One of my favorite trips of 2018 has been to Seychelles and there are many reasons for it. Firstly, I traveled solo here on a budget. Secondly, there were so many amazing places to visit in Seychelles which looked magical and charming. And I stayed here for 15 days before heading off to another paradise, Mauritius island which is why I decided to pen down this Seychelles travel guide.
So, all in all, it was an epic trip and it is definitely going to stay close to my heart. I learned so much here and made so many amazing friends on the way. So, if you are also planning for an epic trip this year then Seychelles is definitely a good choice. And it doesn’t matter if you visit this island alone, with friends, or with your significant other.
There are a lot of interesting things to do and explore here which is likely to keep you occupied.
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Seychelles Travel Guide
An archipelago of 115 islands, Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean, near the East Africa continent. One of the most gorgeous island nations, this place is home to several rare and unique flora and fauna including the Aldabra Giant Tortoises, Coco De Mer, and so on.
The capital city of Seychelles, Victoria, lies on the Mahe Island which is one of the main islands here and is the biggest, both in terms of population and area. Out of the 115 islands, only a few are open to tourists and a few have been turned to resorts. But there are still some which are completely uninhabited and can only be reached via a cruise.
With its sandy white beaches, clear blue ocean, and beautiful coral reefs, Seychelles is a beautiful country. This is why, every year, thousands of people flock to this tiny country to celebrate their honeymoon or romantic vacation. There are just so many marvelous places to visit in Seychelles that you would never get bored here.
How to Reach Seychelles
Air: There is only one major airport in Seychelles to which you get frequent flights from all over the world. This is the Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) on Mahe island and you have several flights throughout the day going/coming here.
There is another major airport on the Praslin island known as the Praslin Island Airport. But International visitors can enter the country only through the airport on Mahe Island.
You will find several airplane carriers like British Airways, Air Seychelles, Etihad Airlines, etc. to this island nation from numerous cities of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East continent.
A return trip flight from India (Mumbai) will cost you about 20k – 25k INR. It is likely to take anywhere between 5 hours to 10 hours, depending on the duration and the frequency of the layovers. You could also stumble upon a great flight deal like I did and be able to visit both Mauritius and Seychelles in just 49k INR from India.
Sea: Although flights are the most common way of reaching Seychelles, there is another way to reach this beautiful country. You can take a cruise from USA, Africa, Malaysia, etc. which passes through Seychelles. These cruises last anywhere between a month or 6 months but they can be really expensive.
So, if you are looking for a more budget-friendly mode of transportation then flight is the best option for you.
Best Time to Visit Seychelles
Although one can visit Seychelles throughout the year, there are different seasons here for different activities. And here is a breakdown of what you can expect in different seasons in Seychelles.
The best time to visit Seychelles is in the transition months, i.e., April, May, October, and November. During these months, the climate is pleasanter and is ideal for scuba diving, sunbathing, and so on. And you will also have more places to visit in Seychelles due to the comfortable weather.
Summer is undoubtedly the best time to visit Seychelles for people who don’t mind little rainfall. The summer season lasts from December to March in Seychelles and is also the busiest time to visit here. So, if you want to experience clear skies or less crowded beaches then it would be advisable to skip the summer time.
Also, you won’t have a lot of places to visit in Seychelles at this time due to the rainfall so try to avoid it.
December and January are the wettest months in Seychelles and should be avoided if you want to enjoy the beach. But if you don’t mind the rain then these months could also provide you with great hotel and flight deals.
If you want to avoid the humidity then winter season is the best time to visit Seychelles. The period of May to October is drier and offers good water sports conditions. This is also a popular honeymoon time so you will see a lot of couples here during these months.
So, book your flights and accommodations in advance as July and August are the peak months for traveling here.
Visa and Customs Information
The best thing about planning a trip to Seychelles is that you don’t have to worry about the Visa here. Why might that be? Well, because this is a Visa-free country for most nationalities and the entry is really simple and quick. And you can get a tourist permit to stay up for 30 days here for free. You can further increase the duration to 3 months for free.
However, you would require the following documents if you want to enter this country:
- Official Passport which is valid till your Departure from the Country
- A Return/Onward Tickets
- Proof of Accommodation for Initial Days (Including Contact Details)
- Adequate Funds for the Duration of your Stay
Once you present this to the customs officer, you are likely to be cleared in 5-10 minutes. And then you can stay in this gorgeous country for 30 days. Also, please note that you can stay here for longer than 3 months but that will cost you some money for getting the permit.
Accepted Currencies and ATM Availability
There are just two currencies which are used in Seychelles: Seychellois Rupees and Euros. But if you are planning to withdraw cash from ATMs, know that you will only get Seychellois Rupee notes.
Seychellois Rupees is the main currency of this country and is used all around the islands. It will be beneficial for you in shopping, taking buses, purchasing food, and so on. As for the Euros, it is only used for purchasing ferry tickets, accommodation, activities, and so on.
So, make sure that you carry enough Euros in the form of bank notes, traveler’s cheque, and so on.
There are several ATMs available here, mainly Barclays and Seychelles Commercial Bank from where you can withdraw some cash. All these ATMs can be found throughout the three major islands: Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue. Also, both the ATMs accept VISA cards so you can choose to not carry cash when traveling to Seychelles from India. Essentially, there are only two available network operators here: Airtel and Cable & Wireless.
Mobile Network Operators in Seychelles
Essentially, there are only two available network operators here: Airtel and Cable & Wireless. So, you have a couple of options when looking for a feasible mobile plan in this country.
One of the most convenient and easiest options for Airtel users will be to turn on International Roaming on their number. There are a few available packages which allow you to use your sim in Seychelles to make calls and use Data pack as well.
However, this will usually be a costly affair and can easily cost you 1500-2000 INR for a 7 days trip.
Purchase a Local Sim
The other option would be to get a local sim of Airtel or Cable & Wireless and then use it for the duration of your stay. You will find 1 booth for each of these network operators at the Airport itself. You can also get the sim from Victoria city which is the capital of Seychelles.
While choosing a mobile network for yourself, you have to consider the cost and the network connection. Although Airtel gives really good speed and good connection, the recharges are costly for it. Also, you won’t find many shops offering a recharge for Airtel on La Digue and Praslin.
So, it will be a good idea to get a Cable & Wireless sim which will be cheap and easy-to-recharge.
If you are travelling with kids check out this useful Seychelles with kids highlights.
How to Explore the Islands
Depending on your budget, there are several modes of transportations available on the islands.
One of the cheapest and best travel mode option for solo travelers is the local buses which connect all the spots on the Mahe and Praslin island. These buses start early in the morning, at around 6 a.m. and ply on throughout the day until 6.30 p.m. on Praslin and 7.30 p.m. on Mahe.
There are just two bus routes on the Praslin island as it is considerably smaller than the Mahe island so it is easy to manage your day. Here is the bus timetable for the Praslin island to help you plan your trip.
For the Mahe island, you have several bus routes about which you can learn more on their website. All you need to do is search for your start and end point and look at the route number and platform number to get the bus from Victoria Bus Stand.
Cost: The best part about SPTC buses is that they charge 7 Seychellois Rupees for every bus journey, regardless of the distance covered. So, you could get down at the first stop or the last stop, you would pay only 7 Seychellois Rupees for it.
Bus Stops: It is easy to find a bus stop here as usually there is a proper seating and shed to indicate the area in some places. Also, BUS STOP is boldly written on the road so you can look for this sign to find the nearby bus stop. And you will find a bus stop at every 2-3 km.
How to Get Down At Your Stop: A unique thing about the SPTC buses is that they don’t stop at all the bus stops unless someone is waiting for a bus there. So, if you want to get down you will have to let the bus driver know. And they have an easy and smooth system of doing this.
There is a buzzer/button next to every seat which can be pressed to let the driver know that he needs to stop at the coming bus stop. If you don’t do this then you will easily miss your stop and will have to either walk back or take another bus back to your desired destination.
Cabs and Taxis
As Seychelles is a popular tourist spot, you will find a lot of cabs and taxis here to take you around the islands. You can find them on the roads or you can book get the number or a cab operator to arrange for radio taxis.
Usually, you would find frequent cabs and taxis near the Jetty area, Airport, Victoria Bus Stand, and popular tourist destinations.
However, if you are on a budget trip then hiring a cab/taxi might not be a good idea as they charge you 10 times more the amount of the bus. For example, a taxi from Victoria bus stand to the Airport will cost you about 80-90 Seychellois Rupees while the same journey can be completed in just 7 Seychellois Rupees using a bus.
One of the most popular and convenient ways of exploring Seychelles islands is by getting a self-drive car and then driving around to explore the islands. There are a couple of self-drive rentals in Mahe, near Beau Vallon and Airport side while there are only 1-2 rental companies on Praslin island.
Also, make sure you have an International Driving License in order to avail these self-drive rentals.
While Mahe and Praslin have several options to explore the island, buses being the cheapest and most convenient, La Digue doesn’t have many transport options available here. You will find a few cans here but these are really expensive and obsolete as the island is barely 5 km in length.
This is why cycling is quite popular in La Digue and is one of the best ways to explore this gorgeous island. The roads are smooth and easy to track so it can usually turn out to be a lot of fun as well. There are several cycle rental shops throughout the island, offering you cycles for a price of 100-150 Seychellois Rupees depending on where you rent it.
A popular mode of transport on the La Digue island, Golf carts are usually used by hotels and resorts for carrying their passengers to different destinations. But you can always hire a golf cart for a day to explore the island while being relaxed and protected from the sun.
But golf carts can be expensive too and they might easily charge you 100 Seychellois Rupees for an hour so choose carefully.
Personally, I loved walking on these islands a lot. This doesn’t mean that I walked the entire island but yes, I did walk till several viewpoints and hiked on several trails to observe amazing coastline view.
And it is quite easy to walk around La Digue to enjoy the beach and ocean views.
How to Travel Between the Islands
Well, we talked about how to explore an island, but what about when you wish to go for island hopping? Well, there are a couple of ways to do that as well.
One of the most convenient and cheapest ways to travel from Mahe to Praslin and La Digue island is by taking the local ferries. There are basically two Ferry companies: Cat Cocos Ferry and Inter Island Ferry in Seychelles that are responsible for carrying the passengers.
Cat Cocos Ferry in Seychelles has connected Mahe and Praslin Island since 2006 and has several departures in a day. You can book your tickets online at the Ferry website 48 hours before the departure.
Once you make the payment, you will get an e-ticket which you need to present at the Jetty office to get your Boarding Pass. It takes about 1 hour to reach from Mahe to the Praslin Island and costs about 50 Euros for a one-sided ferry.
The Inter Island Ferry in Seychelles transfers the passengers between Praslin and La Digue Island and costs about 14 Euros one side. It takes around 15 minutes to reach and sometimes, they might also wait for you if you are 2-3 minutes late.
You also have a choice to book a direct ferry ticket from Mahe to La Digue but that doesn’t mean there is a direct ferry for this route. You will still be taken to Praslin where you will have a layover of 15-20 minutes before you head to the La Digue Island. So, it would be actually better to stay a couple of days at Praslin before you move on.
Can you choose your seat?
Well, usually, you have an upper deck and lower deck seats but there is nothing fixed. You can opt to stay at the upper deck if you feel sea sickness or if you would like to observe the ocean.
Do they have food on the deck?
Yes, they have some snacks, sandwiches, drinks, etc. which can be bought using Seychellois Rupees/Euros. But most of these eating and drinking items are costly so it is better to get your own snacks.
What happens if you book the wrong dates?
Also, don’t worry if you have accidentally booked tickets for the wrong dates, you can change your schedule once before your departure. Just make sure that you change it before 48 hours of your departure.
Apart from the local ferries, you also have a private helicopter and chartered planes which help in island hopping. These helicopters and plane ride usually take 15-30 minutes for the transfer but end up costing a bomb. So, if you don’t want half of your trip budget to go on traveling, avoid this mode of transport.
You can check out the Helicopter Services for different tours and experiences here.
The third option for island hopping is to take the day trips to nearby islands which usually last for half a day or full day. These boat trips usually cost somewhere about 45 – 60 Euros and including your lunch and snacks as well. With these tours, you can travel to islands like Curieuse, Cousin Island, St. Pierre, and so on.
Food in Seychelles
In Seychelles, you will mostly find Creole cuisine or some sort of small combo meals. In Creole cuisine, you will get both Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian rice boxes. This box will include 1 curry, 1 dhal, and rice for you to mix and eat.
In combo meals, you will come across Burger with fries, Sausage with fries, Chicken with fries, and so on. Apart from this, several places also serve sandwiches, fried rice, fish, etc. so you can get that too here. For Vegetarian, Seychelles is a good place because you have a lot of vegetarian food options available here.
Restaurants and Hotels
There are several restaurants and hotels in Seychelles which will serve you a delicious and filling meal. However, most of these places will be expensive and will easily charge 300 Seychellois Rupees per meal per person. So, if you want to avoid paying an exorbitant amount of money on food then avoid these food establishments.
Casinoes and Bars
You will also get food at the casinos and bars which you visit here. But most of these establishments will serve only snacks at a hefty price which won’t be satisfactory in curbing your hunger.
Takeaway Vans and Shops
One of the best and the most convenient places for getting budget-friendly food are the takeaways that you find here. There are several takeaway shops and vans throughout the islands from where you can purchase a filling combo meal for just 30 – 50 Seychellois Rupees.
Here, you will find both Creole dishes and Chicken with fries combo meals which we had previously talked about.
Note: For all the non-vegetarians, Octopus curry is a must try Creole dish in Seychelles.
There are also several snack shops throughout the island where you can purchase rolls, bread, baked goods, etc. These snack shops are great if you are traveling and don’t have enough time to stop for a proper lunch during the day. And you can get a taste of the local Seychelles food as well.
Don’t worry, these snack shops are usually cheap and often sell items for 5 – 25 Seychellois Rupees.
Self-Cook Your Food
Finally, the best way to save some extra bucks on food is by preparing your own food. You can carry an electric pan or a cooker with you and prepare your own curry and rice wherever you stay. In self-catering apartments, you have the luxury to use all the utensils available here so you just need to buy some groceries or ready-to-make food packets and you are all set.
Where to Stay in Seychelles
One of the most important things that you need to figure out is that where to stay in Seychelles. This is the major budget concern for most budget or solo travelers. And unfortunately, Seychelles has mostly expensive hotels and resorts as stay options so it can be difficult to choose one for yourself.
However, with a little planning and research, you can manage to find affordable accommodation for yourself. Here are a few options to check out for your trip here.
Yes, it is possible to do Couchsurfing here and stay for free for a couple of days. Now, it is not as easy to find a host as in other countries but you can still find people on Mahe or Praslin who will host you for some time.
There are also some people who will host you on resort islands as well so that shouldn’t be a big issue as well. Just download the app and find the host for your dates and you are all set for your trip.
Guesthouses and Self-Catering Apartments
If you don’t find hosts for your stay then the next best option is to book a room in a guesthouse or a self-catering apartment. A self-catering apartment will also give you free access to the kitchen and the water which can allow you to save a lot.
You can prepare your own food in the kitchen and save a lot on your trip. The grocery and ingredients are affordable here so you will end up saving about 10-15k in food by getting such apartments. You will find most of these self-catering apartments and guesthouses for 30-40 Euros including breakfast and water as well.
You can search for these places on Airbnb or Booking.com.
Although there aren’t many hostels available in Seychelles, you will find a couple of hostels on the major islands. These hostels are perfect for backpackers as they charge just 30-35 Euros for a night for a bed. But yes, you won’t be able to prepare your own food so you might have to figure that out separately.
Hotels and Resorts
Finally, there are some hotels and resorts also here where you can stay at. In fact, there are a few resort islands as well where you can stay. However, do note that most of these places start at 50 Euros and can go as high as 150-200 Euros per night.
So, for budget travelers, it would be advisable to stay away from hotels and resorts.