Port Louis, Mauritius
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.
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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.
Joe Yogerst is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure.