MAURITIUS

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:The Republic of Mauritius is an island nation in the southwestern Indian Ocean, with a stable government and a growing economy. Facilities for tourism are well developed. English, French, and Creole are spoken.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A valid passport, onward/return ticket and proof of sufficient funds are required. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of Mauritius, Suite 441, 4301 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 244-1491/2 or Honorary Consulates located in Los Angeles, telephone (818) 788-3720, and Atlanta, telephone (404) 892-8733. Overseas inquiries may be made at the nearest Mauritian embassy or consulate. There is an airport departure tax of 300 Rupees (about $15.00).

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are available, but more limited than in the United States. Doctors and private clinics require cash or credit card payment for health care services. Public hospitals provide limited facilities. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide for the payment of medical services outside the United States. Travelers have found supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage, including air evacuations, to be useful. For further information, travelers can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's International Travelers Hotline at 1-888-232-3228, or their autofax service at 1-888-232-3299, or their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Petty crime is common. It is unwise to walk alone at night outside the immediate grounds of hotels. Pickpocketings at the central market in Port Louis are common.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The pamphlets "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa" provide useful information on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S. and Mauritius, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Mauritius's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Mauritian air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet Home Page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon at (703) 697-7288.

Road Safety/Traffic Conditions: Driving is on the left side of the road. Generally, roads are in good condition, but are sometimes narrow and uneven with inadequate lighting. Local driving habits are unpredictable. Since demonstrations occasionally occur due to traffic accidents, visitors involved in an accident should proceed directly to the nearest police station if a crowd forms. Public transportation is available between the main towns until 10:30 p.m. and in remote areas until 6:00 p.m.

DRUG PENALTIES: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Jail sentences for illegal importation of drugs in Mauritius may vary from 20 years to life imprisonment.

Import Prohibitions: Spearfishing equipment cannot be imported into Mauritius. All warm-blooded animals must undergo a minimum quarantine period of six months.

Registration/Embassy Location: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Port Louis, where they may obtain updated information on travel and security in Mauritius. The U.S. Embassy, located at Rogers House (Fourth Floor) on John F. Kennedy Street in Port Louis, also provides consular services for U.S. citizens in Comoros and the Seychelles. The telephone numbers are (230) 208-9764 through 208-9769, 208-2347 and 208-2354; fax (230) 208-9534. The Embassy homepage is located at http://usis.intnet.mu; e-mail usembass@intnet.mu.

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