Found in the northwest of Mauritius, Port Louis is the island’s often-overlooked capital. Although typically excluded from itineraries in favour of more picturesque beach destinations, a day in Port Louis will expose you to a vibrant and dynamic place where modernity rubs shoulders with tradition – a microcosm of the country itself. Indeed, this teeming city embodies the many varying contrasts at play in Mauritius, in particular the colourful cultural collision that defines the island. This is evidenced across the city’s architectural footprint, with candy-coloured Hindu temples such as Kaylasson, and elegant sweeping Chinese pagodas such as the Tien Tan Chinese temple.
Traveller’s describe Port Louis as ‘the real’ Mauritius, showcasing an authentic flavour of local life. The bustling Caudan waterfront draws the majority of visitors to Port Louis, as an eclectic area showcasing some of the best places to shop, socialise, and seek nourishment. Although few choose to spend the night here – there are just two hotels – a street food tour through Port Louis is an essential addition to any visit to Mauritius.
No other location on the island so extensively covers the diverse flavours and tastes of the local gastronomical landscape. Here you will discover a host of restaurants and street food vendors. The city’s street food scene is world-renowned, and best experienced with a visit to the enormous Central Market (Bazaar) where you will find Indian, West and North African, Creole and European cuisine. Some staples include the sweet drink of alouda – a local favourite – and the traditional afternoon snack of confi, best sampled from Chinatown (Port Louis).
For insight into Mauritius’ colonial history, pay a visit to The Blue Penny Museum and see the Champ de Mars racing track built by the French in the 19th century. Be sure not to miss Port Louis for authentic insight into island life beyond the resorts.