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Information about Mauritius

Mauritius, a sparkling crystal in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, will fascinate you. The contrast of colours, cultures and tastes makes the island so charming that the scene is set for an unforgettable holiday. Here, you have the opportunity to experience unparalleled luxury: a level of refinement that is head and shoulders above that on offer in other tropical holiday destinations. Here, you will discover the true meaning of beauty - a realisation that will compel you to return to Mauritius' shores time and again. Mauritius was named after Dutch Prince Maurice Van Nassau.

Capital: Port Louis

Location :Latitude 20 degree south of the equator, Longitude 57.5 degree east.

Best Time To Visit
Mauritius has a relatively mild climate. While temperatures are moderate throughout the year with occasional rainfall, the most pleasant times for you to visit are between April and June and September and December. Being in the southern hemisphere, the island's summer and winter months are opposite to those in Europe.

If you aren't a sun lizard the winter months (May to October) are your best bet, as the temperature is cooler. This is the best season for surfing (June to August) and outdoor activities like hiking. Summer runs from November to April and the weather is hot and humid, peaking in December, January and February. Rainfall is high, especially in February and March. This is the best time for scuba diving (especially December to March) and deep-sea fishing.

Cyclones
While cyclone season is from November to April, cyclones mostly manage to avoid Mauritius because of the island's small size. All the same, the beach resorts have been set up to withstand any fierce winds.

Visas
You don't need a visa to enter Mauritius if you are a citizen of the EU, the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or a number of other countries. You can find more information on the website pmo.gov.mu/dha/ministry/novisa.htm. Initial entry is granted for a maximum of one month. If you change your departure plans, make sure you don't exceed your permitted stay.

Extensions for a further three months as a tourist are available from the Passport & Immigration Office (210 9312; fax 210 9322; Sterling House, Lislet Geoffrey St, Port Louis). Applications must be submitted with one form, two passport-size photos, your passport, an onward ticket and proof of finances. Two letters may also be necessary - one from you explaining why you want to stay longer, and one by a local 'sponsor' (it can be someone providing accommodation). Providing you can satisfy these demands there should be no further problems, but since the police are responsible for passport control, and quite a few visitors overstay their entry permits, there are 'get tough' periods.

Currency
Mauritian rupee (MUR or Rs). Credit cards are widely accepted and you can change foreign currency and travellers cheques at hotels and most towns.

Size
2,040 sq km

Language
English is the official language, but French and Creole are widely spoken.

Population
1.25 million (2007 Census)

Time
GMT + 4 hours

Religion
Hindu 48%, Roman Catholic 23.6%, other Christian 8.6%, Muslim 16.6%, and other 2.5%.

Ethnic Groups
Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, and Franco-Mauritian 2%.

Electricity
230 volts, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs and round two-pin plugs are commonly used.

Communications
The international access code for Mauritius is +230. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code.

Health
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.