In my previous post, I covered the first part of our “Parents Gone Wild” trip, in which my husband and I flew the Emirates First Class extravaganza as a couple. From Dubai, we headed to our final destination of Seychelles.
Why Visit the Seychelles?
When I first told family and friends I was heading to Seychelles, half of them didn’t even know where it was.
If you find yourself in the same boat, don’t feel bad. Seychelles is considered a luxury tropical destination, and it’s often compared to the Maldives or Bora Bora.
I have yet to visit the Maldives, but there were two main reasons we chose Seychelles: we had already visited Bora Bora and done the overwater hut experience, and we feared we’d get bored with spending seven nights on a tiny island in the Maldives.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to relax on a beautiful beach overlooking tranquil turquoise waters, but I also like to go out and explore – something I especially try to take advantage of when I don’t have the kids with me. Seychelles seemed to offer a good balance of both.
Seychelles is a tropical country off the coast of East Africa that consists of 115 islands. It was at one point under French rule, and hence their official language is Seychellois Creole, a French-based creole language. French and English are also spoken throughout the islands.
The three most popular islands are Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue. With only seven nights, we only had enough time to visit these islands. If it’s your first visit, I would visit all three. Each is unique and features something a little different than the rest.
Seychelles Entry Requirements
To enter Seychelles, you need a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure, and to apply for entry by completing an online form through their Health Travel Authorization platform.
Do note that you will need to upload all your documentation pertaining to your trip: passport, flight confirmations, copies of accommodation bookings covering every night in Seychelles, COVID-19 test result, vaccination certificate, insurance coverage. So have that ready.
- 3 nights in Praslin
- 1 night in La Digue
- 3 nights in Mahé
It was no easy task trying to divide up our seven nights between the islands. We based our time on what we wanted to see and do. However, if I were to do it again, I would spend an extra night or two in La Digue.
Days 1–3: Praslin
Praslin is the second biggest island of Seychelles and offers a good mix of sorts when it comes to activities. It has nice beaches and some good snorkeling spots.
You can go hike a couple of nature reserves, most notably the Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can find the coco de mer, an endemic coconut species that has largest plant seed in the world. One coconut can weigh up to 40 lbs!
If you visit, take a tour, as you will learn so much more of the local culture, flora, and fauna. Tours can be pre-booked, or you will often find guides waiting at the entrance. We paid $25 per person at the gate for a one-hour tour.
Because of its proximity to a few smaller islands, Praslin is a good island for making day trips – including Curieuse Island, home a sizeable population of the giant Aldabra tortoises.
Although you can bus around the island, it is more convenient to rent a car. We rented from Adventure Car Hire because we received a coupon with them from booking a ferry through SeychellesBookings.com.
Constance Lemuria Praslin Seychelles
For our three nights on Praslin, we stayed at the Constance Lemuria Praslin Seychelles.
- Publicly published rate: US$1,500–2,000+ per night
- Booked rate: US$474.58 per night on Club1Hotels.com (membership required, but look out for free membership offers on Black Friday), cost offset by HSBC Rewards points
There is a range of accommodation options for all budgets on all the islands. Although still pricey, I landed a huge discount at this luxury hotel and couldn’t let it go, so we stayed here.
The beachfront resort is located on the northwest side of the island, only 10 minutes from the airport. It is more traditional in decor, but the facilities, attentive service, and staff made our stay very enjoyable.
The Junior Suite was very spacious and located on the second floor of a four-suite complex. It had a patio with an ocean view.
The room was clean, with decor that seemed fitting for a tropical paradise; however, it did show some signs of age (i.e., things that had been repainted with a few layers of paint over the years). It came furnished with a king bed and a comfy love seat and armchair.
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The room was air-conditioned, with a satellite TV, paid minibar, complimentary tea and coffee offerings, and a safe. The bathroom has a tub and separate shower. They also supply you with a complimentary beach bag and bottles of water that are replenished daily.
The resort has four restaurants:
- Legends, a casual restaurant that serves a buffet during breakfast and dinner, and an à la carte menu by the pools for lunch
- The Nest, perched up on a rock giving beautiful views of the bay while serving Creole fare
- Diva, a fine dining restaurant
- Takamaka, a beachside eatery that serves sushi
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The food was good, but like all Seychelles resorts, pricey. You can score 10% off food and beverage through a coupon from SeychellesBookings.com if you make a ferry booking through them.
Need to dine on a budget? Pack some extra instant noodles or dry foods for snacks or venture off the resort. Driving 12 minutes out will take you to the Village Take Out, where you can find home-cooked meals for under $10.
Another really good offsite restaurant was Les Rochers, located an 18-minute drive from the hotel. The prices weren’t cheap, but they were also not as expensive as at the resort, and their Creole dishes were delicious.
The Constance Lemuria is massive, with plenty of on-site activities to keep you busy. It has a golf course, tennis courts, a full-service spa, and access to several beaches.
The main pavilion features three levels of pools surrounded by loungers, cabanas, and a couple of bars, including a pool bar that you can swim up to. The lobby bar features musical performances on certain evenings.
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The hotel boasts a large beachfront. Along the beachfront are shrubs where sea turtles will lay their eggs, so if you’re lucky, you could see a hatching.
On the beach is also the activity hut, which lends out water equipment and runs complimentary kayaking and snorkelling tours. For the more adventurous, there is also a diving company on-site. There is also quite a large kids’ club that offers daily programming.
On our third day, we caught a ferry to La Digue. The ferry terminal is at Baie Sainte Anne Jetty, located about 30 minutes from Constance Lemuria.
An associate from Adventure Car Hire met us at the jetty to pick up the car, so there was no need to return to the airport to return the car. The inter-island ferry ride only took 15 minutes, so it was very convenient.
Day 4: La Digue
La Digue is the smallest island of the three, covering an area of 10 sq km, but it was my favourite island.
It is a quieter, more rural island packed with beautiful beaches dotted with granite boulders, fresh juice bars and friendly residents. If you love to explore places on your own, then this is the island for you!
You can venture around the whole island on bike and make stops whenever you want and almost wherever you want, be it for a quick nap on the beach, snorkelling, or just to take in the scenery.
Oh, did I mention the beautiful beaches? Anse Source d’Argent is the Seychelles’ most famous beach, and it definitely lives up to its name. It is located within L’Union Estate, a former coconut and vanilla plantation that’s also worth a quick walk or bike around.
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Other notable beaches are Grand Anse, Petite Anse, Anse Coco Beach (walk to the end where there’s a small, calm pool you can snorkel and dip in), and Anse Marron.
Some of these beaches are not recommended for swimming due to the strong currents and tides, and some also require climbing up and down rocky terrain to reach.
Le Nautique Luxury Waterfront Hotel
For our one night on La Digue, we stayed at the Le Nautique Luxury Waterfront Hotel.
- Rate: €270 booked directly with the hotel, with an extra 5% off (the can also be booked through Hotels.com)
This is a very popular small boutique hotel right on the waterfront, and so it’s best to book early if you want to ensure availability. The host is super-friendly Natasha and her staff are very helpful.
They took the time to give an overview of the island of La Digue and helped us create a customized itinerary based on how much time we had on the island.
They offer pick-up and drop-off to the jetty by golf cart, although you could walk too as they are only located a 6-minute walk from the jetty.
The hotel’s interior decor is simple, modern, warm, and chic. All rooms have air-conditioning and wifi access. We actually got the best Garden View Room, Room 10, as you have the entire top floor as your room. It had a small satellite TV, a minibar, Nespresso machine with complimentary coffee and tea, a safe, a desk, and a small sitting area.
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Even though it is a small hotel, Le Nautique has its own restaurant and pool. There’s even an outdoor shower to accommodate those who require a late check-out.
Bike rentals are available on-site, making it easy to just get up and start exploring. Rentals are $10 per bike, per day.
The restaurant serves breakfast (included with your stay), lunch, and dinner. Once again, prices are on the high end. There is a restaurant across the hotel for cheap eats (like $3 for three fried chicken drumsticks).
Really, the only downside for this hotel is for those travelling with young kids, as they only permit children over the age of 12 to stay at the hotel.
From La Digue, we caught a ferry to Mahé, connecting through Praslin. At the ferry terminal in Mahé, our car rental company, MyCar, had a car ready waiting for us.
I would highly recommend this company, as they aren’t stickler for small scratches on the car as some companies can be. They were also very accommodating, not charging us for an extra four hours over a three-day rental (when other companies would have charged us for four days). There was also no extra charge for pick-up and drop-off at different locations.
Booking Ferries in the Seychelles
I’ll just quickly give an overview of the ferries, as I found it a bit confusing at first. There are actually two ferry operators in Seychelles which operate independently: Cat Cocos and Inter Island Ferry (whose boat is called Cat Rose, to make it more confusing).
Cat Cocos can take you between all three islands, with minimal transit times if you’re connecting, and so it greatly reduces the travel time. However, their daily schedule is rather limited. Inter Island only provides service between Praslin and La Digue, but provides more sail times should the Cat Cocos services not be ideal, which was our case.
The easiest way to book is through SeychellesBookings.com, which will pull the ferry schedules from both operators so you can find the ferry times that suit your schedule best. Not to mention they also email you a bunch of coupons for using them.
Day 5–7: Mahé
Mahé is the largest island in Seychelles and is home to its capital, Victoria, and its international airport. It is the more metropolitan than the other islands, especially in the northern parts.
Traffic and congestion can be a real thing here, since the roads are only single lane. A car rental is a must if you’re going to explore the island.
Mahé has long, beautiful beaches, but once you head to La Digue, you may feel they are nothing to rave about. There are also plenty of hikes and snorkelling to be done (although I would say the snorkeling in Bora Bora was better). If you’re travelling with kids, the long shallow beaches may make this your island of choice.
The biggest draw for us on this island were the resorts. Mahé is home to several the nicest and biggest resorts of the islands, including those from brands we’re familiar with, like the Four Seasons, Hilton, and Hyatt.
Because we decided to end our vacation on this island, we just wanted to find a nice resort just to relax at.
Mango House Seychelles, Hilton LXR
In Mahé, we stayed at the Mango House Seychelles, part of Hilton’s LXR luxury portfolio.
This is a brand-new Hilton property, and suffice to say, it was a great way to end off our vacation. We left the resort for one half-day to see the capital city of Victoria and Beau Vallon beach, but other than that, were happy to just enjoy the resort’s facilities.
Check out the detailed review I’ve written about Mango House for more on our experience at the resort.
We did also venture out and have a meal over at the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles. My purpose was two-fold:
- At over US$2,000 a night, there was no way I would be staying there, but I was curious as to how it compared to the Mango House
- The menu at the Four Seasons’s ZEZ restaurant was slightly cheaper than the restaurants at Mango House
The food was very good, and I’m glad we had a chance to check it out, but I was glad not to be staying there.
If you want more privacy, then perhaps the Four Seasons for you, as most rooms are their own standalone villas spread out across the property. But for me, it was too spread out, and in the evening, instead of the nice lit up walkways and roads at Mango House, the paths are pretty dark at the Four Seasons.
COVID Testing Options in the Seychelles
We can’t talk about any destination in this new era without talking about COVID testing. Luckily, obtaining a molecular COVID test for entry back into Canada is pretty easy to do in Seychelles.
We went with Seychelles Medical, as having an air ticket with Air Seychelles offered a discount on their services, and you can pre-book them to come directly to your hotel to do the test for you, saving you a trip out.
As of October 2021, the Switch Health RT-LAMP Test Kit can also be used to fulfill testing requirements for returning to Canada.
Credit Card Acceptance in the Seychelles
Most places do not take American Express, so make sure you bring a Visa or Mastercard alternative with no foreign exchange fees, like the HSBC World Elite Mastercard (which has a pretty nice signup bonus currently) and perhaps a reloadable card like the Stack Prepaid Mastercard for withdrawing local currency from an ATM.
If you need to book dining reservations and have an American Express Platinum Card or Business Platinum Card, then give the Platinum Concierge a call to book all your reservations. It’ll save you time and money from needing to make those long-distance calls.
If you want a peaceful, relaxing vacation against the backdrop of turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and gigantic granite boulders, Seychelles is the place for you. But that’s not all it has to offer, which is why I love this destination.
Rather than being confined to a single island, you can visit several islands, each with their own character. There are trails and parks throughout, and if you want something more metropolitan, there’s even a small city.
True, you may not have the overwater villas of the Maldives or Bora Bora, but there is no shortage of beautiful resorts. And although Seychelles has a reputation for being a luxury destination, there are accommodation options to suit most budgets, just as there are economical food options once you’re off the resorts.
Our only regret? That we didn’t have a few more days here, but alas, a return flight on Qatar Airways Qsuites did help lessen the pain. 😉
With only seven days in Seychelles, there were definitely places we didn’t get a chance to visit, so if you’ve been and have a suggestion, leave it in the comments below.