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Mauritius...the Green Lagoon

 

Mauritius' western wonderland is the nation's most diverse coast. The bustling tourist hub, the tropical island of Mauritius, once a haunt for pirates, is now best known for luxury hotels on white sand beaches with volcanic mountain backdrops. It is an island for exploring, with Indian temples, colonial houses, botanical gardens, and opportunities to spot rare birds among soaring ebony trees, walk with lions or swim with dolphins. Mauritians, a fusion of French, Indian, Creole and Chinese peoples, are renowned for their hospitality and visitors to the islands generally rave about the service. Mauritius has plenty to see and do - from French colonial houses and imaginative animal parks to nature walks, quad biking, zip-lining and horse riding.


When to go

Just 20 degrees south of the equator, Mauritius promotes itself as ayear-round destination, although most people associate it with winter sun. The island's peak season extends from October to April, which is hot, humid and rainy, with a slight risk of cyclones January to March. 

Currency: The Mauritian rupee (MUR) is the island's currency. It can be purchased before you visit, but you'll get a better exchange rate in Mauritius. With around 100,000 Britons visiting every year, it's easy to exchange pounds and credit cards are accepted in hotels, large shops and restaurants. ATMS are found in most towns and tourist spots. 


PLACES TO EXPLORE IN MAURITIUS

Mauritius has plenty to see and do, should you want a break from the sun lounger. Here's a selection of the best attractions.

• Port Louis • Many visitors miss the capital city of Port Louis; it's easy to do as the resorts collect guests from the airport and drive them straight to their seaside lodgings, where they relax for most of their stay. Most people come to 'Por Loowee', Mauritius's capital, to shop, although it has several cultural attractions. The Blue Penny Museum is home to the world's first colonial stamp and you can see an ancient dodo skeleton, on the first floor of The Natural History Museum.

• Grand Baie • A fishing village 20 years ago, this sheltered bay bobbing with boats is now the main tourism hub of the island. A seaside village with a beautiful beach and emerald waters, Grand Baie has become the centre of the island’s watersports industry, with parasailing, underwater walks, submarine excursions and semi-submersible scooters all available.

• Eureka • This French colonial mansion once owned by the island's biggest sugar baron is a feat of engineering, with 109 doors and a complete wrap around balcony to keep residents cool in the tropical heat. Its turreted rooftop windows look particularly pretty against the backdrop of the Moka Mountains. Take the track from the beautiful garden with ebony and bamboo, to a swimming hole beneath a waterfall, as next door neighbour Pierre Poivre once did.

• Casela Nature & Leisure Park • The star attraction at this sanctuary for rare birds used to be the pink pigeon, but it's now a walk with lions in the wild in the neighbouring Yemen estate. The savannah-style landscape may have inspired the African animals, including zebra and ostrich, giraffe, elephant and hippopotamus, seen from a mini- safari bus (10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm).

• Black River Gorges National Park • There are glimpses of the elegant white Paille-en-queue (straw in the tail) flying over the canopy in these forested hills, criss-crossed with hiking trails. See macaque monkeys cavorting along the railings at Black River Peak viewpoint.

• Isle aux Aigrettes (Egret Island) • This tiny coral outcrop, surrounded by a limpid sea, has giant Aldabra tortoises lumbering under an ebony canopy and pink pigeons living in the semi-wild.


Entry requirements

Visas 

You don’t need a visa to enter Mauritius. On arrival, your passport will be stamped allowing entry to the country for 60 days. You’ll need to be able to provide evidence of onward or return travel. If you intend to work in Mauritius, you must get a work permit before you travel.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required. It should have at least one blank passport page.

Financials • Sufficient Forex Exchange for the stay 

Ebola • You won’t be allowed to enter Mauritius if you’ve visited Guinea or Sierra Leone within 21 days of the date of your arrival.


Currency information: 

Mauritian Rupee (MUR; symbol Rp) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of Rp2,000, 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50 and 25. Coins are in denominations of Rp10, 5 and 1.


 

 

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