MAHE • PRASLIN • LA DIGUE
The Seychelles are in fact several islands (115 !), middle in the Indian Ocean on the east coast of Africa, but three islands are more touristy and easier to reach:
Mahe, where all international planes land, Praslin and La Digue. La Digue is actually the island with the most photographed beach in the world (Source d'argent) and you must have seen it, if you want to say that you were on Seychelles.
There are numerous beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves as well as some rare animals like Aldabra giant tortoises, and it's known to be one of the most expensive destinations in the world.
Is it really so ?
We have been there and here are our recommendations on how you can reduce your travel costs to Seychelles and what you should know to avoid being disappointed when you reach the islands.
That's why everything is green and full of insects. If you have a spider phobia, you will be shocked. You will see spiders everywhere and they are as big as a hand. But don't worry, they're not poisonous. Watch out for mosquitoes and sand flies, which bite especially in the evening at sunset.
The water currents are quite dangerous at some spots - on some beaches it is forbidden to enter the water - therefore find out in advance where you can swim and check the reflux period, when on some beaches the water decreases so much that you cannot swim at all.
The Seychelles are a destination for those seeking tranquility and relaxation, the sun sets daily at 6:30 pm and in a few minutes it gets dark. After that the streets are almost empty and the shops closed - you don't have much opportunity to have fun or do anything special. Get ready to spend the evenings relaxing and reading a book on the terrace.
Start by buying your flight tickets separately and organizing your trip by yourself (or by us).
There are no direct flights from USA to the Seychelles. The best combination is via Germany (we flew from Frankfurt, by the way) or via Paris with Air France. Emirates and Etihad Airlines also fly to the Seychelles via Dubai or Abu Dhabi. It is worthwhile also to take advantage of these companies.
On Mahe- and Praslin-Islands take the local bus - A ticket costs 7 Rupees (about 0.5 $) and the buses run often (although the drivers drive like crazy) or better and more comfortable rent a car at a local agency - at a price of 45 $/ day including insurance (we have rented the car at echocars on the island Mahe echocars.sc and at Capricorn Car Hire on the island Praslin capricorncarrental.com). On La Digue rent a bike for 7 $ a day (on this inland cars are not allowed!).
Avoid staying in Victoria - Victoria is the capital of the Seychelles Islands. It's dusty, crowded and has no beaches. A short visit is more than enough.
Our recommendation - don't waste your time on the island of Mahe - if possible, go straight to the island of Praslin and then to the island of La Digue.
By ferryboat you get there in about 1.5 hours. The price is around 140 $ round trip. The ferry agency is seyferry.com
Avoid staying at a hotel and choose instead a self-catering apartment. This means you get a fully equipped kitchen where you can prepare your own meals. This will save you enormous expenses for restaurants, e.g. a pizza on La Digue Island costs more than 25 $. Buy food on the market or from the groceries where the locals buy it.
For a relaxing holiday, choose the island of Praslin (you will get there if you go to La Digue - there is no direct connection from Mahe to La Digue) - compared to Mahe it is significantly nicer.
The most beautiful beaches are Anse Lazio and Anse Volbert (looking for an apartment? we recommend L'Hirondelle Self Catering Guest House).
On La Digue you must stay at least 2-3 days.
Only one day trip is not enough. La Digue is the island with the beautiful granite rocks right on the beach that has made the Seychelles so famous. Choose one of the villas or cottages inside the island without direct access to the beach - the distances are short and the prices differ considerably.
Our recommendation: Casa de Leela or Maison Carme d'ile. Both have a fully equipped kitchen and a small pool where you can refresh yourself during the day.
There are no big hotels and no mass tourism, and the few hotel chains that have built here (especially on the island of Mahe - like Hilton, Bayan Tree, Kempinski, Four Seasons - have only a few rooms and private beaches). You'll be surprised how empty the public beaches are - you'll often be alone on a gorgeous white beach. Don't forget to bring everything you need with you (blankets, water, food, and of course, don't forget the spray or lotion against sunburn and insect bites). On most beaches there is absolutely nothing! Not even a toilet.
Now that you've read that there are some good hotels as well, you're probably wondering why I don't recommend them. In my opinion these are incredibly expensive. We visited some of them, e.g. St. Regis on Praslin and the room for $1,200 a night! did not justify the price. Also the prices in the restaurants are just as shameless.
The cheaper hotels between 200 and 400 $ per double room and night are mostly dirty (Hotel Le relax and Coral Smart Choice on Mahe as well as Le relax and Berjaya beach resort on Praslin and are terrible and run down). Please consider therefore our recommendation. The self-catering apartments are run by locals and they will treat you like a king.
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