Maputo, formerly Portuguese-ruled Lourenço Marques, is the laid-back capital, an incongruous mix of palm-lined streets, an elegant promenade with ritzy villas, and once-grand colonial buildings—which often sit side-by-side with shanties and concrete, Soviet-style buildings dating back to the 1950s, when Russia and Cuba had a finger in the political pie here. An economic upturn since the end of the civil war in the late '90s has brought new investment in infrastructure, and buildings are rising at a fast pace, especially near the port. From night markets and busy bars to informal eateries and classy restaurants, Maputo is known for its vibrant nightlife. The vibe here is decidedly urban and centered out of doors, with sophisticated dining, convivial cafés and bars, and plenty of live music. Check with your concierge or tour guide for the best and safest places.
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