21 Most Common Tourist Scams in Mauritius

Safety at Port Louis, Beau Bassin-Rose Hill, Curepipe, Quatre Bornes, Vacoas-Phoenix, Blue Bay, Centre de Flacq, Grand Baie, Flic En Flac, Tamarin, Trou d’eau Douce,
Note: If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. World Nomads Travel Insurance, backed by Lonely Planet & National Geographic, is one we recommend. Check it out before your adventure.


Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort

Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort


Also dubbed the Singapore of Africa, Mauritius is known for being a tropical island that has long been a haven for honeymoon couples or anyone who wants to spend their days on paradisiacal beaches.

Here, you can also visit parks and spot giant tortoises, exotic birds, and monkeys, as well as go hiking in the hills.

Kite surfing as well as reef snorkeling are also popular pastimes here. While you are at it, make sure to try the delicious seafood.

However, Mauritius has a rising crime rate, and scams targeting tourists also exist.

So read on to learn how to protect yourself here!




1. Fraudulent tour operators

Grand Bay

Grand Bay


How it works:

There is an infamous tour operator – Pom & Jerry tour operator run by Steve and his wife Roobina who has cheated many tourists.

In fact, Roobina has even served time in jail for this!

So for instance if you had booked a tour to Benitier Island, what happens is that on the day of your excursion, Roobina will call to inform you that the crew had been involved in an accident.

As such, she had to engage another crew but as she is stuck at the hospital, she asks if you can help her out by doing a cash advance for the new crew. She swears this money will be returned back to you when the tour ends.

Steve will collect this money at the pick-up point to the island. However, after the tour ends and you return from the island, Steve will be nowhere to be found.

You try contacting Roobina, and she will always come up with some excuse to delay meeting you. One day, she will disappear just like Steve.

Should you report this to the Flic en Flac police station, you will find out that you are just one of the many lucky victims!


What to do:

Engage a licensed, reputable tour operator which you can find online:

  • GetYourGuide: leading day tours platform globally – excellent curation of tours, tickets and transport – most popular tours:



  • Your hotel / hostel affiliated tour operators: reliable but generally not the best or cheapest.

As for offline operators, to determine if one is legitimate, ask:

  • Is the operator licensed and is there a professional website, physical office, business email and working telephone number?
  • Are there online reviews? Do they sound legitimate?
  • Is the price too low to be true? What does it cover (vehicles, guides, safety, insurance, hidden fees, etc)?

When paying:

  • Avoid paying in full upfront unless through a reputable platform / operator.
  • If using an online platform, do not make payment off the platform.


2. Unofficial dolphin tour operators

Dolphin tour

Dolphin tour. Source: Daniel Barrientos / flickr


How it works:

Many visitors to Mauritius choose to sign up for a tour that takes you out to swim with dolphins.

A number of operators do not have safety certificates and do not have adequate safety equipment. This can be very dangerous.


What to do:

If a tour seems incredibly cheap, this is usually a sign that it is being run by a freelance company without the proper permits and equipment.

As such, always book a tour through a reputable company with good online feedback and ask to see their license to operate as well as they safety equipment before making payment.

Engage a licensed, reputable tours and activities operator which you can find via:

  • GetYourGuide: leading day tours platform globally – excellent curation of tours, tickets and transport – has a couple of dolphin tours:


  • Your hotel / hostel affiliated tour operators: reliable but generally not the best or cheapest.

To determine if an operator is legitimate, ask these questions:

  • Is the operator licensed and is there a professional website, physical office, business email and working telephone number?
  • Are there online reviews? Do they sound legitimate?
  • Is the price too low to be true? What does it cover (vehicles, guides, safety, insurance, hidden fees, etc)?

Finally make sure you have travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – our review) that covers accidents.


3. Beach unofficial tour operator

Beach in Mauritius

Beach in Mauritius


How it works:

Another infamous scammer you may encounter here is the legendary Kevin Munsaram who operates around Tourx Biches and Pereybere.

He usually targets tourists at La Cuvette beach, by approaching you with a folder of lovely photos of all the catamaran trips available. He will even furnish his Mauritian ID to make the act more convincing.

Should you agree to a tour, he will ask for a small deposit.

Come the day of the excursion, a minibus will come around to pick up all tourists signed up for the tour. On the bus, he will ask for the balance of money.

Once you reach the jetty to board the catamaran, he will point out a random boat and claim that that is the one which will be picking you up.

While you wait for the boat to come over, he will go and get some cold drinks for you to cool down in this hot weather.

As you wait, you get hotter than the hot weather itself as you realize that Kevin has disappeared with your cash and both the boat and him are NOT going to show up.


What to do:

This scammer is well known by both the police and the locals.

You can recognize him by these features:

  • He has a diamond stick-on on his front tooth.
  • On his right hand he has a big N tattoo.
  • Up his neck’s left-side he has 3 star tattoos.
  • A piercing going through his left eye brow.


4. Grand Baie Bazaar sunglass trap

Grand Baie

Grand Baie. Source: holidify.com


How it works:

There is an infamous trap laid by stall number 27 at the Grand Baie Bazaar, which is positioned at the entrance of a dark and narrow alley to the toilet.

So what they do is to lay out a rotatable sunglass rack at the entrance, and leave an unassuming looking pair of sunglasses on the floor.

If you do not look at the floor (even if you do, it’s difficult to see), chances are that you will step on the pair of sunglasses.

Compensation will be promptly demanded for the pair of fake sunglasses, which they will claim to be authentic.


What to do:

Look out when you walk.

If you believe you have not damaged the sunglasses, insist not to pay and threaten to call the police (hotline at end of this article).

However, if you do not want to waste time, we suggest hiding your cash and valuables in a money belt or hidden pouch and use a cheap spare wallet with not much cash inside.

This may allow you to negotiate whatever compensation they want when you show that you have not much cash on you.


5. Museum showroom scam

Mauritian Glass Gallery

Mauritian Glass Gallery, Source: ttnotes.com


How it works:

Like in Egypt, some museums in Mauritius are designed as showrooms to encourage visitors to buy items.

Many do not have much in the way of cultural or historical information and you may feel pressured into buying items.

There have been some reports of the Mauritius Glass Gallery in Pont Fer being one such tourist trap.


What to do:

Read online feedback related to any museums you want to visit in Mauritius.

This will help you to check if the museum is designed simply as a showroom or if it is worth visiting.

Do not feel pressured into buying anything at a museum if you don’t want to.


6. Factory outlet scams


How it works:

Factory outlets are common all over Mauritius.

Often these factories will tell you that they sell high fashion goods and brands such as Hermes, Burberry and Gucci at a knock-down price.

As you would expect however, this is a scam and the items on sale are fake.


What to do:

Factories in Mauritius usually sell fake goods. As such you should be wary of buying any branded items.

If the price looks too good to be true then it probably is.

Should you buy, do not expect these to be high quality or long lasting.

Else, learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff, or only visit licensed, reputable shops.

You can find these by doing some online research or by asking your hotel / hostel staff.


7. Fair trade scam

Port Louis Central Market

Port Louis Central Market. Source: atraveljunkie.com


How it works:

There have been reports of this scam run by sellers in Port Louis Central Market.

These vendors will tell you that they are selling local crafts which in some way benefit the local community.

They will use this to charge you a high price as they expect you to pay more for ‘fair trade’ items.

Often however these will be from neighboring Madagascar or Thailand as they are cheaper for sellers to buy.


What to do:

If you want to buy genuinely local items then it’s best to research online to find places that are licensed to sell fair trade items so that you know you are not getting scammed.

You can find these by doing some online research or by asking your hotel / hostel staff.


8. Street and beach vendors

Beach vendor

Beach vendor. Source: Phuong Nguyen / Flickr


How it works:

Like in Indonesia and Kenya, at beach areas and on the streets of Mauritius you may find vendors who walk around and try to sell you souvenirs.

These are almost always overpriced at double or triple the price.


What to do:

To find out what is a fair price to pay, you can do some online research or check with your hotel / hostel staff.


9. Hotel pricing scams

Resort in Mauritius

Resort in Mauritius


How it works:        

Many hotels will offer you a great deal when you come to Mauritius which seems incredibly cheap.

They can afford to do this however as they make up the expenses of the room in other ways through a range of tricks – (although this is technically a tourist trap, but using misleading price promotions can be considered deceptive).

Some of these include selling bottled water to visitors at three times the local price which you can find at supermarkets.

Another trick is to offer all-you-can-drink deals which sound cheap but actually mean that you will need to consume huge quantities of alcoholic drinks as part of a meal in order to get your money’s worth.


What to do:

It is best not to purchase additional items in your hotel such as food or bottled water as these come with an excessively high markup (even more than the usual markup used by hotels globally).

Be wary of food and drinks promotions in large hotels as these are often tourist traps to make you pay far more than if you had paid for them separately.


10. Pickpocketing

Street in Mauritius

Street in Mauritius. Source: Mexxx75 / flickr


How it works:

These thieves work in gangs, and will hang around to spot anyone carrying an expensive or neglected phone / jewelry / valuable / bag and where it is stored.

Once they mark a target, they will surround you and then work like this:

  • One keeps a lookout and blocks passer-bys from seeing the scene.
  • Another blocks, pushes or distracts you (e.g. ask you an innocent question / survey / drop something and ask you about it).
  • A third steals your valuable / slashes your bag and then passes it on.
  • The last hides the loot under a jacket / coat / newspaper and then escapes.

Pickpocket hotspots include Port Louis (e.g. central market), Grand Baie and Flic en Flac.


What to do:

Stay alert and watch out for suspicious characters, though that is easier said than done.

The best solution is still, to not make yourself look like a target. 

Further, make it impossible for thieves to steal from you with these methods:

  • Carry a photocopy of your passport instead of the actual one.
  • Keep your wallet in the front pocket.
  • Conceal small valuables in a money belt / hidden pouch.
  • Store large valuables in a slash-resistant and lockable anti-theft bag.
  • Leave most valuables in your hotel / hostel / apartment safe, secured with hotel safety tools.
  • Get a good travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – our review) which covers loss of valuables.



1. Taxi driver unofficial guide partnership

Tamarind Falls

Tamarind Falls. Source: Martin Panzer / flickr


How it works:

There have been reports of scams by fraudulent guides in tourist areas such as the Tamarind Falls.

Sometimes a taxi driver will take you to a tourist area and alert a guide when you are already driving to the destination.

They will take you to a remote part of the attraction where only one guide is stationed so that you can’t shop around and compare prices with other guides.

Usually the driver and guide are working together and the driver will get a commission. Often due to the remote location you will have no choice but to hire the guide in question or risk getting lost.


What to do:

Avoid engaging unofficial tour guides as they are seldom value for money.

You can also use your phone’s GPS to track your location – to make sure that you are being brought to the location you requested, and also to get out of any hairy situations like the one above.


2. Taxi driver recommendation


How it works:

Some taxi drivers may try to confuse you by telling you that the place you wish to visit is too far / closed / not good and will suggest taking you somewhere nearer / better.

This is because these drivers will receive some form of commission if they deliver passengers or customers / visitors.


What to do:

Stick to your intended destination. If someone tells you a place is closed, see it for yourself.


3. Hotel taxi scam

Taxi in Mauritius

Taxi in Mauritius. Source: taximauritiustours.com


How it works:

Many hotels in Mauritius run taxi scams.

This involves the concierge or bell hop calling you a taxi which will then cost you double or triple what it would have cost if you had hailed it in the street.

The concierge or bell hop is part of the scam and will usually get a commission from the driver.


What to do:

If possible do not get your hotel to order a taxi for you. Instead, walk out to the main road as hailing a taxi there is much cheaper.

However, if you have to order a taxi through your hotel then make sure that they will use a meter and not ask for an inflated flat rate fare.

Confirm this before getting into the taxi.

Alternatively, you can also arrange private transport through day tours platforms like GetYourGuide (global leader) – 5 options:




4. Broken taxi meters


How it works:

Taxis in Mauritius rarely use meters.

If one is installed in your taxi then the driver will often tell you that it is broken as an excuse not to use it.

They will then usually charge you a flat rate fare to your destination.

If you do not negotiate this beforehand however there is a strong chance you will be ripped off.


What to do:

You can ask the driver to use the meter but it is not common practice in Mauritius for drivers to do so.

Hence, it’s best to estimate the fair price for any route by checking:

  • With your hotel / hostel.
  • An online taxi fare estimator / online travel forums.

Next, negotiate the fare (currency, price for everyone, not per pax) before getting into a taxi.


5. No change taxi drivers

Mauritian Rupee

Mauritian Rupee. Source: info-mauritius.com


How it works:

A common trick globally, taxi drivers will often tell you that they do not have any change to pocket the difference.


What to do:

Carry plenty of change such as small bills and coins when you take a taxi.


6. Long taxi routes

Road in Mauritius

Road in Mauritius. Source: Steve Segall / Flickr


How it works:

This is a scam that is usually used by taxis with a meter but is also a common problem with non-metered taxis in Mauritius.

Drivers will tell you that a destination is very far away and will ask for a high fixed fare as a result.

They will then drive you around town to make the fare look justified.

There have been reports of taxis driving guests around for two hours to get to a destination that is only 30 minutes away.

This is often an issue if you want to go to places such as the Tamarind Falls.


What to do:

In the cab, be very clear when communicating the destination you are heading to. More prominent landmarks around your destination can be mentioned.

During the ride, check your phone’s GPS to make sure you are headed in the correct direction.

Sometimes, drivers do take detours to avoid traffic jams, but that should not detract from the correct general direction.

To tell if you have been taken for a ride, you can also estimate a fair price of any route by checking:

  • An online taxi fare estimator / online travel forums.
  • With your hotel / hostel.

If you want to seek recourse, take a photo of the car plate number and of the driver’s license to report to the cab company.


7. Fake traffic accidents

Traffic in Mauritius

Traffic in Mauritius. Source: Alina Manolescu / Flickr


How it works:

Should you drive a rental car, watch out as there have reports of fake traffic accidents.

A local may deliberately “crash” their car into you and claim that you were at fault.

Often a crowd will form and you will be asked to pay for any damages on the spot.

Crowds can get aggressive if you refuse to pay, even if you did not cause the accident.


What to do:

If you get into a traffic accident in Mauritius then the best advice is to drive to the nearest police station and make a report.

Stopping at the scene is not recommended as this leaves you open to potential extortion.

Get a good travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – our review) which covers accidents.



1. Snatch theft


How it works:

Generally, there are two versions of snatch thefts – strike and run, or distract and grab, in many possible contexts:

  • Bikes / mopeds riding past, with a pillion rider doing the snatch.
  • Snatching from behind you, then running into a getaway car to escape.
  • At restaurants, stealing unattended bags / valuables on the chair or table.
  • Hotels airports, where distracted / tired tourists carry all their valuables out.
  • The beach where tourists are relaxed, or when they head to the water.
  • Nightclubs, where “prostitutes” pretend to proposition tourists by grabbing them but are really trying to steal your valuables.
  • Seats beside a train’s doors where a thief gets out just before the doors close.
  • Stealing of bags on overnight trains / buses.
  • Valuables snatched through a car / bus window.
  • Thefts around ATMs.

Hotspots include Grand Baie / Pereybere, Port Louis and Flic en Flac.


What to do:

When seated / not moving:

While out walking / on transport:

  • Use a cross body anti-theft bag facing away from the road / windows of your vehicle.
  • Avoid carrying valuables in your hands when walking by the road or when beside a vehicle window / train door.

Other measures:

  • Leave valuables in your hotel / hostel / apartment safe secured with hotel safety tools.
  • Get a good travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – our review) which covers loss of valuables.


2. ATM scams

Signs of a rigged ATM

Signs of a rigged ATM


How it works:

There have been reports of this in Port Louis. Generally, ATMs can be rigged in two ways.

First, the card skimmer and pinhole camera / keypad overlay set up:

  • A card skimmer is installed over the card slot to capture your card details.
  • The pinhole camera / keypad overlay is used to capture your PIN.

Second, the card trap:

  • The card slot can be rigged with cheap tools to trap your card.
  • When your card is stuck, someone will come over and tell you that if you retype your PIN, your card will be unblocked.
  • Obviously, your card will still be stuck, but the scammer will now have seen your PIN.
  • Should you head into the bank / somewhere to seek help, the scammer will unblock your card and escape.


What to do:

Avoid using ATMs at dark, secluded areas. Use only at controlled environments such as in banks.

Scan the area for suspicious looking characters, look out for red flags of a rigged ATM and cover your PIN when typing it in.

Also, although not directly relevant, consider using a RFID blocking wallet.

That will prevent your cards’ details from being skimmed by thieves with a mobile RFID reader / scanner.


3. Hotel theft


How it works:

There have been a number of incidents of hotel thefts reported.

In fact, in 2011, an Irish tourist was strangled to death when she walked into her room at a luxury resort while the thieves were still ransacking the room.

Several male employees at the resort were initially arrested and alleged to be the culprits, but were later acquitted at a trial in 2012.

It is easy to break into a hotel / resort room, ways include:

  • Hacking: electronic locks can be hacked to create a master key card.
  • Inside job: by hotel staff.
  • No locking chain / latch: if you are not in the room or if your door does not have one, a simple paper menu can unlock your door.

Next, hotel room safes can be broken into too:

  • Inside job: all hotels have a way to get into your safe.
  • Master code: some hotels do not change it. It could be a standard “0000”, found in the user manual in the safe, or even on the Internet! Simple codes such as “1234” are easy game for burglars too.
  • Master key / master magnetic card: each safe the hotel orders comes with one, so a hotel will probably have hundreds of these. If these are not secured properly, they can used by staff / thieves to steal.

Mike Moske, a private investigator who has worked in hotel security for over 26 years, estimates that 60-70% of hotel thefts are inside jobs.

  • If that happens, it is difficult to prove that you have been a victim of theft, as there are no signs of forced entry.
  • Sometimes, you won’t even know!
  • For instance, a staff opens your safe and captures your card details without taking it.


What to do:

There are four potential solutions:

When not in the room, use a:

  • Portable safe
  • Hotel safe lock

When in the room, use a:

  • Door lock
  • Door motion alarm

Check out more under hotel safety tools.


4. Sob story


How it works:

There are different variations of this.

One variation of which this is used by shady tour operators, who have gotten your contact and have established some form of trust after bringing you on a successful tour.

So for instance, on your last day at Mauritius, the tour operator may come by your place with a sob story.

She may claim that her son has just got involved in an accident and is undergoing emergency surgery.

Unfortunately, she does not have enough cash for the medical expense, and hope you can help her out.


What to do:

Decline and ignore as this is a common trick here.



This is not meant to be a fear mongering exercise, as most visits are trouble free as long as you exercise some common sense.

However, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Information below has been compiled from:


1. Violent crime, hazards, hotspots, terrorism, civil unrest

Map of safe and unsafe regions in Mauritius

Map of safe and unsafe regions in Mauritius. Source: smartraveller.gov.au


How it works:

A brief summary:

  • Violent crime: uncommon, but remains a concern around tourist areas. Look out more for petty crime, especially at night
  • Hazards: n.a.
  • Hotspots: prostitution and drug related activities in downtown Port Louis.
  • Terrorism: no recent history, but should not be taken for granted.
  • Civil unrest: towards end of the year, there may be tensions between unlicensed street vendors and police. Demonstrations may occur.


What to do:

Stay alert, avoid secluded areas, travelling alone at night at beaches and poorly lit places such as backstreets of Port Louis.

Ideally, avoid looking like an easy victim (e.g. looking like a tourist / flaunting valuables).

Monitor local media in case of any terrorist threats, and avoid participating in demonstrations.


2. Medical care

Apollo Bramwell Hospital

Apollo Bramwell Hospital. Source: expatfinder.com


How it works:

Medical care in Mauritius is adequate, but evacuation may be required if you sustain serious injuries or specialized care (e.g. to South Africa).

Diseases to vaccinate against / watch out for include:

  • Insect borne diseases (particularly in warmer months – October to May): zika, dengue, chikungunya, malaria (low risk)
  • Food and water borne diseases: travellers’ diarrhoea, typhoid.
  • Animal borne diseases: avian influenza, H1N1 (swine flu), ebola, rabies, stonefish sting
  • Human borne diseases: HIV, tuberculosis.


What to do:

If you can’t afford travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads – our review), you can’t afford to travel, as:

  • Emergency health services can cost a bomb.
  • Insurance providers can make complex logistical arrangements to get you the best medical treatment fast.

Vaccinations to consider:                                                

  • All travellers: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, flu shot.
  • Most travellers: hepatitis A, typhoid.
  • Some travellers: hepatitis B, rabies.

Prevent insect bites:

  • Protective clothing.
  • Insect repellents.
  • Insecticide treated bed / cot nets.
  • Plug-in insecticides.
  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass.

Food safety:

  • Practise safe hygiene such as washing hands with soap.
  • Only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled.
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products, ice cubes, uncooked and undercooked food.


3. Natural disasters


How it works:

A brief summary:

  • Cyclone season: November to May.
  • Flooding: due to very high levels of rainfall.
  • Tsunamis: can be triggered from nearby tremors or earthquakes.


What to do:

Effective preparation and prevention involves staying at the “right” place, travelling at the “right” time and getting travel insurance (e.g. World Nomadsour review) that covers natural disasters.

Check the latest media reports, weather forecasts and sources such as:

Reacting to one:

  • Earthquakes: drop (to hands and knees), cover (head and neck with arms), hold on (to sturdy furniture; expect aftershocks.
  • Tsunamis: signs include abnormal ocean activity and load roars. Protect yourself from an earthquake first if there is one. Else, get to a high ground as far inland as possible.
  • Cyclones: stay indoors away from windows, do not use electrical appliances / equipment, do not head out and touch debris (more injuries / deaths happen after than during).


4. Transport safety


How it works:

Road travel is not that dangerous but can be difficult, due to these reasons:

  • Narrow and uneven roads bordered by deep ditches and without guardrails.
  • Lack of street lighting, vehicles without headlines, cyclists not using lights
  • Aggressive driving
  • Many types of roads users ranging from pedestrians, dogs and motorycles

Public transportation:

  • Options include buses which run between towns from 5am to 9pm and up to 6pm in remote areas.


What to do:


  • Check latest media reports and weather forecast.
  • Stay alert, wear seatbelts, keep doors locked and windows up

Public transportation:

  • If travelling at night, book a taxi in advance.



1. Emergency numbers to call

Police in Mauritius

Police in Mauritius. Source: govmu.org


  • Emergency hotline: 999
  • Police: 999
  • Fire brigade: 999
  • Ambulance: 999

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