Port Louis Travel Information
Local time is GMT +4.
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs and round two-pin plugs are commonly used.
English is the official language of Mauritius, but the most widely used language is French and the local dialect, Creole. Hindi, Urdu and Chinese are also spoken.
No vaccination certificates are required for entry into Mauritius, unless travelling from a country infected by yellow fever or where yellow fever is classified as endemic. Vaccinations are usually recommended for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. It's also a good idea to pack shoes that can be worn in the sea to protect against sharp coral, sea urchins and stonefish. Stonefish stings are uncommon but can in some cases be fatal. You should obtain urgent medical attention if stung; many hotels stock anti-venom serum. Visitors should take precautions against mosquito bites, as there have been several cases of the Chikungunya virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, although this is more common from October to May. Malaria medication may also be necessary, if visiting rural areas. Travellers should stick to bottled water. Medical facilities are good and free in public hospitals, but private clinics are expensive and medical insurance is recommended.
Medications are usually easily available, but for peace of mind it is better to take any prescription medication with you, in its original packaging, with a signed and dated note from your doctor detailing what it is and why you need it. Note that visitors can bring common medicines for personal use but must carry a copy of the prescription and proof that the drugs have been obtained legally. Other drugs like tranquillisers, hypnotics, narcotics and other strong pain killers will require prior authorisation.
Tipping in Mauritius is discretionary. However, some extra money paid for services, such as a taxi ride, waitering or cleaning, is appreciated. In the hotels travellers can add around five percent of their incidental expenses when paying the bill on departure, if service has been good. Government tax is added to all hotel and restaurant bills and this is included in the basic price. However, all incidental hotel expenses will incur tax, which is generally included in the price quoted.
A holiday in Mauritius is usually trouble free; however, petty crime can be a problem and it is not wise to wander alone at night outside the grounds of hotels. Visitors should be aware of pick pocketing in the central market in Port Louis. Care should be taken of bags and valuables when visiting popular tourist areas such as Pereybere, Grand Baie, Flic en Flac and Tamarin. There has been an increase in break-ins in self-catering accommodation and visitors are advised to only rent accommodation from registered proprietors. Cyclone season is from November to May.
Homosexuality is not technically illegal in Mauritius, but sodomy is and it is best to exercise discretion as the locals are sometimes conservative. Penalties for drug trafficking and use are severe, and any personal medicinal drugs should be covered by a prescription. Scheduled drugs, such as tranquillisers, morphine and other strong painkillers require by law authorisation before import.
Port Louis is the main business hub of Mauritius. Standard business practice applies to the island: punctuality and politeness is important, handshakes and the exchanging of business cards takes place at meetings, and business attire is worn. It is, however, possible to be somewhat more casual in terms of dress and visitors can take the cue from their hosts. Lightweight materials are recommended due to the tropical climate. Business hours vary, but most businesses are open at least from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday, with some businesses open for a half-day on Saturdays.
The international access code for Mauritius is +230. The whole island is covered by the mobile network; the local mobile phone operators use GSM and 3G networks, which are compatible with most international operators. Handsets and SIM cards can be hired at the airport. Internet cafés are widely available.
Travellers to Mauritius over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; 1 litre spirits and 2 litres of wine, ale or beer; perfume and eau de toilette for personal use. Prohibited items include sugarcane and fresh fruit from parts of Asia. Other prohibited items include dangerous drugs, obscene literature and pornographic materials.
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