Effectively, there are only two seasons in Mauritius, with minimal differences between them. This makes Mauritius a perfect year-round destination.
Summer starts in November, ending in April. Temperatures can sometimes reach as high as 34 degrees Celsius on the coast. Humidity is highest from December to April but is never unbearable, particularly on the coast, where there is a constant sea breeze. May to October are the winter months and the South Easterly winds can be quite strong. This may influence your decision to choose accommodation on the more sheltered West coast. However, in summer this breeze can come as a welcome relief.
Cyclones, which produce strong winds and heavy rain, can occur between January and March. Mauritius will normally experience about three or four cyclones a year during this period. Each usually lasts a couple of days.
May heralds the arrival of the cooler months when the average temperature begins to drop by about 3 to 5 degrees Celsius. However, there is still plenty of sunshine and it is a very pleasant time to visit. In fact, the average hours of sunshine vary very little throughout the year.
Sea temperatures vary between 24 degrees in the winter and 28 degrees Celsius in the summer. This means that swimming in the sea is good all year round. Note that the swimming pools tend to be cooler than the sea during the winter months
The peak holiday season generally runs from October through to Easter. Hotel prices drop during our summer months, although ironically air fares are usually higher. Christmas, Easter and our school holidays are always very popular.
Mauritius is 4 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), formerly Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
A full passport with at least six months’ validity is required on arrival in Mauritius. Return air ticket are required for all visitors to the island. In certain cases, children may still travel on their parents’ passports. However, once these expire, all children will be required to have their own valid passport. For information about current UK Passport requirements for children, visit the UK Passport Service website. Currently nationals from the European Union, the United States of America and the British Commonwealth do not need a visa to visit Mauritius.
English is the official language, although most hotel staff will also speak three or four other European languages.
Currency, Tiping & Taxes
The local currency is the Mauritian rupee, of which there are roughly 50 to the pound currently (2020). All the hotels accept travellers’ cheques and all major credit cards.
The tipping regime is not invasive or compulsory and, rather pleasantly, it still remains a gesture of genuine appreciation from the guest: you will not find the outstretched palm or the purposeful wait if you decide not to deliver. However, most guests do tip because they actually want to. As a general guide, anything between 50 and 200 rupees for any particular service, such as a taxi ride, is more than sufficient. Tipping ‘as you go’ in the hotels is not required and you can simply add on an appropriate amount – perhaps 5-10% of your incidental expenses – when you pay the bill on departure.
Government tax is added to all hotel and restaurant bills and this is included in your basic price. However, all incidental hotel expenses will incur a 12% tax but this will generally be included in the price quoted. Any major purchases on the island for subsequent export are tax free and there are special arrangements to facilitate this, including collection of the item from the airport on your departure.
Medical facilities and vaccination requirements
Most of the hotels have an infirmary staffed by a qualified nurse with an English speaking and quite possibly a British, French or South African qualified doctor on call 24 hours a day. There is a large, modern hospital offering the full range of medical facilities near the capital of Port Louis. Normal travel and medical insurance is required.
Vaccinations are not currently necessary for a visit to Mauritius as it is free from malaria and typhoid. However, it is advisable to seek advice from your own doctor regarding the current vaccination status prior to the time of departure.
British plugs will work in Mauritius. All hotels are equipped with hair dryers and shaver sockets.