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Travel Facts

Location

Rodrigues is a volcanic tropical island in the South-West of the Indian Ocean, 650 km East of Mauritius, covering an area of 108 square kilometres.
Other islands nearby include La Réunion, Mauritius and Madagascar
Rodrigues is divided into six regions, La Ferme, Marechal, Saint Gabriel, Baie aux Huitres, Port Mathurin and Grande Montagne, these are further divided into 14 municipalities.

Immigration

Visas are not required for European tourists (maximum stay up to 6 months). Passports are required and must be valid a minimum of 6 months after date of entry. Mauritian citizens can travel with a valid National Identity card.

Climate/Weather

The Rodrigues climate is generally pleasant, and often drier and warmer that its neighbour Mauritius as rainfall is fairly low, though the island is subject to the winds that blow from the South-East.
Sea temperatures are also fairly constant throughout the year, warm in summer, from 25°C to 28°C and slightly cooler in winter at 25°C to 28°C.
Like Mauritius, Rodrigues has two seasons, summer usually starting in November and ending in April, and winter from May to October. Summer temperatures are on average 24 - 34°C during the daytime and in winter the average can be anything from 16 to 27°C.
Cyclone season is usually from around mid December to mid April and can affect your vacation for several days. Listen to announcements on TV and radio and be sure to follow recommendations for your own safety.

Currency/Money

Most currency can be exchanged at banks or currency exchange companies. The Mauritius Rupee is the national currency.
The following banks have offices in the capital Port Mathurin: Barclays Bank, Indian Ocean International Bank, State Bank, and Mauritius Commercial Bank.

Accommodation

Rodrigues has a range of accommodation choices, from resort hotels to boutique guest houses and hotels, and eco-lodges to bed and breakfasts and apartments. What they all have in common is the warm Rodriguan welcome and relaxed ambience.

Language

The main spoken language is Rodriguan Creole, with English and French used as the languages of government administration and business. Rodriguan Creole is very similar to Mauritian Creole, though there is some difference in pronunciation.

Here are some useful Creole words and phrases
 
Hello: pronounced “Bonzur”
Good Bye: You can say ‘Bye’ or “Orevwar”
How are you?: pronounced “ Ki manyèr?”
Thank you: pronounced “Mersi”
How much: pronounced “Kombien?”
Yes: pronounce “Wi”
No: pronounced “Noh”
I do not understand: pronounced “Mo pa kompran”
Excuse me: pronounced “Exkize moi”
Do you speak English?: pronounced “To koz Anglay?”

People

The Rodriguan people are often described as authentic, with many attributing the charm of the island to the simple, harmonious, tranquil lifestyle of its inhabitants. About 90% of the population are Creole, descendants of Malagasy and African slaves. The Catholic faith is predominant in Rodrigues, with Anglicans, Adventists, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists also represented.

Important Dates

Most of the festivals and celebrations in Rodrigues are the same as the ones celebrated in Mauritius mainland. The major festivals are Diwali, Holi, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Easter, and Eid ul Fitr.

Activities

Rodrigues offers a range of fun and exciting activities, from hiking and day cruises to neighbouring islets to ziplining, diving and much more. Diving is truly the premier activity of the island as it is home to some of the most breathtaking coral reefs and marine life in the world. The underwater world of the island is a natural wonder of the Indian Ocean, full of brightly coloured endemic fish and a rich variety of corals. There are numerous caves, tunnels and canyons for the fish to weave in and out of, and some of the large species you might see include Tuna, Sharks, Jackfish, Barracudas and Kingfish. The best period for diving is during the summer when visibility is best and diving is possible both inside and outside the lagoon.
Day trips to Ile aux Cocos, a stunning small island nature reserve located 4 km to the west of Rodrigues is also a popular activity and is now one of the main tourist attractions of Rodrigues. The island has a long fine sandy beach and coconut and casuarinas trees are plentiful. The lagoon surrounding the island is shallow and in some areas the corals and rocks are visible above the water surface meaning it is possible to get a glimpse of the marine life from the boat itself. Cocos Island is also home to thousands of birds and during the summer up to 5,000 make their home there. Visits to the island require a permit which is usually obtained by your tour operator.

Entertainment

Entertainment such as cultural shows or live music are available at hotels, and the island’s discos are also lively.

Health and Safety

There is no malaria on the island, but you should still take usual precautions against mosquito bites like applying anti-mosquito sprays or creams.   
Drinking water is considered safe.
Take sensible precautions when travelling around the island, do not leave valuables unattended and try to avoid walking alone at night.
When swimming in the sea always check that the currents are safe and that there are no visible or hidden hazards.

Services and Utilities

Electricity: 220V mainly
Weights & measures: Metric plus old English & French

Shopping

There are a wide variety of handicraft goods available to tourists at the market in Port Mathurin. Homemade jams, pickles and honey are also very popular items.