs32/US$ 1, and from Curepipe to Port Louis, the express bus is also Rs32/US$1. The buses themselves are old, though well-maintained with cushioned seats, and
their drivers personalize them by giving them names, hanging statues of gods from the mirror, and occasionally putting on some Indian music. Along the way, the
buses pass right through the island's small towns, and it's interesting to look out the window at life here: at the Indian and Chinese storefronts, the small apartments and homes, the elementary schools, and
the children playing in the neighborhood.
The drive from the airport to Curepipe is generally uphill, and besides the sugar cane fields and knitwear plants, there's even a bit of forest that you pass through (the island once had miles of forest, which
over the years, has receeded to almost nothing). From Curepipe to Port Louis, the bus passes through the large town of Phoenix, where the local beer is made. From there, the expressway is used to go
downhill to Port Louis.
There is an express bus service from Mahebourg to Port Louis but it stops at the airport only when there are passengers going down there.
Text by Larry Greenfield