Mauritius travel guide
A hypnotic blend of Indian, African and European influences, Mauritius might be synonymous with luxury beach breaks, but this destination will dazzle even the most discerning traveller, with its superb hiking, excellent mountain climbing and world-class diving.
The beaches are, indeed, noteworthy of praise. Encircling the island, they are exactly what the holiday brochures promise. But beyond its celebrated sands, native forests grow over the cooler central plateau, providing a home to rare plants and animals such as the Mauritius flying fox, which can be found nowhere else on Earth.
Back on the coast, a massive coral reef surrounds almost the entire island and has become a Mecca for divers thanks to its bountiful marine life. Hop out of the water and into local culture along the east coast, which is home to fine beaches and sleepy fishing communities. Village such as Petite Julie and Queen Victoria demonstrate the mixed Anglo-French heritage of the country, and it is in these sleepy outposts that you can hear sega music played in its most traditional form.
The northern regions offer the best combination of beaches, cuisine and nightlife. Further west, the capital, Port Louis, is famed for its Caudan Waterfront complex of restaurants, shops and casinos, as well as the colonial-era central market and Places D’Armes.
Dolphin safaris, rum distilleries and sand dunes add to the west’s appeal, though for many visitors the star attraction here is Le Morne mountain, which was used as a hideout by runaway slaves. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this rugged outcrop has become synonymous with the struggle for freedom.
Friendly, welcoming and unremittingly beautiful, Mauritius offers not only fantastic weather and exquisite beaches, but also a distinct cultural identity that is well worth exploring.
2,030 sq km (783 sq miles).
623 per sq km.
Acting President Barlen Vyapoory since 2018.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth since January 2017.
Last updated: 21 August 2019
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Drug trafficking carries severe penalties.
Around 140,000 British tourists visit Mauritius every year. Most visits are trouble free.
Terrorist attacks in Mauritius can’t be ruled out.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
Safety and security
Petty crime is common.Take care of bags and valuables in popular tourist areas including Port Louis, Grand Baie and Flic en Flac. Use a hotel safe, where practical. Keep copies of important documents, including passports, separately.
There have been recent reports of burglaries at villas where tourists have been staying. Make sure accommodation and hotel rooms are secure. Avoid renting accommodation that isn’t registered with the Mauritius Tourism Authority. You should read the Safety and Security Measures if you’re staying in rented accommodation.
Most crime is non-violent, but weapons have been used in some burglaries. Although uncommon, there have been some instances of sexual assault on tourists. Avoid walking alone at night on beaches or in poorly lit areas especially in the back streets of the business district of Port Louis.
There have been reports of street robberies near or at ATMs. Take extra care when withdrawing cash.
In 2011, an Irish tourist was murdered in her hotel room at a resort in the north of the Island. The crime remains unsolved. Incidents like this are very rare, but you should remain vigilant.
Avoid doing business with street or beach vendors.
Report any incidents to the Police du Tourisme (tourist police):
- +230 210 3894
- +230 213 7878
You can drive using your UK driving licence, but you must have it with you at all times. The standard of driving varies and there are frequent accidents. Be particularly careful when driving after dark as pedestrians and unlit motorcyclists are serious hazards.
On 21 November 2015 a British tourist was assaulted by bystanders following a minor car accident. If you’re involved in a road accident report it to the police. If you’re worried about your safety at the scene of an accident you should go to the nearest police station straight away.
In August 2014, a young British tourist drowned whilst swimming with the dolphins in Tamarin Bay. If you’re taking part in any type of water sports, make sure that the operator holds a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism, there are life jackets on board and the captain has a means to contact the coastguard if necessary.
Recent piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden highlight that the threat of piracy related activity and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean remains significant. Reports of attacks on local fishing dhows in the area around the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa continue. The combined threat assessment of the international Naval Counter Piracy Forces remains that all sailing yachts under their own passage should remain out of the designated High Risk Area or face the risk of being hijacked and held hostage for ransom. For more information and advice, see our Piracy and armed robbery at sea page.
Terrorist attacks in Mauritius can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Local laws and customs
Punishments for drug smuggling can be severe. Trafficking and possession of any illegal drugs carry heavy sentences. Prosecutions take a year or more to come to court, with detention until the trial. Bail is not usually granted for drug-related crimes, regardless of the type of drug.
If you’re under police investigation you’ll be provisionally charged and not allowed to leave the country without consent from a judge. Commonly it can take up to 2 years for the authorities to decide whether to issue a formal charge. You’re not allowed to renew your occupation or resident’s permit whilst you’re under a provisional charge. If you’re unable to support yourself financially you’ll be detained in prison while the police finish their investigation.
It is illegal to possess or import cigarette papers.
You can bring common medicines for your own personal use but you must carry a copy of the prescription and the drugs must have been obtained legally from a pharmacy. Other drugs like tranquillisers hypnotics, narcotics and other strong pain killers will require prior authorisation. You can check details with the Mauritian Health Ministry.
If in any doubt, you should seek advice from the Mauritian High Commission.
The police sometimes ask foreigners to show identification. You should carry a photocopy of your passport and your driving licence and leave the original documents in a safe place.
Mauritius is a relatively conservative society. While the law does not criminalise homosexuality, the act of sodomy is illegal regardless of sexual orientation. Local attitudes and levels of acceptance of LGBT people vary across the country and some in Mauritius hold more conservative values. In June 2018, the annual LGBT Pride march in Port Louis was disrupted and prevented from going ahead by a sizeable group of protestors. Threats have also been made against the LGBT community following this event. As such, you’re advised to exercise discretion. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
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.
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.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETD) are accepted for entry, transit and exit from Mauritius.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
Good private healthcare is available, but can be costly if you are not insured. More complex cases could require evacuation to Reunion or South Africa. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Although there are no malarial mosquitoes in Mauritius, the Ministry of Health may ask you for a blood sample either at the airport or at a later stage during your stay if you have travelled from a country where malaria is common.
Cases of dengue fever transmitted by mosquitoes have been reported. You should take mosquito bite avoidance measures.
Stonefish stings are rare but can be fatal. Seek urgent medical attention if you are stung. Many hotels stock anti-venom serum.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 or 114 and ask for an ambulance. Private and state ambulance services are available, but are of variable quality and speed. If you can you should go directly to the hospital. Otherwise, seek advice from your hotel reception. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
The cyclone season in Mauritius normally runs from November to May. Cyclones can cause extensive damage to property. There is a well-structured system of phased warnings. You should follow advice issued by the local authorities. During a cyclone you are not allowed to leave your accommodation and car insurance policies often cease to be valid.
Monitor local weather updates at Mauritius Meteorological Services and from the World Meteorological Organisation. Information is also available on Telmet by dialling 8996 from land lines or 171 from mobiles. See our Tropical cyclones page for advice about what to do if you’re caught up in a storm.
Some areas are prone to landslides, especially during cyclones and torrential rains. Mauritius Meteorological Services distribute 5-stage landside warnings and local authorities may organise evacuations of threatened areas if necessary.
ATM’s are widely available in most towns in the island and at large shopping centres. Major credit and debit cards are accepted by most hotels, restaurants and large retailers.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.