Mauritius, or officially known as the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 350 miles east of Madagascar. This nation forms part of the Mascarene Islands and is mainly based on the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues.
Mauritius is a beautiful island nation known for its sandy beaches, palm trees and turquoise waters. The island is renowned for having been the only recorded home of the now extinct dod but it has many other rare and endemic species of plants and animals.
Visitors to Mauritius are welcomed to the islands world-renowned beaches and further inland, the central plateau offers incredible views over the island. Water sports are typically the top on most visitors lists but Mauritius is also the home to world-class golf and the famous Champs-de-Mars horse races.
Mauritius has so much to offer beyond just it`s beaches. A boat trip to Reunion Island is just one of the many sea adventures and those who enjoy hiking should consider visiting Tamarin Falls in the south-west of the island which is a collection of stunning waterfalls well worth the effort. Rare plants and birds can be found at Black River Gorges, the county`s only national park and a more formal example of tropical gardening can be found at the Pamplemouses Royal Botanical Gardens. On the tiny Ile aux Aigrettes, the giant tortoise, pink pigeon and Mauritius kestrel can be found.
Mauritius has two UNESCO World Heritage sites both dedicated to the injustices of the past. In the extreme south-west, the Le Morne Cultural Landscape, featuring the huge Le Morne Brabant Monolith is a reminder that this rock and its almost inaccessible caves provided refuge for runaway slaves. Further up the coast at Port Louis`s Bay of Trou Fanfaron, stands the indentured labor camp of Aapravasi Ghat which was the reception point for all of the Indian laborers brought in to take the place of the slaves.
In the south-west of Mauritius are the Chamarel plans. There is a small section of sand exposed to the air which has a spectacular variation of color. The different colors separate giving the dunes a striped appearance. Despite the area, experiencing tropical rainfall the dunes never seems to erode.
Mauritius enjoys a relatively mild climate. Although temperatures are rather moderate throughout the year with occasional rainfall, the most pleasant times to visit the island are between the months of April and June and between September and December. As Mauritius is located in the southern hemisphere, the summer and winter months are opposite to seasons in the United States.
We recommend 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in larger cities.
The island has a distinct network of roads, with the three main ones being:
-M3, which links Terre Rouge to Verdun in the North, passing through Port-Louis, the capital.
-M2, which links Port Louis to the tourist village of Grand Baie, in the North of the island.
-M1, which links the airport in the South East to Port Louis. This is the most important road on the island since it also passes through the largest cities of Curepipe, Vacoas, Quatre-Bornes, Phoenix, Beau-Bassin Rose Hill and Mika.
The roads in Mauritius extend across an expanse of around 1,300 miles, with around 4% of it dedicated only to the motorways which fork out in smaller secondary roads.
By Taxis: The easiest (and fastest) way to go around Mauritius is by car. If you stay in a villa in Mauritius, you can easily arrange a car and driver to take you around the island. Taxis are available in every corner of the island and in front of every major shopping mall, but these can be quite expensive. Mauritian taxis do not come with meters, so the price is normally established by the driver. Be sure to ask for the price beforehand. It is also wise to avoid hotel taxis since these can be notoriously expensive.
By Bus: The cheaper and primary mode of public transportation on the island is by bus. You will see several sheltered bus-stops on every road of the island. The transport schedule generally depends on the bus route, but in most cases, you can expect a bus to go by every 10 to 30 minutes. While there is no bus app in Mauritius, you can check www.mauritius-buses.com for schedules. However, the website is not entirely reliable, so locals often prefer to check the schedule directly with the station master. At some bus stops, the different bus routes and times can be found plastered on the wall. There are no bus passes in Mauritius, but tickets can run between 30 to 60 MUR.
By Bicycle: In remote villages, locals also get around by bicycles. This is something you might want to do if you love enjoying Mauritius sceneries at your own pace. The majority of hotels do offer bicycle rentals on a daily or weekly basis. The bikes can range between 800 to 1500 MUR per day.
The local currency is the Mauritian Rupee (MUR) and currency exchange facilities are widely available including at the airport where ATM machines can offer this service. Occasionally some establishments such as hotels or restaurants may accept payment by foreign currency but this is the exception rather than the rule and Mauritian Rupees are almost always required.
Mauritius is truly multicultural and multilingual and for most visitors, it seems strange that so many different languages can be in everyday use. English is the official language but rather bizarrely, few Mauritians are fluent in spoken English. The language most widely used on a daily basis is Mauritian Creole which is heavily influenced by French. The Creole form of greeting is `Bonzour` rather than `Bonjour`. English is a major written language and is also the language used in schools. We suggest you get a good English-Mauritian Creole guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.