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  • Writer's pictureLauren H

4 days in The Seychelles- A 5-star beach vacation without the cost of a Luxury Resort



Visiting the Seychelles doesn't have to be a high-end vacation where you never leave a fancy resort. It is possible to plan a Seychelles trip on a budget, and boat, hike, bike, visit turtles, snorkel and explore the islands outside of the resorts.


The key to keeping the trip more budget-friendly is your lodging choice. Lodging and the location of your lodging are crucial for a trip to the Seychelles. On the main island that you fly into, Mahe, we found most of the lodging in the budget to the mid-range category to be not exciting. They were often not on the water, didn’t have water views, or the beach that was across the street wasn’t Seychelles worthy. Sometimes they had pretty pools, but not beaches.


I would recommend staying on a different island besides Mahe. We ended up staying on Praslin and loved it. Praslin was a central home base to transfer out to other islands and explore, it had stunning views and beaches and was not too touristy or built up. The island had a remote, more local-feeling island vibe. The next-door neighbor to our rental home was a year-round resident. He was an artist that had his own giant pet turtle that lived outside. Note that to transfer to most of the other islands you will have to fly or ferry, which is an added cost but necessary if you want to explore anywhere besides Mahe.



Jump Ahead to a Section Below:


Day One Praslin Island

Day Two Curieuse Island, Snorkeling, Hiking, Giant Turtles and Beaches

Day Three Explore La Digue Island (Coco Island)

Day Four Mahe


Build an Itinerary

Lodging

Bookings

What to Wear and Pack

What to Eat

Where to Eat

Shopping

Getting around

When to Go

Other Tips


Day One: Praslin Island

My friends and I explored Anse La Blague and Grande Anse as well as Anse Lazaio, all pristine beaches with snorkeling right off the sand.


Praslin Island
Praslin Island

Day Two: Curieuse Island, Snorkeling, Hiking, Giant Turtles, and Beaches

We used Sagittarius Taxi Boat Excursions for this day and were happy with them. They had good service, a fun guide, a fresh lunch, and were well organized. We booked the full-day excursion with them for 75 EURO per person and were in a group with about 10 people total. We started the day off with some snorkeling, then we went to visit Anse St. Jose beach on Curieuse Island.


Anse St. Jose Beach
Anse St. Jose Beach

After the beach, we hiked a short trail to some viewpoints (I recommend wearing hiking sandals) and ended at a beachside lunch location. We had a fresh lunch of fresh grilled fish and vegetables.


Grilling our Island Lunch
Grilling our Island Lunch

Then we had time to hang out with the giant Aldabra Tortoises that were wandering around the area.


Aldabra Tortoises on Curieuse Island
Aldabra Tortoises on Curieuse Island

After Curieuse we returned to the boat and went around the photogenic St. Pierre Island for pictures. We ended the day with one final snorkeling stop on our way back to Praslin.


St. Pierre Island
St. Pierre Island

Day Three: Explore La Digue Island (Coco Island)

We lined up a boat taxi and bicycle rentals with Sagittarius Taxi Boat Excursions.


Our Boat Ride to La Digue Island
Our Boat Ride to La Digue Island

The bike ride and hikes to the various beaches on the island proved to be a sweaty and athletic day, but the beaches were worth it. Wear hiking sandals, bring a towel, and bring lots of water and snacks as well. It is a remote island and the beaches aren’t built up, so you can’t buy water whenever you feel like it.


Biking on La Digue Island
Biking on La Digue Island

Our first stop was to bike to Grand Anse beach, we parked our bikes there and relaxed for a while. There is a marked trail to walk to Petite Anse Beach, so we walked there next.


Petite Anse Beach
Petite Anse Beach


Once at Petite Anse Beach, it had a local stand for fresh coconut water that we all stopped at for a drink.


Coconuts for Sale on Petite Anse Beach
Coconuts for Sale on Petite Anse Beach

This stand is also important because behind it is the unmarked start of the hiking trail to Anse Coco. The only way to get to Anse Coco beach is by hiking (or private yacht). It is a 20-30 minute hike and there is some uphill involved, but it’s doable.


The Beginning of the Hike to Anse Coco
The Beginning of the Hike to Anse Coco


Anse Coco
Anse Coco

Once on the Anse Coco beach, walk all the way down to the left. A secluded cove full of the iconic Seychelles rocks and shallow water is around the bend. It is a must-see.


The Cove on Anse Coco
The Cove on Anse Coco

We didn’t have time to bike to any other beaches on the island so we then biked back to the dock for our water taxi. If you really want to fit more in, you won’t have much time to lounge on each beach, so know that in advance.


We spent our last night dining and watching the sunset at Les Rochers Restaurant and you should too! See more details in Where to Eat above.


Day Four: Mahe

We took the ferry back to Mahe in the morning. Our plan had been to explore Morne Seychellois National Park and hike to the top of Morne Blanc, the highest peak in the Seychelles with stunning views. We, unfortunately, ended up with bad weather so we explored Victoria instead. We went to a few souvenir shops and walked to see Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple, a colorful Hindu temple.


Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple
Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple

You could also check out the Takamaka Rum Distillery and the Victoria Market. If you have good weather, visit the national park instead though.


Build an Itinerary with a Stop in The Seychelles

For us, Seychelles was the perfect way to end a big African trip. It can be added on to Uganda, Zimbabwe, Cape Town, or any mix of them. Note that switching between African countries via flight usually means at least one full day of travel if not two. There are limited flights and usually connections out of your way or overnight connections. Many of the flights going to the Seychelles connect through Kenya, so it would work well with a Kenyan stop too.


Lodging

Lodging and the location of your lodging are crucial for a trip to the Seychelles. On the main island that you fly into, Mahe, we found most of the lodging in the budget to the mid-range category to be not exciting. They were often not on the water, didn’t have water views, or the beach that was across the street wasn’t Seychelles worthy. Sometimes they had pretty pools, but not beaches.


I would recommend staying on a different island besides Mahe. We ended up staying on Praslin and loved it. It was a central home base to transfer out to other islands and explore, had stunning views and beaches, and was not too touristy or built up. It had a remote island vibe. Our next-door neighbor had his own giant pet turtle that lived outside, it was a local experience. Note that to transfer to most of the other islands you will have to fly or ferry, which is an added cost but necessary if you want to explore anywhere besides Mahe.


We found a dream Airbnb on Praslin. It was not a budget option, but it was a good price for what it was and an even better price relative to hotels on the water. Traveling with a group of friends is key, so that you can split a rental home like this amongst multiple people. We each paid $ 150 USD/night for a modern home directly on the water. You could walk down to the water and snorkel right by the home.


Our Airbnb Deck
Our Airbnb Deck

The View from Inside our Airbnb
The View from Inside our Airbnb

Advanced Bookings for a Seychelles Trip

  • I would recommend doing most of your bookings in advance for this trip, even if it’s only a week in advance. We wanted to wing this part of our trip a bit more and it ended up hurting us with limited ferry times available, difficulty securing boat rides, etc.

  • The smaller companies in Praslin used Facebook and Facebook messenger for bookings.

  • The ferry and flights can be booked on their own websites.


What to Wear and Pack for a Seychelles Trip

Check out my Packing List for more recommendations on specific gear.


What to Wear

  • Waterproof hiking sandals like these. Hiking sandals work well because you don’t have to worry about sand and wet feet going into socks with sneakers, and you can jump on and off boats straight into the water while still protecting your feet.

  • A swimsuit that is comfortable for hiking, biking, and snorkeling in.


What to Pack

  • A compact, quick-drying beach towel. It’s nice to have something small and lightweight when you are biking and hiking to beaches.

  • A lightweight backpack for island outings since you will hike multiple times.

  • A small drybag that can keep your phone, wallet, and anything else you want to keep dry on boat rides.

What to Eat in the Seychelles

Note that grocery shopping is limited on Praslin, but we were able to buy basics for breakfasts.

  • Jobfish- This was one of the main local fish there and we all loved it. It was at every restaurant.

  • Starfruit- a Tropical fruit that is harder to find in the states and other countries, look for it at the grocery store.


Where to Eat in the Seychelles

  • Les Rochers Restaurant- Located on Praslin, this restaurant was on the other side of the island from where we were staying but it was well worth the 30-minute drive. We enjoyed sunset water views, had great cocktails, and wonderful hospitality, and ate our favorite fish dishes of the trip. They start off the evening with a happy hour on their wrap-around patio with views of the water. We all had cocktails and some complimentary plantain chips and snacks. For dinner, we ordered multiple fish dishes to try and share and loved them all. The curry fish dish was my favorite.


Outdoor Seating at Les Rochers Restaurant
Outdoor Seating at Les Rochers Restaurant

Pre-Dinner Drinks at Les Rochers Restaurant
Pre-Dinner Drinks at Les Rochers Restaurant

Shopping in the Seychelles

The only shopping we came across was when we spent a few hours exploring Victoria on Mahe Island. There do seem to be a lot of local Seychellois artists but we had trouble finding stores or galleries to buy their work. There are some stores and a market with your basic souvenirs.


Getting Around the Seychelles

Once you land at the main airport in Mahe you will have to either fly or ferry out to whatever island you are staying on. We decided to fly to Praslin and then ferry back at the end of our trip to have both experiences. We also managed to plan it so that our flight there was around sunset for our views on the flight. Air Seychelles is the only carrier that offers island hopper flights. Be prepared for a small plane, ours had space for about 15 passengers total.


Our Air Seychelles Plane to Praslin
Our Air Seychelles Plane to Praslin

Cat Cacos is the main ferry company that goes between Mahe and Praslin. We took it back to Mahe from Praslin. It is a comfortable experience, a big boat with indoor and outdoor seating and AC. If you get seasick easily, bring remedies with you though, it was a choppy ride despite it being a big boat.


Once on Praslin rental cars are most common for getting around. Taxis are expensive and not easy to line up, so in theory a rental car is the best option, but you should only rent one if you are experienced in off-road driving. The roads are not paved in most areas, and there are steep inclines. Rent an SUV as well to handle the rocky terrain.


We ended up using taxis part of the time. Our Airbnb host gave us the number for one and we would have to call him well in advance to book a ride. The rides were not cheap, a round trip could cost $ 50 USD. If you aren’t comfortable with off-road driving, taxis are a viable option though, it just takes some advance planning for dinners, pick-up times, etc.


When to Go to the Seychelles

It is warm and sunny most times of the year. December, January, July, and August are the busy season there, but we went in January and thought it was not too busy on Praslin and during our outings.


Other Tips for a Trip to the Seychelles

  • Make sure to have a printout with your lodging confirmation for immigration. There’s no internet at that point in the airport and they have to see your confirmation to let you through.

  • Restaurants and tour operators all take credit cards here. You will just need cash for taxis and tips.



Trip Dates: January 27th- January 30th, 2019.

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