Exploring the Seychelles

Looking for an exotic tropical vacation? Try the Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean.

Exploring a tropical paradise in the Seychelles

A remote paradise in the Indian Ocean

The inner islands of the Seychelles (were we spent our time) are 1000 miles off the coast of Africa, about 1000 miles north of Madagascar, and just south of the equator.  They are geologically interesting; the 41 inner islands are ancient granitic outcrops, while the 74 outer islands are traditional coral atolls.

 

The inner islands of the Seychelles (were we spent our time) are 1000 miles off the coast of Africa, about 1000 miles north of Madagascar, and just south of the equator.  They are geologically interesting; the 41 inner islands are ancient granitic outcrops, while the 74 outer islands are traditional coral atolls.

Few people I know have heard of the Seychelles. It isn’t a common destination for Americans.

That isn’t a surprise given that the expense, distance, and inconvenience of getting to the islands from the US. Most Americans seeking a tropical paradise are far more likely to look to the Caribbean or Hawaii, or even the distant, but more well-known islands of Tahiti.

Those who have heard of the islands tend to associate them with pirates. (Yes, there are pirates in the outer islands, but if you stay within the inner islands, you need not fear pirates.)

Why visit the Seychelles?

First off, for the beauty.

Sure, the world is filled with beautiful islands, but the Seychelles define tropical island beauty. But in their remoteness, there is also a sense of discovery, of going to a place few people have visited, a place with unique ecosystems and culture. They are remote, tropical, and famously beautiful – everything I look for in an island.

The ability to visit the islands via sailboat, instead of an outing from an all-inclusive luxury resort (the predominate method of visiting here) clinched my decision to go.

Exploring the Seychelles by land and sea

We stayed within the inner islands, anchoring off beautiful beaches on Mahé and Praslin and in the harbor on La Digue and sailing (or motoring) between.

Seychelles posts

Seychelles Journal

The Seychelles from Above (October 18, 2012) 
Underway

Under Sail (October 19, 2012)
Ashore on Anse Lazio
Sunset at Anse Lazio

Rainbows (October 20, 2012)
Turtles, Mangroves, and more on Curieuse Island
Saint Pierre Islet
Anse Volbert

Praslin’s Vallée de Mai (October 21, 2012)
Sailing Along Praslin
Walking Government Beach
Sunset from Government Beach

At Sea (October 22, 2012)
We Almost Get to Cocos Island
Felicité
There’s Beauty All Around Between Felicité and La Digue
La Passe Harbor  
Sunset from La Digue

Touring La Digue (October 23, 2012)

The Changing Light of Morning (October 24, 2012)
Bird Watching on Cousin Island
A Little Foul Weather

In Baie Ternay (October 25, 2012)
Wahoo!

Off to Thérése Island  (October 26, 2012)

Sailing Around Mahé (October 27, 2012)
Saint Ann’s Marine Park

End of the Cruise (October 28, 2012)
Welcome to Mahé – Lost and Low on Petrol 
In Search of the Perfect Sunset
Off the Road

A Pocket Beach (October 29, 2012)  
Botanical Garden
Port Launay from Shore

Daily snapshots

A quick look at each day:

Arrival in Mahé – October 18
Praslin (Anse Lazio) – October 19
Curieuse and Praslin – October 20
Praslin (the Valle’e de Mai) – October 21
Felicite’, Cocos, and La Digue – October 22
La Digue – October 23
Cousin – October 24
Mahé (Baie Ternay) – October 25  
Mahé (Port Launay and Thérése Island) – October 26   
Circling Mahé – October 27
Ashore on Mahé – October 28
The Botanical Garden and More on Mahé – October 29

Photo Thursday posts

A Perfect Sunset in Paradise  (November 1, 2012)
One Week Ago in the Seychelles  (November 8, 2012)
Anse Volbert  (November 15, 2012)
The Sea Pearl  (December 1, 2012)
Last Glance at the Seychelles  (January 10, 2013)

Other Seychelles posts

I Can’t Believe I’m Going to Be Here!   (July 21, 2012)
Driving Around Mahé   (January 17, 2013)

Travel information

Seychelles passport stampAlthough generally described as a luxury destination, there are a surprising number of travel options in the Seychelles.

The Seychelles by Air (February 24, 2013)

The Seychelles by Sea (March 8, 2013): We sailed the Seychelles on a bare-boat charter tour, but there are lots of options.

The Seychelles by Land (May 5, 2013): Driving isn’t an option on most islands. Even where it is, be prepared for narrow mountain roads! On the other hand, biking is popular almost everywhere

Lodging at the Garden of Eden, Mahé (December 30, 2012)

Think of it as Camping  (February 17, 2013): The joy and reality of small boat sailing. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s not for everyone.

Online resources

The Seychelles tourism website has a lot of useful information, although we found it impossible to actually subscribe to the site. An expansion of the site seems to be underway.

The Seychelles Holidays Direct website is basically a hotel booking site, but provides a good amount of practical information.

Similarly, Seychelles Last Minute is a hotel booking site with other good information, including a nice brief overview of each island.

Guidebooks and other books

There are a variety of English language guidebooks for the Seychelles (there are many more in French), but they can be a challenge to find.

  • We relied on the Globetrotter Travel Guide to the Seychelles by Paul Tingay as our main guidebook. The edition we used has good tourist info and a huge map that was wonderful for finding our way around on shore on both Mahé and La Digue (the only two islands where we were on our own for any length of time). Just don’t trust the information on where the gas stations are located!
  • We also brought Seychelles – Garden of Eden in the Indian Ocean by Sarah Carpin with us.It has some guidebook information along with profiles of some of the high-end resorts. While it mostly provided inspiration in the form of lovely photos, the maps and highlights for each island are simple and useful.
  • Before leaving, we spent some time dreaming over Indian Ocean Chic by Joe Yogerst. This is a treasure-trove of gorgeous photos of nature, art, food, and high-end resorts in the Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, and Zanzibar. (Thus, it covers several of my dream destinations while putting additional temptations before me.)

We ended the trip with a couple of days in Paris. How nice is that?

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