Looking for the best things to do in Port Louis? This Port Louis travel guide will show you a list of 20 top attractions to visit in the capital city of Mauritius!
Unfortunately, most travelers to Mauritius tend to skip over it without knowing that there are actually a lot of things to see and do in Port Louis!
Sampling local street food at the Central Market, wandering in between the colorful alleyways of Chinatown, admiring over 60 street arts and visiting historic landmarks and buildings are among the best things to do in Port Louis Mauritius.
So, if you’re wondering what to do in Port Louis, this is the guide for you!
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Things to see and do in Port Louis Mauritius
One of the best things to do in Port Louis is visiting the Central Market. This is the largest covered market in Mauritius selling everything from fresh produce to food, herbal medicines and souvenirs.
On the ground floor, you’ll find vendors selling a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and on the first floor, is a souvenir/craft market. There’s also another souvenir market located on the opposite side of the produce stalls. Prices are usually steep, so make sure to haggle.
If you’re hungry, there’s also a food court where you can sample some of the best Mauritian dishes and snacks.
Opening hours: 5.30 a.m to 5.30 p.m (Monday-Saturday); 5.30 a.m to 12 p.m (Sunday)
Indulge in Street Food
There’s no better place than Port Louis to sample some delicious Mauritian street food. From Dholl Puri to Faratha, Gateau Piment and Briani, you’ll be spoilt for choice of food to eat!
The food in Mauritius is a delicious blend of cuisines from different parts of the world, including China, India, Africa and Europe.
Some of the best places to sample street food in Port Louis include the Central Market, Chinatown, Les Jardins de la Compagnie Market, Sir William Newton and Bourbon Streets.
You can also book a street food tour where you’ll be accompanied by a guide who will show you all the best food spots in Port Louis.
Related post: 30 delicious street food to try in Mauritius
Take a stroll around the Caudan Waterfront
Known as the very first shopping mall in Mauritius, the Caudan Waterfront features high-end stores, a casino, a craft market, a movie theatre, two hotels and a newly-built food court.
If you’re traveling to Mauritius on a budget, this might not really be the place for you but you can still visit for a stroll around the waterfront area to enjoy the view.
The Caudan Waterfront is accessible from Port Louis center through two underground pathways, one of them is located next to McDonald’s and the other is found next to The Mauritius Post.
Tip: Make sure to try some delicious Faratha and Galette Manioc at “Pat and Rosy” located beside the casino.
Hunt for Street Arts
In recent years, the street art scene in Port Louis has evolved quite a bit. What used to be old crumbling buildings and walls are now being revived with colorful murals illustrating the melting pot of Mauritius’ cultural heritage.
Most of the street arts can be found all over Chinatown although you can even spot a few on Bourbon and Sir William Newton Streets as well. So, if you’re looking for the best things to see in Port Louis, I highly recommend the street arts.
Related post: 60+ Street arts in Port Louis + Interactive Map
Another top attraction to visit in Port Louis is Chinatown. Although smaller and not as vibrant as its Asian counterparts, the Mauritius Chinatown is slowly regaining popularity thanks to the work of the New Chinatown Foundation.
The streets have been cleaned with the addition of new colorful trash cans, walls have been repainted with an abundance of street arts and the annual Chinatown Food and Cultural Festival has helped a lot in putting Chinatown on the map.
Whether you’re a street art enthusiast or simply want to sample some of the best Sino-Mauritian dishes, visiting Chinatown is a must when traveling to Port Louis.
Port Louis is considered the shopping capital of Mauritius. If you want to buy clothes or good quality fabric, head to Corderie Street. You can also find cheap ready-made clothes at Le Workshop and the market on Dr Edouard Laurent Street.
For high-end shopping, I recommend heading to the Caudan Waterfront. If you want to bring some souvenirs back home, you can buy some at the Central Market, Caudan Waterfront Craft Market or Chinatown.
Constructed in 1849, the Aapravasi Ghat is a historical site that was used as an immigration depot to receive indentured laborers. These workers came to Mauritius after the abolition of slavery as part of the “Great Experiment” initiated by the British.
They came mainly from India, but also from East Africa, Madagascar, Southeast Asia and China either to work in the sugarcane fields and factories in Mauritius or to be transhipped to other countries.
Due to its historical significance, the Aapravasi Ghat was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006.
It’s one of the best places to visit in Port Louis if you love history. Admission is free of charge and if you want to take advantage of a free guided tour, you should book in advance by calling on +230 217 77 70.
Opening hours: 9 a.m to 4 p.m (Monday-Friday); 9 a.m to 12 p.m (Saturday); closed on Sundays and public holidays
Take in the view at Fort Adelaide (Citadel)
Another top attraction in Port Louis is Fort Adelaide, commonly known as Citadel. The fort was built by the British in the 19th century initially to protect the port from invaders although it was never used for this purpose.
The fort is perched on top of a hill and offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of Port Louis. From the top, you get a clear view of all the buildings of Port Louis, the port area, Champs de Mars race track and surrounding mountains.
If you’re coming by car, there’s a small parking lot or if you don’t mind the steep hill, you can walk from Chinatown in about 20 minutes (take the stone steps located on your right just before entering Sebastopol Street – click here for the exact location)
Opening hours: 7 a.m to 4 p.m (Monday-Friday); closed on Saturdays and Sundays
Related post: Mauritius travel guide: top things to do
Shop at the Craft Market
Located within the Caudan Waterfront, the craft market sells all sorts of souvenirs, artworks and handicrafts. You’ll find everything from clothes, paintings, wooden carvings, local spices and rum.
Opening hours: 9 a.m to 5 p.m (Monday-Saturday); closed on Sundays
St Louis Cathedral
Built in the form of a Latin cross, the St Louis Cathedral is one of the most important Catholic Churches in Mauritius. It was initially built as a small church between 1752 and 1756 but was subsequently damaged by two violent cyclones. The church was then rebuilt several times over the years to reinforce its structures.
The inside of the church is adorned with beautiful stained glass windows and features an intricate altar, statues of saints and several paintings illustrating the Passion of Christ.
Madurai Mariamen Temple
Another must-do in Port Louis is visiting the beautiful Madurai Mariamen Temple. The temple looks so impressive with its vibrant colors, intricate carvings, mosaics and statues of Hindu deities.
The easiest way to get there to walk from the Caudan Waterfront.
Opening hours: 6 a.m to 5 p.m (Monday-Thursday); 6 a.m to 7 p.m (Friday); 6 a.m to 4 p.m (Saturday) and 6 a.m to 1 p.m (Sundays)
The Jummah Mosque is the second oldest Mosque in Mauritius. The mosque was built in 1853 by a group of Muslim merchants from Gujarat India who later expanded the building to accommodate the growing Muslim population.
Located at the entrance of Chinatown, the mosque is noticeable by its imposing white facade, minarets and intricate carvings. One interesting feature of the mosque is the tree found in the middle of the inner courtyard.
The mosque is free to visit outside of prayer time.
Champ de Mars
The Champs de Mars was initially used as a military training ground but was later converted into a horse race track. Horse races are now held every Saturday from March to December and occasionally on Sundays for the Maiden Cup.
If you’re into horse betting or just want to see what a typical race day looks like, Champs de Mars might be an interesting place to visit during your one-day trip to Port Louis.
If you’re looking for a very easy hike with some of the best views in Port Louis, I highly recommend Signal Mountain. The path leading to the top is well-paved but only accessible on foot. It takes only about 30 to 40 minutes to reach the summit and it’s a great activity to do during sunset.
Related post: Top 20 hikes to do in Mauritius
Les Jardins de la Compagnie
Les Jardins de la Compagnie is located in the middle of Port Louis and features tall Banyan trees and several statues. Unfortunately it’s not that well-maintained and quite dirty due to the huge amount of birds. I would only recommend passing through briefly on your way to the food market located beside the park.
At around noon, you’ll find the park buzzing with tourists wandering around and locals eating lunch bought from the food market. The food market sells a wide variety of street food and local Mauritian dishes.
The “Roti Aka” stall is very popular and sells the best Faratha (flatbread) in the city.
Read more: 20 amazing beaches in Mauritius
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is found inside the Mauritius Institute building, next to Les Jardins de la Compagnie. It’s completely free to visit and houses several natural science exhibits and the skeleton of the extinct Dodo bird. It also has an extensive collection of seashells, butterflies and other insects.
Opening hours: 9 a.m to 4 p.m (Monday, Tuesday,Thursday and Friday); 11 a.m to 4 p.m (Wednesday); 9 a.m to 12 p.m (Saturday); closed on Sundays and public holidays.
Located on Rue du View Conseil, the museum houses a collection of old cameras, postcards and photographs, some dating back to the 1800s.
Opening hours: 10 a.m to 3 p.m (Monday-Friday); closed on weekends.
Cost: Rs 300 (US$ 7.55) for tourists; Rs 200 (US$ 5) for residents; Rs 100 (US$ 2.50) for locals
Blue Penny Museum
Located within the Caudan Waterfront, the Blue Penny Museum gives you an insight into the colonial era of Mauritius and also offers a 10-minute viewing of the famous red and blue Mauritius Post Office stamps that were issued in 1847.
Note that photography isn’t allowed inside.
Opening hours: 9.30 a.m to 4 p.m (Monday-Friday); closed on weekend and public holidays.
Cost: Rs 245 (US$ 6.20) for tourists; Rs 50 (US$ 1.25) for locals and residents
The Postal Museum is located at the entrance of Caudan Waterfront, inside of the oldest historic building of Port Louis. The museum allows you to learn more about the history of postal services in Mauritius.
Opening hours: 9.30 a.m to 4.30 p.m (Monday-Saturday); closed on Sundays and public holidays.
Cost: Rs 150 (US$ 3.80) for tourists; Rs 50 (US$ 1.25) for locals and residents
Bank of Mauritius Museum
Located on the ground floor of the Bank of Mauritius building, the museum houses a collection of coins and banknotes.
Opening hours: 10 a.m to 5 p.m (Monday-Saturday); closed on Sundays and public holidays.
How to get to Port Louis?
If you’re on a budget, you can easily get to Port Louis by bus. There are two major bus terminals in Port Louis – Immigration Square and Victoria Bus Terminal. Bus tickets cost less than US$ 1 per trip depending on the distance covered.
If you’re coming by car, it can be a bit of a struggle to find a decent parking spot in the center of Port Louis. You’ll need to buy parking coupons that can be obtained at any gas station (they usually cost about Rs 20-30 (US$ 0.50-0.75) per hour depending on the parking zone).
An easier alternative is to park at the Caudan Waterfront. Parking costs Rs 50 (US$ 1.25) for the first 4 hours and Rs 50 for each additional hour (free from 4 p.m on weekdays, from 12.30 p.m on Saturdays and whole day on Sundays and public holidays). Note that the covered parking lot is slightly more expensive.
You can also get there by taking the Metro Express. Tickets cost Rs 20-30 (US$ 0.50-0.75) per trip depending on the distance covered. At time of writing, the Metro Express is only available between Rose Hill and Port Louis.
Where to eat in Port Louis?
Below are some of my recommendations for the best places to eat in Port Louis:
- Pat et Rosy: For faratha manioc and galette manioc – a sweet flatbread made from cassava flour (Next to the casino at the Caudan Waterfront)
- Tinot Trading: For delicious Chinese pastries (On Jummah Mosque Street, opposite Wing Tai Chong store)
- Port Louis Central Market: For an abundance of street food (9, Corderie Street)
- Les Jardins de la Compagnie Market: More street food (Rue Reverend Lebrun)
- Roti Aka: The best faratha ever! (Les Jardins de la Compagnie Market)
- Chinatown: Sino-Mauritian dishes and snacks
Where to stay in Port Louis?
Personally, I would recommend staying somewhere near the beach and only taking a day trip to Port Louis. But if you absolutely need to stay in the city, you can choose between these two hotels located in the Waterfront area:
Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel
The Labourdonnais Waterfront is a luxury hotel featuring spacious rooms with a private bathroom and has two restaurants and a bar. A complimentary catamaran cruise is also included.
Le Suffren Hotel & Marina
Also located on the waterfront area, Le Suffren Hotel & Marina offers air-conditioned suites, a fully-equipped gym, spa and swimming pool.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Port Louis safe?
Port Louis is relatively safe during the day. Like in other touristy destinations, pickpockets are quite common, so you should always keep an eye on your belongings when walking in crowded places.
Is it worth visiting Port Louis?
If you’re a foodie and want to check out some of the best street arts in Mauritius, then Port Louis is definitely worth a visit!
Did you enjoy reading this Port Louis travel guide? Which attraction in Port Louis would you like to hit first? Let me know in the comments below!