Located off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, the idyllic island of Mauritius is a remarkably romantic holiday destination. Renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, gorgeous powder-white sand beaches and a wonderful tropical climate, most visitors spend their days relaxing on beaches or in one of the many luxurious holiday resorts fringing them, but there is much more to this little island than merely cocktails and coconuts. Those who venture inland will discover lush, jungle-clad mountains, glistening blue lagoons, impressive rivers and waterfalls, extinct volcanic craters, charming little ramshackle towns and villages, and some fabulously friendly locals. Must-see attractions include: the bustling capital of Port Louis with its lively local markets; the remarkable 85 metre-high Chamarel Waterfall; and Eureka, a historic plantation mansion turned museum offering visitors a glimpse into the island's colonial past.
Banking and Currency
The currency in Mauritius is the Mauritian rupee - MUR or rs, which is divided into 100 cents
Do not change money in your home country as you are likely to get a lower exchange rate. The rate in Mauritius is much better. When you arrive at the airport in Mauritius you will see a host of exchange bureaus at the arrival halls. Just bring your own currency and change it over there for a better deal. If you do not manage to change at the arrival halls there are branches of Thomas Cook and Shibani Finance in the popular tourist areas of Grand Baie and Flic en Flac.
Banks are open from Monday to Friday 09h15 to 15h15 and Saturday from 09h1 to 11h15 (Some banks only).
Credit cards are normally accepted by banks and most hotels, restaurants and tourist shops.
Travel, Transport and Getting Around
One major highway runs north to south, otherwise a good network of paved, if sometimes narrow, roads cover the island. There are numerous car hire firms include major international and independent firms. People in Mauritius drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Taxis are regulated and metered and linked to provinces or hotels, printed on a yellow panel on the drivers' door. Bus and taxi services are best used in urban areas. Bicycles and motorbikes are also available for hire.
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
Mauritius is a paradise for the senses, not only for the eyes with its beautiful landscape but also for the palate. Featuring culinary traditions from France, India, China and Africa, the best-known and appreciated cuisines in the world, have been passed on through generations.
Depending on the region, rice or a variety of flatbread called chapattis or roti, called farata (paratha) by the local people, is eaten with curries. The extensive use of spices like saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and herbs like thyme, basil, and curry leaves are the common ingredients that provide some powerful, yet subtle, savour.
You can buy many snacks on the streets of Mauritius. Mauritians have a sweet tooth and make many types of 'gateaux', as they are called. The cakes vary and you can find cakes very much like those in France and others similar to Indian sweets like Gulab Jamun and Rasgulla among many others.
Mauritius produces a wide range of cane rum. Don't forget the coconut water with a dash of lime and a splash of local rum over ice. The local beer Phoenix and is usually served very cold.
The local water is relatively clean and the Mauritians drink it. You need therefore have no fear if you use it for cleaning your teeth etc. However, it is better you boil the water before drinking it or buy bottled water which is freely available in the local shops or at hotels and resorts.
Climate and Weather
The hottest time of the year on Mauritius is December / March when you can expect temperatures of 30 degrees C (approx. 90 F) but with less humidity. There is always a breeze from the ocean however so that most people will find it pleasant. Cyclones (tropical storms) can also occurr during this period.
For those people who do not enjoy warm weather or want a more active holiday, we recommend going in July/August when the temperature is 24-26 C. On the coast the temperature can go down to 16-18 C during the night so that we recommend taking a pullover.
As you can see the variation of temperature on Mauritius is small such that enjoyable holidays can be spent there at any time of the year. Although the weather is normally sunny it does rain. The rain showers are normally short and are a pleasant change from the sun.
Clothing and Dress Recommendations
Men can usually spend most of the time in short trousers unless you want to enter a hotel for the evening, in this case long trousers are required. Additionally the maid in the house washes and returns clothes by the next day so that you do not need to take much with you. Do not overload your suitcase with unnecessary clothes. Leave some room for any shopping that you do on Mauritius.
Mauritius has a well advanced textile industry so that instead of taking all your holiday clothes with you might consider buying them locally on the local market. The shops are full of ready to wear polo shirts, T-shirts, shorts, shirts, trousers, pullovers, dresses and beachwear at low prices.
Disposable nappies for babies cost about 2 times the price on Mauritius as they do in Europe. We recommend either taking enough with you or taking nappies which the maid can wash.
Most accommodation offers Wifi (free or paid) in their business centres, rooms or restaurants. Internet cafes are found in most business areas and shopping malls. In addition, some restaurants offer WiFi access (free or paid).
Electricity and Plug Standards
Current is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. A three-point round-pin adapter plug should be brought for your electrical appliances - such adapters are also available at major airports.