Current dress codes in Mauritius and questions regarding how to dress in Mauritius are frequent questions that land in our mailbox, and contrary to popular belief, there are no easy replies.
There is no general dress code for Mauritius, as the island is composed of many different religions and cultures, but there are unspoken rules that may be good to be aware of.
With a population of over 50% hindus, some 15% muslims and a good 25% roman catholics, most revealing clothing away from the beach will be frowned upon; sometimes in silence, sometimes out loud, and religion plays a big part in how to dress and how not to.
Within Islam, both male and female muslims in Mauritius typically advocate a modest dress code as described in the Qur’anic Hijab. Muslims in Mauritius dress similar to how muslims dress in western countries – with a few more conservative exceptions in some locations.
Hinduism traditionally advocates a modest dress code, and the traditional sari is popular throughout Mauritius, especially with the older generation. Dress codes are starting to become more relaxed amongst the younger population, and trousers and tunics are becoming more widespread, mixing western clothing styles with traditional dress codes.
The same modesty is to be found in the older Creole population in Mauritius, whereas the younger generation has been quick at adapting an individual dress code based on a mix of European fashion and local practicality.
Sunbathing topless on a public beach will definitely be frowned upon in most places, and don’t be surprised if locals ask you to cover up. Some smaller hotels (or very upmarket ones) will allow both topless sunbathing and skinnydipping, but it is advisable to always check up on this in advance to avoid a conflict.
In restaurants and night clubs, the dress code will depend on the venue. The more upmarket, the more strict the dress code. Generally speaking, towns with a large number of visitors from western countries will have more western like dress codes.
In other words, sneakers and jeans would not be your first option for an upmarket Flic en Flac or Grand Baie nightclub, but may well work in a restaurant or bar along the coastal road.
The large luxury hotels and resorts in Mauritius have solved the dress code problem by catering to all needs. Most larger resorts typically have a selection of restaurants – each with a different dress code.
Whatever the purpose of your visit to the island, it does not hurt to recognize and respect the local customs and the culture of Mauritius. As a visitor covering up in public places, near temples, mosques, churches and other places of worship, you will be met with an equal amount of recognition and respect.