Seychelles on a budget

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Seychelles – actually a honeymoon destination. I never thought I’ll be going there not for my honeymoon. So how did it happen? My good friend I was studying my Master’s degree with is from the Seychelles and lives there. She was getting married and invited me for her big day 🙂 As obviously she is a good friend of mine and after all these years we are still in touch, I decided that my next travel destination will be the so-called Paradise. Aaaand, it is really Paradise, I felt in love 🙂

Facts

Seychelles is literally paradise. The country is blessed with deep blue waters and white sandy beaches and an exotic sea life. It is mainly a honeymoon destination and consists of 115 islands in total in the middle of the Indian ocean. But only three are inhabited, Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. That are also the islands, every tourist is going to. Geographically it belongs to Africa but the population is a mixture of Africans and Indians. There are two official languages: Creole and English.

Travel itinerary

I was planning to go in June. You can find different options to go there. Usually the flight is via Dubai. You can already find connections from 500 Euro. I booked my flight with Emirates and on my way back I did a stop over in Dubai. I paid 700 Euro for the flight. It takes 6 h from Düsseldorf to Dubai and another 4 h from Dubai to Mahe.

Accommodation

The Seychelles are a quite expensive travel destination. But you can travel on a budget when booking self-catering accommodation. Sometimes they are also offering breakfast, usually it is 10 Euro p.P. on top of the accommodation price. I used booking.com for all my bookings. All of them were self-catering and really good standard except the one I booked on Mahe. I would really recommend to book a room with A/C. In Praslin and La Digue, almost all accommodation were offering A/C but on Mahe you really need to be careful and check if A/C is available.

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Chalet Bamboo Vert, La Digue

Getting around

We decided to hire a car. Make sure, if you hire a car that you get an automatic and not manual. You can also use public transport (buses) which is cheap but it does not leave you flexible and you need a lot of time if you want to go around. If you have time, you can obviously do it. Taking a taxi is quite expensive. The usual price per day for a car hire is 40 Euro. Attention: in Seychelles they are driving on the left hand side! If you’re from main land Europe it is confusing, especially because the streets there are very narrow and twisting. Driving at night time is not recommendable.

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To go on the other islands, Praslin and La Digue, you can either go by ferry or by plane. To get to La Digue, you can only take the ferry, to go to Praslin, there is an air connection from Mahe. The flight lasts 15 minutes and is not much more expensive than the ferry.

To go from Mahe to Praslin takes about 1h by ferry and costs around 50 Euros. There are about 3 direct connections per day from Mahe to La Digue. Otherwise, you can make a stop-over in Praslin and go from Praslin to La Digue within 15 minutes. The sea is very rough! If you get easily sea sick, I would recommend you to take the plane. You can easily book the ferry tickets via internet not more than 24h in advance. You can also go to the „jetty“ (harbour) and buy your ticket there if there is still some availability. The safe way is to book it via the website.

Arrival

June is actually a really good season to go there as it is not high season. The first three nights I was staying with my friend. She has a really cool living location, up a hill with a view on the other islands. The airport on Mahe is small, you cannot get lost. My friend picked us up but you can also go by bus or taxi. I guess that most of the people are picked up by a transfer hotel service. As I mentioned before, it is not a typical backpacker destination. The first day we were just relaxing and went for dinner and drinks later on. The suburb we were staying on Mahe is called La Misere. The main area to go out for dinner and drinks and also for the beach is called Beau Vallon. That’s also the location we were staying at later on. You cannot miss anything while being in Beau Vallon. It is small and the restaurant and bar options are good but limited. Make sure you try Creole food. We went to a Creole buffet, which was really great. The best is the fish! I never ate such good fish in my life and I’ve already been to a few places 🙂

Mahe

We arrived on a Saturday. The wedding was on a Saturday next week. So my plan was to stay one week on Mahe until the wedding and doing island hopping the second week. The plan was to go around Mahe. Usually it takes you 2-3 hours to go around by car if not doing any stops. As it gets dark quite early, at around 6 PM, you should start early. If you do not have a car rented you can also do a bus tour.

Recommendable places to stop on Mahe:

  1. Anse Intendance (Access through hotel)
  2. Anse Takamaka
  3. Point Lazare
  4. Petite Anse
  5. Anse Soleil
  6. Coral Strand
  7. Eden Island

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Keep in mind that there will be views and places when going by you just want to stop, explore and take pictures. Sometimes you just need to stop and have a look. You can find a lot of hidden, nice places to just chill and relax or only to take some photos. On the road you will pass some small restaurants where you can eat something or just have drink or coffee with a breathtaking view 🙂

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We also did the Anse Major Hike which is really nice. It takes approx. 1-1,5h and you end up with beautiful views and a beautiful beach! You can either hike back again or take a taxi boat.

What we also did was a boat tour. The tour costs 75 Euro (do not pay more than 80 Euro as this tour costs less). If a nice girl called Lisa offers you to take the tour, you can trust her! The tour is really great! You get to do snorkelling in the middle of the sea and you get to see some extras. At the end, you go to a private island, there is only one resort and a nice beach. Oh, on the way we stopped on another small private island where you get to see the giant turtles and can do a short hike around the small island. The tour guides prepare a yummy creole barbecue. In the meantime, you can go swimming or take a walk. If the sea level is low you get to walk from that island to another one close by. I won’t tell you about the history of these islands – do the tour and explore it yourself 🙂

Victoria – the smallest capital city in the world

Victoria is the capital city of the Seychelles. It is said, it is the smallest capital city in the world. Victoria is where everything is happening. Every day life on Seychelles, shops, market, people going to work, business, simply island life. You can spent a whole day there or just a few hours. I would say, 3-4 hours is enough.

Do not miss the small but nice hindu temple. You can go in for free.

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Make sure, you go to the market. At the market you can find everything: fresh fish, fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, groceries and souvenirs. You won’t find any well known chains like Mc Donalds, Starbucks or Burger King there. Neither any well known shops. The biggest supermarket is also on Mahe. There is only one. All the other supermarkets are really small and only have the most important things.

Make sure to go to Beau Vallon on a Wednesday night! There is a market where you can buy local yummy food, drinks and souvenirs aaaand it’s cheap 🙂

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If you travel on a budget, you can obviously go to the supermarket and buy some things. But keep in mind, that it is not cheap. Cheaper than going everyday to a restaurant but still not cheap. A good alternative are the take aways. You can get there good meals (burger, fries, rice, fish etc.) for about 30-60 rupees.

Praslin

We had a really great and affordable self-catering accommodation which I can happily recommend in Praslin. The accommodation (Belle Vacance) is located in Grand Anse, a bit away from the main beautiful beaches but if you have a car you can easily get around, also by public transport.

One of the most popular and most beautiful beaches on Praslin is the Anse Lazio Beach. A dream! Before entering the beach you get to meet some giant turtles 🙂

My second favourite beach is Cote D’or.

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It is a quite long beach where you can do sunbathing and enjoy the Indian Ocean or just have a long walk. Also you can find quite a lot boat taxis and snorkelling trips around there. We booked a return taxi to do some snorkelling. I would not recommend it or better said: it is alright to do it for 1h or book a tour.

My favourite beach on Praslin is Anse Georgette. One important thing you need to consider: The beach is only accessible via a hotel. Apparently, there is another way to get there but it is not easy to find and it takes more than 1h to reach the beach. When you do the check-in in your hotel, tell the reception you want to go to Anse Georgette. They will call the hotel and let you know about the possible day and time to enter. Once you entered the hotel, you walk for around 20 minutes and then you reach this beautiful piece on earth!

When going around Praslin by car, you get to see beautiful views and quite a lot other small, really nice beaches.

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Another tourist attraction is the Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve Park. It is a 19.5 ha area of palm forest which remains largely unchanged since prehistoric times. You can find there the world’s largest population of endemic coco-de-mer. It is palm species of global significance as the bearer of the largest seed in the plant kingdom. We did not visit the park. Entrance fee is 20 Euros and you can see the famous coco-de-mer coconut, which you can only find on Praslin by the way, from the highway. Secondly, we did some hikes where we were walking also through palm forests, so we decided not to enter the park.

La Digue

La Digue, La Digue, I am in love with you! The smallest inhabited island. La Digue is a place to chill and relax. It is a vehicle-free island, except of some hotel taxis you cannot find any cars there.

Oh, and by the way, you also get to see the giant turtles on La Digue. We saw some just in the middle of the road.

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You explore the island by bike – like the locals. You can literally rent a bike at every corner. You pay between 7-10 Euros per day.

The best beach especially for snorkelling is Anse Source D’Argent.

What else can I say? Every island leaves you breathless and I am only talking about beautiful beaches here and there. But it’s true 🙂

Another must-do on La Digue is the Grand Anse – Petite Anse – Anse Cocos Trail. It takes around 45 minutes – 1h. The beginning is easy to find. You get to visit 3 beaches on your way. It is not allowed to swim but depending on the waves you can cool-down a bit in the sea but be careful!

Finding the way to Anse Cocos is a bit tricky. We lost quite some time finding it. Make sure not to look for the way at the end of the beach but if you walk along, go back to where you entered and find your your way to Anse Cocos behind the big rock you see at the beginning. The trail is exhausting as it is really hot. Take enough water with you and keep in mind: It is worth it! The beaches are fabulous! I am happy we did the hike!

Our self-catering accommodation on La Digue was also very good. We did not have the sea in front of the door though, but it was great (Chalet Bamboo Vert).

Recommendations

Exploring the Seychelles on a budget is difficult but it is possible. Nevertheless, it is a quite expensive holiday destination.

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I would recommend to spend 10 days on Seychelles: 2-3 on Mahe, 2-3 on Praslin and 3-4 on La Digue. Most days I would definitely spend on La Digue – it is so chilled, relaxed and beautiful. Keep in mind, that the Seychelles are not a party or action island. If going there, it is all about chilling, relaxing, beautiful beaches and hot weather. The local people are very nice and you feel safe. I did not even feel once uncomfortable. It is really good for snorkelling and diving. Do not miss that.

Have you been to Paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean? If so, tell me about it! If you have any further questions, please get in touch with me! Oh, if you go to Seychelles you travel via Dubai. It is a perfect occasion to do a stop-over there! Maybe not in June, like we did it as it is way too hot and not really enjoyable but if you go during winter time, you can easily do it. I’ll do a separate post about Dubai – just wait for it 🙂

 

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