The cruise terminal at Port Louis, called Christian Deccoter Cruise Terminal can accommodate cruise vessels up to 300 metres long. The facility is about 10 years old now, with a cruise jetty, a basic marquee, two access bridges – one for passengers and one for vehicles and a few food and souvenir stalls. The terminal is going to get its much-needed expansion by the end of 2019 with a dedicated building, able to accommodate up to 4000 passengers and adequate access. The current terminal is about an hour from the International Airport, 47km away. There is a parking facility just outside. You could walk into town, it would take about 20 minutes, but most people prefer to take the water taxis to Port Louis city centre. They cost only 2 USD but are not suitable if you are physically challenged in any way.
The local currency in Mauritius is the Mauritian rupee – MUR. Exchanging money is easy and safe. You can exchange your cash at a local bank, or at the local exchange money shops, spread around the island, called Shibani Finance. Although some establishments accept USD and EUR, it would be cheapest to pay in Mauritian Rupees. All major credit cards are widely accepted as well but do make yourself aware of any fees your bank may charge you and notify them that you would be spending time abroad. There are ATMs everywhere as well.
Opening hours in Mauritius are normally 9 am to 5 pm, with shops in the touristy towns open until 5.30 pm, and some working also Saturdays and bank holidays. The banks are open from 9 am to 3 pm, with only some of them open until 5 pm on Fridays. There is a variety of street markets, most of which are only open on certain days of the week. There are a few national holidays as well – New Years, Christmas, as well as Diwali (the festival of lights for Hindus), Eid – the end of the holly month Ramadan for Muslims, the Chinese Spring Festival and more.
Tipping in Mauritius is appreciated, however not always expected. The levels of service on the island are very high and most of the hotels have a rating system for staff – they give you a little questionnaire to fill at the end of your stay and based on mentioning any staff by name, they receive bonuses on top of their wages. So, make the effort to remember the name of that waiter, bartender, receptionist or housekeeper that have gone the extra mile to ensure you are enjoying your holiday. That said, you can still tip restaurant staff that have given you exceptional service, but there would probably be service charges added to your bill already, so a small amount of 100 – 200 MUR will do. The same amount will be sufficient enough for bellboys and housekeepers as well, if you have decided to tip as you go.
The most commonly spoken language in Mauritius is French-based Mauritian Creole, but being a former French and English colony, the 2 latter languages are widely spoken as well. Most of the street signs and tours are in French and English, so you would have absolutely no issues of being understood.
The local time in Mauritius is GMT + 4 and the international dialling code is 00 230.
Things To Do
Mauritius is one of the most beautiful tropical islands, thanks to its powdery white-sand beaches and warm, turquoise waters. The island is fringed by beaches, there are approximately 330km of them to choose from! We recommend Trou aux Biches, Flic en Flac and Mont Choisy for their calm and shallow waters, Belle Mare Plage for all kinds of watersports, Ile le Cerf islet for a full day of swimming, snorkelling, beach barbeques and simply relaxing, Tamarin for swimming with dolphins and Blue Bay for glass-bottom and snorkelling trips. If you are a strong swimmer, try the more challenging seas at le Cambuse.
If you manage to peel yourself off the beach, Mauritius has much more to offer. See the seven-coloured Earth at Chamarel. This geological phenomenon is a relatively small area of brown, red, purple, blue, green, yellow and violet sand dunes, spontaneously settled into layers. The reason for that remains a mystery. Another interesting fact is that even if you pick up some of the different coloured sand and mix it all together, it would still separate into the seven colours. The dunes also seem to never erode, despite of the torrential rains in tropical Mauritius.
Casela World of Adventure is a park, packed with activities where you can get close and personal with some big cats, feed giraffes, meet some friendly llamas, walk with lions and ride a camel. For the adrenaline junkies there is zip lining, quad biking, wall climbing and riding the Tulawaka Gold Coaster ride!
Try the local rum production at Rhumerie de Chamarel. The rum here is produced in a very environmentally friendly way with emphasis on recycling. You can watch the whole process of producing the rum from the distillery’s own sugar cane plants, picked and juiced within four hours, to ensure the purest juice extracts. The tours normally last 30 to 40 minutes, with a rum tasting and cocktail making at the end. There is also a restaurants and a gift shop at the site.
Another favourite for the nature-lovers is the Black River Gorges Nature Reserve. Located in the highlands of central Mauritius, it’s always cooler than the coast and it’s great for bird-watching, hiking, waterfalls, picnics and incredible photo opportunities at a few summits. There are several trekking routes spread over more than 50 miles of land, and you can also explore by car if your time is limited. The reserve is the last piece of endemic rainforest in Mauritius and this is what the island was like before it first appeared on a map in the 16th century. Now the reserve is a home to many rare species, including 311 species of plants and 9 endemic species of birds, found only in Mauritius. Another, much smaller and less challenging nature reserve is Valle de Ferney, a home to the endangered Mauritius kestrel, one of the rarest raptors in the world. The oldest botanical garden of the Southern hemisphere is also not to be missed – the Mauritius National Botanical Garden, covering an area of 37 hectares and a home to over 650 types of palms, flowers, spices, etc. of both terrestrial and aquatic origin. The pond at the centre of the garden, where Giant Waterlilies dominate is a favourite attraction.
The tea and sugar productions of Mauritius also deserve your attention. Two tea plantations are open for visitors – Bois Cheri and Domaine des Aubineaux where you can take a tea tour and a tea tasting. At L`Aventure du Sucre and Saint Aubin Sugar plantation, you can learn about the history of sugar, but also have an insight into the lengthy and skilful process of producing vanilla at the latter.
There are also a few mansions from the colonial times, such as Chateau de Ladourdonnais, a lovely restored Victorian mansion, where you can try the rum from the on-site distillery or dine at the elegant restaurant. Another one is Eureka House – a Creole house, built in the 19th century, now a museum and a restaurant on-site with a beautiful garden with waterfalls.
We must also mention the National History Museum, the Blue Penny Museum, the Mauritius Glass gallery and the Curious corner of Chamarel.
All Cruises and Flight details are subject to availability and price variation. Final package price is available upon payment of deposit and confirming your ATOL & ABTA protected cruise holiday