Located in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa, Seychelles is a group of 115 islands where you will find the most transparent and turquoise water, white-sand beaches, takamaka palms, granite boulders and a lot of birds, tortoises and vegetation. And also delicious local creole food!
I have never felt an intense desire to visit Seychelles, well known as a world-class honeymoon destination. We were looking for a destination for our Christmas and New Year’s holiday, and when we found a good flight deal for this destination, we thought, why not going! But to be clear, only if you’ve found a great flight deal, it doesn’t mean Seychelles is going to be a cheap destination!
Here are some things to know before visiting Seychelles and some tips on how to visit the islands, keeping your costs as low as possible with a little pre-planning.
Learn more about Seychelles here:
IS SEYCHELLES SAFE?
We got this question a lot, before and after our holiday. I found the Seychellois very friendly, relaxed and happy, always ready to help and give some tips. As anywhere else in this world, you should avoid going out in the dark, not carry large sums of money with you and always be vigilant. We have been on secluded beaches, in the mountains, and we had a very safe feeling on all islands.
There are stray dogs that roam free on the beaches and the streets. Don’t be afraid of them. They are used to people and friendly.
LANGUAGE & MONEY
There are three official languages spoken here: Creole, French and English. Most Seychellois speak all three.
The currency is Seychelles Rupees(SCR), 1€ = 16SCR, 1$ = 14SCR; however, the Euro and USD are widely accepted. The main bank is Barclays and there are plentiful ATMs.
Remember to exchange the Seychelles Rupees before leaving Seychelles, at the exchange kiosk near arrival hall. If you’ve passed the security check, you won’t find another exchange office. But you can spend them on souvenirs or on the famous Takamaka Rum.
First thing after landing in Mahé, buy a data sim card from the two kiosks outside the arrival hall. There are two network operators: Airtel and Cable & Wireless Seychelles, but there is not much difference between them. Most accommodations offers free wifi for their quests just don’t expect a fast connection.
BEST TIME TO GO
Seychelles is an all-year-round destination, only with some months that are better to visit than others. The average temperature year-round is 27 degrees without extreme heat. But there are some things to know before travelling to Seychelles:
Best months to visit are April, May, October and November, when the transition between the hot and the humid northwest winds and the more cooling southeast winds happens.
The high tourist seasons: July, August, December and January.
The wettest months of the year: January and February. We visited Seychelles late December- early January for 14 days and we experienced light rainfalls on two days (no more than 10′) and heavy rain on December 24th, especially during the night! Every local will tell you that the rainy season starts on December 24th, and apparently it happened, but no sign of rain after that.
Depending on the season and wind direction, seaweed can disturb the beaches. As a tip, on the northwest beaches you won’t get seaweed between Mai and October while on the southeast beaches you won’t get it between October and March.
WHICH ISLAND SHALL I VISIT
Seychelles has 115 different tiny islands, with Mahé, Praslin and La Digue being the most visited ones. You need to visit at least two of those islands to understand and experience this dream destination truly.
MAHÉ, the largest of the Seychelles islands, has more than 80.000 residents. It is home to the international airport and to one of the smallest capital on earth, Victoria, and also the island where the majority of tourists spends the holiday.
PRASLIN, the second largest of the Seychelles islands, an hour’s boat ride from Mahé, with only 8.000 residents. The island looks more like Mahé but with a more chilled and relaxed atmosphere. Home to the Vallé de Mai and Fond Ferdinand nature reserves, where you can see wild Coco de Mer – the world’s largest coconut.
LA DIGUE is Seychelles’ third-largest island and is home to about 2,500 residents. It is a small and beautiful island, where everyone travels by bike and it is the island where you will find the most beautiful beaches.
GETTING TO SEYCHELLES
Seychelles offers a FREE visa on arrival for all tourists but always have a proof of the return ticket, just in case someone asks for it. Flights to Seychelles are pricey, so I would suggest searching for them as early as possible for a good deal. If you are flexible with the dates, you might find cheaper flight tickets. Mahé, the largest island, is home to the international airport.
GETTING AROUND IN SEYCHELLES
Taxis are costly, so if you want to explore the island, you must dig deep into your pocket. For example, in Praslin, one ride to/from the airport or ferry to/from the accommodation starts by 400 Seychelles Rupee (23€, 29$).
BUS FOR PRASLIN AND MAHÉ
If you are not too demanding, buses are the most inexpensive way to travel. The bus route covers the entire island and comes at an affordable price of 7 Seychelles Rupee each ride, paid directly to the driver. Always have the exact amount or small nomination. The buses are non-air conditioned and have open windows all times.
Look on the SPTC web page and find the route that suits your itinerary. We never waited too long for the bus to come, and we worked our way around the islands with no problems.
So, if you’re on a budget or do not drive, buses are very cheap and reliable, an excellent way to discover the whole island of Praslin or Mahé at your leisure! Although for Mahé, I would recommend renting a car if you want to see more!
BIKE ON LA DIGUÉ
On La Digue island are only a few cars and every tourist rents a bike here for 100 SCR (6,5€, 7,30$)/ day.
RENTING A CAR
Renting a car through accommodation is a common thing in Seychelles. Price: 40€ (45$) in Mahé and 35€ (39$) in Praslin, with insurance. We asked our hosts to book a car for us, so we had no trouble searching for a rental company. The best part was that the car was delivered to our door and we could leave it at the ferry terminal or the airport, at no extra cost. The rides along the cliff edge on the narrow roads are stunning, and you can discover so many beautiful places by car. Beware where you park as coconuts falling from trees may cause severe damages to your car.
GETTING BETWEEN THE ISLANDS
FERRY BETWEEN MAHÉ, PRASLIN AND LA DIGUE
If you’re planning to travel between islands, Seychelles’ ferry companies Cat Cocos and Cat Rosé, are both convenient and reliable. Make sure to book online in advance as, sometimes, the ferries do fill up quickly!
- Mahé to Praslin, the ferry takes about an hour, and costs around 55€ (62$) one way and 100€ (112$) return/ per person
- Mahé to La Digue (via Praslin), the ferry takes 90 minutes and costs around 60€ (67$) one way and 120€ (135$) return/ per person
- Praslin to La Digue, the ferry takes 20 minutes and costs around 15€ (17$) one way and 30€ (34$) return/ per person.
FLIGHT BETWEEN MAHÉ AND PRASLIN
A flight between Mahé and Praslin, especially during the southeast monsoon season when the ferry can be a little rough, might be a good idea. The flight is operated by AirSeychelles and the fares may vary depending from travel date and booking date. We booked it two months before our travel date and cost us 65€ (73$) one way/per person. The Twin Otter aircraft used for this flight is fairly small (around 20 seats) and the flight is no more than 20-minute.
Accommodations in Seychelles will be the most expensive thing, after the flight tickets. Avoid the resorts and go for the most affordable options: self-catering villas with a sleeping area, a kitchen, a bathroom and a terrace. This type of accommodation can be a great way of cutting costs by preparing your meal if you wish so or serving some takeaways and a rum on your terrace. Some of the accommodation will even offer breakfast: fruits, smoothies, homemade jams and pastry, yoghurt, cereals and sometimes even sandwiches.
Prices both on AirBnb.com and Booking.com tend to be around 80€-90€-100€ ( 89$-100$-111$)/night/accommodation
SHOPPING & FOOD
Meals out are usually more than 20€ (23$) per person, so eating wise might reduce the costs! We’ve only been once at a restaurant on Praslin and we were served frozen fish! Such a shame! After that, we only ate like a local, from Takeaways!
The best and most affordable way to experience the Creole food is through the takeaway stands. The selection is different every day with freshly made fish, meat or vegetables which come with rice&salad, chips or even fried noodles.
On Mahé, Praslin and La Dique you will find STC supermarkets. Beware of the closing times, since those are closed on public holidays and Sundays. The prices are a little bit higher than expected. But there is also an alternative. Everywhere on the islands, you’ll see small corner shops run by Indians, with a good selection of food, drinks and fruits. The prices are lower than at the STC supermarkets and are open almost all of the times. Fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, even fish can also be found on small stands which border the roads.
WHAT TO BRING
- Use mosquito repellent and stay covered around sunset/sunrise. An outdoor spiral against insects will be a great idea when you chill out on your terrace.
- Since it’s a tropical destination, make sure to use very high factor sun protection. When you go into the water, wear sun-protective clothing or use waterproof sun protection.
- Since everything is imported bring your own toiletries, sunscreen, after-sun cream and insect repellent. You don’t want to spend a fortune on them.
- Always wear a hat and sunglasses!
- Water shoes – will protect your feet from sharp rocks, yet you will always find a beach where the water is free from corals and rocks. We carried the water shoes all the time but never used them.
- Closed-toe hiking sandals since some of the beaches are hard to reach and involve some hike. Wear those when visiting Fond Ferdinand or Vallée de Mai on Praslin.
- Bring a small first aid kit with bandaids, anti-itch spray for bites, aspirin, Imodium for your stomach, and any other medicines you think you might need.
- Camera and an underwater camera, since there are so many things to see. We missed a sea turtle by not having the camera on us that day.
- Snorkel gear. If you bring your own, you can snorkel whenever you want for as long as you want. And it’s more hygienic.
- A water-resistant backpack – to keep your stuff safe and dry in a rainstorm.