>> Mauritius <<

Introduction

The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is a veritable holiday paradise with long white sandy beaches, turquoise lagoons, coral reefs, great food and ultra-friendly people. Traveling to the island can be quite a journey depending on the point of departure but on arrival, the warm air, friendly smiles and a well deserved break await you.
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What to See


Port Louis
The Market in Port Louis
The capital of Mauritius and major port for the island, Port Louis is a busy little city with a rich French and English colonial past intertwined with a strong Chinese and Indian influence. The busy city pumps with activity as locals scurry around doing all sorts of business.

A visit to the city is incomplete without a trip to the famous market running since 1828 and held from Mondays to Saturdays. Fresh produce, spices, snacks, perishables, t-shirts, table cloths, bags, hats and other mementos are all on display for you to purchase.

The Place D'Armes is a grand street with a number of impressive statues of famous Mauritians and foreigners keeping an eye on proceedings leading up to the impressive colonial architecture and oldest building on the island of Government House. Take a look at the statue of Labourdonnais, Sir William Newton and then head for some more in the Company Gardens.

In the evenings, head to the Caudan Waterfront, at the bottom of Place D'Armes for some fun with the city locals.

Pamplemousses
The famous lilly pads
The official name for this garden is the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden. The reputedly most visited botanical gardens in the southern hemisphere is just a few kilometers outside of Port Louis and is about 24 hectares in size. The land was originally purchased by Bertrand Mahé de Labourdonnais in 1735 but only got to where it is today as a result of the 18th century efforts of the French Horticulturalist Pierre Poivre. Take a look at the famous water lilies and the lovely house called Chateau Mon Plaisir.

Grand Baie
Grand Baie is an extremely popular resort and tourist area on the island. Located on the north eastern side of the island, Grand Baie is a thriving holiday destination with plenty of resorts, restaurants, nightclubs and shopping.

Curepipe
Curepipe is on the interior of the island is essentially a locals town. It's slightly cooler than the coast and safer during the stormy season. Enjoy the local flavour, shopping is cheaper here than at resorts, the local market and restaurants while seeing the real Mauritius.

Coin de Mire
This interestingly shaped island lies just off the northern coast of the island. Its shape makes it an interesting photo opportunity. Boat trips to the island are possible with "le trou de Madame Angon", a cave on it, used by the British navy in the 19th century for target practice.

Belle Mare
Known for its long sandy beaches, Belle Mare is a small town on the East Coast of the island. The village itself has a few shops for souvenirs and other shopping including clothing and art.

Ile aux Cerfs
This popular picture subject is just off the island with many tour operators offering day trips by boat to the island. Le Touessrok Hotel operates some facilities on the island which is ideal for sun-bathing on its beautiful beaches, snorkeling, sailing and other water sports. The hotel operates two restaurants on the island as well.

Temples
An intricate Temple
If you decide to visit the island by car, you'll notice as you drive along all sorts of shrines and beautiful temples. The intricacy and colours are brilliant.


What to Do


Drive
Mauritius is small and well worth a visit to take in the culture and sights of this warm people.

Enjoy the Beach
Great Beaches
The island has many nice beaches of fine sand suitable for sun-bathing and snorkeling. At the same time, do a bit of souvenir shopping from the friendly local vendors tirelessly plying their wares up and down the beaches. Clothing, jewelry - notably fresh water pearls - and other souvenirs are popular items for sale.

Scuba Dive
The diving on the island is excellent with great reefs and abundant marine life. Read about a couple of dives on the island by visiting our page on Mauritius Scuba Diving.

Shop
There are many deals to be had shopping on the island. Hit the shops, buy some new brand name clothing, intricate jewelry or some crafts and take home a memorable souvenir.

Golf
Golfing on holiday in Mauritius is as popular as anywhere else in the world. There are numerous resorts with golf courses including one on the east coast with 2 courses, one obviously not being enough.


What to Eat


Beer
Phoenix, Blue Marlin and Black Eagle beers are all good locally produced beers. Many international favourites are also widely available.

Rum
With all the sugar, it's hard to imagine an island without rum.

Smoked Marlin
A popular Mauritian way to eat this beauty from the ocean.

Fish and Seafood
The seafood is excellent. Lobster, squid, octopus and fish are all fresh and tasty.

Curry
Curry is a popular dish on the island. Fish particularly.

Fruit
The fresh tropical fruits are delicious. Mango, banana, pineapple and grapefruit are great.


Where to Sleep


Hotels and Resorts
There are plenty of resorts and hotels on the island ranging from the average to the sublimely classy. Many of the main hotel sites will have listings for you in Mauritius. Find Hotels.

Self-Catering
Many second or third time visitors decide to go the self-catering route. It's often cheaper to find accommodation this way, especially for food and drinks. A popular idea for a decent amount of rupees a day, is for the renters to ask one of the local ladies to cook traditional Mauritian dishes for them. This is a great way to help boost the local economy while enjoying typical local cuisine and removing the burden of cooking every night.

Hostels
There are a few decent hostels on the island for the budget traveler. You can find hostels on the island by using our booking engine for Mauritius Hostels.


How to Move


Aiport
The airport is in the south eastern tip of the island and is called Sir Seewoosagur Airport. It's a small functional airport with a bit of duty-free shopping available for you after going through security. You can find more information on the airport at http://aml.mru.aero/.

Bus
There is a decent bus system on the island. Several different companies cover the island and the integration of their routes and timetables does leave a bit to be desired.

Car
Driving is done on the left side of the road. There is a main highway running from north to south and many smaller, windier main roads covering the island. Driving around is quite slow and can be a hairy experience but it is a great way to see the island. The roads are narrow and windy with a decent amount of traffic, some slow, some fast. Beware of scooters and buses on the roads.

Taxi
Taxis are plentiful on the island and the drivers are very friendly to the point of always being asked if you need a taxi when out and about.

Scooter
Plenty of locals ride these at break-neck speed and rentals are available but we do not recommend it to visitors.


Locals


Language
Most locals speak Patois with French also widely in use. Other spoken languages include Bhojpuri, Hindi, Mandarin, Hakka and a few other languages. English is the official language but it is not really spoken.

Time Zone
GMT +3

Currency
Mauritian Rupee divided into 100 cents. On major Resorts and elsewhere, Euros are widely accepted but you won't be getting the greatest exchange rate.






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