Port Louis Central Market
Peppers at the central market © R.B. Boyer
The diversity of the Mauritian population is never more obvious than during a visit to the lively, bustling and colourful Central Market in Port Louis, accessed from Farquhar Street, near the harbour. When you enter take note of the intricate ironwork on the gates, erected in 1844, and dedicated to Queen Victoria. Inside the market you will find a whirl of Muslim traders, swarthy Indian touts, Chinese and Creoles, all demanding attention as they offer their wares. You can buy almost anything in the market including fresh produce, clothes, crafts, art and souvenirs. Textiles, carved wooden figurines, essential oils and spices are all good buys. It is advisable to visit the market early, before the heat of the day descends (it opens at 6am every day including Sundays), and be prepared to have your senses assailed with a variety of odours from the fruit, herbs, spices, potions, lotions and various other goods offered for sale. Visitors will be expected to haggle and should be firm but friendly; as many of the stalls sell the same merchandise it is always a good idea to compare prices before settling. Tourists are generally charged far more than locals and having a local friend along is a big asset.