A paradise with beaches surrounded by very fine white sand and gifted with turquoise water, lush jungles, and laid-back tempo are just some of the many ways to describe Seychelles. Honestly, six years ago, I would not have even imagined visiting this place because Seychelles belongs to the list of the most luxurious destinations around the globe. I will not lure you into believing that it is cheap because it is still expensive (especially the tours and excursions) but with the advent of holiday packages nowadays, travelling on a budget to one of Mother Nature’s favorites is possible.
Seychelles is an archipelago and country in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. It is composed of 115 islands, three of which are the hub for tourists flocking the islands mostly in the peak months of July and August. Mahe is the biggest, housing the city capital Victoria, Praslin is next, and La Digue is the smallest.
I literally closed my eyes when I booked this holiday but we came home with no regrets. Having said that, this is how to fit Seychelles into your budget.
1. Go for holiday packages
Holiday Factory is legit. I initially wanted to book airfares and accommodation separately (DIY), but when I was checking the ticket prices four months ago, it was already skyrocketing high. Thankfully, Holiday Factory launched a package deal which included roundtrip Air Seychelles tickets, transfers, and a hotel in Praslin – Chateau Sans Souci, with free breakfast. We loved our stay in Chateau. The staff is very nice and helpful. Wifi though is tricky as it is only strongest within the reception area but other than that, it is a quiet place to stay just a few minutes from the airport and Anse Kerlan beach.
2. Pick one base island
One way to cut cost is if you stay at least three days in one of the islands and transfer to other islands as you wish. Prices tend to get high if you only stay for one night and if you are renting a car, two or three days are required as minimum. We stayed three nights in Praslin (plus one night with free hotel booking when our original flight was cancelled due to bad weather), and a day trip to La Digue. Temperament and culture-wise, Praslin is somewhere in between busy Mahe and very laid-back La Digue so we got a very good deal.
3. Stay in self-catering houses/villas or Airbnb accommodation
If I have not booked a package, we probably would have used Airbnb. It is way cheaper than hotels. The good thing about self-catering is you can cook your own food especially if you are staying there for a week or so. Most goods in Seychelles are imported so expect that they are priced higher but are still cheaper than if you dine in buffet restaurants and hotels. It is also smart to bring along with you non-perishable food. Tucked in our luggage were cup noodles, loaf bread, sandwhich spread, chips, cookies, coffee and tea. We never got hungry.
Here is a detailed price list of goods and meals in Seychelles for your reference.
4. Rent a car
Taxis in Seychelles are eyed as the last option for transport because they are insanely expensive. Our hotel is 30-45 mins. by car from the best beaches in Praslin so we hired a Kia Picanto for 120 Euros/530 Dhs., for three days (40 Euros/day) from Bliss Car Hire. I highly recommend them because their cars are well-maintained, with comprehensive insurance, free GPS and very professional staff. You may pay in cash or credit card onsite and they deliver and pick up your car at your preferred location. Aside from the rent, we only paid a full tank of fuel at Rs 270/70 Dhs for our whole stay. Bear in mind though that it is right-hand driving in Seychelles and the roads are curvy, steep, narrow and dark at night time so be very careful. Still, we’re glad about renting a car because we owned our time and it is very convenient. We named her “Prassy” and we miss her already.
If you don’t fancy renting a car, buses are also available but be prepared to wait and it is better to choose staying in locations closest to the bus stops and main attractions so you will have the option to walk just in case.
5. Eat in takeaway restaurants
I believe that buying our meals from takeaway restaurants saved us a great deal of our money. I budgeted 75 Dhs per meal for two but as it turned out, we only paid Rs 100/30 Dhs per meal for the both of us. Awesome, right? They have delicious Creole food served with rice and salad.
Our personal favorite is the Happiness Take Away Restaurant, just a few steps away from our hotel. They serve a variety of chicken, fish, beef and pork dishes and are open from 12pm to 10pm.
On our last night, we thought of having a celebratory dinner so we requested from them a whole Creole grilled fish with sauce for Rs 220/60 Dhs. This was served with rice and salad. A fresh catch, the fish is so yummy!
6. Marvel in the splendid beaches
Undeniably, the beaches in Seychelles are the magnets for tourists. We would have done island hopping too (Cousin, Curieuse, St. Pierre) but unfortunately, it is out of our budget. Thinking about it now, I’m glad that we didn’t push through with the tours because it gave us plenty of time to laze around the beaches and gave us a slow-paced itinerary. We are not water babies or good swimmers at that but we love to spend time at the beach. Nothing is more rewarding than the feel of sand on my feet, the calming ocean breeze on my skin, hearing the rhythmic sound of the waves and looking at the changing shades of blue water in front of me. Divine, mesmerizing and priceless moments like this are my kind of luxury.
Let me share with you our top favorites:
Anse Lazio, Praslin
Even though this beach is 30-45 mins. away by car from our hotel, it is worth every visit. Anse Lazio is definitely a “must-see” in Praslin and often regarded as one of the best beaches in the world. The moment I laid eyes on this beach bordered by granite boulder formations on both ends, I was blown away.
Since it is the best in Praslin, it tends to be crowded so make sure to come early by sunrise and before 9am to have enough time to cherish the beach for yourself and to find your perfect spot.
More information about the beach can be found here.
Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue
Just wow. In all angles, the beach is gorgeous! No wonder this is tagged as one of the best in the world and was in the film ‘Castaway’. We came here after a treacherous trek in another part of the island so seeing this heavenly sight is truly a reward for us. I felt like I’m in a Flintstone plot because the granite rock formations are more abundant and seemingly placed at just the perfect spot.
Access to the beach is through L’Union Estate where we paid Rs 100/30 Dhs per person to also explore the entire property. The beach is protected by a coral reef from the open ocean making the water shallow and the waves small which is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Again, you have to be early as this beauty is a La Digue favorite for tourists.
There is also another stretch of the beach which is free of rock formations and is more private. The scenery is just equally beautiful.
To know more about the beach and how to get there, please click here.
Anse Georgette, Praslin
If you have been to Anse Lazio first, the beach might not fascinate you as much considering the effort and preparation needed to get there. The beach is housed by Constance Lemuria Resort and offers a more private hangout for resort guests and visitors. Hotel guests are transported to the beach by a golf cart but for outside guests, a 20 to 30-minute walk from the gate along the golf course awaits. Don’t worry though because you will be entertained by the vast expanse of the property.
The resort only allows a limited number of visitors per day and it is a must to book your visit through phone or email at least a week before. You may also ask your hotel/guesthouse to do this for you.
Swimming in the beach is not so much encouraged because of the strong current. You will sign a waiver at the gate so anything you do inside is at your own risk. Most guests go there for tanning and I heard that sunset here is glorious.
Here are more inputs about the beach.
Anse Volbert (Cote d’Or), Praslin
The beach area has a festive feel to it which was just about right for our first beach experience in Seychelles. The water is calm with peaceful waves offering a great swimming spot for families. You will also notice more locals around the area selling fruits, fresh fishes, or just hanging out. The Anse Volbert village is home to various restaurants, supermarkets, accommodations and other shops.
There’s more about the beach here.
7. Visit Vallee De Mai Nature Reserve
A Unesco World Heritage, the rich palm forest or nature park which is often referred to as the “Garden of Eden” is home to the endemic Coco de Mer (bearer of the largest seed in the plant kingdom) as well as five other endemic palms.
Also unique to the forest is the Black Parrot which usually fly in pairs. We were blessed to have spotted a pair during our tour and some other interesting species too.
Whether it is sunny or rainy, it is a good thing that the forest is shaded. Thanks to the fan-shaped palm trees that serve as natural roof.
The park is maintained by Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF). You may explore the park by yourself or avail of their free guided tours twice daily at 9am and 2pm (be there at least 30 mins. before your chosen time). There is however a park entrance fee of 25 Euros/Rs 350/110 Dhs per person to maintain the park and for the preservation of Aldabra Atoll.
I love that the forest is untouched and left as it is. I suggest that you take the guided tour which is about 30 mins. and finish off the circular path to reach the peak. As long as you follow the pathway, you won’t get lost. Allot at least two hours of your itinerary here and if you enjoy exploring nature’s flora and fauna, this one is for you.
8. Bike around La Digue
If ever I’ll get the chance to visit Seychelles again, I will definitely stay in La Digue. The island is so small that you can literally bike around or even walk. Cars are very few and they maintain it that way. No wonder this island is a favorite among tourists because it is a sweet escape from the busy and stressful outside world. Not to mention that it is also home to the magnificent beaches in Seychelles.
We really enjoyed our day trip here. Biking around is healthy and relaxing at the same time. Just imagine getting to anywhere with just your bike, the breeze on your face and the sound of birds as your tune. That spells a perfect, simple, quiet and laid-back holiday for us.
To get to La Digue from Praslin, take the Cat Rose Ferry. I booked our tickets from this site.
Since we only had a day to spend in La Digue, we took the first trip out and the last trip back.
It only takes 15 minutes to reach La Digue. The moment you reach the jetty, bikes for rent are already available for Rs 100/30 Dhs per person for a full day.
9. Hike to Nid d’Aigle (Eagle’s Nest)
This was our first activity in La Digue and it is the highest point of the island. We biked the first few meters but when the road was already ascending making it harder to pedal, we parked our bikes in an empty lot. We walked our way up and although the path is concrete towards the Snack Bellevue, it is not an easy hike.
Make sure to bring water and wear proper hiking shoes because after the restaurant, the path going to the mountain peak is challenging. Sadly, we did not reach the top as it was hard to climb up with our flip flops on (silly us, I know). We were able to capture this view though.
As we needed to rest and a fresh juice from the restaurant would have been just perfect to quench our thirst, we were disappointed to find out that it was still closed and under renovation. Nevertheless, this sweat-producing exercise was still fun.
Maybe they opened later during the day, I am not sure. We just chose to go down and find a take away restaurant for breakfast. Through kind locals, we found one just before reaching L’Union Estate. Gala Takeaway is popular in La Digue and they serve yummy snack and lunch dishes for an affordable price.
Another way to cut off the walk is to get a taxi until the restaurant and walk your way to the mountain. It will probably be expensive though.
10. Explore L’Union Estate
It is a former coconut and vanilla plantation in La Digue. With only Rs100 entrance fee and Anse Source d’Argent to reward you, it is worth going to.
There you go. So you see? Seychelles can be for budget travelers too. You just have to focus on what delights you most and be wise on your spending.
Here are more tips to help you out plan your trip.
- As beaches have no changing stations, bring along sarongs, large towels or an easy dress for covering up. Bring your beach mats too and use waterproof bags.
- Currencies accepted are Euros, USD and Rs. Almost all establishments accept these currencies along with credit cards but takeaway restaurants only accept Seychellois Rupees (Rs).
- Souvenirs are cheaper in airports.
- Visa is not required but make sure that you have proof of your accommodation and return ticket.
- Bring an insect repellant especially if you are going to explore the forest.
- Aqua shoes may be necessary in rocky beaches such as Anse Source d’ Argent.
- Visit Tripadvisor forums for more tips.
Our Seychelles escapade is over but it is one holiday that I will treasure forever. I now understand why people travel. Experiences and memories are truly riches that are insurmountable by anything material.
I am also grateful that we did this trip against all odds because it is not every day that we experience living in paradise. You are amazing, God!
I hope you enjoyed reading this entry and may this inspire you to quit the “what-ifs” and just go.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain
Please do share your comments and suggestions below and if you have traveled to Seychelles recently, I would love to know about your experience.