The Seychelles are definitely an unforgettable experience – it is a home of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and have gorgeous mountains! We spent 10 days there and here are the essential things you need to know before you visit:
The rainy season ends in April, so a good time to visit would be between May and October. It is slightly below the Equator, so the seasons are the opposite of those of the Maldives. We went in the beginning of May, and despite the discouraging “all-rain” forecast, we only had rain for a few afternoons. The temperatures are 27-30 C all year-round, with little amplitude between the night and afternoon, and the day is almost always 12 hours long (from 6 am to 6 pm). The duration of twilight near the Equator is only about 20 minutes. In comparison, the twilight near Greenwich is about 35 minutes long, but can you guess how long it lasts near the poles?? 2-3 weeks! So make sure you make these 20 minutes count, go to the beach around a quarter to 6 and enjoy the utter beauty of the pink/orange/blue sunsets!
2. Where to stay
We stayed in a guest house called Tropical Hideaway very close to Beau Vallon and were very happy with their services! The owner often brought us goodies – sometimes pastries for breakfast, other times 4 different types of avocado. That’s what I call a proper hospitality! Beau Vallon is the resort part of the island and I highly recommend staying there (it’s also close to Victoria, the capital city). There are some options in the southwest part of the island, and though there are some gorgeous beaches, the dining and shopping opportunities are quite limited.
The Seychelles are quite expensive, compared to similar exotic destinations. Dinner can cost between 20-50 euros per person; car rental – 35-60 euros per day; groceries – 10-20 euros per day. For 10 days, we spent over 1200 euros (two people) for trips, food, and other essentials. A ride to and from the airport is 50 euros per trip. The day trips are quite expensive – a day trip to the close-by islands Praslin & La Digue is about 200 euros per person (but we bargained it for 165, so always bargain!), while a guided trip to Ste Anne Marine Park is about 110 euros (we went for 90 per person). In addition, do make sure you get some of the local currency, since paying in euros/USD can cost you a lot in exchange rate differences (they give you back SCR usually). Be careful when paying by card, some places charge you a whopping extra 5%!
4. Car rental
Since the Seychelles were first a French and then a British colony, they drive on the left side of the road, but measure distances in kilometers. Prices to hire a car per day can vary between 35-60 euros, and insurance can be an additional 8-20 euros. If you don’t stop, you can go around the island in 3 hours! The locals drive a bit fast through the serpentine roads, so don’t try to catch up 🙂 A good idea would be to download an offline map of the island with a preset route, or to get a prepaid SIM card (40 euros for 3 GB, quite a lot). If you want to visit a specific beach with a hotel nearby – just ask the hotel itself whether you can park there. Most will say no, but will point you towards where the beach is and the beach’s actual parking! We rented a car for 2 days – the first day we visited Victoria and Eden Island, and the second day we used to go around the island.
5. Sun protection
Being so close to the Equator offers some of the most unforgettable sunsets you can imagine! However, this also means that there is a great risk of sunburn – remember to always choose a 50+ sun protection that is also harmless to the beautiful marine life. Over 96% of commercial sunscreens contain the toxic chemical oxybenzone! And be careful with “organic” products, as there are some natural ingredients that hurt marine life, rather than protect it. Eau Thermale Avène‘s approach is “Skin protect 🙌🏼, ocean respect 🐠” and their products have maximum protection not just for you, but also for fish and corals! They have no water-soluble sun filter and no silicone. This is why they are my first choice!
In any case, always snorkel with a white T-shirt on, otherwise you might have to sleep on your belly 🙂
6. Other useful tips
- The electric plugs are generally British ones, but our hotel had both British and European ones, luckily.
- Public transport is super cheap – 5 SCR per ride! However, the buses are extremely old and not too reliable in terms of schedule, so it is up to you whether to rely on them fully or not.
- The Victoria market is a great place to visit. Despite what it says on TripAdvisor, it is open until noon on Saturdays and it is closed on Sundays!
- Budget dinner ideas – Baobab pizzeria is a good budget diner (a Margarita can be about 8-9 euros, drinks are 2-3 euros). And they have the yummiest chili!! They are open on Sundays, but closed on Mondays. The restaurant of Coral Strand Hotel (pizza from 9-10 euros and drinks from 5-6 euros) is another option, but the service is a bit slow.
- Snorkeling is possible on most beaches, usually at the far right or far left (where the rocks are). Top places for snorkeling in the North of Mahe are Fisherman’s Cove and Sunset Beach Hotel! And hey, remember that stepping on a coral can ruin 50-60 years of nature’s work, so be careful.
- Hiking is a great way to explore the island and the views are just breathtaking – the Morne Blanc and Copolia trails are the most famous ones (1.5-2 hours), but if you’re up to a bit less challenging trail – Anse Major is a great option.
- Day trips – despite the price, a trip to Praslin & La Digue is quite worth it. We were also very happy with the Ste Anne Marine Park trip that included the stunning Moyenne island.
- Giant tortoise – you can find these beautiful creatures roaming freely in Moyenne island, and inside the Botanical Garden of Mahe, the Spice Garden in the South of Mahe, and the park of La Digue. They are absolutely gorgeous and super friendly!
- Attire – unlike the Maldives where you need to “dress proper” in accordance with the Muslim traditions, there is no dress code here, so you can freely walk around in your swimsuit!
- Smoking – it is not allowed within most parks, including all of Moyenne island (unless you’re on the beach), due to the fire hazard. If you do smoke, make sure you bring your own empty box to use as an ashtray, cigarette buts can take up to 12 years to dissolve naturally! Always remember to clean up after yourself and leave no litter, it’s an essential part of being an explorer 🙂