Mauritian rupee (Rs)
Budget: Less than €100
- Double room in a budget hotel: €40–75
- Street food or self-catering for lunch: €5
- Dinner in midrange restaurant: €20
- Double room in a midrange hotel with half-board: €80–150
- Lunch in midrange restaurants: €25
- Car hire per day: from €40
- Occasional excursions: €50–100
Top end: More than €200
- Double room with half-board in a luxury hotel: €150–sky's the limit
- Lunch in top-end restaurant: from €50
- All-day taxi excursions: €50–100 per day
- Catamaran excursions: from €50
Prices are fixed in supermarkets, and upmarket and designer shops, but elsewhere it's always worth asking if the price being offered is the final price. This is particularly true in tourist areas and street markets. If you do decide to haggle, you're likely to get a lot further if you do so in a friendly spirit. You're unlikely to achieve much by trying to bargain on the price of excursions.
ATMs widespread on main island, less common on Rodrigues. Major credit cards widely accepted by hotels, restaurants, shops and tour companies.
It's perfectly possible to travel on plastic in Mauritius since ATMs are widespread. Even Rodrigues has a smattering of them. They're mostly located outside banks, though you'll also find them at the airports, at larger supermarkets and in some shopping malls. The majority of machines accept Visa and MasterCard, or any similar cards in the Cirrus and Plus networks, while Amex has a tie-in with Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB). Remember, however, that bank fees, sometimes significant ones, can apply – check with your home bank before setting out for Mauritius.
The Mauritian unit of currency is the rupee (Rs), which is divided into 100 cents (¢). There are coins of 5¢, 20¢ and 50¢, and Rs 1, Rs 5 and Rs 10. The banknote denominations are Rs 25, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 200, Rs 500, Rs 1000 and Rs 2000. While the Mauritian rupee is the island's currency, almost all villas, guesthouses and hotels (and several high-end restaurants usually affiliated with hotels) tether their prices to the euro to counterbalance the rupee's unstable fluctuations and it is possible (and sometimes required) to pay in euros at such places.
Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted cards, though Amex is catching up quickly. Nearly all tourist shops, restaurants and accommodation accept payment by credit card, as do car-hire companies, tour agents and so forth. Any establishment well outside the tourist bubble will still expect payment in cash.
A few places add on an extra fee, typically 3%, to the bill to cover 'bank charges'. The cheaper car-hire companies are the worst offenders. To be on the safe side, always ask. Cash advances on credit cards are available from most major banks, including MCB, Barclays, the State Bank and HSBC. Just remember to take your passport.
|euro zone||€1||Rs 40.52|
|New Zealand||NZ$1||Rs 24.63|
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
Major currencies and travellers cheques can be changed at the main banks, exchange bureaux and the larger hotels. Bureaux de change sometimes offer slightly better rates than banks and the queues are shorter, but there's usually little difference, and many seem to close without warning when reserves run dry. Hotels tend to have the worst rates and may add an additional service commission. There is no black market in Mauritius.
As a general rule, travellers cheques bring a better rate than cash. Banks don't charge commission on changing cash. As for travellers cheques, the system varies. Some banks, such as HSBC, charge 1% of the total, with a minimum of Rs 200, while MCB and the State Bank levy Rs 50 for up to 10 cheques. Don't forget to take along your passport when changing money. And make sure you hang on to the encashment form, which may have to be presented if you want to change Mauritian rupees back into foreign currency at the end of your stay (although not all airport bureaux de change ask for it).
Tipping is not generally practised in Mauritius and is never an obligation. Top-end hotels and restaurants sometimes add a service charge of about 10% to 15% to the bill.
In most resort hotels, tips are always welcome, but most prefer that you contribute to an overall tips box, usually at reception, rather than tipping individual staff.