Ornately decorated, pastel coloured buildings by the roadside, lushly carpeted volcanic peaks, fields of swaying sugar cane and powder-white beaches mark out this Indian ocean island, whose people are friendly mix of Indian and Creole, with a past peppered with Dutch, French and British colonial influence.

DISTANCE FROM AIRPORT TO MAJOR BEACH AREAS: 45-60 minutes | TIME ZONE: GMT +4 hours | CURRENCY: The Mauritius Rupee (MUR). It's sensible to order currency in advance of your trip, but ATMs are widespread on the island | LANGUAGES: English is generally accepted as the official language |