What to Do in Port Louis, Mauritius: Top Attractions and Activities

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Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius, is a vibrant hub of culture and history nestled on the northwest coast of the island. As Africa’s wealthiest destination, it is a kaleidoscope of past and present, where modern buildings stand alongside colonial architecture and cultural diversity is reflected in the various festivals and cuisines. Visitors to Port Louis are greeted with a multitude of activities that range from exploring historic sites to indulging in the local street food scene.

Busy market stalls line the bustling streets of Port Louis, showcasing vibrant produce and local crafts. The colorful waterfront bustles with activity as boats come and go, while the iconic Aapravasi Ghat stands as a historic landmark

Among the city’s must-visit attractions is the iconic Caudan Waterfront, a lively marina that boasts a range of shopping and dining options with picturesque views of the harbor. History enthusiasts will find the Blue Penny Museum, which houses rare Mauritian artifacts, including the famed Blue Penny and Red Penny stamps, to be a compelling stop. The waterfront area also serves as a gathering spot where art and culture flourish, hosting events and performances throughout the year.

The central market of Port Louis, also known as the Bazaar Port Louis, is the heart of the city’s bustling daily life. Here, one can find a diverse selection of goods, from fresh produce and artisanal crafts to an array of spices that encapsulate the island’s rich blend of African, Indian, and Chinese influences. For those looking to experience Port Louis’s culinary delights, the market and surrounding street food vendors offer a taste of local dishes such as dholl puri, gateaux piments, and fresh seafood, making it a gastronomic adventure in the midst of the city’s commerce and culture.

Historical Landmarks

A bustling waterfront with colonial buildings, bustling markets, and a towering citadel overlooks the city of Port Louis, Mauritius

Port Louis is steeped in rich history, and its historical landmarks provide a tangible connection to the past. These sites offer insight into the cultural heritage and the evolution of Mauritius as a nation. Visitors exploring these landmarks will find themselves walking through the annals of time, each site telling its own story of the island’s diverse history.

Aapravasi Ghat

Aapravasi Ghat, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, marks the spot where indentured laborers first set foot in Mauritius, forever changing the island’s demographic and cultural landscape. This immigration depot is a testament to the laborers’ profound impact on Mauritian culture.


The Citadel, also known as Fort Adelaide, stands as a sentinel over Port Louis. This 19th-century fortress offers panoramic views of the city and serves as a reminder of Mauritius’ strategic importance. The fortification, with its thick stone walls and cannons, is a significant piece of the island’s military history.

Mauritius Postal Museum

Situated in an elegant historical building, the Mauritius Postal Museum preserves the history of the island’s postal service. This museum showcases the story of communication on the island, with a special nod to the famous Blue Penny and Red Penny stamps, which are highly prized by philatelists worldwide.

Jummah Mosque

The Jummah Mosque, a key site of Islamic worship dating back to the 1850s, is notable for its architecture that blends Creole, Indian, and Islamic elements. Located in the heart of Port Louis near China Town, it is a symbol of the cultural diversity and religious harmony that exists in Mauritius.

Cultural Experiences

A bustling market in Port Louis, with colorful stalls selling exotic fruits, spices, and handmade crafts. The air is filled with the aroma of street food, and traditional music adds to the vibrant atmosphere

Port Louis is rich in cultural heritage, offering a multitude of authentic experiences. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in local traditions, savor unique flavors, and explore historical sites that showcase the island’s diverse cultural influences.

Central Market

Stepping into the Central Market of Port Louis, also known as the Bazaar Port Louis, visitors are engulfed by the vibrancy of local life. It stands as a bustling hub where one can find an array of fresh produce, intricate crafts, and a chance to mingle with the locals. The market offers an authentic glimpse into the daily life and culture of Mauritians.

  • Goods: Fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and handcrafted goods
  • Experience: Vibrant atmosphere and cultural insights

Caudan Waterfront

The Caudan Waterfront is not only a modern shopping precinct but also a cultural promenade lined with restaurants, craft markets, and entertainment venues. Here, visitors can shop for unique Mauritian products while enjoying the waterfront views. The area is synonymous with leisure and cultural exploration, featuring venues like the Blue Penny Museum, which links to Mauritius’ rich history.

  • Activities: Shopping, dining, and cultural exploration
  • Highlights: Access to museums and art galleries


In the heart of Port Louis, Chinatown is a testament to the influence of Chinese immigrants on the island. Its streets are lined with shops selling traditional Chinese herbs, foods, and tea. This district exemplifies the multicultural fabric of Mauritius and is a place where visitors can delve into the history and contemporary life of the Chinese community in Port Louis.

  • Distinctive trait: Blend of Chinese and Mauritian culture
  • Intercultural exchange: Sampling authentic Chinese dishes and learning about traditional remedies

Mauritian Cuisine

Mauritian Cuisine is a flavorful mosaic that reflects the island’s multicultural landscape. Restaurants and street vendors in Port Louis offer a wide range of dishes influenced by Chinese, Indian, African, and European culinary traditions. Visitors can indulge in the staple street food snack, the ‘dhal puri’, or relish a traditional Creole curry.

  • Popular choices: Dhal puri, gateaux piments, curries
  • Recommendation: Try the fusion dishes that embody the island’s cultural diversity

Museums and Education

Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, offers a rich tapestry of culture and history through its museums. Visitors can explore a varied heritage, from prized stamps at the Blue Penny Museum to the biodiversity of the Natural History Museum.

Blue Penny Museum

The Blue Penny Museum is renowned for its rare collection of stamps, including the famous Blue Mauritius. These stamps form a significant part of Mauritius’s philatelic history. The museum also throws light on the island’s colonial past and cultural diversity through its comprehensive exhibits.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum highlights Mauritius’s rich biodiversity, with a particular focus on the island’s famous yet extinct dodo. Exhibits delve into various aspects of the island’s flora and fauna, not only showcasing the past but also educating on conservation efforts.

Photography Museum

For those intrigued by visual history, the Photography Museum captivates with its vintage cameras and photographs. Visitors will discover the evolution of photographic technology alongside snapshots that document the island’s historical moments and everyday life.

Heritage Collection

The Heritage Collection, meticulously preserved within these museums, eloquently speaks to Mauritius’s multifaceted history. Artifacts, documents, and art pieces collectively recount the island’s journey through time, mapping the social, economic, and natural transformations.

Nature and Gardens

Lush green gardens with vibrant flowers and exotic plants, surrounded by towering trees and a serene natural landscape in Port Louis, Mauritius

Port Louis, Mauritius, is a sanctuary for nature lovers and garden enthusiasts alike. The city is dotted with green spaces where visitors can indulge in the beauty of exotic flora and fauna, the tranquility of lush landscapes, and a touch of the island’s history through its gardens.

Pamplemousses Botanical Garden

Pamplemousses Botanical Garden is renowned as one of the oldest botanical gardens in the Southern Hemisphere. Visitors are captivated by the diverse collection of indigenous and exotic plants, including giant water lilies and an array of spices. Strolling through the garden, one can purchase unique souvenirs that encapsulate the essence of Mauritian flora.

Signal Mountain

The ascent to Signal Mountain offers a short yet invigorating hike, culminating in breathtaking panoramic views of Port Louis. The mountain is named for its historical use by explorers sending signals from its peak. It’s surrounded by Banyan and Palm Trees, and the summit presents an ideal spot to witness sunsets and take in the city’s skyline.

Jardins de la Compagnie

Jardins de la Compagnie is a historic park in the heart of the city, known for its large, ancient banyan trees. The gardens provide a serene escape with lovely fountains and shaded areas where locals and tourists can relax. This green oasis amidst the urban environment is a testament to Port Louis’ commitment to preserving natural spaces.

Shopping and Dining

People enjoying outdoor dining, surrounded by colorful market stalls and bustling shops in Port Louis, Mauritius

Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, offers a vibrant shopping and dining scene that caters to a variety of tastes and preferences. From bustling markets filled with fresh produce to chic waterfront shopping districts, visitors can enjoy an array of local and international flavors.

Le Caudan Waterfront

At Le Caudan Waterfront, shoppers and food enthusiasts will discover a dynamic mix of retail and culinary experiences. This waterside location boasts a selection of high-end stores, offering everything from designer clothing to luxury jewelry. Amidst the shopping, visitors can enjoy diverse dining options, with restaurants serving both Mauritian and international cuisine. The Waterfront also includes a souvenir market, where travelers can find an array of local crafts and keepsakes to remember their visit by.

Port Louis Market

For those seeking a more traditional shopping experience, the Port Louis Market is a must-visit. This bustling hub offers a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables, vibrant textiles, and handcrafted items—perfect for shoppers looking to immerse themselves in the local culture. Adventurous eaters and culinary aficionados will appreciate the market’s array of street food vendors, presenting an opportunity to sample authentic Mauritian flavors right at the source. From savory snacks to sweet treats, the market provides a taste of the island’s diverse cultural influences.

Entertainment and Activities

Port Louis offers a blend of traditional and modern entertainment options that cater to both history enthusiasts and those looking for a lively experience. Visitors can immerse themselves in the excitement of horse racing at the Champ de Mars Racecourse or enjoy cultural performances at the Port Louis Theatre.

Champ de Mars Racecourse

Established in 1812, the Champ de Mars Racecourse is one of the oldest horse racing tracks in the world and the centerpiece of Mauritian horse racing. It provides an exhilarating atmosphere every weekend, where both locals and tourists gather to witness the thrill of the races. The electric environment, coupled with the backdrop of stunning mountains, makes a day at the races a must-do activity in Port Louis.

Port Louis Theatre

For those with a penchant for the arts, the Port Louis Theatre offers a splendid array of cultural productions. This theatre is an architectural gem that serves as a platform for plays, concerts, and other performances, enriching the cultural tapestry of the city. Its intimate setting allows the audience to feel connected to the performers, making it a unique entertainment experience in the heart of Port Louis.

Religion and Spirituality

Port Louis is a city rich in cultural diversity, which is vividly reflected in its religious and spiritual sites. These locations are not only places of worship but also offer a glimpse into the island’s multifaceted heritage.

Madurai Mariamen Temple

The Madurai Mariamen Temple stands as a testament to the Indian influence on the island’s religious landscape. Known for its intricate carvings and annual Teemeedee festival, this temple draws devotees and tourists alike. People attend seeking spiritual solace and to witness the vibrant celebrations that are indicative of Hindu traditions in Mauritius.

Tien Tan Pagoda

Meanwhile, the Tien Tan Pagoda signifies the spiritual practices of the Chinese community in Port Louis. Its architecture, characterized by the traditional Chinese decorative elements, offers a serene atmosphere for reflection and prayer. This temple is especially busy during the Chinese New Year and other significant dates in the Chinese lunar calendar, welcoming those who practice Buddhism and those interested in experiencing its peaceful ambience.

Monuments and Statues

Port Louis, the heart of Mauritius, tells history not just through its streets but also by its vast array of monuments and statues. These landmarks pay homage to historic figures and convey the island’s rich cultural tapestry.

Mahé de Labourdonnais

At the entrance of the Government House stands a tribute to Mahé de Labourdonnais, a French naval officer and administrator, whose statue reigns over Place d’Armes. As a celebrated figure, de Labourdonnais is considered a founding father of Port Louis, bringing much development to the island during his governance in the 18th century. His legacy is a source of pride, a symbol of the island’s colonial past, and a must-see for those keen to delve into the soul of Mauritius.

Sir William Newton

A walk through the city leads to another impressive monument: the statue of Sir William Newton, located in Square St. Louis. Sir William, a noted philanthropist and the first Mayor of Port Louis, is commemorated for his contributions to the city’s progress. This monument exemplifies the respect for past local legends that helped shape the capital and is an integral part of the city’s historical memories.

Exploration and Tours

Exploration in Port Louis, Mauritius, presents a rich tapestry of history and culture. Visitors can choose the structure of a guided tour or the freedom of self-exploration to uncover the city’s vibrant life.

Guided Tours

For those seeking an immersive experience with expert insights, a Guided Tour is a perfect choice. These tours often include a well-planned Itinerary that ensures travelers get to see the best of Port Louis, from its historical landmarks to its hidden gems. For instance, the Mauritius Tours – Tripadvisor Official Site takes one through the quintessential spots of the city, making sure no key experience is missed. Guided tours may vary, ranging from a comprehensive Walking Tour to specific themes like culinary or Street Art explorations, each guided by a knowledgeable local.


Travelers who prefer to discover the city at their own pace can opt for Self-Exploration. It allows for spontaneity and personal interests to dictate the day’s course. Detailed Maps of Port Louis are readily available for those who want to chart their own course. They can spend their time meandering through the vibrant streets, admiring Street Art, or diving into the buzzing atmosphere of the Central Market. For a structured approach, visitors can create personal Itineraries that include key landmarks and attractions like the Caudan Waterfront or the UNESCO-listed Aapravasi Ghat.

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Globe-trotting with a flair for the fearless, Sierra Blake crafts vivid tales and insider tips from the world’s hidden corners, inspiring wanderlust in the heart of every reader.


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