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Located in the west Indian Ocean, Port Louis is the capital and main port of the island of Mauritius. Against a mountainous backdrop, it blends modernity with tradition and is home to a mix of cultures, featuring many influences from India, Africa, Europe, China, and the Middle East. Whether you're in town for business or an extended stay, its fine selection of hotels will delight you, while its local sights and natural beauty will take your breath away.
In between Pointe aux Piments and Mont Choisy lies a public beach right beside one of the major hotels: the Trou-aux-Biches Village. This stunning stretch of blue water is bordered by white sands and filao trees, while the accommodation itself is truly a luxury experience.
Mauritius will make you fall in love with activities such as parasailing. Catch a bird's-eye view of the lagoons and lose yourself (figuratively speaking) atop the vast and magnificent turquoise waters.
A sophisticated bar and nightlife scene has been developing here in recent years. World-class microbreweries such as Lambic and Flying Dodo Brewing Company are fast garnering an international reputation, while hotspots such as Karma Lounge or Le Suffren Hotel & Marina are abuzz on the weekend. The city's iconic Le Caudan Waterfront also boasts numerous watering holes.
From the acclaimed Natural History Museum & Mauritius Institute and the amassed treasure trove of old cameras and prints at the Mauritius Photography Museum to the Mauritius Postal Museum, which houses a mishmash of commemorative stamps and other postal paraphernalia from around the world, there is no shortage of fascinating historical perspectives to occupy history buffs in Port Louis.
Port Louis enjoys some of the nicest weather in the world. Its tropical maritime climate ensures sunny weather across the year, with very minor temperature variations (the mercury usually sits between 65 and 80 degrees). A constant sea breeze blows across the island, experienced mainly along the eastern coast. This helps keep the climate refreshingly cool.
This beautiful building is home to the the former Mauritian Post Office's one-penny and two-pence stamps, which rank among the most valuable in the world. In fact, they're so valuable that a group of Mauritian companies forked out US $2.2 million in 1993 for the pair of unused one-penny and two-pence stamps that the museum now houses.
This building, formerly known as Coolie Ghat, was the landing point in the 19th century for the original forced laborers from India, before the abolition of slavery in 1834. The historic complex currently is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and consists of the partial remains of three stone buildings dating back to the 1860s.
There is a constant bustle in this quarter, with the streets always full even after closing time and on weekends. The food is sensational - try local specialty bol renverse (literally, upside-down bowl), which is a stir fry of rice, chicken, and vegetables served with a fried egg.
Combining Indian, Creole, and Islamic architecture, the mosque houses the remains of Jamal Shah in a marble tomb next to the mosque. Also on display is the distinct skill of Tamil craftsmen, who were responsible for building many of the country's temples and churches.
Built between 1834 and 1840 under the direction of William IV and named after Queen Adelaide, the fort stands at 240 feet above sea level. Today, it is one of very few garrisons left that does not stand in ruins, due to municipal efforts to preserve cultural heritage. Taking the journey up to Fort Adelaide guarantees breathtaking views of the port and the Moka mountain ranges.
Mauritius has only two seasons, winter and summer. It is warm and dry during winter (May to November) and hot, wet, and humid during summer (November to May). Temperatures don't vary that much between the two seasons of the year. Port Louis has a tropical climate, modified by trade winds from the southeast, with the central plateau being cooler than on the coast.
The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is at Port de Plaisance and is the major gateway for travelers coming from abroad. Air Mauritius is the home carrier and operates a network of routes to the local islands, as do as Air Austral, Air Madagascar, and Air Seychelles. Buses will run you into town. The trip takes about 70 minutes and costs MUR30. If you wish to take a taxi, expect to pay around MUR1,300.
Cargo ships are the main vessels that arrive at the port. The Mauritius Pride and the Trochetia regularly sail to and from nearby islands such as Madagascar. Some cruise ship companies have started an Indian Ocean route recently, which include a stopover in Mauritius.
Le Suffren Hotel & Marina features a comfortable setting and is a free water-taxi ride away from Le Caudan Waterfront. If you're looking for 5-star luxury, you'll enjoy Le Labourdonnais Waterfront Business Hotel, with stunning views and a wellness center. If you're watching your budget, try the Cocotiers Seaside Boutik Hotel, a basic beach-side option with great food. Staying in the city center will mean easy access to sights and shopping. If you want breathtaking views with your morning coffee, head to the waterfront hotels along Pointe Aux Sables east of the city.
Bus services run from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and are an easy way to get around. Fares for a short ride cost around MUR15, and you can buy a ticket from the conductor when you board.
Traffic can be congested during business hours. If you're staying in the center, you can easily reach most destinations on foot. In the evening, expect to pay between MUR100-150 for short trips.
Driving can be a chaotic experience in Port Louis and traffic is common. Vehicles can be rented from companies such as ABC Car Rental and Endeavour Car Rental with prices starting at MUR1,500.
The Caudan Waterfront provides a central shopping district with fashion, local crafts, and live entertainment. The marina is a must-visit shopping destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a wide variety of restaurants and cafes in addition to specialty shops selling unique local goods. As a tourist, be sure to take advantage of tax-free shopping.
Supermarkets are pitched at locals and self-catering tourists, with most within walking distance of hotels. The Port Area has the most, including several branches of local chain Winner's Supermarket. The popular Port-Louis Market on Corderie Street offers lots of fresh produce, fruits, and other items. Expect to pay MUR45 for a gallon of milk and MUR700 for a good bottle of wine.
Eating in Port Louis can be an amazing culinary experience. Head to Sailors for a taste of the region's traditional Cajun-Creole cuisine, the Courtyard in the city center for the best seafood in town, or splurge out at Brasserie Chic at Labourdonnais Waterfront Business Hotel. Expect to pay around MUR1,100 or less for an excellent meal.