Michelle and I spent the first 8 nights of our honeymoon in the beautiful Seychelles, an archipelago/country in the Indian Ocean.We visited all three main islands: La Digue, Praslin, and Mahé, which will each get their own posts! This write-up will explain how we got around the Seychelles and how we booked our hotels and transportation.
But first, some quick thoughts on this very underrated country:
– Go hiking. The beaches are incredible, but so are the inland forests. Plus you get better views of the beaches this way!
– The Seychelles are not expensive. I’m not sure who started the crazy rumour that it’s unaffordable to travel here. Good hotels are very reasonably priced (great places for 50-100 euros), so not Southeast Asia cheap but cheaper than anywhere in the developed world. Yes, the $1000/night hotels exist, but you don’t have to book them. Food is also delicious (great veggie curries) and very cheap (3-5 euros each for a big meal) if you stick to takeaways. The exception is cars, which were a rip off at around 40 Euros/day.
– From our various travels around the world we’ve concluded that Germans are the most adventurous travelers and Americans are the least adventurous (Canadians are second to last, and Brits are probably third to last). This paradigm became very evident during our trip to Mexico, where the northern neighbours were nowhere to be seen outside the all-inclusives but Germans and other Europeans were everywhere. This was doubly true in the Seychelles. In La Digue and Praslin, where we stayed in non-luxury accommodations and spent the days outside of resorts, the demographic breakdown of the tourists we saw was 90% German/Swiss, 5% French, 5% other European, 0% North American (other than us). That’s not an exaggeration. In Mahé we stayed in a fancy resort so all nationalities were represented.
– Seychellois French is very different than French elsewhere. I couldn’t understand it, but it’s easy to read! Luckily almost all Seychellois in the tourist industry speak English pretty well, in addition to “normal” French (albeit with a strong accent).
– Go now before more tourists discover it! It’s an incredibly fun and easy place to travel.
The Main Islands
I’ll give a quick summary of the main islands here, but stay tuned for the detailed trip reports!
Home to about 90% of the population and the only international airport, Mahé is the biggest and most populous island in the Seychelles. Even if you plan on visiting other islands, it’s definitely worth spending a day or two here to explore the great beaches and hikes. But for us, the main attraction was the – wait for it – chain hotels! There are expensive fancy hotels all over the Seychelles, but Mahé is home to two hotels easily accessible with points, a Hilton and a Le Meridien. We stayed at the Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove, where 12,000 SPG points per night got us an amazing villa which normally costs over $500 USD/night! If you want to experience a “classic” Seychelles honeymoon experience (à la William & Kate) without spending a fortune, start collecting those hotel points.
Getting around: There are buses which go around Mahé, but the island is very big so I recommend renting a car for at least a day to better explore the island. Be warned, it’s very expensive – our rental from Hertz was 43 Euros/day.
Getting here: your international flight will arrive and depart from here, so there’s no additional time or expense required.
Praslin is the second biggest island in the Seychelles, both in terms of size and population. We spent our two days here enjoying the magnificent beaches and getting in some hikes. It’s also a great base for day trips to nearby smaller islands – like Curieuse Island – but we didn’t have time to check these out. We stayed at Mountain Lodge, a big house up a hill with great views of Cote D’Or beach. Since you have the entire house to yourself it’s more expensive than other guesthouses in Praslin. We booked it on booking.com for $109 USD/night, but through a promotion that gave a $40 rebate for any booking over $80, so our total cost was only $69 USD/night.
Getting around: We rented a car from UR Karz for 35 Euros/day.
Getting here: It’s only 27 miles from Mahe, but getting here isn’t super cheap. We payed $125 USD each for roundtrip flights with Air Seychelles. The ferry costs around $100 roundtrip, but it’s an hour long ride that I hear can be very nauseating.
La Digue is a small island near Praslin. Many people visit La Digue on a day trip, but I recommend spending at least a couple of nights. The island is only a few kilometres from end to end, so everyone gets around by foot or bike. We loved exploring the island car-free, eating great “takeaway,” and visiting the mind-blowingly beautiful beaches (the best in the Seychelles, in my opinion). And giant tortoises! We stayed three nights at Appartements Orchid at Chez Marston, which we booked on cheaptickets.com for $83/night.
Getting around: You have two options: your feet or a bike. We mostly used our feet, which are sufficient. You can rent bikes for 10 euros/day or less (there are many people at the ferry dock who will rent to you).
Getting here: The only way to get to La Digue is by ferry. It’s a 15 minute ferry ride from Praslin, which can be bumpy if it’s a windy day. The cost is 430 SCR ($30 USD) for roundtrip tickets (you can buy them at the pier).