MAURITIUS ISLAND FAQ`S
How do I get from the airport to my hotel?If you have not booked a private transfer with us, you have a few options, such as bus, taxi, or rental car.
What is Mauritius known for?
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.
What are the best places to visit in Mauritius?
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.
Is Mauritius Island a safe place to visit?Yes, crime is low on Mauritius island. However, like anywhere, petty crime does occur, so it is advisable to be cautious of pickpocketing and bag snatching in heavily populated areas and keep your sense about you.
Can I use my mobile phone? Is Wi-Fi available on the island.
Yes, your cell phone will work in Mauritius, but roaming charges are high, it is advisable to check with your cell phone provider to be sure you are set to make and receive calls while traveling internationally and for potential roaming charges. You can purchase a local, pre-paid SIM card on your trip.
Wi-Fi is available in most hotels and many restaurants and bars.
When is the best time to visit Mauritius?
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.
What is the best way to get around Mauritius?
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.
What is the currency of Mauritius?
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.
It is generally not difficult to exchange local sterling, euros and US dollars for Mauritian Rupee on the island. There are also ATMs where you make cash withdrawals.
Do people speak English in Mauritius?
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.
Is Mauritius a family friendly destination?
Mauritius is a great destination for a family vacation with several resorts throughout the country accommodating those of all ages. With much to do it is not only for couples, although this is a significant part of their tourism.
What should I buy to bring home from Mauritius?
Mauritius Rum is always a good bet and you are allowed up to 2 liters, Dodo Souvenirs - long extinct the Dodo is featured on many small souvenir items, Tea is also very popular with a wide variety of blends, the Ravanne - a percussion instrument - made from dried leaves of vacoas (common screwpine) - from the Tante Bazaar.
What are the main annual events on Mauritius Island?
Chinese New Year - late January or early February at the beginning of the Chinese lunar calendar. Events include feasting, fireworks and parades with lion and dragon dances. The main events take place in China Town, Port Louis.
Thaipoosum Cavadee - This Tamil Hindu festival takes place annually at the cusp of January and February. It sees devotees, many with pierced tongues, cheeks or with limes hanging from their skin by hooks, bearing ornate cavadees to the temple while in a trance-like state.
Maha Shivaratree - During late February or early March, Hindus from all over Mauritius dress in white and walk to collect holy water from the volcanic Grand Bassin Lake.
Holi Festival - This colorful Hindu festival takes place in February in Mauritius, celebrating a good harvest with parades, music, dancing, and by throwing colored powder and water on each other for luck.
Eid-Ul-Fitr Festival - usually takes place towards the end of September and is a Muslim festival celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Break the fast celebrations include prayers, feasting, gift-giving, and charity.
Diwali - The annual festival of lights, Diwali, is celebrated by the large Hindu population of Mauritius to mark the triumph of good over evil. It takes place in late October or early November and is characterized by cake eating and the lighting of candles, electric bulbs and earthen lamps.
International Kreol Festival - Established in 2005, the International Kreol Festival is a four day event taking place in early December to celebrate Creole culture in Mauritius. Activities include traditional dancing, music and games, culminating with an all night grand concert on the final day.
What is the food/drink like?
Mauritian cuisine is a melting pot of the various cultures living on the island. The local cuisine originates from three different continents and incorporates Indian, Chinese, Creole and European influences. Common ingredients include tomatoes, ginger, garlic, onions and chilies, fresh fruit and seafood. Spices play a major role in many dishes and preferred spices include saffron, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Mauritian chefs are known for “savoir-faire”, using traditional and local ingredients to create modern dishes.
The people of Mauritius produce their own cane rum. A cocktail using this rum is served with coconut water and a dash of lime. Local beer includes Phoenix while the French Black Eagle Beer is also popular. Sodas and fresh fruit juices are widely available, however, a favorite drink amongst the locals is Alouda, a milk drink prepared with basil seeds.
What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?
for Emergencies, dial 999
The most popular clinics and hospitals for tourists in Mauritius:
Anavara Medical Tourism in Moka, Address: One Way Road Quartier Militaire, Moka 81106, Phone Number: +230 5258 5717, +230 5902 1660, Languages: French, English.
Clinique Derriere in Curepipe, Address: Nouvelle clinique Ferriere, College Lane, Curepipe, Phone Number: +230 676 3332, Languages: French, English.
Clinique du Nord in Baie du Tombeau, Address: Royal Road, Pointe aux Canonniers, Phone Number: +230 263 1010, Languages: French, English.
Tips to stay health in Mauritius:
- Drink plenty of water, Remember, it's a tropical island with the sun pretty much omnipresent all year round so be sure to keep hydrated.
- Never neglect your sunscreen, especially if you're visiting the beach in during midday.
- Bring mosquito repellent - Because it is a tropical island, you'll certainly encounter more than your fair share of mosquitoes and bugs during the summer months, especially if you're visiting a woodsy area.