Useful Information about Mauritius
The magnificent island nation of Mauritius is a spectacular destination for memorable honeymoons, adventurous getaways with your favourite people and exceptional family holidays. With stunning natural landscapes, an eclectic culture, sublime local cuisine and a huge variety of activities on offer—there’s are many reasons it’s made its way onto many people’s bucket lists.
It’s also an easily accessible holiday destination (with many airlines flying to Mauritius directly), safe and easy to explore and enjoy. But to ensure your trip to Mauritius is as seamless as possible, here is some useful information about this magnificent destination:
- Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is the main airport in Mauritius.
- While there is technically no official language in Mauritius, English is widely spoken across the island (and is taught in schools), specifically in the hotels and resorts. Mauritian Creole is seen as the “main” language of the island (as it’s the language most commonly spoken) but hotel staff able to speak other languages (including French and German) are relatively easy to come by. Other ethnic languages spoken on the island include Hindi, Mandarin, Tamil, Marathi and Urdu.
- The island is culturally and ethnically diverse.
- The most widely accepted currency on the island is the local currency, the Mauritian Rupee (although some establishments might accept dollars or euros).
- The local timezone is GMT+4.
- The international dialling code for Mauritius is +230.
- Tipping in Mauritius is customary, but it’s often included in the bill (in hotels and restaurants). If it is not included, then it’s recommended to add 10% of the total as a tip, if the service received was good. Tipping is also expected for taxi drivers.
- British-style plug points (the three rectangular pins) and plug points with two round pins are commonly found in Mauritius. The voltage is 230V and the frequency is 50Hz.
- Major credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) are accepted at many establishments across the island and ATMs are generally easy to find (especially in the bigger towns and tourist hubs).
- Banks in Mauritius are generally open from Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 14:30
- The internet speed and connection in Mauritius is very good, and most hotels will offer complimentary WiFi.
In order to travel to Mauritius, you will need the following:
- A valid passport (that is valid for more than six months from the date of arrival).
- A visa. Not everyone requires a visa to enter Mauritius, so it’s important to determine beforehand if you require one.
- It’s always a good idea to keep copies of your important travel documents (plane tickets, passport, etc.) in a separate place to where you carry these items.
- It’s recommended to inform the embassy of your country in Mauritius of your travels and travel dates.
Health and vaccines
- There are no compulsory vaccines for Mauritius, but there are a few that are recommended.
- It's a good idea to ensure you have the right travel insurance for the type of trip want to take (for example, if you would like to dive, partake in certain water sports and activities,etc., then be sure that these are covered in your policy). Comprehensive travel insurance is recommended.
- It’s a good idea to check CDC Health Information for Travelers to Mauritius before you travel.
- There are some fish and invertebrates in the lagoons around Mauritius that can be dangerous or harmful such as sea urchins, lionfish and stonefish which is why it’s a good idea to wear shoes when swimming if possible. Ask at your hotel if these are typically found in the hotel lagoon and if you do come into contact with any of them seek medical attention immediately (many hotels will have anti-venom on hand as well as an in-house doctor).
- Private medical care in Mauritius is very good but can be costly (again, it’s important to have travel insurance).
- It’s best to always agree on a taxi fare before arriving at your destination as taxis in Mauritius have no metres (ask your accommodation to help you with this and use recommended service providers).
- Taxis are generally easy to find near tourist hubs, the airport and hotels.
- Be aware that taxi drivers may take you to specific stores or points of interest driven by commission agreements with said establishments.
- If you are interested in doing a day tour of Mauritius, it might be cheaper to hire a taxi instead of renting a car, and many of the taxi drivers double up as fantastic guides.
- The public transport system (busses) is reasonable, extensive and fairly safe.
- Visitors can rent cars here but it’s important to know that people drive on the left side of the road, and give right of way to traffic from the right. Roads aren’t very well marked and are often very narrow and can be badly maintained. Pedestrians, motorbikes and animals present some challenges, especially at night.
You are required to have a legitimate driving licence to drive here (for example, you can drive with your UK driving licence) but it needs to be on you at all times.
Gas stations can be found throughout the island.
If you have an accident, it’s important to report it to the nearest police station immediately.
The weather in Mauritius is tropical, which makes for a warm and dry winter and a hot and humid summer.
- Only book your stay at accommodation that is licensed with the Tourism Authority to ensure safety standards are up to scratch.
- As a precaution, it’s a good idea to make use of the hotel safe for your valuables (including your passports and electronics). It’s also a good idea to alert your hotel as soon as possible if you lose or misplace your key/keycard.
- A variety of cultures and religions are practised on the island so it’s important to be respectful of the local observances and customs and to dress conservatively, especially when visiting religious sites (such as temples and shrines).
- There may also be a dress code for your resort’s restaurants in the evenings, so be sure to check this.
At the beach
- It’s best to keep valuables out of sight and safely stowed away while at the bach.
- Hawkers are often present, but it’s best to avoid buying items or seeking services of unauthorised sellers.
Shopping in Mauritius
- There are a host of different options for shopping in Mauritius from boutiques and factory stores to local markets and salls near the beach—there’s practically no limit on where to shop and the array of incredible items you can purchase in Mauritius.
- Be sure to ask the price of products before you make a purchase.
- Opening hours generally run from Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00 and on Saturdays, establishments are usually open to 09:00 to 12:00. In Port Louis, some shops close at noon on a Tuesday and in Curepipe, Rose Hill and Quatre Bornes they close at noon on Thursdays.
- Haggling, especially in the local markets, is common practice.
Points of interest
- There’s a huge array of incredible things to do and see in Mauritius. Some of the top points of interest include Le Morne Brabant, SSR Botanical Garden, Chamarel Seven Coloured Earth, Grand Bassin, among many others.
- The main cities and hubs include Port Louis (the capital city of Mauritius), Troux aux Biches, Grande Baie, Grande Gaube, Le Morne, Balaclava and Flic-en-Flac.
- The beaches in Mauritius are spectacular and make for a great place to spend a sun-filled day.
Water-based activities and excursions
- Only partake in water-based activities and excursions with legitimate service providers (find out from your hotel which they recommend).
- It’s important to respect the environment and any marine life you may come into contact with (dolphins, turtles, etc.) and to follow the codes of conduct during excursions.
Festivals in Mauritius
With a diverse cultural and religious landscape, Mauritius enjoys a plethora of special festivals, any of which are well worth experiencing for yourself. Here are some of the key festivals and observances in Mauritius.
- New Year (31st of December, 1 and 2 January)
- Chinese New Year (January/February)
- Thaipoosam Cavadee (January/February—a Tamil celebration)
- Maha Shivaratri (February/March—celebrated in honour of the Hindu god Shiva)
- Republic Day (12 March—to celebrate the independence of Mauritius)
- Ugadi New Year (March/April—New Year for Hindus from specific parts of India)
- Eid El-Fitr (June—to celebrate the end of Ramadan)
- Ganesh Chaturthi (August/September—Hindu festival in honour of the god Ganesha)
- Diwali (October/November—the Hindu festival of lights)
- All Saints’ Day (1 November—a Christian festival in celebration of all saints)
- Christmas (25 December)
- As with most destinations, there are instances of petty crime and it’s always good to be vigilant and store valuables away safely. Be cautious especially in the bigger cities of Mauritius and known tourist areas.
- Take safety precautions as you would elsewhere in the world, and avoid walking alone at night on beaches and in dark and desolate areas.
- Note that the possession or importation of cigarette papers is illegal.
- Medication brought into the country needs to have been obtained legally and you need to have copies of the prescriptions. It’s best to check with the Mauritian Health Ministry to see what can be brought in and what needs to be presented to authorities if requested.
- The use of and smuggling of drugs is illegal and dealt with harshly.
- It’s a largely conservative country, so ensure you are respectful of the local laws and customs at all times.
- Police: 999 or 112
- Fire Services: 995 or 115
- SAMU Ambulances: 114
- National Directory: 150
- Tourist Info: 152
- Weather: 171 and 96 for cyclone reports