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101 ways of wearing your pareo

'Made in Mauritius', a label that your family and friends will definitely appreciate! Shopping experiences in Mauritius are absolutely amazing: ranging from shopping in the relaxed atmosphere of shopping centres, savings in duty free shopping, specialized arts and crafts, hawkers on the beach and on the streets and markets.

Gift Ideas : Everyone knows that bringing back souvenirs can be quite time consuming! Surprise your family and friends with some really exotic buys like perfume oils, sample soils from our Seven Coloured Earths and rattan handbags woven by hand. Tease their taste buds with local spices, achards and pickles, flavoured tea (vanilla, mint, elaiti and lemon), freshly ground coffee, vanilla sticks and why not some local blue marlin fish!

For those of you who appreciate the delicate art of ship models, many of our craftsmen have specialised in replicating historical ships to give you a piece of our maritime history. The textile museum in Floréal traces the history and contribution that our manufacturing industry has had in our economy. And for you Ladies, prepare to be dazzled at our diamond factory, where you can marvel at the dexterity of our craftsmen.

Valuable tips on how to shop smart in Mauritius may be all you need to afford great gifts at exceptional prices. Most magazines and tour operators feature high-class shopping centres, which offer great variety but not necessarily the best bargains.

Be aware that taxi drivers in their excursion itinerary will make sure you stop at a few 'selected' shops where they will earn a 'high' commission. Some might even upon negotiation of your trip fare prior to your trip that if they decrease the trip fare, you will have to go to their 'favourite' shops.

- Shop around first and compare prices
- Be wary of hawkers on the beach and road-sides
- Polish on your bargaining skills - you never know how much you can save!
- Keep close watch on your belongings and purse (pickpockets are many in the markets and even in shops)
- Check the condition of branded products as quality may vary
- Always keep the receipt in case of returns or exchange
- Make sure your local immigration allows entry of fresh and/or dried food, souvenir products made of wood, dried materials and other ethnic products.
- Have a local with you and see the difference it makes!

Heart-shaped Anthuriums

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Red anthurium

The heart-shaped crimson-red anthuriums may be the ultimate gift to someone very dear! Or even to bring back for yourself as a souvenir of your sun-kissed holidays on our island Mauritius! The plant itself is on average 30cms high and is grown in the shade, away from the glaring sun in nurseries. Even though there is no particular fragrance to the anthurims, they are very popular amongst locals for its capacity to last for more than 7-10 days in water. The colours of anthuriums vary from satin white to morning-dew pink to frosted pink, and from bright orange to crimson-red. The leaves of the anthuriums are also heart-shaped, though wider in size.

Mauritius is a major exporter of anthurium and andreanum flowers towards South Africa, Europe and Australia. Picked first thing in the morning, the anthuriums are sold in fresh packs, able to preserve the flowers for at least 4 days, without watering. Tip: Check beforehand with your local immigration if fresh flowers are allowed into your country.

Ralph Lauren polo shirts

By far, the absolute favourite buy... Never before have Ralph Lauren clothes and accessories been so affordable! To give you an idea, the average price for a genuine Polo shirt is US$13! Yes it happens right here in Mauritius! And No, they are not all fake or counterfeited products. The next time you head down to your local department store, check the country of origin of Ralph Lauren polo shirts, Calvin Klein t-shirts and Hugo Boss shirts. Chances are they are made in Mauritius!

During the last couple of years, the ever-increasing demand for Ralph Lauren quality products has resulted in a massive proliferation of retail shops, mostly factory outlets. You will find them almost everywhere, especially in the very touristy areas of the North - Grand Baie and Arsenal, Port Louis, Curepipe and Floréal. Tip: Shop around first to have a feel of the going price and, to ensure that you are getting the real thing, check the packaging, the logo. Always keep the receipt as proof of purchase for return or exchange.

Cashmere & Woollens

Our textile industry is one of the most important pillars of the Mauritian economy, and we thrive to remain competitive on the world market, manufacturing first-class textile products at very competitive prices. Cashmere and woollens are favourite buys for many tourists and locals. Shopping direct at our factory outlets will guarantee you value for money! Suddenly winter will not seem so cold after all, when you see the wide selection of scarves and trendy jumpers, ranging from v-necks, crew necks, turtle necks, off-shoulder and boat neck. On warmer days, there is nothing better than to show off your décolleté with spaghetti straps, plunging necklines and bare-backs made with fine new wool and cashmere.

Billabong Beachwear

Manufactured locally, under the Australian franchise, the products at Billabong are top quality at reasonable prices. An apt description of their range of products would be: Comfy, Stylish and Ready for Action! Guys and Girls, you will find everything that you'll need, from shorts, three-quarter pants, swimsuits, t-shirts, slippers, sunnies and other accessories to be 'dans bataz lor la plaze' (in style by the beach)! Retail outlets: Caudan Waterfront Port Louis, Super U, Grand Baie. Tip: The factory outlet is at Coromandel, on the outskirts of Port Louis, at only a 10-minute drive from the city centre.

Business Suits

Yes, you are on holidays in Mauritius and yes we totally agree that business suits are definitely not the thing to think of! But think again for their excellent quality and price! There are two nice shops: Karl Kaiser in Caudan Waterfront (Port Louis), Sunset Boulevard (Grand Baie) and Nino Cerutti in Mauricia Shopping Centre, Grand Baie. Tip: you may check with a local tailor for custom-made business suits which can be ready in less 2 days.

Be part of the noisy crowds so typical of flea markets. You will be amazed by the bargains offered! Like all the markets around the world, you can expect to find all kinds of knicks and knacks, from tourist souvenirs, homewares, costume jewelry, DVDs, CDs and cassettes to meat, vegetables, seafood, to newsagents and lottery booths. Tip: Be careful of pickpockets in these areas. Bargain and try not to look very intent into buying their products - for in some cases you could get away with almost half the initial price! And for your convenience we have the locations and timetables of markets held on special days of the week.

Port Louis : Marche Central Port Louis - Everyday, Sundays half-day
Grand Baie : Bazaar de Grand Baie - Mondays to Sundays
Goodlands : Open everyday
Rose Hill : Arab Town - Open everyday except Thursdays , Belle Rose - Sundays
Quatre Bornes : Foire - Open on Thursdays & Sundays

Our Shopping Centres

Grand Baie
Sunset Boulevard - Le Mauricia Shopping Centre - Le Dodo Square - Super U - Grand Baie Bazaar
Open on Monday to Saturday: 09.30 to 18.00, Sunday: 09.30 to 12.00

Port Louis
Le Caudan Waterfront - Port Louis Waterfront - Le Marché Central - Chinatown
Open on Monday to Friday: 09.30 to 17.30, Weekend: 09.00 to 13.00

Quatre Bornes
Orchard Tower - Quatre Bornes market - Georgetown
Open on weekdays and Saturday from 10.00 to 17.30, on Thursdays & Sundays: 10.00 to 12.00

Curepipe - Floréal
Garden Shopping Village - Pushkaar - Arcades Salaffa
Open on weekdays and Saturday from 10.00 to 17.30, on Thursdays & Sundays: 10.00 to 12.00

Beach Hawkers

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..Simple commment on one line only

Beach hawkers are common on most beaches of the island. Often, they sell paréos (sarongs), souvenir products, Ralph Lauren shirts, beach towels, oysters, shells, pineapples, even tours and excursions, all claiming to be cheapest and most popular around.

While some tourists do not mind the daily regular intrusion of the friendly beach hawkers, many others have learnt to avoid them, either because they have previously been 'cheated' on prices or simply from hearsay. You might find youself paying Rs. 2,000 (US$65) for 3 oysters! And this is speaking from experience! Or better, Rs. 4,000 for an imitation pearl necklace (no pearl culture in Mauritius).

Yes, unfortunately beach hawkers do not have a very positive image in that they may not be the most honest business people - very often overpricing their products and excursions. Do exercise caution even with those who operate on private resort beaches and who claim to have a license to operate in the area because the license does not prove business ethics !!!