Port Louis
Port Louis / iStock.com / hessbeck
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Coconut vendor at Blue Bay
Coconut vendor at Blue Bay / iStock.com / vale_t
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Caudan Waterfront
Caudan Waterfront / iStock.com / PB57photos
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Central Market
Central Market / iStock.com / Robert Mandel
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Port Louis, Mauritius
Port
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

Founded by the French and largely developed by the British, the quaint Mauritian capital offers a blend of bygone colonial architecture and a modern waterfront that reflects the economic dynamism of this tiny Indian Ocean nation.

What We Love

Champ de Mars Racecourse: Local color abounds at this thoroughbred track, founded in 1812 and set amid towering volcanic peaks. Try to snag a pass to the Mauritius Turf Club boxes.

Central Market: Just up from the waterfront, the city's primary fruit, vegetable, meat, and fish market blends the sights, smells, and tastes of both Africa and Asia.

Best Known For

Caudan Waterfront: This first-rate urban renewal project mixes restaurants, handicraft shops, artisan spaces, and even a casino with historical attractions like the Blue Penny Museum (all about stamps) and the adjacent Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Site.

Chinatown: Far more than Singapore or San Francisco, Port Louis's ethnic Chinese neighborhood is still the real McCoy, a warren of shops, shrines, and eateries that dates back to the 1820s.

Who It's Best For

Souvenir Hunters: Between Chinatown, Caudan Waterfront, and Central Market, there's plenty to purchase in Port Louis. 

Gamblers: Take a spin at roulette in the casino, plunk down some cash on the ponies at Champs de Mars, or work your way into a mahjong game in Chinatown.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

There Are No Beaches: Those questing sun, sea, and sand will need to hop a taxi to Turtle Bay on the north shore or Albion or Flic en Flac farther south.

Take a Taxi Into Downtown: Although it's little more than a mile, the walk from the cruise ship jetty in Les Salines to downtown Port Louis is through a drab, boring industrial area.