Mauritius uses the Mauritian rupee as its currency. This is represented by the currency code MUR on the currency markets. When you see an amount written down for this currency you will usually see the letters Rs in front of it. It is a decimal currency and it is split into 100 cents.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
While each Mauritian rupee is divided into 100 cents, you won’t actually see any cent coins in circulation now. Instead there are just three coins denominated in rupees. These are the 1, 5 and 10 rupee coins.
There are a number of banknotes you will see though, which are the 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 and 2,000 rupee banknotes.
From past to present – the history of the Mauritian rupee
You’ll have to go all the way back to 1877 to find the first instance of the Mauritius rupee coming into circulation. Before this the Indian rupee was used. The main reason why the Mauritians decided to create their own rupee was because of the huge influx of Indian people – and their rupees – coming into Mauritius through immigration. It made sense therefore to create a rupee that was Mauritius’s own, and one that would be familiar in a sense to the many new Indian residents in the country.
How to get hold of the Mauritian rupee
While it is possible to exchange your own currency for the Mauritian rupee before you leave home, it is usually better to wait until you arrive on the island. Generally speaking many people say they get a better exchange rate by doing this. You don’t have to wait long to have a chance to get the cash you need either – you will see bureaux de change right there in the arrivals part of the airport. Take a few minutes to get some cash there before you head out and make your way to your accommodation.
As for paying by other means, you’ll find it is easy to pay by either Mastercard or Visa in a variety of different places. American Express cards are also now becoming easier to pay with, although you shouldn’t take this as your only card.
While some countries do accept other currencies other than their own one, this doesn’t really apply in Mauritius. You might find you can pay with the US dollar or maybe the euro, but if you do you shouldn’t be surprised to get a poor exchange rate, so bear this in mind if you are tempted.
Check and see what your bank will charge you for using your debit card in a cash machine, or alternatively using your credit card for the same purpose. It’s not usually a good idea to do the latter as it can be pricier, but it is a good option to have as an alternative.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Mauritian rupee
This is simple as you might expect – all you require is a currency converter. You’ll find these freely and easily available online, although you can also get apps for phones and tablets if you prefer to check the latest exchange rates that way instead. All you need to do is enter your own currency first and then find the Mauritian rupee to enter as the destination currency. You can then convert either one unit or any amount of cash you wish, depending on your needs.
You might find it useful to check out the website of the Republic of Mauritius too. The High Commission of Mauritius is based in London and you can visit the website at http://www.gov.mu.
Travelling safely with the Mauritian rupee
Mauritius is a pretty safe country to be in for the most part. If you go there anytime between November and May you should be aware that cyclones can take place. Keep an eye out on weather reports to make sure you stay safe if you do visit during this time.
Aside from that potential threat to your safety, the main concern you should have is with petty crime. Incidents such as bag snatching and pickpocketing do occur a lot, but you can reduce the odds that you will be affected simply by following a few basic rules. For example don’t just sling your bag over your shoulder: sling it over the opposite shoulder so the strap is on one shoulder and your bag is carried on the opposite side. It makes it a lot harder to snatch.
Most petty crime is opportunistic in nature. Therefore if you don’t give them the opportunity to snatch anything from you, you can reduce the odds that you’ll be targeted. Violence tends to be rare in these crimes, but you shouldn’t resist just in case is jeopardises your safety. You should also take care whenever you take money out of a cash machine, as this can attract the potential of being robbed.
If you stay in a hotel make sure it is one that is registered and recognised by the Ministry of Tourism. Make use of the safe if you have one too – this is the ideal place to store your passport while you are on the island, not to mention anything else you might have that you don’t need to carry with you.
Where to spend your rupees in Mauritius – and what to spend them on
You’ll find Mauritius plopped right down in the Indian Ocean. It is situated to the east of Madagascar and it is an island country with no other countries sharing its borders. It is quite a compact island, which means you can easily travel from one place to another and explore the many sights it has to share with you.
For example, how about starting at the Black River Gorges National Park? This is located in the south-western corner of the island, away from the coast, and it is very highly rated by many travellers who have been there. It is the biggest park of its kind on the island and it offers a cooler atmosphere than you’d get in other areas. It’s great for those who love hiking and walking, with dozens of kilometres of trails winding through the gorge and exploring the forests here. Nature abounds here and you might just get a glimpse of the pink pigeon or the Mauritius parakeet on your explorations.
If you would rather hit the beaches this island is famous for, how about trying the wonderfully named village of Flic en Flac? The beach here is widely thought of as one of the island’s highlights, offering wonderful views of the Indian Ocean and soft white sands to sink your feet into.
Another great day out can be had at the Mauritius National Botanical Garden. This is situated to the north of the island, and it has been there for some 300 years. Look out for the giant water lilies among other things, and the Baobabs as well. This used to be known as the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens, so if you see information relating to this you know you’re still looking at the same place.
If you fancy a spot of mountain climbing you can try heading up the Pieter Both, which takes second place in terms of the highest mountains the island has to offer. It is still a mere baby compared to many other mountains around the world, rising up to 820 metres at its highest point. This is not a walk for anyone but the most experienced of climbers though, since it is steep and ropes are essential for those who attempt it. The views are more than worth your effort if you do decide to give it a go though.
The food on Mauritius is another good reason to visit the island. You will notice there are influences here from the Indian people who immigrated years ago. Mauritius also takes inspiration from many other people, including the French. Do try the coconut water you can sometimes find being sold on the streets. As is the case in many other locations, street food is really something to be desired! You can certainly be happy in parting with a few rupees on some tasty treats.
Mauritius is a desirable island for many people to visit. But while it is famous for its beaches it should rightly be famous for many other reasons as well. From the naturally occurring sights to those that have been developed over the years for locals and visitors to enjoy, there is much to appreciate here. You could certainly spend a couple of weeks exploring all the best bits of the island to ensure you enjoy and make the most of your holiday here.
Whenever you want to get away from it all, staying on an island in the middle of the ocean sounds like a great idea. And when you choose Mauritius as that island, you will love the experience in more ways than one.