Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius, is a vibrant and bustling hub of culture and history, nestled between the Indian Ocean and a range of mountains. Visitors can explore its colonial architecture, bustling markets, and indulge in the local cuisine, which is a blend of Creole, African, Indian, and French influences.
The city is also the economic and administrative center of the island, hosting various government offices, banks, and shopping centers. Despite its modernity, Port Louis has managed to preserve its natural beauty, with the famous Pamplemousses Botanical Garden and the stunning beaches that are just a short drive away.
Port Louis is not only a destination for leisure travelers but also for history enthusiasts. The city is home to several museums, including the Blue Penny Museum, which houses one of the world’s rarest stamps, and the Mauritius Natural History Museum, which showcases the flora and fauna of the island.
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Attractions & Things to do in Port Louis
1. Caudan Waterfront
The Caudan Waterfront is a must-visit place in Port Louis, offering a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. It is a modern and lively marina that has preserved the historical character of the city.
Travel Tip: Don’t miss the craft market for some unique souvenirs.
2. Aapravasi Ghat
Aapravasi Ghat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that commemorates the arrival of indentured laborers in Mauritius. It is an important part of the island’s history and a symbol of the ancestors of a significant part of the population.
Travel Tip: Take a guided tour to understand the historical significance of the site.
3. Port Louis Market
The Port Louis Market, also known as the Central Market, is a bustling hub of activity where you can find fresh produce, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs. It is a great place to experience the local culture and try some street food.
Travel Tip: Be prepared to haggle for the best prices.
4. Blue Penny Museum
The Blue Penny Museum is home to a collection of art and history exhibits that tell the story of Mauritius. It includes the famous Blue Penny and Red Penny stamps, which are among the rarest stamps in the world.
Travel Tip: Check the museum’s schedule as it occasionally hosts special exhibitions.
5. Fort Adelaide
Fort Adelaide, also known as La Citadelle, offers panoramic views of Port Louis and its harbor. It was built by the British in the 19th century to protect the city from attacks.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes as there is a bit of a climb to get to the top.
6. Le Pouce Mountain
Le Pouce Mountain is the third highest peak in Mauritius and offers stunning views of the island. It is a popular hiking destination for both locals and tourists.
Travel Tip: Start your hike early in the morning to avoid the heat.
7. Mauritius Postal Museum
The Mauritius Postal Museum is located in a historical building that was once the central post office. It showcases the history of postal services in Mauritius, including a collection of stamps and postal artifacts.
Travel Tip: Combine your visit with a walk around the Caudan Waterfront.
8. Jummah Mosque
The Jummah Mosque is an architectural masterpiece that blends Islamic, Indian, and Creole styles. It is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the bustling city.
Travel Tip: Dress modestly when visiting the mosque.
9. Marie Reine de la Paix
Marie Reine de la Paix is a beautiful church located on the side of Signal Mountain. It offers a peaceful atmosphere and stunning views of the city.
Travel Tip: Take a taxi or drive as it is a bit of a walk from the city center.
10. Mauritius Natural History Museum
The Mauritius Natural History Museum houses a collection of exhibits related to the flora, fauna, and geology of the island. It includes the famous dodo bird, which is now extinct.
Travel Tip: It is a small museum, so it won’t take too much of your time.
Unique Activities in Port Louis
1. Street Food Tour
Discover the vibrant street food scene of Port Louis. Dive into the rich culinary heritage of Mauritius as you sample a variety of local delicacies. From savory treats to sweet desserts, experience the flavors that define Mauritian street cuisine.
Day Trips from Port Louis
1. Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
The Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, located a short drive from Port Louis, is home to a variety of tropical plants, including the famous giant water lilies. It is a peaceful and beautiful place to spend a few hours.
Travel Tip: Hire a guide at the entrance to learn about the different plants.
2. Île d’Ambre
Île d’Ambre is a small, uninhabited island located off the north coast of Mauritius. It is a popular destination for kayaking, snorkeling, and picnicking.
Travel Tip: Book a guided tour to make the most of your visit.
3. Casela World of Adventures
Casela World of Adventures is a nature park located in the west of Mauritius. It offers a variety of activities, including safari tours, zip-lining, and quad biking.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes as there is a lot of walking involved.
Where to stay in Port Louis
Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius, offers a diverse range of hotels catering to various needs and preferences of travelers. From luxurious waterfront accommodations to budget-friendly stays, the city ensures a comfortable experience for everyone. Whether you’re traveling solo, with a partner, or with family, Port Louis has got you covered. Here’s a curated list of six hotels in the city:
1. Best Reviewed Hotel
Cocotiers Hotel – Mauritius (★ ★)
- Description: Situated on the beach in Baie du Tombeau, 9 km North of Port Louis, and surrounded by tropical gardens, Cocotiers Hotel offers a heated outdoor pool and children’s pool.
- Price: €85 per night
- Rating: 6.8 (Review score)
2. Most Luxurious Hotel
Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel offers elegant rooms with a private balcony, overlooking the Indian Ocean. Guests can relax in the spa, at the outdoor pool, or use the fully equipped gym.
- Price: €473 per night
- Rating: 8.3 (Very good)
3. Budget Hotel
Champ de Mars B&B (★ ★)
- Description: Champ de Mars by Ivory Hotels offers accommodation in the city center of Port Louis and is located just opposite the race course.
- Price: €52 per night
- Rating: 7.1 (Good)
4. Hotel for Family
Villa Anakao Mauritius
- Description: Offering an outdoor pool and a restaurant, Villa Anakao Mauritius is located at Pointe aux Sables, 6 km away from Port Louis.
- Price: €124 per night
- Rating: 8.7 (Fabulous)
5. Hotel for Couples
Le Suffren Hotel & Marina (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Located on the waterfront in Port Louis, Le Suffren Hotel & Marina offers spacious rooms overlooking the Indian Ocean or the gardens.
- Price: €282 per night
- Rating: 7.9 (Good)
6. Hotel for Solo Travellers
Kirin Guesthouse and Restaurant
- Description: Set in Port Louis and with Jummah Mosque reachable within 200 meters, Kirin Guesthouse and Restaurant offers a restaurant, non-smoking rooms, free WiFi, and a bar.
- Price: €56 per night
- Rating: 8.1 (Very good)
Did you know? Facts about Port Louis
- Port Louis is the capital city of Mauritius and is located in the Port Louis District, with a small western part in the Black River District.
- It was used as a harbour by the Dutch settlers from 1606 and was named in honour of King Louis XV during the French colonization period.
- The city is the country’s financial and political centre, and most populous city, with a population of 147,066 as of 2018.
- The economy of the city is dominated by its financial centre, port facilities, tourism, and the manufacturing sector which includes textiles, chemicals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals.
- Port Louis is home to the biggest port facility in the Indian Ocean region and one of Africa’s major financial centres.
- The city has a tropical savanna climate, with its wettest months being from December through April.
- Port Louis is home to several French colonial buildings that date to the 18th century, including the Government House.
- The city has an active cultural scene, attracting painters, poets, sculptors, and writers for centuries.
- The Blue Penny Museum, located at the Caudan Waterfront, is dedicated to the history and art of the island, including the famous orange-red one penny and deep blue two-pence stamps.
- Sports are popular among the inhabitants of Port Louis, with over 35 sports federations organized under the aegis of the Mauritius Sports Council.
FAQ about Port Louis
What is the population of Port Louis?
As of 2018, the population of Port Louis was 147,066.
What is the climate like in Port Louis?
Port Louis features a tropical savanna climate, with its wettest months being from December through April.
What are the main economic activities in Port Louis?
The economy of Port Louis is mostly dominated by its financial centre, port facilities, tourism, and the manufacturing sector which includes textiles, chemicals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals.
What are the main attractions in Port Louis?
The main attractions in Port Louis include the Government House, the Jummah Mosque, the English Saint James Cathedral, the Indian Tamil Temple, the Port Louis Theatre, the Champ de Mars Racecourse, the Chinese Pagoda, and the Caudan Waterfront.
Are there any museums in Port Louis?
Yes, there are several museums in Port Louis, including the Blue Penny Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Mauritius Postal Museum, the Mauritius Photography Museum, and the Aapravasi Ghat.
What are the main religious sites in Port Louis?
The main religious sites in Port Louis include Hindu temples, Christian churches and temples, and Muslim mosques.
What are the sports facilities available in Port Louis?
Public sports facilities in Port Louis include the St. François Xavier stadium, which is used for football. However, there is a general dearth of public facilities in Port Louis.
How can I get around in Port Louis?
Port Louis is served by two major bus stations, Victoria Station and Immigration Square. There is also a light rail transit system between Curepipe and Port Louis. Additionally, most streets in Port Louis are laid out in rectangular grids, and many are one-way, so it is relatively easy to navigate by car, although traffic can be heavy during the day.