Mauritius emerges as panacea to the soul. Lip smacking cuisines, mesmerising beaches, friendly people, overwhelming opulence, and captivating terrestrial and marine wild life are just some of the charms that combine together to cast a spell upon the visitor. Spellbinding scenery of this island nation is alone enough to captivate your senses. Mauritius also boasts a legendary history. Discovered by sailors from Arabia sometime back in the 9th century the country later on passed through Dutch, French, and British colonial rule and finally became an autonomous parliamentary democracy.
- Location – Southwest Indian Ocean
- Time Zone – GMT + 4
- Government – Parliamentary Republic
- Area – 2,040 sq. kms.
- Population – 1,288,000 (as per 2008 figures).
- Currency – Mauritian Rupee (MUR)
- Calling Code – 230
- Official Language(s) – English and French
- Religion – Mainly Hinduism, followed by Christianity and Islam
- Visa information – Travellers should contact their relevant embassy/consulates or get in touch with their travel agents for checking visa guidelines.
Top Tourist Spots in Mauritius
Mauritius absolutely spoils one for choice. Whether it’s frolicking on sun kissed beaches, visiting tremendous sightseeing attractions, or indulging in satiating retail therapy, the destination offers infinite charms. While adrenalin junkies can get their high by going rock climbing, trekking, or trying out water sports, those with slightly tamer tastes will also find enough to have their hands full. Check out amazing remnants of the French colonial era at Port Louis. The place is also the gateway to the most famed beaches and resorts, including Flic and Flacq and Grand Baie. Absolutely not to be missed is the Pamplemousses Gardens, often billed as the number one attraction of Mauritius. Those with a passion for swimming would do well to throw a trip to Perehere, while Trou aux Biches seems unbeatable when it comes to snorkeling. The Black River Gorges National Park, ‘The Eureka House’, and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute prove perfect for a day of sightseeing. However, before one calls it a day in Mauritius, it is imperative to set the night on fire at one of the many electrifying night haunts.
Shopping Attractions in Mauritius
Shopping in Mauritius makes for a heady experience. Be it the latest branded goods and trendy designer wear or traditional art and craft products of the country, Mauritius has enough to indulge the most die hard shopaholic. Those looking for stylish luxury goods, jewellery, and electronic items can save enormous chunks of money by shopping for the same at duty free outlets. To combine shopping with an exhilarating insight into this island nation’s character, head to the Port Louis market. In Mauritius, there is no dearth of shopping arcades and centres. Mauritius is also a great hunting ground for excellent but cheap clothes and charming little souvenirs.
Eating out in Mauritius
Being the melting pot of some great cultures, the destination has been richly endowed with a great heritage. A legendary culinary scene reflects part of this heritage. The major highlights are Indian and Mughlai dishes like dal (thick lentil soup), different curries, and biryanis. Some of the most popular local foods are gateaux pigments, rougaille, samosas (puffs), and octopus curry. Mauritius is also quite famous for sweets. The drinking scene is also worth a lot. The local cane rum guarantees full money’s worth, while the ‘Phoenix’ beer ranks amongst the best in the world.
Mauritius is full of hotels and many of them are situated right on the coast. The standards of service rank amongst the finest in the Indian Ocean. The 5 star hotel density in the country is supposedly the highest in the world. Mauritius also abounds with plenty of budget accommodation facilities such as beach bungalows, villas, lodges, colonial outhouses, self catering campements, and family-run chambre d’hotes. The areas around Grand Baie and Flic-en-Flac offer plenty of choice to budget travellers. Here are some of the most popular hotels in Mauritius.
Find the latest airfares and discounted offers on flights to Mauritius operating from UK.
Preferred Airlines to Mauritius from UK
Airports in Mauritius
The (Mauritius) Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is located about 40 kms from the capital, Port Louis and about 6 kms from Mahebourg.
Best Time to Visit Mauritius
Endowed with a tropical maritime climate, the Mauritian coast stays sunny and pleasant throughout the year. At all times of the year, sea breezes caress the island, especially the east coast. Furthermore, the inland central plateau surrounding Curepipe stays cool and rainy across the year. The temperature variation in the different seasons is pretty minor. The winters are balmy and dry and last from May to October. November to April is the summer season and the weather stays hot, humid, and rainy. Mauritius may be skipped from December to March as this is the time of tropical cyclones.
Mauritius Culture and Lifestyle
Mauritius is a mish mash of wonderful cultural practices, some of them going back thousands of years in time. Furthermore, over the last 500 years or so, this island nation has become the melting pot of European, Indian, Chinese, African, and myriad other ethnicities. Such a rich diversity in so small a place has infused bustling character to this city. Churches, mosques, temples, and Chinese pagodas all stand together in harmony. Chinese New Year, Cavadee, Christmas, Diwali, Eid Al-Fitr, and Père Laval are celebrated with great fervour. A vital ingredient of Mauritian culture is the country’s folklore, which is manifested through captivating song and dance sequences. While, the electrifying Sega is perhaps the most common dance, sophisticated Indian as well as spellbinding Chinese Lion and Dragon dance forms also command a cult following.
Money exchange facilities are available with banks and bureaux de change. Use traveller’s cheques rather than cash for a better exchange rate. Mauritius Commercial Bank is amongst the agencies offering fastest service.
Travel Tips for holidays in Republic of Mauritius
- The most common way to greet someone is to shake hands.
- Respect local traditions, especially when visiting someone’s home. Carrying a gift is appreciated.
- Personal religious beliefs play a major role in determining social interaction.
- Dressing is informal. However, particular formal occasions require men to wear a suit.
- Public hospitals offer good quality free medical treatment. However, medical insurance is recommended as private clinics are quite costly.
- Petty crime may be a problem issue and it is unadvisable to stray into unfamiliar areas especially after dark.
- Keep away from unlicensed taxis or unauthorised guided tours.
- Stonefish stings, though not common, may prove fatal.
- Mosquitoes are a matter of concern. Take adequate precautions like using mosquito repellents and sleeping under mosquito nets.
- Vaccinations for hepatitis and typhoid are highly recommended.
- Vaccination certificates are not mandatory for entering Mauritius. However, visitors arriving from countries, where yellow fever is prevalent or has been categorised as endemic, do need a certificate.
(Note: This destination guide is not exhaustive and is based on information gathered from reliable resources available on the internet. Southall Travel holds no responsibility for any misrepresentation of facts and will not be in any way liable for any kind of eventuality arising from the use of information given in this guide).