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Mauritius is a mecca for divers because the island is surrounded by a fantastic coral reef. It’s one of the world centres for golf and the only place where you can meet giant turtles. The former pirate island has become a centre for surfers, fans of green tourism and beach lovers.

Beach in Mauritius
Beach in Mauritius | Ondrej Bocek

Geography and time zone

Finding Mauritius on the world map is not so simple. It seems to be lost in the waters of the Indian Ocean. The island nation is in the Southern Hemisphere, 20 degrees south of the equator, southeast of Africa.

In addition to the main island, the Republic of Mauritius includes 5 outer islands and 49 small uninhabited islets and rocks.

Time zone: GMT +4.

Mauritius
Mauritius | Xavier Coiffic

10 reasons to go to Mauritius

The tropic island attracts fans of fishing, diving, beach relaxation and honeymooners who dream of spending their honeymoon in a fabulous tropical place. Mauritius is surrounded by a magnificent coral reef, which is the third largest in the world. Thick tropics, mysterious dunes and noisy waterfalls, one of which even flows into the crater of an extinct volcano.

Chamarel Waterfall in Mauritius
Chamarel Waterfall in Mauritius

You should go to Mauritius to:

  1. Take a submarine trip.
  2. Swim with playful dolphins in Tamarin Bay.
  3. Make friends with a bicentennial turtle.
  4. Fish and catch a blue marlin and a tuna from the ocean.
  5. Go diving and see the sunken schooner.
  6. Go to the mountains and get acquainted with the incredible nature of the tropical region.
  7. Make a wedding photoshoot by the azure coast of the Indian Ocean.
  8. Visit the old estates of the former colonialists scattered around the island.
  9. Look into the crater of an extinct volcano.
  10.  Visit tea and pineapple plantations.
  11.  See sugar and rum factories and much more.

Mauritius is the perfect place for a romantic getaway
Mauritius is the perfect place for a romantic getaway

Mauritius Visa Rules

Citizens of most countries of the world do not need a visa to visit Mauritius. A stay permit stamp upon arrival is free of charge. For countries of Europe, USA, Australia and Canada, it is up to 60 days. Residents of such countries as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Laos, Mali, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen should obtain a visa in advance to visit Mauritius.

Remember that you must have a return ticket, a hotel confirmation (travel voucher), a medical insurance policy and a confirmation of the availability of funds ($100 per day per person). It’s important; otherwise, there may be problems when crossing the border.

What you can take with you to the island:

  • 200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco
  • 1 litre of strong alcohol or 2 litres of beer (wine)
  • 1 camera, phone, laptop and other equipment
  • 100 ml of perfume or 250 ml of cologne water

What you cannot take with you to the island

The import of meat products, sugarcane, narcotic substances, equipment for spearfishing, products and fruits of East and Southeast Asia and Africa is prohibited. Any medicine must include a prescription in the original packaging. As for cash, you can take with you no more than 10 thousand dollars without declaring them.

Climate

You can relax on a tropical island all year round: it is always warm, and the sun does not burn to ashes even in the hottest time of the year. The tropical marine climate in summer gives up to + 33°C. The coldest time of the year is up to + 17°C. The climate is mild, and it’s easy to tolerate even the hottest months of the year because the humidity is lower than on other tropical islands. However, a sharp change in weather, when the bright sun gives way to a short but powerful downpour, is typical of Mauritius.

Пляж Флик-ан-Флак в курортный сезон
Flic-en-Flac Beach during the holiday season

  • The ocean is always warm and welcoming. You can comfortably swim at a temperature of + 25-28°C.
  • The island is in the Southern Hemisphere. Therefore, summer lasts from November to April, and winter comes to Mauritius from May to October. The coldest and windiest months are June and July. The nights are up to + 15°C, and the days are + 20-25°C. At this time, there is high humidity and rainfall.
  • From September to May, it becomes warmer: up to + 30°C during the day and up to + 26°C at night.
  • In February-March, autumn comes to Mauritius, but the weather is still beautiful. It is stably + 30°C, and the water temperature is + 28°C. In the meantime, it may rain a little.
  • The worst winter month in Mauritius is June. The temperature is pretty low, and there’s a lot of rainfall. The best months are transitional between summer and winter - April and May. The summer heat is already over, but the winds have not arrived yet.

Everything is complicated with rains. There is no bad season that ends, and the eternal sun shines. Going to Mauritius, there is always a chance you will meet heavy rains because it rains year-round. The wettest months are from January to March, especially February. The northern part of the island has less rainfall than the east. And in the centre is a plateau, so it is colder and rainier than in other places.

Cloudy weather in Mauritius
Cloudy weather in Mauritius | Boris Baldinger

When to go to Mauritius?

If you tolerate heat and humidity well, you can go to Mauritius in the winter. However, it is better not to choose the east coast because the winds prevail there at this time.

Where to stay

When choosing a hotel, determine which coast you want to stay on. It is important due to raging winds and differences in infrastructure. During the winter season, strong winds fall on the eastern shores, and in the southeast, it rains. Therefore, the best option would be the west or northwest coast.

  • North. It is the most developed part of the coast with nightlife, restaurants and clubs. The capital of Port Louis, a submarine parking and the famous botanical garden, which is considered one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, are also here.
  • West. The main city is Flic-en-Flac. The western part boasts unusually beautiful sunsets and fairly calm bays. Also, this part of the island has many restaurants, shops and casinos. There is also the Casela Natural Park, where you can cuddle with tigers, go on a safari or take a mountain trip. You will have access to interesting natural sights - colourful sands and Chamarel waterfall, which is the highest on the island. And of course, there are great places to surf.
  • East. The east coast cannot surprise with the variety of tourist places, but there are many colourful villages with locals and the special island authenticity. The eastern part has good hotels, but it’s a place for those who are ready to meet the winds. One of the main advantages is delightful sunrises over the Indian Ocean.
  • South. The southern part of the island is quite windy. You should be ready for opening a door with effort and quickly bouncing back so that it does not slam you. And in the evenings, you will have to wear warm clothes.
  • The centre of Mauritius consists of towns, where tens of thousands of people live.

Choosing accommodation in Mauritius

There are not so many five-star hotels in Mauritius. They are mainly located on the first coastline and cost from $200 a day. For example, Angsana Balaclava offers a double room for a week for $3,000 including breakfast. A supplement for three-meals option a day is possible - from $1,700 for two. The hotel is in a small green bay near the picturesque tourist village of Grand Bay, on the northwest coast of the island.

The cost of a room in a four-star hotel is from $100 per day. For example, 7 nights at Zilwa Attitude on the northern coast of Mauritius cost $1,700 for two. A supplement for all-inclusive is $690. The hotel has swimming pools and restaurants, as well as an excellent location in a region with developed infrastructure.

Do not forget that prices depend on the season. You can book hotels in Mauritius here.

Mauritius also has quite a lot of private housing. There are villa apartments, sometimes with a pool. You can rent them both daily and for the long term. The minimum cost of one night is from $20. The cost of a good apartment for a day with a pool is from $35 for two. In addition, you need to pay taxes, which may be half the cost of your rental housing.

Important: Accommodation can be found in different areas of the island. For a more comfortable stay, it is better to book it in tourist places, which have a developed infrastructure, or stay in a good hotel.

Apartments in the resort of Mauritius
Apartments in the resort of Mauritius | Angsana Balaclava

Transport

You can travel on Mauritius in a rented car or by bus. The roads on the island are pretty good, and the bus network is well developed. In total, there are 220 routes. They connect the main cities and attractions.

  • Bus fare is from $0.85 per trip, but the final amount depends on the distance and bus class. There are ticket controls on routes, so stowaways can be fined.
  • Identifying a public bus is easy. It is bright red or painted with flowers. In order not to miss your stop, press the button on the handrail on the bus.
  • Buses run from 05:00 until 19:00. After 18:00, it becomes difficult to get anywhere. Late in the evening, all the island life freezes, and you are unlikely to catch a cab.
  • The interval of bus movement on the route is 10-20 minutes. However, each resort has its own characteristics, so check the transport schedule in advance.

The main bus station is situated in the capital of Port Louis. You can get from here to any part of the island. Buses from Immigration Square Bus Station go to the north and east. Buses from Victoria Square Bus station go the south and west.

Taxi

Get ready for the fact that local taxi drivers might not rush to give you change or ask for a $10 tip. Agree for a price right away. A typical cost of a taxi ride is about $10-20 within the same city (1 km - $2.5).

Vehicle rental

It is best if you have a car because the local climate can surprise you with unexpected tropical rain. At the same time, the island prefers scooter, although they will not save you from rain.

  • Renting a car in Mauritius is from $20 per day
  • Renting a car with a driver is about $150 per day
  • Renting a motorcycle, scooter or bicycle is $10 per day
  • 1 litre of gasoline is $1.22

Important: Mauritius is left-hand drive. There are quite a few dangerous serpentine roads, where it is difficult to make a U-turn. However, the locals are so used to them that they literally “fly”.

Car traffic in Mauritius
Car traffic in Mauritius

Currency and prices

Holidays in Mauritius is not a budget type and not only because of its remoteness from the usual civilization. The island itself is far from cheap and can compete in prices with European resorts and even Seychelles.

The official currency in Mauritius is the Mauritian rupee. 100 rupees is approximately $2.5. You can exchange dollars or euros at the airport, banks, hotels, city exchange points and even in stores. Please note that banks do not work in the evening - only up to 15:30 at maximum. Some branches - only until 11:00.

ATM withdrawal fee is 200 rupees (possible double conversion).

Estimated weekly spend:

  • Car rental: at least $150
  • Four-star hotel for two: $1,700
  • 5GB mobile network: $12-15
  • Food expenses: from $7 for lunch in inexpensive cafe and from $40 for two in restaurant

Island history

The islands that make up Mauritius were known to Arab travellers in the 6th century, but their modern history begins in the 16th century when Portuguese sailors landed on Mauritius. They plotted the island on the map.

The first settlement in the 17th century was founded by the Dutch. Mauritius was a parking lot for Dutch merchant ships bound for the South Atlantic and India. In Mauritius, they made ebony blanks, but when timber was exhausted, the Europeans left the island. The pirates took advantage of this and made the island their refuge. Perhaps, treasures are still buried here, and the rum storages are waiting for their time somewhere.

Only in the 18th century, the French, who fought for dominion in the South Seas and Oceans with pirates, landed on the island. Then the island was declared French possession. The colonists from Brittany and Normandy arrived, and the French used slaves from other islands to work on the island. After that, the island came to the hands of the British and became a colony of Great Britain.

When slavery was abolished, workers from China and India reached for Mauritius. The number of migrants increased. The island started producing sugar and cultivating tea and tobacco. When the Suez Canal opened, it became a transit point on the way from Europe to India. Mauritius ceased to be a colony and gained independence only in the last century.

Chamarel Natural Park
Chamarel Natural Park

Cities and attractions

Mauritius is a small island, but there are a lot of interesting places. You will need at least 3-5 days on excursions.

  • The capital of Mauritius is Port Louis. This town is a must-see for a traveller. Each tourist must visit a noisy and colourful market, where locals sell aromatic spices and freshly caught fish.
  • Rose-Hill is almost a campus where the only university on the island is situated. All buildings are built in colonial style.
  • Curepipe is a wonderful place with lots of shops.
  • Trou aux Cerfs is a dormant volcano with a crater of 200 m wide. It’s one of the most popular places for excursions.
  • Mahebourh is a historical city where the ancient castle of Chateau Robillard preserved.
  • Deer Island is known for its beaches with crystal-clear water. There used to be a lot of deer.
  • Black River Gorge is a huge park with rare plants and unique birds, as well as a bay of turtles, which attracts tourists the most.
  • Coloured sands of Chamarel is the main attraction of the island. There are seven colourful sand areas mixed that amaze with their beauty. The best time to enjoy the sands is in the morning or evening. At other times of the day, you will be disappointed with faded colours. You can buy flasks with colourful sand and see yourself that even if you shake the flask, the grains of sand will fall and be clearly divided into seven colours.
  • Chamarel Waterfall is a landmark of the island. It falls from a height of 100 m into the crater of a dormant volcano.
  • The city of Moka will show you a former sugar factory and the amazing architecture of the colonization times.
  • La Vanille is where tourists come to take a photo with giant turtles, cute lemurs and intimidating alligators. You can walk with them, touch them and even feed them. At first, this popular park was the haven of crocodiles, but now other inhabitants live here.
  • Underwater waterfall is an anomaly that was formed due to the special location of coral reefs. If you look at it at a height, the illusion of a real waterfall is created.
  • Pamplemousses Botanical Garden is the largest and oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere. It is here where you can see giant lilies bloom like huge pans.

Central part of Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius
Central part of Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius

15 main attractions in Mauritius

  • Diving, snorkelling. It is the most popular pastime because the island is surrounded by a ring of corals.
  • Ocean bottom walks. Special shoes and a weighting belt are put on you, and a ball-shaped helmet with air is set on your shoulders. And then - immersion to a depth of 34 m! Here is the best place to get acquainted with the underwater inhabitants of the island.
  • Underwater scooters. They will help you dive to a depth of 30 m and allow you to observe almost the ocean bottom. Also, they will give you drive.
  • It is a 45-minute dive in almost a real submarine. You will be able to reach a depth of 35 m and see not only the reef but also the remains of the sunken ship. By the way, in Mauritius, you can even go down to the seabed with your friends and mark an important event with champagne there. Or have a romantic dinner for two.
  • Mauritius includes small islands to where sea excursions are organised. Most often, they are on catamarans.
  • Helicopter flying. It lasts from 15 minutes to an hour. It is an ideal opportunity to see all the beauties of the island. Moreover, it is the only way to see the underwater waterfall. A cheaper option to see this phenomenon is a hydroplane. But the helicopter experience is, of course, brighter.
  • It is skydiving with an instructor. Extremals can jump from a height of 45 km and fly free for about a minute. An unforgettable experience and spectacular bird’s-eye views are guaranteed.
  • Kitesurfing and windsurfing. The island of Mauritius gathers water professionals. The best time for kitesurfing is from late September to early November. For windsurfing - from May to September. One of the best places for surfing is on the South Coast. Travellers often go to the Le Morne Peninsula, where there are many specialised clubs where you can rent equipment.
  • Mauritius is an ideal place for hiking. Moreover, it offers routes of different complexity. Some of the most popular tracks are the mountain gorge of the Le Morne Peninsula, the Tamarin Falls and, of course, the descent into the crater of a dormant volcano.
  • See-through bottom boat. It is one of the cheapest and most popular entertainment. Some hotels even offer guided tours for free. Since the water in Mauritius is crystal clear, you can easily see its inhabitants through the glass. For example, watch how turtles swim.
  • Zip line. The south of the island has a special route on which you can literally fly over the rapids and green forests.
  • It is incredibly popular in Mauritius. Mauritius is the third country in the world where it was spread. The green golf courses here are magnificent.
  • Horse racing. It is a favourite sport of the locals. On the island, you will find several equestrian centres where you can learn the art of riding. Also, it’s worth going to the main hippodrome and bet on equestrian competitions.
  • Fishing fans come here for marlin, tuna and barracuda. The vessels deliberately go beyond the coral reef. Fishing in Mauritius is simply gorgeous because a record number of blue marlins are caught here.
  • Visit to the rum factory. No comment. It is about tasting the very Mauritian rum.

Surfing in Mauritius
Surfing in Mauritius

Mauritius cuisine

The cuisine of Mauritius was influenced by the traditions of Chinese, European, Creole and Indian culture. Therefore, it is quite diverse. However, all dishes are invariably seasoned with a huge number of hot spices. Curry dominates in the cuisine of Mauritius. Must-try dishes include a salad of “millionaires” (made of the core of palm and smoked marlin) and seafood, which is in abundance on the island of the Indian Ocean.

Mauritius is a paradise for fish lovers
Mauritius is a paradise for fish lovers

How to get to Mauritius

Not all countries have flights to a tropical island. The hubs from where you can make such a trip include Paris, London, Rome, Milan, Frankfurt and Dubai. The flight from Dubai to Mauritius takes approximately 6 hours. The average cost is $1,000. All planes arrive at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, which is 25 km away from the capital of Port Louis.

Mauritius International Airport
Mauritius International Airport | Ashim D’Silva

Interesting facts

  • Mauritius is surrounded by coral reefs that protect it from natural disasters. Therefore, the Indian Ocean on the coast of Mauritius is calm.
  • Many celebrities rest on the island.
  • Mauritius has no official language. Many speak English or French. There is also a special local dialect: Mauritian Creole.
  • Most residents come from South Asia.
  • Almost half of the population are Hindus, 30% are Christians (most of them are Catholics), and 16% are Muslims.
  • You can cross Mauritius even on foot. You can go from north to south of the island in just a day. It is because the island is 65 km long and 50 km wide.
  • Most tourists are French, and supermarkets are piled with French cheeses and delicacies.
  • The island is inhabited by 1.3 million people.
  • The cost of rest here is comparable to the Maldives and Seychelles.
  • Geographically, Mauritius belongs to Africa. Half of the entire country is sugarcane plantations.

Hindu statues complement the impression about Mauritius
Hindu statues complement the impression about Mauritius

Useful tips for tourists

  • Choose a beach carefully because the tides on the island are quite serious. At high tide, you may just be afraid to go into the water due to surging waves.
  • You can swim without worrying since warm waters have no poisonous snakes, white sharks and other inhabitants of the ocean.
  • Take warm clothes with you to the tropical island because you absolutely do not know what weather will await you in this paradise.
  • Be sure to grab raincoats and umbrellas, as well as shoes that will help you get through wet soil.
  • All beaches in Mauritius are public, and if you want to relax on a particular beach, just take a towel with you. Even if it is the line of the most fashionable hotel.
  • Note that not all beaches have a shower with fresh water. And even if there is a shower, there may not be water.
  • It is best to stay in the west or north of Mauritius because the calmest bays are there.
  • Do not expect a vibrant nightlife. The whole island has a dozen discos in total. It is not a youth resort, so be prepared that at 21:00, the island begins falling asleep.

Tide in the south of Mauritius
Tide in the south of Mauritius

However, get ready for amazing adventures and a memorable holiday in a real tropical paradise!

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