Renting a car is one of the best ways to get around Mauritius. Although a bit more expensive than taking the bus or a taxi, car rental offers the luxury of enjoying the country's scenery and culture at your own pace. You can stop at a local restaurant or for a brief chat with a local anytime you want. You pay a fixed price and do not have to worry about constantly haggling with taxi drivers.
Car rental companies have stands at the airports and in hotels. Although it is generally more convenient to rent a car in these places, you can also find car rental companies along the road within Mauritius. Chances are rentals are less costly in these locations. So you have the choice of taking a taxi for sometime and then finding a car rental store as you move around the country. International companies are still your best bet however in terms of service and reliability, although there are a number of local car rental companies that can offer good service at relatively lower prices.
The price of car rental could be as low as 25 Euros per day, depending on the car model, the number of rental days and the charges included. Small, economy cars (mini cars and sub compacts) are priced lowest. You can rent a Suzuki Maruti or a Suzuki Alto Zen VXI at around 25 Euros per day while a Suzuki Alto and a Fiat Punto fall at about the same range: 35 to 45 Euros. Standard sedans such as Nissan March and Nissan Sunny are slightly more expensive at around 45 to 55 Euros. Those who have more money to spare can rent luxury sedans (Alfa Romeo or BMW 318i) for as low as 90 Euros. People carriers such as Nissan X-Trail and Nissan Terrano are actually slightly cheaper than luxury sedans. You can rent these vehicles for about 80 Euros although some companies offer them for as much as 105 Euros.
It would be more economical to rent a car for a longer span of time as car rental prices decrease for a larger number of days. A Nissan Sunny, for example, could be rented for 43-55 Euros for 1 to 6 days but the prices fall to 35-45 Euros when rented for 11 days or more. A Mercedes Benz could be availed for as low as 75 Euros (usual price: 95-115 Euros) when rented for more than 16 days.
Car rental prices also differ with regards to the charges included in the price. Usually, the rent already includes Unlimited Mileage and Personal Accident Insurance. There are some companies who may slightly higher as their charges include a Collision Damage Waiver. When a renter signs this, he is discharged from the responsibility of paying for car damages in the event of an accident. A Theft Protection Waiver may also be signed by the renter, which enables him to pay only a certain amount (only a portion of the actual damages) in case the car gets stolen. The prices mentioned here are exclusive of petrol and a 15% VAT so take these into consideration when computing for your car rental budget.
There are, however, a few things to think about before you decide on a car rental. Cars are right hand driven and drivers in Mauritius drive at the left hand side of the road so it would require a bit of an adjustment for drivers used to driving at the right side of the road. The renter should be at least 21 years old and must be a holder of a driver's license for at least one year.
Deciding on a car rental is indeed a sensible way of enjoying the beauty of Mauritius. Just choose your companies well and read everything before you sign (as there might be 'hidden" charges), and you will be off to a great vacation in Mauritius.