Monday, February 21, 2022

Mauritius

Mauritius Flag




Why visit Mauritius?
Ideal for travelers seeking relaxation beaches, beautiful coastline, bird sanctuaries, cultural diversity, festivals, fishing, golf,  gorges, hiking trails, markets, mountains, museums, rainforests, reefs, scuba diving, hopping, snorkeling, temples, volcanos, waterfalls, wildlife, and windsurfing.



Chamarel Seven Colored Earth Geopark, Chamarel, Mauritius. Photo Credit: SeverS74/Pixabay



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Embroidered tablecloths, handmade glass goods, Indian jewelry, knitwear, rare postage stamps, sail ship models, wood carvings, and woven baskets. 
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Boulettes (dumplings). Dhal Puri (flatbread). Gateaux Piment (chilli fritters). Napolitaine (dessert). Poudine Maïs (corn pudding).
  • Local Drink to Try: Alouda (sweet). Bois Chérie (tea). Blue Marlin (beer). Blue Eagle (beer). Green Island (rum). Phoenix (beer).


Chamarel Waterfall, Chamarel, Mauritius. Photo Credit: wurliburli/Pixabay




Fun Facts
  • In 975, it was discovered by Arab sailors calling it "Dina Arobi".
  • In 1502, Alberto Cantino, Italian Cartographer mapped the island.
  • In 1507, found by Portuguese sailors. No terrestrial mammals on the island prior to their arrival. 
  • In 1598, Dutch took possession.
  • In 1715, France took possession naming it "Isle de France"
  • In 1810, seized by Great Britain.
  • Government provides citizens free education and universal healthcare.
  • Provides free public transportation for the disabled, senior citizens, and students.
  • Many species are endemic to the island.
  • Home to the world's third-largest coral reef.
  • There's a hotspot under Réunion Island.
  • France considers the sovereignty of Tromelin Island was not transferred to Britain.
  • Birthplace to the flightless dodo bird.
  • Mauritian Flying Fox (bat) is the only remaining mammal endemic.
  • Offers some of the rarest postage stamps in the world, highest purchase sold for $4 million.


Umbrella Square, Port Louis, Mauritius. Photo Credit: wurliburli/Pixabay



Mauritius Islands:
  • Agaléga Islands - North of Mauritius.
  • Chagos Archipelago: Nelsons Island, Peros Banhos, Salomon Islands
  • Rodrigues Island - Habited east of Mauritius. 
  • St Brandon - Northeast of Mauritius Island. Has approximately 28 - 40 islands and islets.
  • Tromelin Island - Northwest of Mauritius.


Crystal Rock, Le Morne, Mauritius. Photo Credit: DerBub/Pixabay



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Spring FestivalTamil Hindu Festival, (February) Holi Festival, Maha Shivaratree, (March) Ougadi, (April) Chinatown Food Festival, (May) Royal Raid, (July) Indian Ocean Islands Games, Mauritius Marathon, Open Air Festival, Ultra Trail Raidlight, (September) Eid-Ul-Fitr Festival, Ferney Trail, Jacques-Désiré Laval, (November) AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, Kreol International Festival, Staysure Tour, and (December) International Kreol Festival.
  • HolidaysNew Year, Thaipoosam Cavadee, Abolition of Slavery, National Day, Holi, Ougadi, Labour Day, Raksha Bandhan, Assumption of Mary, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Dussehra, Divali, Arrival of Indentured Labourers, and Christmas Day.


Photo Credit: happyflycz/Pixabay



Good to Know
  • A great trip stopover in visiting Australia, India, Madagascar, or Southern Africa.
  • Tropical cyclones usually occur between January - March.
  • There are no restaurants in Le Morne.
  • Creole, English, and French are widely spoken.
  • Pickpocketing, purse snatching, and petty thefts are known to occur in crowded outdoor shopping areas.
  • Drive on the left side of the road. 
  • There are few sidewalks.
  • Most buildings lack elevators. 
  • Child seats, helmets, and seat belts are required. 
  • Designer inexpensive clothing can be purchased at Quatre Bornes (Thursday and Sunday) as labels have not been attached. 
  • The Western Coast (Tamarin) offers the best surfing (May-August).
  • Beaches are most particular along the northern area.
  • Inflated “tourist prices” are common in market shopping areas.
  • Deep Sea Fishing is between October-April. Great catch include: barracuda, marlin, swordfish, and tuna.
  • Has a zero tolerance drinking and driving law
  • Prevalent Diseases: Hepatitis A and Typhoid.
  • MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted in tourist areas. U.S. dollars and euros are widely accepted.
  • ATMs dispense the Mauritian Rupee (MUR).
  • Cuisine stems from African, Chinese, European and Indian.
  • Buses run between main towns from 5AM - 9PM and in remote areas until 6:00PM.
  • Belle-Mare and Pointe d'Esny (east coast) offer the best windsurfing.
  • Spearfishing is illegal.
  • Uber is not available.
  • Le Morne Brabant and Peter Botte Mountain are for experienced hikers.
  • Importing cannabis and cannabis oil is illegal.
  • Domestic animals are subject to a minimum one-month mandatory quarantine.
  • There are no direct commercial air services to the USA.


Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice de Cap Malheureux, Cap Malheureux, Mauritius. Photo Credit: nike159/Pixabay



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA granted upon arrival.
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination from select countries. 
Prone to cyclones and high humidity.
  • Best Time to Visit: April - June & September - November
  • Coolest Months: June - September 
  • Hottest Months: January - February
  • Peak Season: November - April


Photo Credit: kupo1970/Pixabay



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage SitesAapravasi Ghat & Le Morne Cultural Landscape

 

Photo Credit: hhach/Pixabay

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                                                 All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Mauritania

Mauritania Flag



Why visit Mauritania?
Best known for beaches, bird watching, deep-sea fishing, and sand dunes. 


At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Brassware, camel-hair carpets, cushions, daggers, hand-dyed leather pieces, silver jewelry, daggers, and wood chests.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Avocado Pudding (dessert), Bonava (lamb stew). Camel Chubbagin (stew). Caravane Cheese. Cherchem (lamb couscous). Chubbagin Lélé et Raabie (fish stew). Harira (soup). Marolaym (stew). Maru We-llham (meat dish). (Méchoui (roasted lamb). Thieboudienne (fish dish). Yassa Poulet (chicken dish).
  • Local Drink to Try: Mint TeaJus de Bouye (fruit juice). Zrig (camel milk).

Fun Facts
  • A sovereign state in Northwest Africa.
  • Africa's eleventh largest country.
  • Since 2001, Africa's newest, small-scale oil producer.
  • Obesity amongst native women is high by traditional standards of beauty. Thin women are reviewed as sickly.
  • Documentaries include: Fort Saganne (1984), The Fifth Element (1997), Timbuktu (2014), and Winged Migration (2001).

Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (May) African Liberation Day, (October) Tabaski, (November) Diwali and National Independence Day.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, Islamic New Year, Mouloud, Qadr Night, Korité, and Tabaski.

Good to Know
  • Travel is discouraged in the easternmost region due to terrorist threats.
  • Being accompanied by an experienced convoy with sturdy vehicles and ample provisions is recommended outside of urban areas.
  • Avoid nighttime driving. 
  • A Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and satellite phone are essential when traveling in remote areas. 
  • Arabic is the official and national language; French is widely spoken.
  • Sandy desert is found in the centre and in the north. 
  • Extreme restrictions on freedom of religion and beliefs exist. Islam is the sole religion amongst citizens and the state. 
  • Participation in Christian gatherings and activities is illegal. Subject to fines to the death penalty.
  • Bringing alcoholic drinks or pork products is illegal and subject to confiscation, fines, and/or incarceration.
  • Homosexuality is illegal. Consensual same-sex sexual activity between men is punishable by death, and between women is punishable by three months to two years in prison and a monetary fine. 
  • Moroccan flaired cuisine is common in the north.
  • Senegalese flaired cuisine is common in the south.
  • Child labor, female genital mutilation, human trafficking, racism, and sexism are known in practice.
  • Despite being illegal, slavery is still practiced.
  • Passports not valid six months past return will likely be denied entry regardless of the length stay. 
  • Landmines are a danger along the borders.
  • Avoid rallies and street demonstrations.
  • Emergency response and medical treatment is not available.
  • Local currency, ouguiya may not be imported or exported. 
  • Credit cards are usually accepted at hotels.
  • ATMs are not considered secure and only available in large cities.
  • Local medicines are difficult to obtain or could be counterfeit. 

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination required . 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: Local Currency is pot permitted.

Prone to droughts.

  • Best Time to Visit: November - March
  • Coldest Months: February - April
  • Hottest Months: May - June
  • Peak Season: December - January & August

Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Banc d'Arguin National Park 


Photo Credit: lolorun/Pixabay



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                                                 All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Marshall Islands

Marshall Island Flag



Why visit Marshall Islands?
Ideal destination for beaches, culture, deep-sea fishing, historical sites, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, scuba diving, and war relics.



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Baskets, headwear, place mats, and wall hangings.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Baked Papaya (dessert), Barramundi Cod. Chukuchuk (rice dish). Macadamia Nut Pie (dessert). Rice-Banke (rice dish). Tuna Sashimi.


Fun Facts
  • In 1874, formally claimed by Spain.
  • Islands derive their name from British Explorer, John Marshall, who visited in 1788.  
  • The country is part of the larger island group of Micronesia. 
  • Majuro is the largest city (also the capitol).
  • Country consists of five individual islands and a total of 29 atolls.
  • Twenty-four of the atolls and islands are inhabited. 
  • Home to the world's largest shark sanctuary.
  • Has approximately 70 species of birds.
  • During the first Castle Bravo deployable thermonuclear bomb test, larger than expected natives suffered from radiation burns and radioactive dusting.
  • Marshallese Ship Registry is the second largest in the world.
  • The USA has committed to provide $57.7 USD million per year in assistance to the Marshall Islands (RMI) through 2013 followed by $62.7 USD million until 2023.
  • Commercial crops include: arrowroot, banana, breadfruit, coconut, copra, pandanus, and taro.
  • The English language starts in Third Grade.
  • Approximately 6,000 Marshallese reside in Arkansas (northwest). 
  • Due to Global Warming and sea level rise the Islands could disappear.


Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (March) Coconut Cup Regatta and (September) Mobil All Micronesia Fishing Tournament.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Remembrance Day, Good Friday, Constitution Day, Youth Day, June Solstice, Fishermen's Day, Labor Day, Manit Day, President's Day, Gospel Day, and Christmas Day.


Good to Know
  • Under the Compact of Free Association, USA Citizens do not require a VISA to enter. 
  • Dry Season is December - April.
  • Wet Season is May - November.
  • English is widely spoken.
  • There is a departure fee.
  • HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors.
  • Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) from World War II remains a problem heed all warnings while hiking and scuba diving.
  • There are little to no sidewalks.
  • Inadequate accessibility.
  • Women should dress conservatively in public, covering shoulders and knees.
  • Ambulance services are not widely available.
  • Public Medical Clinics are only available in either Ebeye or Majuro.
  • Only consume and use bottle water, even for teeth brushing.
  • Majuro Lagoon is known to have tested positive for e coli bacteria.
  • Prevalent Diseases include: Dengue, Hansen’s Disease, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Tuberculosis.
  • Shortages of medicine and medical supplies are known issues.
  • On Majuro Island, there is one paved road, few traffic signs and no traffic lights.
  • Drinking and driving is common.
  • Roads are prone to temporary flooding after heavy rains and during high tides.
  • The speed limit is 25 mph throughout the island.
  • Has no public transportation system. Shared public taxis is available (Majuro).
  • Jaluit and Majuro is ideal for History Buffs.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Measles Vaccination is required. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000USD.

Subject to drought, tropical storms, and typhoons.
  • Best Time to Visit: January - March
  • Coldest Months: December - May
  • Hottest Months: July & August
  • Peak Season: March - June




Photo Credit: kiwirip/Pixabay




Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet TravelYour one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


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                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Malta

Malta Flag




Why visit Malta?
Ideal for beach loving historians for their ancient culture, archaeological sites, architecture, birdwatching, breathtaking scenery, caves, churches, diving, hiking, medieval cities, museums, rock climbing, snorkeling, and water sports.



Photo Credit: Gin/Pixabay



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Brass, ceramics, copper metalwork, dolls, gold filigree, hand blown glass, lace, silver, tiles, weaving, and woodwork.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Bragioli (beef dish). Fenek (rabbit). Figolli (cake). Gbejna (cheese). Kusksu (soup). Lampuki (fish dish). Mqaret (date dessert). Qubbajt (almond nougat). Stuffat Tal-Fenek (rabbitt stew). Timpana (pasta dish).
  • Local Drink to Try: Chardonnay (local wine). Chardonnay (local wine). Cisk (beer). Kinnie (soft drink). La Valette (wine). Savina Maltese (coffee). Savina (liquor). Sovrini (liquor). Zeppi (liquor).


Azure Window or Dwejra Window, Gozo Island. Photo Credit: Sarah Nakal/Pixabay



Fun Facts
  • Has two uninhabited islands: Filfla (southern coast) and St Paul's (northern coast).
  • Amongst the ten smallest countries in the world.
  • Home to seven megalithic temples amongst the oldest free-standing structures in the world.
  • The three largest islands: Malta (Malta), Gozo (Għawdex), and Comino (Kemmuna) are inhabited.
  • Tourists outnumber the residents.
  • Has over 360 churches, averaging one church for every 1,000 residents.
  • Malta has no permanent rivers or lakes.
  • The €10 Maltese commemorative coin cannot be used in any other country.
  • Has no phone area codes, numbers are eight digits.
  • Has three large natural harbors: Grand Harbour (East), Marsaxlokk Harbor (Southeast), and Marsamxett Harbour (West).
  • On a child's first birthday, symbolic objects are placed around the child, whatever is grabbed first is said to be a sign of their adulthood fortune. Examples: Book = Teacher, Calculator = Accountant, Pencil/Pen = Writer, Rosary Beads = Clergy, Thread = Fashion, and Wooden Spoon = Chef.
  • For centuries it was considered an island of North Africa.
  • Alexander (2004)Gladiator (2000)Midnight Express (1978), Munich (2005), Sons of the Sea (1925) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) were filmed here.



Popeye Village. Photo Credit: Callisto Schmidt/Pixabay



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (February) Alarme!, Carnival, (March) Freedom Day, (April) Malta International Fireworks Festival, (May) Festival Mediterranea, (June) Battle of Malta, (July) Farsons Great Beer Festival, Isle of MTV, Malta Arts Festival, Malta International Jazz Festival, Triq Cinemoon Festival, Valletta Jazz Festival, (September) Delicata Wine Festivals, Malta International Airshow, Notte Bianca, (October) BirguFest, Hamrun Chocolate Festival, and Notte Bianca.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Feast of St Paul's Shipwreck, Feast of St Joseph, Freedom Day, Good Friday, Worker's Day, Sette Giugno, Feast of the Assumption, Feast of Our Lady of Victories, Independence Day, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Republic Day, and Christmas Day.


Bay Blue Village, Malta.  Photo Credit: Pixabay



Good to Know
  • Trotting Races are popular in the winter.
  • Golden Bay and Mellieha Bay are popular beach spots.
  • Armier Beach, Ghajn Tuffieha and Gnejna Bay are small beaches. 
  • Offers the best scuba-diving conditions of Europe.
  • Sliema, St George Bay, St Julian Bay, and St Paul Bay are popular for waterskiing.
  • Mellieha Bay, St Paul Bay and St Thomas Bay are popular for windsurfing.
  • Cuisine is Italian and Greek influenced.
  • Simple assault, pick-pocketing, and petty theft are known to occur. 
  • Water is known to be mineral-laden, but still drinkable.
  • Buses are the primary means of public transportation.
  • Most businesses are closed on Sunday.
  • Illegal drugs are severe.
  • Terrorists are known to enter and exit the country undetected.
  • Has only one airport, Malta International Airport (MLA).
  • Local blood oranges are best from December - March.
  • Drive on the left side of the road. 
This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA not required for visits under 90 days.


Mellieha, Malta. Photo Credit: Nick Fewings/Unsplash 


  • Best Time to Visit: May - September
  • Coolest Month: December - March
  • Hottest Month: August
  • Peak Season: May - October


Photo Credit: Pixabay


Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: City of Valletta, Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, and Megalithic Temples of Malta.


Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta' Pinu, Għarb, Malta. Photo Credit: Mojpe/Pixabay



Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel

Your one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine

                                               All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Flag Why visit Solomon Islands? Ideal for the adventurous experienced off-the-beaten path travelers seeking to enjoy battle ...