Bustling with noise, colours and a lively atmosphere, Port Louis can best be described as the New York of Mauritius. The city capital of the island, this sunny town maintains a fairly warm temperature, even in the winter. It stands as one of the main tourist and business hubs in Mauritius. Once headquarters of the French colonies, Port Louis still maintains vestiges of Mauritius’ colonial past. In fact, most of the cobblestoned streets in Port Louis date all the way back to the 1700’s. Consequently, Port Louis also offers excellent venues to learn about the island’s heritage and past. Wondering what to do in Port Louis? Check out the highlights below!
Savor the local Cuisine at Port Louis’ Chinatown
You can’t go without feasting on the numerous offerings of street and gourmet food in Port Louis. The capital is one of the most affordable places to eat in Mauritius. You can easily have a satisfying meal for as little as one or two dollars – if not less. Of course, you have to know where to go! Port Loui’s Chinatown, for example, is a great destination if you want to explore the Mauritian food scene without having to spend a lot of money. In Chinatown, you’ll find just about anything from boiled noodles, steamed dumplings, fried dumplings, various types of stir fry and so much more.
Enjoy a pair of ‘Dholl Puri’ on the street side
The streets of Port Louis are often lined with food street hawkers where you can enjoy local delicacies. ‘Dholl-puri’ consists of a pair of super-soft crepes made with a special lentil-based dough and filled with a curry and red sauce. A pair of ‘dholl-puri’ is extremely filling and only costs around $0.40. Alternatively, kebabs and stuffed baguettes are also extremely popular on the streets of Port Louis.
Related: 11 Best restaurants in Port Louis
Indulge in some Shopping at Caudan Waterfront
Rest assured that you will never run out of shopping venues in Port Louis. A firm favourite on the island is the Caudan Waterfront. The sprawling mall is fringed by a cobalt blue ocean and overlooks the harbour. Offering a variety of shops, restaurants, art galleries and cafes, this open-air mall is also ideal for taking in plenty of that warm tropical sun. Additionally, Port Louis also has an extensive number of street vendors. You can find just about anything from souvenirs to linens, clothes, toys, decorative items and even cosmetic items. This city is also home to a variety of what Mauritians refer to as ‘galleries’, which are basically mini-shopping malls found at the edge of busy roads.
Enjoy a stroll in ‘Bazar Port Louis’
If there’s one thing that put the capital on the map, it’s the famous ‘Bazar Port Louis’ which translates to the Market of Port Louis. This, however, is no ordinary market. The moment you step in front of the colourful stalls, you are greeted by a powerful aroma of fruits, spices, vegetables and various types of meals that are being cooked right there in front of you.
Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, there’s no better way to soak in a distinctively Mauritian vibe than by strolling through the market stalls. In this market, you’ll also find tall glasses of cold Alouda- a glorious drink made from ice cold milk, condensed milk and basil seeds topped with shaved jelly and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, perfect for a hot summer’s day in Mauritius.
Check out the history at Blue Penny Museum
In the past, Port Louis served as headquarters for both French and English colonial rulers. Nowadays, this is the place where you’ll find the House of Parliament and the Supreme Court. As a result, Port Louis is brimming with history and is the ideal place to learn about the island’s rich past. The Blue Penny Museum features exhibitions centred on the island’s colonial past as well as the influx of civilizations from Asia, Africa and Europe. This museum also hosts an impressive collection of stamps, old marine maps and various ancient documents related to Mauritian culture.
Attend a horse race at Champ de Mars
Established when Mauritius was still under British colonial rule, horse racing has quickly soared in popularity. Today, it’s still one of Port Louis’ prized attractions. Set at the very foot of Signal Mountain, Champ de Mars is the one official horse racing tracks. Races are held on Saturdays when you’ll see the track bursts into life. The atmosphere is quite often alight with anticipation since many people – mostly locals – tend to bet on their favorite horses or stables. Even without betting, however, visiting Port Louis’ Champ de Mars on a Saturday when the races are on will provide you with ample opportunities to soak up the electric vibe. A total of eight races are run every thirty-five minutes and visitors are also treated to a view of the horses warming up around the paddock before the races.
Hike to the summit of Signal Mountain
Port Louis has quickly asserted itself as one of two business hubs, with buildings and concretes everywhere. However, a lesser-known fact is that Port Louis offers a couple of cleverly concealed hiking opportunities. This city is home to the popular Signal Mountain, one of the most popular hiking spots among the locals. The climb is easy, and you can relish in the glorious sights of the island at the top. You’ll see the whole of Port Louis, the harbour, and also the entire west coast of Mauritius.
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