A three-hour flight off the east coast of Africa lies a paradise known as the Seychelles Islands. With its own wildlife ecosystem, flawless beaches, and picturesque landscapes, the Seychelles are easily one of most unforgettable destinations that you can visit.
Seychelles is a picture-perfect paradise, with white sandy beaches, palm trees, gorgeous turquoise water, and magnificent granite boulders. However, this island nation is widely considered to be the ultimate romantic island escape that only A-list celebrities can experience. (In fact, Prince William & Duchess Kate, George Clooney & Amal, Brad Pitt & Jennifer Aniston are just a few who have claimed this island as a honeymoon destination.) Is it possible to visit Seychelles on a budget? I'm here to make your paradise dreams a reality! We will give you the insider tips on how to plan an affordable trip to the world's top top-rated beaches.
These islands are rarely seen by Americans, as its a long flight, off the east coast of Africa, and is not your typical weekend vacation. I would recommend spending a week, even two, to fully experience the beauty of these islands. Seychelles is comprised of 115 islands, but 3 main islands are connected by ferry- Mahe, Praslin, and La-Digue.
Mahe is the largest island in Seychelles, containing forests, mountain ranges, and 65 beaches with beautiful tropical palm trees and flora. This island hides within it Victoria City, the tiniest capital city in the world. Your main international flight will arrive on Mahe, and from here you can take a ferry to either of the smaller islands, Praslin or La Digue.
The second-largest island in Seychelles, containing the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vallée de Mai. It is also home to two of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette.
The smallest of Seychelles, La Digue is incredibly quaint and picturesque. Here you will discover Anse Source D’Argent, the most photographed beach in the world. La Digue is by far my favorite island thanks to its relaxed atmosphere and overwhelming sheer beauty. There are no cars on this island, so biking and walking are the way to go when exploring this beautiful island.
THE MAGNIFICENT GRANITE BOULDERS OF LA DIGUE ARE TRUE HIDDEN GEMS OF THE WORLD.
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN SEYCHELLES
The joy of Mahe is the variety the island offers: beach hopping, waterfalls, jungle, mountain walks, and stunning viewpoints, with a whole host of activities from rock climbing to sea kayaking and scuba diving. The beaches are wonderful and many are on a par with those found on Praslin and La Digue, but if you like to mix your beach break with exploration and adventure Mahe is a delight to drive around and find your own corner.
Explore Mahe’s capital Victoria
Tea Plantation & Factory
With stunning white sand beaches and lush tropical forests covering the hills, Praslin is a delight. It is sleepy, laid back and far less developed than neighboring Mahe, yet still large enough to explore when you tire of your nearest beach. Praslin is also the only island where you can enjoy an 18 hole round of golf on a championship course, or discover the amazing Coco De Mer, an exotic plant that leads to the belief the Seychelles were the true Garden of Eden. It's a great base for day trips to neighboring islands, too; where you can visit the amazing sea birds on Cousine Island, explore the hills and mangroves and meet giant tortoises in the wild on Curieuse, or go swimming or scuba diving around St Pierre or any one of the fantastic dive sites around the island.
Tip: To access Anse Georgette, you have to make a reservation since this beach is accessed through a resort. They only allow a limited number of people through their grounds, so I recommend calling (+248 4 281 281) at least a week or two in advance to grab a spot.
Vallée de Mai - This renowned UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the island’s main attractions and home to the famous Coco de Mer palms that tower almost 131 ft above the forest floor. The Coco de Mer seeds are the largest of any plant in the world.
Black Pearl Ocean Farm - The climate and sea conditions around Praslin are ideal for the cultivation of Black Lip Pearl Oysters. This farm, located on a beachfront near the airport, not only affords the visitor insight into how these magnificent jewels are cultured and grown but also explains the breeding and feeding of the Giant Clam – cultivated here for aquariums and exported worldwide.
Curieuse Island - This once former leper colony is now home to roughly 500 Aldabra Giant Tortoises which, along with the Coco de Mer, is one of Seychelles’ most iconic symbols.
Cousin & Aride Islands - These unspoiled islands lying off the coast of Praslin are a birdwatcher's paradise. Both have been nature reserves for over 40 years and are home to some of Seychelles’ rarest birds, including Seychelles' Bush Warbler and Magpie Robin. These islands also serve as a beacon for over a million breeding seabirds.
Feed a bat at the Praslin Museum.
Snorkeling and Diving to see schools of colorful reef fish, turtles, rays, moray eels, and sharks!
If you are looking for a relaxed island vibe, with beautiful beaches and just a touch of local life, La Digue fits the bill perfectly. The smallest of the three main inhabited islands, La Digue has a tiny population of just 2,000 people. With no airport and just a handful of road vehicles, this is an extremely laid back place, with some of the most iconic beaches in the Seychelles.
It's possible to visit La Digue as a day trip from either Mahe or Praslin but to truly soak up the atmosphere and explore you may want to stay for a few days
Anse Source d'Argent is the most beautiful and photographed beach in the world!
TIP: To access Anse Source d’Argent, you will need to pay an entrance fee ($8) into the L’union Estate Park, a fully operating vanilla bean plantation. Visit right at opening hours to capture high quality photos without tourists in the way. You will enjoy the tranquility and peaceful feeling of being alone on this spectacular beach.
DAY TOUR IN LA DIGUE
—HIKE TO ANSE MARRON—
The hike to Anse Marron from Grand Anse is not for the faint of heart. Anyone at all afraid of heights or small spaces be warned. Prepare to thrash through the jungle, scale boulders, slide through underwater caves, and wade through waist-deep water. Water shoes are highly recommended as are waterproof bags for electronics. Two liters of water per person is required. The hiking portion of the trip is about 1.5 hours each way, starting from Grand Anse to Anse Marron, and then from Anse Marron and ending at Anse Source D’Argent. Including the time spent swimming and lounging at the beach, plan for a total of 6 hours for the entire trip. If you’re up for the adventure, the prize at the end, the beautiful Anse Marron is stunning. There’s excellent snorkeling as well, so bring your gear. This tour can be booked with Gerard from CocoTrail Guide and we quoted 80 Euros/person for a private tour.
Gerard’s Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN SEYCHELLES
Apart from fish and a few varieties of local fruit and vegetables, everything else has to be imported into the Seychelles so it comes at a premium price. Self-catering helps keep the prices down and is the best way to eat on a budget. Walk to the island's market and grab their local food and ingredients to cook at your Airbnb. This will minimize your expenses, allowing you to stay in this secret paradise longer!
Marie Antoinette is unquestionably the most famous restaurant in Seychelles. It was even officially declared a national monument in 2011. The restaurant opened in 1972 and has not changed its menu, with traditional Seychelles cuisine.
Seafood, Contemporary, Fusion
The La Plaine St Andre estate was built in 1792. Back then it was home to Copra kilns (for drying coconuts) and a spice garden. Today, it’s home to the Takamaka Rum Distillery and amazing restaurant. The restaurant is in the old plantation house, which has been beautifully restored. You will find traditional food as well as their own contemporary twists on Creole food.
A hidden gem of Praslin island, not particularly well advertised and it doesn’t even have a website – but it’s so delicious, it doesn’t have to! The restaurant was built using traditional methods, it’s made out of stone with a thatched roof and looks fantastic. The menu is mostly made up of fresh local fish and seafood served in a variety of local dishes.
Seafood, Caribbean, Vegetarian
Bonbon Plume is located at Anse Lazio, one of the best beaches in the world, and it serves fantastic Creole food. The curries are particularly good. Open only for lunch.
Les Laurier is the best Creole buffet restaurant around. Owned and run by husband and wife team Edwin and Sybille. You’ll find Edwin on the grill cooking the best fish. The Red Snapper and Jobfish are particularly delicious and also try the chicken, pork, steak or lamb. Be sure to book in advance as the restaurant is always busy.
Just outside Grand Anse, Village Take Away is top-rated for its authentic creole food on a budget.
Praslin’s trendiest gourmet coffee shop owned by a husband and wife, with various dishes such as penne pesto, salads, and pastries.
Popular takeaway with the locals, serving quality food.
This cabana bar looks like the set on a Pirates' movie! Take a break from soaking in the sun and hydrate on these delicious fruit smoothies while listening to relaxing island music.
One of the best takeaways on the island. Quick meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Located along Anse Source D’Argent beach in the L’Union Estate, this quaint little restaurant has a magnificent menu that highlights seafood with a touch of creole and spices from Seychelles.
ACCOMMODATIONS IN SEYCHELLES
Luxury Resorts far outweigh budget gems in the Seychelles, so if you want to reserve the best places you need to book as far ahead as you can. Hotels tend to be expensive, so instead look out for family-run guesthouses or self-catering options like chalets, bungalows, and villas.
Expect to pay £70–£150 a night for an Airbnb, depending on the location and facilities. Hotels in Seychelles can be upwards of $500-$1000 per night, with the top-tier intimate resorts being $15,000 per night. Below are my recommendations for local guesthouses in the top locations.
Modern apartment with a gorgeous view of the lovely Anse Royale Beach, A/C in the bedroom for comfortable sleep, full kitchen, washing machine, wifi, small grocery store and fish market close by, and 4 restaurants on the main street from the house
A Husband and wife manage this beautiful bungalow. You will receive a delicious breakfast each morning and have the option to order from their menu for a fresh, homemade lunch/dinner for an additional cost (very reasonable pricing!). They will organize a rental car for you if requested and have it ready upon your arrival. They manage 2 guesthouses on their lovely property and maintain a beautiful botanical garden for a relaxed, island-retreat feel. The husband offers day trips by boat to neighboring islands for an additional cost. We felt so relaxed and pampered here, I highly recommend booking!
*Our top pick Airbnb in Seychelles
Superhost - This local couple specializes in hospitality and it shows! They have created the ultimate paradise get-away with building every detail of their home themselves. Experience this beauty while visiting La Digue, and you won't want to leave! You will be greeted with a fresh fruit smoothie upon arrival and your bags will be whisked away to your room. This guesthouse includes a full modern kitchen, queen bed, A/C in bedroom (most homes in the Seychelles do not have A/C, so this is luxury), 2 bathrooms, and a lounge area to relax and enjoy the tropical garden just steps outside your door. This was an unforgettable experience!
Mahé and Praslin are well connected by fast catamaran ferries, which are operated by Cat Cocos. See their website for an up to date ferry timetable. These ferries generally serve each island three times a day (only twice on Wednesdays and Fridays), and take about 45 minutes, with the first and last ferries leaving…
7:30 am and 4:00 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
7:30 am and 4:30 pm on Friday
7:00 am and 5:00 pm on Saturday
9:30 am and 4:30 pm on Sunday
9:00 am and 5:00 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
9:00 am and 6:00 pm on Friday
8:30 am and 6:30 pm on Saturday
11:00 am and 6:00 pm on Sunday
As an alternative to the fast catamaran ferry rides, Mahé and Praslin is also connected by more than 20 daily flights, which only take about 15 minutes
Ferries between Praslin and La Digue islands
La Digue Island is only accessible by ferry; there are no domestic flights to or from La Digue. Those small ferries take about 30 minutes, and leave several times a day, with the first and last ferries departing…
7:00 am and 5:15 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
7:00 am and 5:45 pm on Friday
7:00 am and 6:15 pm on Saturday
7:30 am and 5:45 pm on Sunday
7:30 am and 5:45 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
7:30 am and 6:15 pm on Friday
7:30 am and 5:45 pm on Saturday
8:00 am and 6:15 pm on Sunday
There are no direct ferries between Mahé and La Digue; they always connect on Praslin.
Getting Around On Mahe and Praslin
Renting a car is the most convenient mode of transportation on these islands. This allows you to explore the island at your pace and stop to enjoy the view. Book your rental through your Airbnb host beforehand and your car will be ready for you upon arrival. Car rentals are approximately $40 per day if renting ahead of time through your Airbnb host. Costs increase when renting the day of.
The blue, government-run SPTC buses are the primary form of public transportation and the cheap way to travel. They run main routes on both Mahé and Praslin islands daily between 5:20 am and 9:30 pm, every 15 minutes or so. Buses are air-conditioned and comfy enough. Schedules are also a bit unreliable, which may cause delays during your day. There is also a bus available from the airport on Mahé to Victoria and the main beaches, along with an 18-seater tour bus.
Getting Around on La Digue
This quaint island’s only mode of transportation is by bike or walking. Bike rentals are $10 per bike/per day by our Airbnb host. Enjoy the slow-paced island feel and stop at each picturesque beach along the way. This is the true definition of living the island life!
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT SEYCHELLES
Situated just below the equator, Seychelles has none of the extreme weather that is typical of tropical destinations. Temperatures rarely drop below 24 degrees Celsius or rise above 32 degrees Celsius and when the rain falls it is usually in brief showers that only last a few hours. The most rain falls between November and February.
Seasonal trade winds
The weather in Seychelles is defined by seasonal trade winds: the northwest monsoon from October to March which brings warmer weather and gentler winds, and the southeast monsoon from May to September which brings drier weather and stronger winds. The southeast trade winds can cause seaweed build-up on the southern beaches of Mahé and Praslin Island.
Note: It is important to consider the trade winds when choosing which side of the island you will be staying on and booking accommodation (i.e. when the southeast winds are blowing it would be better to stay on the western side of the islands).
The best time to visit Seychelles depends on your priorities.
The conditions for snorkeling and sailing are great year-round.
The surfing and windsurfing season is from May to September.
The diving seasons are from March to May and September to November, but April and October offer the best visibility.
The best time to swim with whale sharks is from September to November.
The turtle hatchling season is from January to March.
The best time for walking and hiking is from May to September.
The peak time for bird-watching is April (breeding season), May to September (nesting of Sooty Terns), and October (migration).
As the humid northwest trade winds give over to the dryer southeast ones, Seychelles experiences warm, mild weather. Temperatures fluctuate between the high 70s and the mid- to high 80s, and rainfall becomes slightly less prevalent than it is in the autumn and winter. You'll also find lower hotel rates since the summertime tourist season has yet to kick off.
Seychelles National Fishing Tournament | April
Carnaval International de Victoria | April
FetAfrik | May
These months (particularly July and August) usher in cool, dry weather and crowds touching down on Seychelles' shores. If you're planning a summertime visit, book your accommodations at least several months in advance and expect to pay high-season prices. You can expect tourists to flock to popular areas, but the islands' beaches remain vacant and peaceful.
Seychelles Sea Turtle Festival | August
Southeast Monsoon Sailfish Tournament | August
Seychelles Round Table Regatta | September
If you don't mind getting a little wet, wait until after the summertime high season to visit Seychelles. You'll save on your hotel and airfare costs and you'll find more options available. And although your chances of encountering a scattered shower or two will increase, you can still bank on plenty of beach weather, with high temperatures hovering around the mid-80s.
La Digue Offshore Tournament | October
Festival Kreol | October
SUBIOS | November
As the northwest trade winds usher in the rainy season, humidity levels rise and rainfall becomes more prevalent, but that doesn't keep visitors from coming to the islands in late December and early January. Hotel and flight prices can be inflated during the winter holidays in Seychelles, so book several months in advance to ensure the best rate and availability.
Seychelles Marathon | February
When deciding what to wear in Seychelles, the basic rule of thumb is relaxed casual clothing.
The temperature doesn't drop very much at night so take your lightest weight clothes.
Try natural, breathable fabrics such as silk, linen or cotton.
Keep your swimwear and sarong for the beach and bars.
A wide-brimmed sunhat, good quality sunscreen, and sunglasses are vital.
Also, take your preferred brand of insect/mosquito repellent.
Pack comfortable water/sports shoes for water activities and flip flops for beachwear.
Don't forget to pack: