Mauritius is a beautiful island nation in the Indian Ocean known for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and lush landscapes. Here are some travel tips to help you make the most of your trip to Mauritius:
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Mauritius is during the shoulder seasons of spring (September to December) and fall (April to June). The weather is pleasant, and you can avoid the peak tourist crowds.
Pack light and breathable clothing, swimsuits, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, sunglasses, and comfortable walking shoes. Don’t forget your travel adapter for charging devices.
The island uses 220 volts, 50 Hz. Both British-style three-pin and continental two-round-pin plugs are found – sometimes in the same building.
Mauritius isn’t a cheap destination, but it does offer something for all budgets. Opting for simple accommodations, purchasing groceries from local markets and shops, and utilizing the bus system can help save money. However, it is common for travellers to spend more while visiting Mauritius. Hotel restaurants tend to have higher prices similar to Western standards, making dining out for lunch a more economical choice. Additionally, it is important to factor in expenses for beverages, transportation, and day trips.
Value added tax (VAT) of 15% is either included in hotel and restaurant bills or charged separately.
A passport and return ticket is needed to buy duty-free items, which must be paid for by credit card or in foreign currency and collected at the airport.
Crime and personal safety
Mauritius is generally a safe destination, with a low crime rate and rare attacks on tourists. As Mauritian culture is predominately traditional and conservative, however, women should exercise some caution when travelling alone: cover up in public, avoid isolated beaches and dimly lit places at night and never invite strangers into your room.
Don’t leave valuables visible in public places (including hire cars) and watch out for pickpockets in crowded and heavily touristed areas such as Grand Baie. Pilfering from hotels does happen occasionally, so keep valuables locked in safes or at reception (with a receipt), and there have been break-ins to self-catering accommodation – opt for somewhere with decent security.
Bear in mind that there’s little regulation of tourism providers outside hotels, and illegal boat excursions or water sports providers may have equipment that’s not up to safety standards, so check boats are licensed for tourism. Accidents are the most common cause of holiday trouble: stick to roped-off swimming areas, which offer protection from motorized water vehicles, which are ever-increasing. A natural danger comes from cyclones, which can hit the island from January to March, so always abide by instructions.
Citizens of most Commonwealth and European countries don’t require a visa to enter Mauritius for up to ninety days. It is necessary to have a passport valid for at least six months, a return or onward ticket and accommodation address. If suspicious, the desk clerk may ask for proof of sufficient funds for your visit. Passengers 18 and over can import up to 250g tobacco; 1 litre of spirits; 2 litres of wine, ale or beer; 250ml of eau de toilette and 100ml perfume. Drug trafficking results in severe penalties.
Gay and lesbian travellers
Homosexuality is not culturally acceptable among the conservative communities which make up the majority of the population, and sodomy is illegal (for both sexes). European attitudes prevail in the many internationally owned and run hotels and resorts, with gay-friendly hotels embracing same-sex honeymoons, but it pays to be discreet elsewhere as public displays of affection may offend. To meet the Mauritian gay community, it’s best to go online.
Mauritius has no malaria, and no vaccinations are required to visit, but the mosquito-borne diseases dengue fever and Chikungunya are present. Use DEET-laced insect repellent liberally, particularly in the summer (November to April) and cover up even in the daytime in wooded areas. Don’t underestimate the strength of the sun either: pack or buy a hat on arrival, use high sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreen and keep a bottle of water handy for hydration.
Although theoretically, the island’s water is chemically treated and safe to drink, most expats boil it first or drink bottled water. Travellers would be advised to follow their lead, especially after a cyclone which can disrupt supply, just in case it causes minor stomach problems. The water isn’t treated on Rodrigues, so definitely opt for bottled water there. Food hygiene is of a generally good standard in hotels, and most travellers happily snack at small restaurants and street stalls without tummy trouble.
Mauritius also has no poisonous reptiles or dangerous animals. That said, sea urchins, stonefish and lionfish, found in Mauritian waters, are harmful, so protective shoes while swimming are recommended. Occasional packs of stray dogs can be daunting, but there’s a low rabies risk.
The standard of healthcare on the island is adequate for most problems, although visitors should opt to see a doctor at a reasonably-priced private clinic, who has most likely trained in France or the UK. Both public and private hospitals are available on the island and there are well-stocked pharmacies in most towns. There is more limited healthcare in Rodrigues.
Always take out an insurance policy before travelling to cover against theft, loss and illness or injury. Mauritius has decent everyday medical facilities, but in case something does go wrong, we recommend you have comprehensive travel and health insurance, including emergency evacuation cover. Be sure to check the fine print if you’re planning to do any adventure activities, as policies commonly exclude “dangerous activities”, which can include horseriding, jet-skiing, mountain climbing, diving and hiking.
Mauritius promotes itself as a cyber island, and high-speed internet access is offered at all hotels and resorts, most guesthouses, as well as restaurants and bars in the main tourist centre – although there may be a charge, or it may only be accessible in a designated area. Without a travellers’ scene, internet cafés aren’t common, but can usually be found in shopping centres, so the internet access on offer at post offices in tourist areas may prove more convenient.
For unlimited Wi-Fi on the go whilst travelling Mauritius, buy a Skyroam Solis, which works in 130+ countries at one flat daily rate, paid for on a pay-as-you-go basis. You can connect up to five devices at once. Prices start from as little as €5 a day.
The postal service on Mauritius is quick and reliable. It takes about a week to reach the UK and Europe from Mauritius, and about ten days to reach Australia, South Africa and the US. Larger hotels and resorts will post postcards and letters for you, and there are around a hundred post offices on the island, in most towns and villages, as well as the airport.
Hotels provide laundry service, but prices are almost equivalent to dry cleaning costs at home. Laundromats are found in the tourist centres of Grand Baie and Flic en Flac, and provide a much more cost effective option.
The unit of currency is the Mauritian rupee (MUR or Rs) which is divided into 100 cents. Hotel rates are quoted either in rupees or euros, and it’s possible to pay in euros at larger establishments. Local currencies have been used for hotel rates throughout the guide for the sake of comparison. Banks and ATMs are found in most towns and shopping centres, and there are moneychangers in tourist resorts such as Flic en Flac and Grand Baie, but there’s little difference between them. Credit cards (Visa and MasterCard) are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, car rental companies, and tourist shops and attractions. The Central Bank of Mauritius determines exchange rates.
The international direct dialling code for Mauritius is 230, followed by a seven-digit number for landlines. The prefix 5 has recently been added to mobile numbers and is often not reflected on business cards, so if a number isn’t working, try adding it. All phones have IDD and calling abroad costs about MUR15 a minute. Apart from LUX* Resorts, however, who have telephone boxes offering free calls, calling home from hotels and resorts can be up to ten times more expensive. Coverage for mobile phones is good in Mauritius (not as good in Rodrigues), and GSM phones can be set to roaming. With Mauritian mobile charges some of the lowest in the world, it’s worth unlocking GSM phones and buying a local SIM from either Emtel, Air Mauritius Building, President John Kennedy St, Port Louis (8970, emtel.com), or MyT, 9th floor, Mauritius Telecom Tower, Edith Cavell Street (8900, myt.mu).
Opening hours and public holidays
Business hours in Mauritius’s main cities are Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Banks open Monday to Thursday 9am to 3pm and Friday 9am to 5pm. Post offices open Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm and Saturday 8am to 11.45am. Shops are generally open Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 7.30pm, with some shops – for instance in the capital – also open until noon on Sundays. Shops in central plateau towns close for a half-day on Thursdays. Markets tend to start early and close around 4pm. Museums are open Monday to Sunday, with one closing day in the week, usually Tuesday or Wednesday. Tourist attractions’ opening times vary, although most are open daily. Restaurants tend to open from noon to 3pm for lunch and from 7pm to 10pm for dinner; many close on Sundays.
Mauritius standard time is four hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), with no daylight saving.
The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority or MTPA (+230 210 1545) is the main source of tourist information on the island, with a head office in Port Louis and information offices in SSR International Airport, Trou d’Eau Douce and Rodrigues. They publish a free island map, and booklet on island attractions, and you can pick up leaflets on attractions from their offices. Independent travellers on Mauritius tend to rely on their accommodation provider for information and arranging activities.
Travellers with disabilities
Mauritius tries to provide for disabled travellers, with ramps for wheelchairs at main tourist attractions, and Mauritians are kind and willing to help. Hotels and resorts have made some attempts to cater to travellers with disabilities, but as they are not required to construct special rooms, this mostly amounts to rooms on the ground floor, sometimes with steps to get there. Hotels which are adapted include Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa and Le Preskil Beach Resort. Unfortunately, public transport is difficult as buses have no ramps.
Renting a car is a popular option for exploring the island at your own pace. Alternatively, you can use taxis, buses, and even ride-sharing services to get around.
Don’t miss the opportunity to try the diverse and delicious Mauritian cuisine. Seafood dishes are a highlight, along with curries, samosas, and tropical fruits. Dholl puri, a type of flatbread, is a must-try street food.
In restaurants, a minimum of ten percent tip is usual, if not already added to your bill, although small local restaurants don’t expect it. The only tip expected at hotels is for porter service, but as tips for hotel staff have declined over recent years, try to give something for good service where you can. Taxi drivers don’t demand tips, but if attached to hotels will be used to receiving them.
Mauritius is undoubtedly the best place to get married in the Indian Ocean. It’s been voted among the top five spots to wed worldwide and the “Indian Ocean’s leading honeymoon destination” at the recent World Travel Awards – no surprise given the island’s natural beauty and the champagne breakfasts, gourmet dinners, couples spa treatments and beachside horserides on offer. Venues range from hotel beaches and gardens to catamarans, Robinson Crusoe-style Île des Deux Cocos private island and even underwater in a Blue Safari submarine. Couples need to arrange a marriage license in advance and must be on the island three days before the wedding for civil ceremonies, and fifteen days for religious weddings.
The official languages are English, French, and Mauritian Creole. English is commonly spoken in tourist areas, so communication shouldn’t be a problem.
Mauritius is a culturally diverse nation with influences from Indian, African, Chinese, and European cultures. Be respectful of local customs and traditions, especially when visiting religious sites.
While Mauritius boasts gorgeous beaches, it’s important to be mindful of local customs. Topless sunbathing is generally not culturally appropriate, and nudity is strictly prohibited.