Capital | Port Louis
Population | 1,303,717 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 2,040 SQ KM
Official Language | English, French
Holidays | Independence Day, 12 March (1968)
Currency | Rupee (MUR)
Time Zone | UTC +4
Best Time to Visit | July to September (Winter)
Connecting with the Culture | Lazing on the long, casuarinas-fringed beach of Belle Mare. Driving offshore, especially at the northern end of the island. Hunting for bargains in the downtown market in Port Louis. Strolling around the beautiful Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens at Pamplemousses. Hiking in the Black River Gorges National Park—a must for nature lovers.
Read | the romantic novel Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de St Pierre, or Petrusmok by well-known author Malcolm de Chazal.
Listen | to Ti-Frére, the most popular séga singer, or Creole singer Jean Claude Monique.
Eat | Rougaille (a Mediterranean dish of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and any kind of meat or fish) or daube (stew).
Drink | lassi (a yogurt and ice-water drink) or alouda glacé (a syrupy brew of agar, milk and fruit syrup).
In a Word | Tapeta! (Cheers!)
Characteristics | Home to the extinct dodo; sugar plantations; coconut palms; pamper-happy beach resorts; Indian-fusion cuisine.
Surprises | Undersea walks are becoming increasingly popular in Mauritus—participants don lead boots and diving helmets and stroll along the seabed feeding the fish, while oxygen is piped in from the surface.