In the middle of the Indian Ocean lies the dream island of Mauritius, an exotic jewel with sparkling white, palm-lined beaches, tropical mountain ranges and plains, dormant volcanoes and colorful coral reefs.
The luxuriant tropical Mauritius island lays about 3,000 kilometers from the eastern coast of Africa. The “Indian Ocean jewel” boasts many landscape treasures : a big central plateau crowned with imposing mountains and bordered with a 160-kilometer coastline which is protected by a large coral reef. The major part of the country is covered with sugar cane fields that is thus one of the most important sector of the Mauritian economy.
History and Economy
The island was first discovered by Arabian merchants in 975 and was then named “Dinarobin” which means “Silver island”. The Arabs though didn’t stay long and didn’t leave any significant influence behind them - unlike the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and finally the British who occupied successively the island. Mauritius became independent in 1968, although it still belongs to the British Commonwealth. The Mauritian economy is based on three sectors : textile, sugar and tourism.
Population and Language
The island has over one million inhabitants with different cultures and religions. Consisting of Hindus, Muslims, Chinese, Creole and Europeans, the Mauritian population plays a major role in the specificity and the cultural richness of the island. Several languages are therefore spoken in Mauritius : although English is the official language, spoken and understood everywhere, French, Creole and Hindi are the main languages in the everyday life.
Visitors must be in possession of a valid passport (the validity period should not be less than 6 months). No visa required for Canadians and Americans.
The Mauritian Rupee (Rs) is divided into 100 cents.
Local time is 4 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) all year round, 9 hours ahead Eastern Standard Time.
Mauritius stands as a real shopping paradise. All over the island, colorful markets display top quality fabrics at affordable prices. Visitors will also find a wide array of spices, jewels, all kinds of souvenirs and of course rum made with local sugar canes.