Everything you need to know before your Seychelles arrival
Visiting the Seychelles is without a doubt a once in a lifetime experience, with pristine beaches, secluded bays, white sand and crystal clear water. If I could describe paradise, then I would start painting an image of the Seychelles. As with any destination, there is a crucial time when planning takes place and Seychelles is no exception. Although I made all effort to ensure I am prepared for what the Seychelles has to offer, I inevitably discovered much more whilst on the islands. This includes local culture, shop and food availability, safety and security and of course methods of transportation. Having spent three weeks on Mahé, La Digue and Praslin, I would like to pass on my knowledge and hopefully better prepare you for your upcoming visit to the Seychelles. So what do you need to know prior to your arrival to the Seychelles
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The currency in Seychelles is called Seychelles rupees. The bad news is that you can't acquire this type of currency before you arrive in Seychelles. The good news is that you can pay in Euro, USD and GBP. Most shops will give you a good exchange rate, although you will find the odd ones with a more arbitrary rate. Another thing to be aware is that most shops will accept your foreign money but give you change in Seychelles rupees. This is the best way to acquire local currency which you can use during your stay in Seychelles. It is illegal to take Seychelles rupees out of Seychelles, although it would be pretty pointless to do so as nobody would accept them anywhere else apart from...you guessed it, in Seychelles. If you find yourself short in rupees, you can pay part in local currency and part with foreign money. Always double check the calculations as I found that some locals tried to make me pay more or gave me the wrong change. I'm not sure if it came down to bad math or malice on their part, but I was always on top of my finances to avoid any issues. I recommend you do the same.
In conclusion, I recommend bringing Euros as I found this to be the most widely accepted currency.
Shops in Seychelles
The joy of being in a new country is to binge shop in a local supermarket. However, this was not quite possible in Seychelles. The local shops are incredibly cramped and tiny, with a very little amount of items. They are good to buy bread and bottled water. On Mahé, the largest island, you will find an STC supermarket and a newly opened hypermarket. The prices were exorbitant, to such extent that I was shocked to see a can of tomatoes for 22 Seychelles rupees ( 1.5 euro) or a fresh pineapple costing almost 7 euros. Even a pack of 'cheap' biscuits was close to 4 euros. These ridiculous prices are down to the fact that everything in Seychelles is imported. The milk was from France, the apples from Belgium, the frozen fish from Vietnam and the noodles from Romania. Apart from the local Seytea and some craft local beer, I couldn't find anything from Seychelles. Because I didn't like how the meat was presented (neither in markets nor in the supermarket) I went pescatarian during my stay in Seychelles. Better be safe than sorry.
Tip: ALWAYS check the expiry date on ALL items you are about to buy in Seychelles. I received out of date tonic water in a restaurant which made me want to check the best before the date on everything. I noticed MANY items (including cans!) being out of date, sold in shops. Avoid buying out of date products in Seychelles.
Food in Seychelles
I am a foodie traveller as you may already know, with Japanese food being my favourite in the whole world. Naturally, I expected the islands of Seychelles to have a fantastic selection of seafood. Unfortunately, I found the selection to be quite restricted. Any prawns, mussels or octopus, were always cooked from frozen. I noticed some fish being sold in the market but because it was presented on dirty stalls by the side of the road, I chose to buy my fish and seafood from the frozen section, because most items were imported from Europe. I did eat in restaurants a lot, and although I was tempted to go with some local curry and meat-related dishes, I decided to restrict my diet to what I deemed safe. I must also warn you that the food in Seychelles is ridiculous expensive whether you get it from the restaurant or from the shops. This was probably the not so fun part of my Seychelles trip. I loved the beaches, loved the place, but really didn't like the food.
Tip: Buy bottled water to ensure the water you are drinking is of the highest quality.
Sun times in Seychelles
The sun sets very early in Seychelles. By 6:30 pm it's pitch dark outside. Sounds crazy, I know, but it took me some time to get used to it. So what does this really mean? Well, it is advisable that you don't chill around dark and dodgy places after the sun goes down. This can cause a bit of a problem because this means you have a limited amount of hours where you can freely do things. For example, I wouldn't have felt comfortable driving in the dark to go to a restaurant by the beach, in the middle of nowhere, then drive back in the night with no street lights. Start your day early and go back to the hotel at a reasonable time. If you decide to stay in expensive hotels, note that most of their perimeters are enclosed and much, much safer. On Mahé for example, at the Four Seasons, you have access to a private beach and a restaurant overlooking the ocean. This means you can freely walk around at night, even take a bath in the ocean and eat as late as 10 pm if you wish to.
I'm getting to the really fun part here: there are constant ~30C temperatures in Seychelles. Sure, the temperatures might drop as low as 25C but trust me, you won't ever notice. We landed at 6 am and the temperature outside was 27C. During the day it peaked to 32C. This sounds like a lot of fun (and it is) but please remember we are talking tropical sun here, which means no matter how great you are with tans, on the Seychelles you really need to be extra careful. I used SPF 30 and still got a dark tan. The only difference is that I didn't burn. Wear sundresses, shorts, white clothes, sandals, flip flops...and lots of sunscreens. Don't forget to apply sunscreen on the tip of the ears, face (unless your face cream already contains SPF) and on your foot dorsal. These are the key areas most people ignore and cause a lot of burns.
I don't think I ever experienced a clearer or more awesome water than here in Seychelles. The ocean was crystal clear, beautifully warm with a constant temperature. It was like swimming in paradise. I honestly can't describe how amazing this was. There were times when I swam with colourful fish and over stingrays. Other times I snorkelled over corals and enjoyed the playful waves of the Indian Ocean. But all these joys come with a few warnings. First of all, remember that there are very strong currents in Seychelles. Never venture too far. Once you are in the water to your waist, you will start feeling how strong the currents are. Play it safe. When swimming with or overstingrayss, always make sure you don't step on them. Their sting (or cut) is incredibly painful and sometimes it requires surgery or can even get infected. Don't ruin the perfect holiday, keep your distance and be cautious. Try to avoid swimming in the ocean without a life guard present. And finally, you will come across many perfectly secluded beaches which have signs advising against swimming at all times. Respect the signs for your own safety. Note that nobody will hear you nor be able to save you as you are essentially on a secluded beach... Again, better be safe than sorry.
How safe are Seychelles
There were parts which made me feel very safe in the Seychelles and parts which didn't give me much confidence. To be honest with you I am usually a very cautious traveller and I prefer travelling to safe countries such as Japan. I love off the beaten path adventures and would only send you to places I've experienced and found safe enough. I found La Digue to be quite safe. I wasn't afraid to walk around freely in the dark. It had a very chilled vibe. I also felt relatively safe in Praslin. People were more fun, chilled and relaxed and at no point, I felt threatened. On Mahé however, I was more reticent. I felt generally safe but I didn't feel as comfortable walking around at night. I didn't have any issues during daytime. It didn't help that everyone kept saying to stay safe and hide our valuables. This created a bit of a tension in certain instances. I would recommend Seychelles in a heartbeat. I didn't think they weren't safe, however, I would probably advise to stay vigilant and practice common sense.
8. Getting around in Seychelles
Of course, this depends on your budget, location and island. On Mahé, I rented a car so I can explore the island properly. I found the roads to be very narrow. The mountain road was very steep with hairpin turns. It requires a high level of confidence to drive in Seychelles. An alternative is to take the local bus, however, although very cheap, I didn't find it appealing as they were old school Tata Indian buses which looked beyond bad and left a trail of black smoke behind. Another option is to take taxis or employ a local transfer service, but they are usually expensive. I suggest renting a car in order to explore the island at your own pace. I decided to go with Maki Rental on this occasion as they offered a high level of customer service.
On La Digue, there is virtually no point renting a car. Here, you either walk or rent a bike. I didn't rent a bike as I wanted to explore the island at a slower pace. You can access everything on foot within a couple of hours tops. It's a small, chilled out island.
On Praslin, the getting around options are the same of those on Mahé. I found the cars to be better here (still rented through Maki Rentals), cleaner and much newer. The buses were a little better too. The best way to get around Praslin is definitely by car. It takes roughly 45 min to drive around the entire island, which makes it a great way to explore all the beaches and trial various restaurants throughout.
Prices are absolutely mad in Seychelles. Seychelles is a honeymoon destination and this is exactly what I recommend it for. I don't think it's very suited for indie travellers, because the prices in supermarkets are excruciatingly high and cooking my own food was difficult due to lack of options. This also applies to restaurants. Two cocktails were 20 euro and two courses of food with a couple of gin and tonics ended up being around the 100 euro mark. No, I'm not even talking about fancy restaurants here, just normal places and cafes which served lunch. A little crazy if you ask me. As you know Japan is my favourite place on Earth, hence I'm kinda used to entering any restaurants, paying 500 Japanese yen (5 euro) and getting a meal to die for. Accommodation in a decent apartment or hotel is around 100 euro per night. Accommodation in Four Seasons or Constance Ephelia can easily be over 1000 euro per night, sometimes even more. Moral of the story: you can't really do Seychelles on a budget in my opinion.
Finally, Seychelles has been an amazing experience. I really can't express how beautiful these islands are. I can safely say that reality beats the expectation when you visit Seychelles and the photos you see scattered around the internet really are a true image of how Seychelles look like. These remote islands make for the perfect honeymoon, especially if white sandy beaches and crystal clear water is what you are after. Don't forget that you can see land tortoises, dive, do some island hopping, lounge, tan, swim, snorkel and even hike. What's not to love in this natural paradise called Seychelles?
Would you like to visit Seychelles? Would you stay in an expensive hotel or would you try and go as budget as possible? Would you visit only one island or try to see as much as possible? Let me know in the comments section below.
What do you think?
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Visiting the Seychelles is better when travelling by car. It saves you time
Can you take cars on the ferry?
I didn't see the options to travel with your car in-between islands. You just need to rent different cars on each island.
I will be visiting the Seychelles by Mid January 2022. Your article has been insightful and helpful.
Thanks, for the tips.
Loved the article. Thank you.
Exactly how we've found the Seychelles Unfortunately today is our last day here We island hopped Praslin, La Digue and Mahé Food is ridiculously expensive Also recommend bringing antihistamines and cortisone cream to treat bites, mosquitoes didn't bother me but my wife got bitten alive by sand flies You don't feel the bites at the time, you can't see the flies with the naked eye but boy do you know you've been bitten by the following day!! Some beaches are worse than others, worth googling the beaches
What is the name of the dive company ? Also did they make you get certified or you only went down 20 or so meters? Thanks any tips are much appreciated :)
It's called Seychelles underwater centre. We went down to 10 m only I think so no need to get certified. I mean you can, they also offer that service, but we didn't have the time :)
Hi, We are planning on going to Seychelles for our honeymoon in May 2019 and don't know if we should stay on the island of Praslin or Mahe first. Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts on that?
We will be arriving Mahe early morning at 05 am and departing at early morning at 05:30 am from Mahe after spending 5 nights
Hi! My husband and I are traveling to Seychelles this month. We are trying to plan places to eat. What were your favorite restaurants when in Seychelles?
Enjoy your upcoming holiday! You will love it there.
We didn't eat in restaurants much. We mainly ate at the Four Seasons Hotel.
We also bought a few ingredients to make our own salads etc
Overall, the food is quite pricey but tastes nice.
The restaurants on La Digue seemed the best :)
I am visiting Seychelles in Oct 2018. I am from India. After ready so many blogs, i am confused whether should i carry dollars or Euros.
We are vegetarian and don't drink. I am planning to visit Pralin island also. We are two people.
Any guess approax how much money should i carry?
Note: I have booked hotels and cabs already.
Hi Saurabh, I hope you will enjoy Seychelles. You can carry either. You can take local money out once you are in the country.
You can find some vegetarian dishes and there are plenty of non - alcoholic options.
I cannot advise on how much money you need as this varies significantly based on everyone's spending habits. Seychelles is a luxury destination so various produce might be more expensive than in India or the UK.
Have lots of fun!
Hi Erika again they say that in March it rains the most of the time is it the truth or do you get nice sunny days if it's raining all the time then I might want to change my date!
Hi Cory, my name is Erika and me and my husband are going to the Coral Strand Hotel, coming from South Africa I wouldn't take any expensive jewelry. We are going in March to 22nd I saw that hotels and other places were expensive didn't know about the food my husband has a large variety of allergies for food he's fond of seafood, will eat in hotel or restaurants is it really that expensive and what kinda shop can we expect there to buy something nice I don't want him to spend to much money his one friend told us not to book in Praslin because most of the shops and restaurants are close to the Hotel we booked is it true?
You are going to love your time in Seychelles, such beautiful place. To address your questions.
Coral Strand Hotel seems to have an average score online. The location is good being in Beau Vallon where there are plenty of amenities. You can get to the hypermarket in Victoria which is not too far (by car or bus). The supermarkets are expensive as most of the food is imported from elsewhere. You can find basics such as fruits, vegetables and cans. There is dairy, of course, meat and fish. Most items have english, german or french on the label which means you can check for allergens.
To be sure, I would write a list of your husband's allergies and translate them into French. Everyone speaks French in Seychelles and it's always a good idea to show them the list. Of course, it goes without saying that you should absolutely buy health insurance just in case. Always be safe, especially when travelling with allergies.
There are seafood options, including fish curries and seafood pizza and pasta. Beau Vallon has a variety of restaurants around. Food is expensive in general. It's a luxury holiday destination.
From Beau Vallon it will take you an hour to walk into Victoria for the hypermarket but I assume there are shops around in Beau Vallon as well. I'm afraid I don't know for sure as I stayed in Petite Anse where there was one single shop there.
I personally liked Praslin the most, because it was a great place with shops and restaurants. However, I do think you need a car for convenience. In Praslin we stayed here: https://www.booking.com/hotel/sc/praslin-holiday-home.en-gb.html?aid=115...
The flats were just 5 min from a large enough shop which sold everything we needed to make our food. However, to access the very nice beaches you def need a car!
March October to March tends to be rainier, yes. April-May and September-October tend to be the nicest months. We visited in October for 3 weeks and enjoyed fantastic weather. It rained only once during the evening. I hope this helps :) Let me know if you have any further questions.
Hi there. Thank you for an informative post. We are planning to say on Mahe soon and I wanted to know if you had any info on doing tours to the other islands and what the cost will entail? Any recommended places for lunch in and around Mahe... wondering what a meal for 3 people will come to!
Hi Prani, I hope you will enjoy your time on Mahé. As we organised everything ourselves, I don't have any information on specific tours. We simply took the ferry on our own accord and visited the islands at our convenience.
For meals, we mainly had everything part of the deal with Four Seasons. For the times we decided to eat out, we mainly had food around Beau Vallon. Expect around £15 per person for a one meal course with a drink. I would say that's a fair average.
For more information about Seychelles islands, hiking trails and best beaches, have a look at our new Seychelles guides. https://www.youcouldtravel.com/travel-guides/seychelles-travel-guide
Any questions, please don't hesitate to let me know.
My husband and I are going at the beginning of September. We are traveling to Dubai and figured that we would take the trip to the Seychelles since we will be so close. We will be there for 3 nights and will be staying at the Four Seasons in Mahe. Any recommendations for day trips and nice restaurants that we should check out? I know the island is secluded but is there a place with some good people watching? Have you been to Eden Island? If so, how was it?
Hi Kris, Thank you for your message. Four Seasons in Mahe is by far the best choice. Petite Anse, the beach which is just in front of the hotel, was the beach in the world in our opinion. There are some nice restaurants right in the Four Season complex and although quite expensive, we would recommend them above others.
We haven't been to Eden Island, just to Praslin and La Digue. However, Mahe was our favourite.
I'm not sure if you guys are into hiking or diving. There is a really cool diving site in Beau Vallon. I actually have an article about those guys, really professional and well priced. It was the first time we went for a dive and it was one of the most incredible experiences. The waters were so clear and the corals were superb! My husband saw a beautiful turtle as well. So epic! If hiking is preferred, Anse Major or Morne Blanc are great places for amazing pictures. You can do it on your own or get a guide to take you there and tell you about the local flora and fauna.
We liked the restaurants around Beau Vallon the most, as well as the ones in Four Seasons. We would recommend trying fish mainly as that tends to be the freshest and the most delicious.
Let us know if you have more questions.
Enjoy your awesome holiday, you are going to love it!
This is a great post! Visited a few years ago and I love The Seychelles :)