Port Louis

Welcome

When people think of Mauritius, they imagine the fine sand of the endless beaches along turquoise lagoons. The tortuous streets of the capital Port Louis are less known to tourists, who usually see little beyond the bureaux de change and the craft market. But with our good advice, and the right addresses, you’ll discover colonial mansions, Chinatown’s bric-a-brac shops, and the tumultuous green market, where Port Louis takes on the flavors of curry and Indian spice.

La Langue/ Le B-a-Ba

Mauritius is a veritable cultural mosaic, formed by successive waves of migration from Africa, India and China. You’ll find Hindu temples in a thousand colors, mosques and churches. The island was colonized by the French and the British, and people still speak French and English. But if you want to sound like a local, you’ll need to master a few words of Creole. When asked “Ki maniere?” (how are you?), the answer is “Tou korek” (everything’s good).

Money

40 rupees is about 1 euro. Some hotels will let you pay with a credit card. You can withdraw cash from ATMs in the city, or change money easily in the innumerable bureaux de change.

Getting in Touch

The country code is +230, and the landlines still have seven digits, but be careful, from now on the mobile numbers have eight digits (since September 2013). You just need to add  5 before the former seven digits of the old mobile phone numbers. You can easily buy a local SIM card for a couple euros, just remember to show your ID. There are two operators, Orange and Emtel. Local calls are cheap. All the hotels and many restaurants have Wifi.

Getting Around

Mauritius has a very efficient bus system. A trip on the little formica benches is part of the local experience There are two bus stations in Port Louis: Gare de Nord, which serves the coastal towns of Grand-Baie and Trou-aux-biches, and Gare du Sud, with routes to Tamarin and the highland towns. If you haven’t hired a car at the airport, you can use the taxis that swarm the city. Just negotiate a price before you get going! Tourism is the island’s main source of income… and tourists are easy targets for scams. Traffic jams are one of the capital’s great faults. Streets are clogged from 7-9am, and again from 3pm until the close of business.

Getting in Trouble

Port Louis isn’t dangerous, but it’s always better not to tempt pickpockets by wearing overly flashy jewelry or leaving a handbag or smartphone lying around.

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