Located off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, the idyllic island of Mauritius is an incredibly romantic holiday destination. Famous for its crystal clear turquoise waters, gorgeous white sand beaches and wonderful tropical climate, most tourists spend their days relaxing on the beaches or at one of the many luxury holiday resorts that surround them, but there is much more in this small island besides cocktails and coconuts. Those who venture inland will discover lush, jungle-covered mountains, sparkling blue lagoons, impressive rivers and waterfalls, extinct volcanic craters, charming small towns and villages, and some fabulously friendly locals. Must-see attractions include: the bustling capital city of Port Louis with its bustling local markets; the remarkable 85-meter tall Chamarel waterfall and Eureka, a historic plantation mansion turned museum, giving tourists a glimpse into the island’s colonial past.
Banks and currency
The currency of Mauritius is the Mauritian Rupee – MUR or rs, with divisions of 100 cents.
Do not exchange money in your home country as you may get a lower exchange rate. The exchange rate in Mauritius is much better. When you arrive at the airport in Mauritius, you will see a lot of exchange agencies on arrival. Bring your own currency and exchange it there for better currency exchange. If you are unable to change money on arrival, there are branches of Thomas Cook and Shibani Finance in the popular tourist areas of Grand Baie and Flic en Flac.
Banks are open from Monday to Friday, between 09.15 – 15.15 and Saturday between 09.15 – 11.15 (Only certain banks).
Credit cards are normally accepted by banks and most hotels, restaurants and tourist shops.
Travel, transport and movement
A major highway runs from north to south, otherwise there is a good network of paved roads, sometimes narrow, covering the island. There are many car rental companies, which include major international companies and independents. People in Mauritius drive on the left side of the road.
Taxis are regulated and have fare machines, linked to provinces or hotels, with a yellow sign printed on the driver’s door. Bus and taxi services are most used in urban areas. Bicycle and motorbike rental services are also available.
Food, drink and culinary advice
Mauritius is a paradise for the senses, not only for the eyes through its exquisite landscapes, but also for the taste. With culinary traditions from France, India, China and Africa, the world’s most famous and appreciated cuisines have been passed down through the generations.
Depending on the region, rice or a variety of flatbread called chapattis or roti, called farata (paratha) by locals, is eaten with curry. Extensive use of spices like saffron, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and herbs like thyme, basil and curry leaves are the usual ingredients that provide a strong yet subtle flavour.
You can buy many snacks on the streets of Mauritius. Mauritians love sweets and make many types of “gateaux” as they are called. Cakes vary and you can find cakes very similar to those in France and others similar to Indian sweets such as Gulab Jamun and Rasgulla among many others.
Mauritius produces a wide range of cane rum. Don’t forget the coconut water with a squeeze of lime and a splash of local rum over ice. The local beer is Phoenix and is usually served very cold.
The local water is relatively clean, and Mauritians drink it. So you don’t have to worry if you use it to clean your teeth etc. However, it is better to boil the water before drinking it or buy bottled water which is available for free in local shops or hotels and resorts.
Climate and weather
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