Seychelles is a group of beautiful African islands located off the eastern coast of mainland Africa. Comprised of about 115 islands, some of the worlds best beaches lie hidden in these islands throughout the Indian Ocean and rare animals like Aldabra Giant Tortoises!
I got a lot of questions on Instagram about where Seychelles was and even more questions about what it was. I did some digging about the statistics of visitors and of the 361,000 annual visitors – only about 14,251 came from America (which included Central and South America). But that’s ok – I am here to hopefully inspire you to take this trip.
I remember the first time I heard about the Seychelles was when Prince William and Kate Middleton took their honeymoon there in 2011. That inspired me to learn about the destination and immediately I fell in love. I didn’t know If I would ever make it – but I did.
This landscape was and still is, unlike anything I have ever seen before. For me, what I think stood out most was the massive granite rocks against the stunning shades of blue waters.
When I told people I was going to Africa they immediately thought “lions and giraffes” but Africa is oh so much more than a safari. Every country is so unique and offers its visitors unbelievable once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
So let’s talk Seychelles!
Guide to Seychelles
Know before you go
No matter how much planning you do before a trip, there are still things you will never learn until you get on the ground and experience it firsthand. I made sure to take a lot of notes on my phone during the trip to share things I thought would be useful to you when planning your own trip.
- Currency: Seychelles Rupee (Seychellois Rupee) – at my time of visit, the exchange rate was about 14.1 to 1 USD
- I brought cash with me ($700 USD for a week) and exchanged it when I arrived at Seychelles International Airport for local currency
- I used my credit card at the resorts but used cash for almost everything else
- If you visit La Digue, there is an ATM right when you enter town that you can get cash from.
- Languages spoken: English, French and Seychellois Creole (you will hear this most commonly spoken but English is widely spoken)
- Everyone drives on the left side of the road and that is because Seychelles used to be a British territory.
- The three main islands to visit are Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. All three are inhabited, have a lot of beaches, restaurants and lodging options.
- There is a Grand Anse Beach on all of the islands … and while they are all beautiful, they are different. Grand Anse on La Digue is the best, in my opinion.
- Anse Source d’Argent is considered one of the best beaches in the world. You will need to get to La Digue to visit and watch for the tide. The beach looks best at high tide.
- Local cuisine: Creole!
- Plan to stay 1-2 weeks because it takes time to get there and you never know if you will get the opportunity to visit again. Take advantage of being there and stay as long as you can. There is plenty to see and do.
- The Seychelles are definitely designed for vacationers who love all things water activities, there is hiking, culture, amazing food, and the locals are so kind.
When to visit the Seychelles
Before I visit anywhere, I do a ton of research, especially about weather. I would hate for my entire trip to be ruined by rain. This can also happen even when weather is supposed to be the best.
After speaking with locals and researching online, it appears the the best times to visit are the months: April, May, October, and November. These are the months between the trade winds.
Nothing is ever a guarantee, but when I was booking my trip for September – I was checking the stories and posts of every resort, the tourism board and finding people who were already there and the weather looked amazing for September.
I did go during a month that isn’t considered “the best” but overall, the weather was pretty good. It did rain for two days straight at the front end of my trip, so that was not fun – but the rest of the trip was perfect.
However, I have to note that the water was very rough. The beaches were fine – but taking boats to other islands was uncomfortable. I do not do well in small boats and high waves. On big cruise ships, I thrive. But the small boats and aggressive waters are not for me. Just keep this in mind if you are prone to seasickness and when you visit.
Getting there + getting around
I flew my personal favorite international airline, Qatar Airways from Washington, D.C. and had one layover in Doha, Qatar. Qatar Airways operates out of 12 major airports in the USA, and I really love their Qsuites. However, there are multiple ways to get to the Seychelles.
The flight from Washington, D.C. to Doha was direct and about 12.5 hours (13.5 hours on the return). I have done this flight several times and through experience, the best way is to take the flight that leaves at night so you can hopefully sleep for a long stretch and beat the jet lag.
When I booked this flight, it was significantly less than the other flights same day and I think it was because there was a 10 hour layover in Qatar. In the grand scheme of things, I can do anything for 10 hours to save thousands of dollars.
I want to add that the Doha airport is fantastic. It is a destination in itself. World class shopping, there is a hotel that you never have to even leave the airport (Oryx Hotel), amazing lounges, restaurants, it is very clean, and everyone is friendly.
I don’t love airports in general, but did not mind spending 10 hours here – it is amazing.
I did get a room at the Oryx Hotel and it was ready when I landed. You do need to book this in advance. People showed up trying to get a room and they were sold out.
During my 10 hour layover here is what I got up to: the Orxy Hotel had a pool, gym and golf simulator as well as a lounge to use, I slept for about four hours, went shopping, had dinner at the Al Mourjan Business Lounge (my flight class gave me access to the lounge, but I also had access from my airline status if I had flown coach), and showered before my next flight so I would be arriving in the Seychelles fresh at 8:30am.
The flight from Doha to the Seychelles was less than five hours. I ate when I boarded and slept a majority of the flight.
Overall, the trip was easy. It was long – but it wasn’t hard. About 28 hours DC to Seychelles. Not doing the 10 hour layover would have shaved time off, but I wanted to save the money.
When I arrived in Mahe, it was a breeze. It only took about 30 minutes from getting off the plane to exiting the airport. The airport is not big and it is very streamlined.
*Definitely check the entry requirements as they can change at any time.*
Fun fact: the airport stamp in the Seychelles is of the Coco de Mer!
Getting around the Seychelles
You can rent a car in Mahe, but I chose not to because I was island hopping and using a network of boats and flights to get around. I’m not sure what renting a car is like, but I can tell you about my experience getting around the islands.
You can easily book a ferry between the islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. There are multiple per day BUT it is highly recommended to book in advance because they can sell out.
I did not use the ferry because I arranged transport with my resorts, but if you wanted to save some cash, taking the ferry is the easiest and most cost efficient.
I knew before taking this trip that while I was on Mahe, I was planning to stay at the resort. Taking a long trip like this, you have to factor in for jet lag, weather, etc. And I am glad I did. It rained the 2nd and 3rd day non-stop. I really only got to enjoy the outdoors of the Four Seasons for two days of my trip.
I connected with the resort and hired a car transfer for roundtrip airport/resort transportation. They were waiting when I walked out of the airport and the ride was about 30 minutes. Same on the return. This was $139.15 each way through the Four Seasons for a private transfer.
You can also book this private transfer from the airport to your hotel for about $30! But plan to book in advance just in case it sells out.
You can hire a driver, rent a car – whatever makes sense to you. Please note that the landscape is extremely hilly and has quite a few switchbacks.
I did not stay in Praslin on this trip but I had to get there in order to get to my next resort.
Six Senses was my second resort and is on a private island. There are three ways to get there:
- 20 minute helicopter from Mahe
- Short 15 minute flight from Mahe to Praslin, 30 minute drive to the boat and 30 minute boat ride OR
- 1.5 hour ferry from Mahe to Praslin and 30 minute boat ride
I cannot stress enough that the sea was rough. I would have been sick if I had taken the ferry and so many of the locals at the resort told me they take the ferry all the time and its very rocky.
From the minute the boat left the dock it was pretty aggressive and I was counting down in my head to distract myself. In retrospect, I should have taken the helicopter – but that would have been too easy. I like to find a middle ground that can help others who are trying to visit.
Knowing what I know now, I don’t think I would ever get on the ferry unless the water was very calm.
The inter-island flight from Mahe to Praslin was with Air Seychelles, and while I thought it was going to be scary – it was actually fun! The plane is very small with open seating. Highly recommend getting a window seat on the left going to Praslin and on the right leaving. This flight between Mahe and Praslin is about 15 minutes.
*The airline does have weight restrictions on luggage – so keep that in mind and you cannot bring a suitcase on the flight with you, it will be checked. However, you can bring a personal item that fits under the seat (think backpack, purse, laptop bag, etc).
You can only arrive to the island by boat. There is no airport here.
I arrived to La Digue by a boat from Six Senses (where I was staying). When you get off the boat, you can rent a bike or hire a buggy (golf cart) to take you around. There are not cars to use to get around.
If I am not mistaken, some of the locals I met said there were less than 20 cars on the island and you rarely see them. Pretty much everyone rides a bike to get around.
Because I had a short six hour window to visit La Digue, I hired a buggy and it was 2000 rupees, which was about $142 for the duration. Biking is fun, but I recommend going this route because the local you ride with will tell you far more than you could learn on a bike.
If you want to ride a bike around the entire outskirts of the island, which is very hilly, it should take about 2-3 hours.
I had a set goal in mind of beaches I wanted to visit and knew I did not have enough time to casually bike and visit – so I went with the buggy.
This island is home to the Six Sense Zil Pasyon and everyone gets around by golf cart or walking. Only the front end of the island is really utilized by the resort, so you never have to go too far.
Where to stay
During my stay I knew I wanted to island hop and stay in different resorts. Both resorts I stayed at were fantastic and both unique to themselves.
Four Seasons Seychelles
The first part of my stay I stayed on Mahe at the Four Seasons Seychelles, where my international flight came into. After arriving and clearing immigration, it took about 30 minutes to arrive at the resort. I arranged a car ahead of time through the resort app (which I highly recommend the app – it is free to use and there are so any features).
I picked this resort because it sits on one of the best beaches in all of the Seychelles, Petite Anse and because I love the Four Seasons brand. I had to see how it stacked up to other properties I have stayed at.
What I really love about this resort is that it isn’t very big, all the villas cascade up from the beach and each villa has a pool. There are no “bad rooms” at this resort. Every room is magnificent in its own way.
I ultimately booked a ‘Serenity Villa’ after watching videos online and doing a bit of research and decided this would be what I wanted. I stayed in villa 505 (which had 52 steps from the entry to the room).
The views from this room were outstanding! The villa was just over 2000 square feet, offering a generous bedroom and living area, an amazing bathroom with a tub that overlooks Petite Anse and your own infinity edge pool and a large deck area with several seating areas.
In theory, you could stay in your room the entire time because it offers everything – but don’t, because the beach is incredible.
Food wise – you can find something for everyone here. All the food was great – breakfast was my personal favorite. The fresh passionfruit, pastries and homemade dishes every morning were amazing.
Six Senses Zil Payson
This is my favorite resort in the world. If you have been around for awhile, you know I LOVE the Four Seasons in Bora Bora and it has been my favorite since summer 2019. It took three years of visiting new resorts to top my last favorite. I honestly did not think this was possible – so take this with what you will.
I chose Six Senses because the landscape looked extremely unique and it was on a private island. I also was curious about the Six Senses brand – and long story short, if all their resorts are like this, they have a customer for life.
I mentioned above that you could access the resort by helicopter or by boat, these are the only two ways to enter and exit the island. When I go back (and yes, I am planning to already!) I will take the helicopter just to get that experience and it is significantly less time in both directions (only about 20 minutes to/from Mahe).
This property only has 30 villas and a couple residences on the entire island and each room has its own private infinity pool. During my stay I booked the Pasyon Pool Villa. This sits higher on the island and my villa has an amazing view of Cocos Island (which you can access by kayak).
The Pasyon Pool Villa was about 2,150 square feet and offered a bedroom and living space, the most gorgeous bathroom I have ever seen, plenty of desk space and closet space, and the best part was the infinity poo overlooking the water. The deck also had a daybed, loungers, chair and tables, and an outdoor shower up behind the villa with a hammock.
I think my favorite indoor feature was the not so minibar. Two large doors open and you will find a wine fridge, minifridge with waters, drinks, local beer, etc., the coffee maker, teas, sugars, full bottles of alcohol, and a variety of glasses for whatever you decide to drink.
One thing I did not know before checking in was that breakfast was included – but to take it a step further, you could eat at the restaurant OR in your villa, at no extra cost.
As far as the property goes – there are three beaches to use, a daily calendar comes up with things to do like: outdoor cinema twice a week, cocktails with the manager, spa treatments, snorkeling, etc., there is a beautiful spa with the most unique pool, yoga, and there is boat service (for a fee) to La Digue and Praslin so you can explore those islands.
I thought everything at this property was outstanding. 10/10.
What to see
The three main islands that everyone likes to visit are Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. You can only fly into Mahe and Praslin and will need to take a boat to La Digue.
You can technically take a ferry between Mahe and Praslin if you want to save some money, however, I think the quick 15 minute flight is easier and the islands from above are beautiful.
Boat Tour Cocos, La Digue and Felicite – this tour leaves from Praslin but this is probably the best tour in all of the Seychelles. Cocos Island has nothing but a private beach, La Digue has some of the best beaches in the world and Felicite is where Six Senses is.
Visit La Digue from Mahe. You can get a boat trip and bike rental ticket to La Digue –> HERE.
Visit Vallée de Mai and see the famous Coco de Mer, which is a double lobed coconut and extremely rare.
Visit Anse Major Beach in Mahe.
Tour Victoria and learn about this capital city in Mahe.
St. Anne Marine National Park – take a tour by boat to this area where you can snorkel the reef and see the colorful marine life.
See the Aldabra Giant Tortoises! I saw them on La Digue in Union Estate Park. The cost was about 10 Euro to enter and if you are already on La Digue, you will most likely going to Anse Source d’Argent, one of the most famous beaches in the world, and it is here as well.
The beaches!! Some of the best beaches in the world are around these islands. My three favorites are: Petite Anse (Mahe), Grand Anse (La Digue) and Cocos Island (there is nothing on this island but the beach!).
What this trip cost
This was by far the most expensive trip I have ever taken. I will break down the costs below.
I took out $700 cash for the week and used it for things like tips and a buggy rental on La Digue. I booked everything in advance of my arrival so I did not have to worry about anything when landing.
Airfare – My guest and I flew Qatar Airways from the USA and I booked the Qsuites Business Class. $11,797.94
Air Seychelles: 2 tickets round trip Mahe to Praslin $454.40
Luggage overage charges: $143.63
I booked Four Seasons on my Chase Sapphire Reserve so I could earn 10 X points on that purchase. Cost for four nights in a “Serenity Villa” room and daily breakfast was $9542.00
Additional Charges: $1612.96 – this covered round trip transportation from the airport, meals, etc.
I booked Six Senses Zil Pasyon on hotels.com because it was not available on the Chase booking platform and I could earn award nights there. Total cost for three nights in a Pasyon Pool Villa with daily breakfast was $7039.29
Additional charges: $2561.84 – this covered the driver and boat transfer from Praslin to the resort, meals, drinks, sundowner on top of the mountain, private boat transfer from La Digue, and some tips.
This trip was very expensive. Knowing what I know now, I could easily cut these costs down just by planning ahead and trying to travel hack some of this (AKA get some of this for free).
The largest singular expense was business class flights. If I had planned ahead – I could have used my airline miles and flew almost free. These flights were a third of my expenses.
Second, I booked pretty last minute. While I was visiting I was looking up prices at Six Senses for the desired times to visit in April and May and found rooms under $700 per night. Knowing that I paid about $2346 per night in a shoulder season, gives me hope I could visit with amazing weather with substantially less costs involved.
Some food for thought if you are planning to visit.
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