Our recommendation to visit Mauritius and neighboring countries
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Mauritius Travel advice
Events and festivals in Mauritius
The popular festivals in Mauritius are mainly characterised by their playful spirit. The cultural diversity of this country means that there are all kinds of festivities throughout the year in Mauritius.
In this country in the Southwest of the Indian Ocean, there are descendants of Indian, African, French, English and Chinese populations, among other nationalities. All this cultural amalgam gives the festivities in Mauritius a unique character.
Within this diversity of religious practices, the main ones are Hindus and Tamils. Secondly, there is Islam, which celebrates its rituals and festivities in the many mosques in the country. In addition to the Catholic population, there is also Buddhism, which is the fourth religion which groups Cantonese, Hakkas and foukiénois.
With all this in mind, we will see below which are the most famous popular festivals in Mauritius and what festivities and events we can find during our trip.
Month of January
In addition to the celebration of New Year on the 1st and 2nd of January, one of the most spectacular popular festivals in Mauritius is the Cavadee, a festival of Hindu origin, during which pilgrims cross their chest, mouth, or back with huge hooks from which offerings hang.
At the same time, the celebration of the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival takes place. During this celebration, the Chinese community worships their ancestors while celebrating the arrival of the new year with great feasts, dances and much joy and colour.
Month of February
Within the popular festivals in Mauritius corresponding to the Hindu population, February is the month for Orthodox Hindus. In February the Maha Shivaratree or "The Great Night of Shiva" is celebrated. On this occasion pilgrims, dressed in white, walk towards the Grand Bassin while they are hit on the shoulders with bamboo canes in a sign of sacrifice.
Month of March
We continue with the Hindu population to celebrate another popular holiday in Mauritius which is directly related to religious beliefs. This time it is the Ougadi, or New Year's Celebration of those from the Deccan region in India.
On the other hand, throughout the country, on 12th March, Independence Day is celebrated. On 12th March 1968, the independence of Mauritius from British occupation was proclaimed.
Months of April and May
Between April and May, depending on the year, since the date varies depending on the lunar calendar, the inhabitants of Mauritius who follow Islam celebrate Eid al-Fitr or the feast of the end of Ramadan.
On the other hand, the Chinese population celebrates the China Town Food and Cultural Festival from 13th to 14th May. And at the end of May, around the 21st, Chinese people also celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival to commemorate the life of Qu Yuan, the revered Chinese poet.
Months of June, July and August
Another of the popular festivals in Mauritius which you can get to know if you visit the island in June is the Tropicadingue, a fun event which is celebrated on 3rd June. Also during this month, the island is filled with sporting events: tennis tournaments, kitesurfing, or marathons.
The month of July is famous for the Dodo Trail, a race which crosses the island from south to west and which brings together more participants every year. In August we continue with sporting events, as it hosts an international cycling event and a regatta on the 26th.
Month of September
On 9th September, one of the most colourful popular festivals in Mauritius is celebrated: the Ganesh Chaturthi. The celebration of the birthday of Ganesha, Hindu goddess of wisdom.
On the same day, Catholics celebrate the birth of Father Jacques Laval. The faithful make pilgrimage to his sanctuary in Santa Cruz. Father Laval was an important protector of slaves throughout the 18th century.
Months of October and November
In October Hindus celebrate Diwali or the Festival of Lights. The festival commemorates Lord Rama's victory over the devil. You will see homes decorated with oil lamps or small electric bulbs, creating an almost magical atmosphere.
In addition to the celebration of All Saints' Day by the Catholic population on 1st November, there is another holiday of Hindu origin in Mauritius, The Ganga Asnan. This holiday gathers the Hindu faithful once again in the sacred Ganga Talao lake to purify themselves in its waters.
Month of December
In December one of the most Catholic popular festivals in Mauritius cannot be missed: Christmas. In addition to this festivity, there is also the Teemedee, a festival of Tamil origin where the faithful walk barefoot on burning coals.
And these are all the popular festivals in Mauritius, take good note of all of them.GO TO EVENTS
Food in Mauritius
Thanks to the multicultural heritage of Mauritius, its gastronomy covers a wide range of specialties inherited from Indian, Chinese, French or Creole cuisine.
Mauritius is known as the "pantry of the Indian Ocean" due to the great variety of raw materials it has. The basic ingredients are rice, chicken, fish and seafood.
The dishes of the Mauritian Cuisine stand out for the intensity of flavor and aromas due to the use of a great quantity of spices such as parsley, coriander, tarragon, cumin, cloves, chilli and curry.
In some of the salty preparations they use tamarind to give the dish a bittersweet and delightfully exotic flavor.
Fresh tropical fruits such as lychee, mango, guava, pineapple, coconut and papaya complete the food pyramid of local products.
Shopping in MauritiusGO TO SHOPPING
Mauritius tourist attractions
More information about Mauritius
An island nation, deep in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius, a tropical paradise of palm-fringed beaches and lush mountains, has long been a favourite travel destination. Known as the ‘Island of Eden’, its heavenly beaches are a honeymooners paradise. Beyond the charms of the coastline, vibrant cities, such as the capital of Port Louis, are cultural melting pots, home to colonial-era markets, temples and restaurants serving cuisine as diverse as the island’s population. On a holiday to Mauritius, you’ll want to explore the entire island.
Whilst on the east coast, you can find plenty of sleepy fishing villages and quiet beaches, the west coast is home to a rich array of natural attractions such as the iconic Le Morne Brabant Mountain, Chamarel’s ‘Land of Seven Colours’. It’s also on the west coast from which many dolphin-spotting cruises depart. Known for its rich biodiversity, Mauritius was once famously home to the now extinct Dodo, but today the Central Plateau is where you’ll find many rare plant and animal species in its lush tropical habitat.
A mix of African, Asian and Arabic cultures fuse beautifully to make a trip to Mauritius a diverse and unique travel experience. No matter how inviting the white-sand beaches of the coastline are, a holiday to Mauritius is incomplete without contemplating its colourful cities, rich natural wonders and epic biodiversity.
History of Mauritius
Mauritius is characterised by its diverse and varied history, with several different European powers colonising the island over the centuries, due to its location on the Indian Ocean naval trade routes. The first mention of this African island was by Arab explorers, who named it ‘Desert Island’ in around the 10th-century. Portuguese explorers sighted the island in around 1507, although did not settle it, instead, choosing to use it as a port of call for valuable food and resources along their trade routes. Mauritius was given its present name when the Dutch began exploring the island in the 17th-century, with settlements springing up in the 1630s.
The Dutch were concerned with gathering the precious natural resources on the island such as ebony wood and ambergris, a substance used to make expensive perfume. Due to less than optimal conditions for agriculture to thrive on the island, the Dutch abandoned Mauritius by the beginning of the 18th-century. Shortly thereafter, the island was settled by the French, who built many roads, buildings, fortifications and amenities in Port Louis, many of which you can see on a tour of Mauritius today. Indian artisans and workers also settled on the island during this period.
During the Napoleonic Wars, Britain took Mauritius from France and soon gained popularity with the locals due to their promises of religious freedom and respect of local culture, law and customs. Mauritius remained under British rule until 1968 and became a republic in 1992. Its complex history and diverse nature of its inhabitants means a holiday to Mauritius is a unique opportunity to experience many different cultures in a relatively small area.
Nature in Mauritius
A real-life ‘Garden of Eden’, Mauritius is known for its natural abundance and diverse habitats. This tropical island is a paradise for nature lovers and its year-round warm temperatures mean a trip to Mauritius is a perfect adventure any time of year. Due to its temperate climate, Mauritius has long been a centre for sugar cane, tea and vanilla plantations. The most famous icon of the island is Le Morne Brabant Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the southwestern tip of Mauritius.
A rugged mountain that reaches 556 metres into the sky is the highlight of this picturesque peninsula, which is also home to an idyllic lagoon, caves and clifftops. Its micro-climate encourages distinct flora and fauna to flourish on the peninsula. Aside from Le Morne Brabant, many tourists choose to travel to Mauritius to see the amazing ‘Land of Seven Colours’ in Chamarel, an otherworldly geological formation composed of multi-coloured sand dunes separated into surreal rainbow-hued lines. Finally, Mauritius is famed for its amazing biodiversity and it is home to some of the rarest animals and plants on earth.
The iconic Dodo was endemic to the island, although the introduction of non-native species caused the extinction of a number of Mauritius’s most delicate inhabitants. Today, the flying-fox is the only extant endemic species remaining on the island, although the coral reef that surrounds the island is well-known for its rich marine life and is considered one of the world’s greatest diving hot-spots.
Culture in Mauritius
Sometimes referred to as the ‘Rainbow Island’, due to its rich cultural diversity, Mauritius is home to a melting-pot blend of several cultures whose roots can be traced back to its complex history. French, English and Creole are widely spoken and the islands most famous cultural icon is its ‘sega’ music and dance, a genre that is unique to Mauritius, originating from the music of African slaves. To get to the heart of the nation’s culture, during a trip to Mauritius, head to Port Louis’ bustling Central Market or catch a sega show at a local nightclub. Hinduism, Islam and Christianity are three popular religions in Mauritius and you’ll find all three coexisting peacefully. To trace the importance of Hinduism on the island, a tour of the Grand Bassin Crater Lake is a must-do. This is the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage site on the island as well as a tranquil haven set amongst an untouched natural landscape.
Beyond the white-sand beaches and luxury resorts, Mauritius is a cultural powerhouse with one-of-a-kind natural wonders and unique national culture. A tour of Mauritius can take you from the verdant interior to centuries-old rum distilleries and aromatic vanilla plantations and the lively streets of diverse Port Louis. More than just a honeymooners paradise, the island of Mauritius deserves a place on your list of top places to travel.
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Mauritius.
Visa not required for stays up to 90 days.
UTC + 04:00.
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Other useful information
People drive on the left-hand side of the road.
There are no mandatory vaccinations for travellers from EU countries.
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