What makes Mauritius a unique country to travel to?
The Republic of Mauritius is a small island nation consisting of four inhabited and several other islands in the southwestern Indian Ocean. Mauritius has a stable government and a diverse economy. Its 2012 per capita GDP of US $8,850 is one of the highest in Africa. Facilities for tourism are well-developed. Although English is the administrative language, Creole and French are the languages used in daily life. English may not be understood outside of main towns and tourist areas. The capital city is Port Louis.
Violent and petty crime is increasingly common in tourist areas throughout Mauritius. Visitors should keep track of their belongings at all times due to thepotential for pick-pocketing and purse-snatching, especially in crowded areas.Residential break-ins are reported frequently on the island. It is unwise to walk alone at night outside the immediate grounds of hotels. Foreigners should exercise caution on beaches and poorly-lit or deserted areas at night.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Bootlegs are illegal in the United States, and their purchase may also violate local laws in Mauritius.
While you are traveling in Mauritius, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. Certain actions might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. Driving under the influence of alcohol in Mauritius could land you immediately in jail. If you break local laws in Mauritius, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not wherever you go. Persons violating Mauritian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines in Mauritius.
Arrest notifications in host country: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
Medical facilities are available, but are more limited than in the United States. Emergency assistance is also limited. While public hospitals provide free care, visitors may choose to be treated by private doctors and clinics. Prescription and over-the-counter medicines are generally available, though they may not be specific U.S. brand names. Service Aide Medicale Urgence (SAMU) is a government-run medical assistance service that provides free ambulance and emergency assistance in response to calls to 114 (Address: Volcy Pougnet Street, Port Louis). MegaCare is a private organization that provides assistance to subscribers only (Address: 99 Draper Avenue, Quatre Bornes; phone: 116; 464-6116). Point aux Canonnier Medical Center tel: 263-1010, Private Clinic Fortis Darne tel: 118, and Private Clinic Apollo Bramwell tel: 132 also provide paid Ambulance Service.
Safety and Security
U.S. citizens should avoid crowds and street demonstrations, and maintain a low profile. Women should avoid walking alone, particularly on public beaches and at night. There have been occasional reports of robberies, sexual assault, and harassment of foreign travelers.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Mauritius, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
Driving is on the left side of the road. Many roads are narrow and uneven with inadequate lighting, making night driving hazardous. Speed limits are posted in kilometers per hour and all road and traffic signs are posted in English. Drivers and all passengers are required to wear seat belts. Drivers and passengers on motorcycles are required to wear helmets. Babies and toddlers should be placed in child seats. Many accidents occur due to excessive speed and violations of road regulations.
Drivers involved in an accident are required by law to remain at the scene until the police arrive. However, if an angry crowd gathers and those involved in the accident feel threatened, police and judicial authorities have in the past not taken action against drivers who leave the scene if they have proceeded directly to a police station. In cases of accidents involving two parties but which involve no injuries and where drivers are not under the influence of alcohol/drugs, drivers may fill out and sign an “Agreed Statement of Facts.” Police presence is not required for this action. Each party should retain one copy of the statement to claim auto insurance reimbursement.
While there are organizations that provide emergency or roadside assistance, their resources and capabilities are limited; on occasion, they are unable to respond to non-life threatening situations.
Public transportation by bus is available between the main towns until 9:00 p.m. and in remote areas until 6:00 p.m. Taxis are also available.