The Seychelles is a group of 115 islands in the pristine and warm tropical Indian ocean. The islands are actually part of Africa, with a unique blend of Africans, Jamaicans, French and Asians making up the population.
Here's what you must know when visiting these islands:
La Digue: is the smallest, but the most beautiful of them all. It's got one of the most photographed beaches in the world (Source d'Argent) and the main mode of transport is by bicycle. You'll meet giant tortoises on the way and tropical rainforest covers the entire island.
Praslin: is great for driving around, on even par with the larger island of Mahé - which can have the least amount of tourists in the south.
Mahe: The main island, and accomodation is the most expensive overall
The small uninhabited Cocos island and St. Pierre island are the best for snorkelling
Curieuse Island: has hundreds of free giant tortoise that you can spend your day feeding, and taking fun selfies with. There are a few tortoise on La Digue though, so unless you want to see heaps of them - you can give it a miss.
DON'T go to Cousin Island Nature reserve. It's a 'sanctuary' for birds and turtles. You'll pay around 30 Euro per person to visit, and will leave with a lot of mosquito bites and not much else. We saved a struggling bird from our boat just a few hundred metres from the island and the nature reserve didn't want to hear about it - their solution? Pop it back in the ocean and it will float ashore...
On La Digue:
Anse Source d'Argent is one of the most photographed beaches in the world. Huge granite boulders that are a hallmark of the Seychelles line along the beach, and provide a stunning backdrop . There's an entrance fee of 100 Seychellois Rupee (about 7 Euro) but this will give you access all day, and if you're planning on visiting 4 days in a row, you only need to pay 3 - so keep your tickets!
Grand Anse and Petit Anse are beautiful wild beaches which quite often have big waves to play in and even surf, but the currents can be extremely dangerous - so be careful!
Anse Patates is a little hidden secret that mostly only those who stay in accomodation nearby will enjoy. It's beautiful to sunbath at low tide or laze under the coconut trees and snorkelling during high tide.
Anse Source d'Argent
Beau Vallon is the most popular and perfect for swimming and enjoying a meal along the waterfront.
Baie Ternay Marine National park is also beautiful with the most picturesque beach of Anse du Riz, best accessed by boat.
Anse Royale on the south eastern coast is great for snorkelling.
Port Launay is almost like a miniature Beau Vallon, and is great for watersports and snorkelling.
Constance Ephelia Resort has an incredible beach to the south also (Port Launay is on the northern side). Perfect for snorkelling and pictures.
We didn't go, however Petite Anse, Anse Soleil, Anse Intendance and Anse Takamaka are also known to be very beautiful.
H Resort, Beau Vallon
On Praslin Island:
Anse Lazio is one of the most stunning beaches in the world, and is a must visit. It's in a national park so there are no hotels on the beach - but there is a small restaurant/cafe where you can enjoy a meal for a very hefty price. The beach is broken up by large granite boulders into three sections. One for playing in the waves and the other two are incredible snorkelling spots with calmer waters. There really are no beaches more beautiful on Praslin - so you can stop looking :)
WHAT TO DO
Hike the many trails across all of the islands, through the lush tropical rainforest. We recommend not to go alone, as people have got lost.
Take a snorkelling or scuba diving trip to Cocos Island and St. Pierre Islands for crystal clear waters and plenty of fish
Head over to Curieuse Island and spend some time with the free roaming giant tortoise
Hire a bike and explore La Digue. This was the highlight of our trip!
Don't plan a day for exploring Victoria town on Mahe. It's really not that special.
Eat lots of fish! It's fresh and delicious.
WHERE TO STAY?
I start of with this beautiful island, because it's simply the best and you should spend most of your time here.
The best locations are:
In the north near Anse Patates if you like peace and quiet and to be away from the crowds. It's a bit more upmarket and the views are beautiful with a couple of cute, not so expensive cafes within 2mins bike ride.
Close to the Marina of you don't want to fork out for an expensive taxi ride, and want to be close to lots of restaurants and the harbour for excursions
As far on the south western coast as possible if you want to make the most of the Source d'Argent Beach. There's a couple of larger supermarkets down this end too, and a lot go self-catering apartments.
Tip: stay as close to the coast as possible as mosquitos become a real annoyance the further inland you go. You'll also have to bike or walk further to the beaches which are the reason you're there right!? It's worth the extra price tag.
During the months of June to September there can be a lot of seaweed on the south western beaches, which make it super unpleasant to swim.
Stay as close to Anse Lazio as possible as you'll want to spend most of your time here.
Cote D'Or is your next best beach.
Beau Vallon Beach is the most popular on the island of Mahe, and will give you that typical holiday beach vibe. Street food stalls line the waterfront with tropical (overpriced) fruit and the cheapest hot meals in town.
The beaches in the south and north western coast are plentiful and stunning - actually far more beautiful than Beau Vallon
The south is a lot quieter than the north, so you'll feel 'off the beaten track'. The atmosphere is also more calming with locals more focused on their daily routines than trying to sell you something.
What's the best time of year to visit? Between the beginning of March and the end of May. It's the calmest time of year with the least wind and rain.
The three main islands that have the most overseas visitors are Mahé, Praslin (Pronounced like 'Pralay') and La Digue (pronounced like 'La Deeig')
Buses are by far the cheapest mode of transport. Rental cars start from €40 per day during low season and can soar to twice as much during peak months. We found the cheapest to be Alpha Rent a Car - Click here to email them
You cannot take your large bags or luggage on the buses to or from the airport
A taxi from the port in Victoria to Beau Vallon beach will cost around 300 Seychellois Rupees and from the airport to Beau Vallon about 500 (about 30 Euro)
Street food/fruit stalls will charge around 50 Seychellois Rupees for an eating coconut. The dairy around the corner will charge 5-10 Max
It's a tropical paradise with lush jungle covering most of the islands. This comes with mosquitos - so if you're planning on hiking and staying inland - pack the mosquito repellent!
The temperature is beautifully warm and so is the ocean - at all times of the year!
When booking accommodation, air-con is a must and free wifi will be a great bonus
A local sim card with cost you 500 Seychellois Rupees (about 30 Euro) for 2.5GB, so for those needing to use internet everyday, it's better to purchase a sim than rely on the wifi coverage
The tap water is deemed safe, but many locals do not recommend to drink it.
No special immunisations are required, unless you're travelling from a country with yellow fever.
Book well ahead of time. Accomodation is expensive and all the good rooms will book early so the later you wait, the more you'll pay, for less quality.
Don't expect to come home with one of these amazing looking giant coconuts (below). The cocoa de mer cost around $500usd!! You can still hold them though.