You’re planning a trip
to the Seychelles? Lucky you! Mother Nature was very generous with
these 115 islands scattered in the Indian Ocean and has spoiled
them rotten. Undeniably, the beaches are the big attraction, and
what beaches: exquisite ribbons of white sand lapped by topaz waters
and backed by lush hills and big glacis boulders. And nary a crowd
Which island should you go to? Don’t sweat the decision
too much. Be it one of the three main islands of Praslin, La Digue
or Mahé - its mountainous interior being home to Morne Seychellois
National Park - or any outlying island, you’ll strike gold.
With such a dreamlike setting, the Seychelles
is, unsurprisingly, a choice place for a honeymoon. But there’s
much more to do than simply cracking open a bottle of champagne
with the loved one in a luxurious hotel. Having earned a reputation
as a paradigm of ecotourism, the Seychelles is a top spot to
watch birds and giant tortoises in their natural habitat. And
a vast living world lies just below the turquoise waters, beckoning
divers of all levels. When you tire of beaches you can venture
inland on jungle trails, indulge in fine dining or enjoy the
sublime laid-back tempo.
Seychelles Practical information
Visitors to the Seychelles on a tight budget will struggle to get
by on less than €70 per person per day (on the basis of
two people sharing a room in a guesthouse or self-contained bungalow).
A more realistic budget, allowing you to stay at a moderately
priced hotel and treat yourself to a few good restaurants, will
come in at around €100 to €150 per person per day.
Living it up in a top-end resort will usually cost at least €250
per person per day, but will shoot up very quickly with meals
and activities. Island hopping and indulging in excursions and
other activities also jacks costs up considerably.
The unit of currency is the Seychelles rupee (Rs), which is divided
into 100 cents (¢). Bank notes come in denominations of
Rs 10, Rs 25, Rs 50, Rs 100 and Rs 500; there are coins of Rs
1, Rs 5, 1¢, 5¢, 10¢and 25¢.
There are some complex rules governing foreign exchange in the
Seychelles. By law visitors must pay for all accommodation (including
meals and drinks at hotels), excursions, marine park fees, diving,
car hire and transport in a major foreign currency (euros are the
best currency to carry), either in cash or by credit card. Prices
for these services are therefore nearly always quoted in euros
(and less frequently in US dollars).
When changing travellers cheques or withdrawing
money from an ATM, however, you will receive the money in rupees,
not in foreign currency. Even when you pay for something in foreign
currency, you will often receive the change in rupees. You can
use rupees in shops, cafés and restaurants outside the
hotels and for taxi and bus fares, but they can be quite hard
to spend otherwise, so only change small amounts at a time.
If you pay cash in euros at guesthouses,
small hotels or for car rentals, you’ll be in a position to negotiate a discount
(up to 20% if it’s slack). Our tip: bring plenty of cash
with you, and use a credit card as a backup.
If you want to change rupees back into
foreign currency at the end of your stay, you must go back to
the same bank (not necessarily the same branch, but it doesn’t
hurt) with the original exchange receipt or ATM slip. The maximum
you can convert is Rs 800 and it is illegal to take more than
Rs 2000 out of the country. If possible, do it in Victoria rather
than at the airport.
There are ATMs, which accept major international cards, at the
airport and at all the major banks in Victoria. You’ll
also find ATMs at Beau Vallon on Mahé and on Praslin and
Major credit cards, including Visa and MasterCard, are accepted
in most hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and tourist shops.
The four main banks are Barclays Bank, Seychelles Savings Bank,
Nouvobanq and Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB). All have branches
in Victoria while Barclays Bank and Nouvobanq have desks at the
airport that are open for all flights – in theory at least.
There are also banks on Praslin and La Digue. None of the banks
charges commission for changing cash but some do so for travellers
cheques, generally a flat rate of Rs 25.
Climate at Seychelles and when to go
The seasons in the Seychelles
are defined by the trade winds. These bring warmer, wetter airstreams
from the northwest from October to April. From May to September
the southeast trades usher in cooler, drier weather but the winds
whip up the waves and you’ll
want to find protected beaches. The turnaround periods (March
to April and October to November) are normally calm and windless.
The rain generally comes in sudden, heavy
bursts. Mahé and
Silhouette, the most mountainous islands, get the highest rainfall.
January is the wettest month by far, and July and August the driest.
Temperatures range between 24°C and 32°C throughout the
Although the Seychelles lies outside the cyclone zone, cyclone
activity elsewhere in the Indian Ocean can still bring unseasonably
grey, windy weather between December and March.
Hotel prices shoot up and accommodation can be hard to find during
the peak seasons from December to January and July to August. Easter
can also get busy.