When I think of what heaven would look like, I think of Seychelles. I mean, look at that picture above! It just doesn’t look real. But it is and that’s what makes me salivate every time I think of these beautiful islands located off the east coast of Africa.
Unfortunately, isolation and a pristine environment come with a price, and a visit to Seychelles isn’t cheap. This is not a budget destination. Seychelles is a country that caters to honeymooners, celebrities, and high-end tourists.
Fortunately, in recent years, a few budget options have appeared (thank you Airbnb!) but, for the most part, you’re going to find this a place hard on your wallet.
This travel guide to the Seychelles will help you plan a trip there and give you ways to save money.
Table of Contents
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Top 5 Things to See and Do in the Seychelles
1. Relax on the beach
2. Explore Vallee de Mai
3. Climb Morne Blanc
4. Visit Aldabra Atoll
5. Enjoy the food
Other Things to See and Do in Seychelles
1. Get active
After lounging on the beach, spend some time enjoying the island’s recreational activities. Golf, squash, snorkeling, kayaking, badminton, SUP, tennis, and hiking are all readily available and affordable. Kayak and SUP rentals start at 540 SCR ($30 USD) per day while you can rent snorkeling gear for around 180 SCR ($10 USD) per day. Bring your own snorkeling gear if you want to save money.
2. Explore Cousin Island
Just over a mile southwest of Praslin, Cousin Island is a protected nature reserve. The native bird population here exceeds 300,000! Opened in 1968 specifically to preserve the bird populations, here you can walk through the thick forest and check out all the different bird species. Keep your eyes peeled for the endangered Seychelles Magpie Robin. Admission is 500 SCR per person.
3. Hike Nid d’Aigle
The highest point on La Digue, this hike is a fantastic way to spend a day. The sweeping views of La Digue and of the neighboring islands are magnificent. It’s a 4km hike with 333m of elevation. Most people complete the hike in 1.5-2 hours. Remember to pack plenty of snacks, sunscreen, and water. Aim to hike in the morning before it gets too hot.
4. Visit L’Union Estate
Back when coconut farming was the main industry on La Digue, this was the center of production. Just south of La Passe, the estate is now a national heritage site and is run as a sort of informal museum/theme park. There are some demonstrations involving how the coconuts were harvested and you can explore the Old Plantation House, the colonial-era graveyard, and the boatyard. There’s even a pen housing giant tortoises. Admission is 100 SCR ($6 USD) per person.
5. Search for the Veuve Bird
La Digue is home to the Veuve Nature Reserve, which was set up specifically to protect the Veuve (the black paradise flycatcher). It’s a small purple and black bird that’s endemic to the island and critically endangered. There are less than 300 left in Seychelles as habitat loss has destroyed their traditional ecosystem. You can arrange guided tours which are guaranteed to find the bird. Admission is 150 SCR ($8 USD) and 200 SCR ($11 USD) with a guide.
6. Check out the Natural History Museum
If the weather is less than perfect (unlikely), take break from the beaches and visit the Natural History Museum in Victoria (on Mahe). It’s small but worth a stop if you’d like to learn a thing or two about the island’s wildlife and geology. The museum highlights all the flora and fauna on the island and there are also exhibitions on the island’s military and militia. The museum also focuses on the environmental issues and natural disasters that threaten the nation’s future. Entry is 15 SCR ($1 USD).
7. Wander the Botanical Gardens
Also in Victoria, the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens give you a deeper look at local flora and fauna, with the infamous coco de mer palms as one of the highlights. Spanning 14 acres, the gardens are over a century old and home to fruit bats and giant tortoises (some of which are over 150 years old). Don’t miss the orchid house — it’s beautiful! Admission is 100 SCR ($6 USD) per person.
8. Go diving
There are plenty of incredible sites to dive in Seychelles. A single-tank dive costs around 1,100 SCR ($66 USD). Some popular sites to dive are the Ennerdale wreck, Shark Bank, Dredger Wreck, Fisherman’s Cove Reef, an. Marianne Island. If you visit during the monsoon season (May-September) you can see whale sharks. There are plenty of sharks and mantas here all year round too.
9. Learn to surf
While you can find decent waves here all year round, April-September is when they’re at their best. Group surf classes last 3-4 hours and cost around 3,140 SCR ($175 USD) per person. Expect to pay double that for a private lesson. Carana Beach is a good choice for new surfers, while Anse Bougainville, North East Point, Misfit Baya, and Anse Royale are good options for more experienced surfers.
Seychelles Travel Costs
Accommodation – There are no hostels in Seychelles so budget travelers will want to find cheap guesthouses instead. The most budget-friendly guesthouses usually cost around 1,065 SCR ($59 USD) per night. They often include self-catering facilities and free Wi-Fi.
Airbnb is available on the islands with private rooms starting at 1,075 SCR ($60 USD), however, 2,333 SCR ($130 USD) is more common. For an entire home or apartment, prices start at 1,615 SCR ($90 USD).
Wild camping is prohibited and there are currently no campgrounds on the islands.
If you’re looking to splash out, there are tons of upscale resorts and international chain hotels here starting at 4,500 SCR ($250 USD) per night. (See money saving tips on how to get them for cheap!)
Food – Seychellois cuisine, unsurprisingly, is heavily based on fish and shellfish. Rice is another common staple, with seafood curries being a popular local favorite. Coconuts and fresh fruits (especially mangoes) are available everywhere. Spinach soup, ladob (a sweet plantain/sweet potato dessert), and lentil dhal are other popular dishes.
Eating out at restaurants is pricey, with traditional cuisine costing around 305 SCR ($17 USD). Expect to pay double that for a three-course meal with a drink. If you stick to small restaurants and beach shacks that serve traditional cuisine and only do take-out, you can find meals for around 90 SCR ($5 USD).
There aren’t really any fast food places here aside from pizzerias. Expect to pay around 100 SCR ($6 USD) for a pizza. You can find Indian food around the islands as well, with a main dish costing around 175 SCR ($10 USD).
Both beer and lattes/cappuccinos cost around 72 SCR ($4 USD). A bottle of water is 27 SCR ($1.50 USD).
If you are planning to cook your own meals, expect to spend around 900 SCR ($50 USD) per week on groceries. Most food must be imported but you can find basic foodstuffs like chicken, vegetables, fruit, and rice pretty cheaply.
If you’re cooking your own meals, be sure to check out the Anise Royal Market or the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market. They’re daily farmers markets where you can fresh (and affordable) local produce.
Backpacking Seychelles Suggested Budgets
On a backpacker budget of 1,975-2,333 SCR ($110-130 USD) per day, you can stay in a guesthouse, cook most of your meals, eat out at the occasional pizzeria or take-out restaurant, use public transportation, limit your drinking, and do cheap or free activities like swimming and snorkeling.
On a mid-range budget of 4,666 SCR ($260 USD) per day, you can stay in a three-star hotel or private Airbnb, take some guided tours, visit some islands, eat out for all your meals, take some taxis, drink as much as you want, and rent a kayak or paddleboard.
On a luxury budget of 8,615 SCR ($480 USD) per day, you can stay in a four-star hotel, take domestic flights, eat out any restaurant, hire private drivers or rent a car, and do as many excursions as you want. The sky is the limit!
You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. All prices are in USD.
Seychelles Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
Saving money in Seychelles is difficult. It’s not a place for budget travelers and most people don’t come here wanting to save money. This is that dream trip, after all! But there are a few things you can do so here are a few tips to help you save money in the Seychelles:
- Find cheap flights – Save money on your flight by being flexible and using deal websites like Holiday Pirates, Scott’s Cheap Flights, and The Flight Deal. They often have great last-minute fares and package deals to the islands.
- Stick to cheap guesthouses that include breakfast – Airbnb and Booking.com both have a few affordable options. Look for places that include breakfast or have kitchens to help keep the cost of food down.
- Use hotel points – Since there are a lot of international chains here, you can use hotel points for free nights, which will definitely save you a lot of money on your visit. For how to get those points, see this post.
- Eat take out – Stick to ordering take-out or making your own meals as dine-in restaurants are pretty pricey.
- Avoid taxis – Taxis are super expensive here. Stick to taking the bus, renting a bike, or walking.
- Travel slow – Flights and ferries aren’t cheap. Travel slowly to spread your costs out. Daily ferries and flights will destroy your hopes of staying on budget.
- Bring a reusable water bottle – The tap water here is heavily chlorinated so having a water bottle with a filter will help make sure your water is safe, clean, and doesn’t taste funny. LifeStraw makes reusable bottles that remove the taste and odor of chlorine while also purifying your water so it’s safe.
Where to Stay in Seychelles
There are no hostels here so you’ll need to stay at budget-friendly guesthouses. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
How to Get Around Seychelles
Bus – Public buses are available on the two main islands: Mahé and Praslin. You can reach pretty much anywhere on the islands via bus, though you may need to change buses. Fares range from 5-10 SCR ($0.30-0.60 USD).
Ferry – Ferries between Mahé and Praslin cost around 1,077 SCR ($60 USD) and around 359 SCR ($20 USD) between Praslin and La Digue.
There is only one ferry provider serving each of the main routes between the three major islands so you’re stuck paying whatever Cat Cocos (between Mahé and Praslin) and Cat Rose (between Praslin and La Digue) charge for the tickets.
Air – Flying around the islands isn’t cheap. Most domestic one-way flights costing at least 1,800 SCR ($100 USD). If you’re on a budget, avoid flying.
Car Rental – Car rentals start at 1,077 SCR ($60 USD) per day. You don’t need an International Driving Permit (IDP) here as long as you have a valid license.
Hitchhiking – Hitchhiking here is relatively easy as the people are friendly and usually happy to help someone out. You’ll meet a lot of locals this way and it’s a fun way to explore the islands. You will have longer waits in the more rural regions so make sure you’re not in a hurry. Hitchwiki, the world’s best resource for hitchhiking, doesn’t have any information on Seychelles currently but check the website often as that may change.
When to Go to Seychelles
The best time to visit Seychelles is between April-May and September-October. The islands will be less windy during this time and perfect for watersports and lounging on the beach. Temperatures here sit around 30°C (86°F) all year round, though it’s often breezy so it doesn’t get too humid.
Since different trade winds affect the island at different times of the year, certain islands are better than others depending on which winds are blowing. May-November will be less windy on the west side of the islands while the rest of the year will be less windy on the eastern coasts.
From January-March, you can also see the baby turtle hatching and making their way out to sea. They start nesting and laying eggs in October.
How to Stay Safe in Seychelles
Seychelles is a relatively safe place to visit and travelers needn’t worry about crime here. Theft is going to be your biggest worry but they are rare. Make sure you never leave your bag unattended and that your valuables are out of sight when out and about. If you rent a vehicle, do not leave any valuables in it overnight.
If renting a car, be aware that many roads are narrow and winding. Coastal roads often don’t have barriers so drive cautiously.
When swimming, check the conditions before getting in the water to avoid riptides. Dangerous rip can occur off the Beau Vallon beach (among others) when the waters are rough.
Always trust your gut instinct. Avoid isolated areas at night, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID, before you leave on your trip.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past.
Seychelles Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
These are my favorite companies to use when I travel to Seychelles. They are included here because they consistently find deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the ones I use the most and are always the starting points in my search for travel deals.
- Momondo – This is my favorite booking site. I never book a flight without checking here first.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is another great flight search engine which searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. While I always start with Momondo, I use this site too as a way to compare prices.
- Airbnb – Airbnb is a great accommodation alternative for connecting with homeowners who rent out their homes or apartments.
- Couchsurfing – This website allows you to stay on people’s couches or spare rooms for free. It’s a great way to save money while meeting locals who can tell you the ins and outs of their city. The site also lists events you can attend to meet people (even if you’re not staying with someone).
- Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have a no money down policy, great interface, and the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
- Rome 2 Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
- World Nomads – I buy all my travel insurance from World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in-depth coverage. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2003. Don’t leave home without it!
Seychelles Gear and Packing Guide
If you’re heading on the road and need some gear suggestions, here are my tips for the best travel backpack and for what to pack!
The Best Backpack for Travelers
Straps: Thick and cushy with compression technology that pulls the pack’s load up and inwards so it doesn’t feel as heavy.
Features: Removable top lid, large pocket at the front, hydration compatible, contoured hip belt
If you want something different, refer to my article on how to choose the best travel backpack for tips on picking a pack and other backpack suggestions.
What to Pack for Your Trip
- 1 pair of jeans (heavy and not easily dried, but I like them; a good alternative is khaki pants)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 bathing suit
- 5 T-shirts (Unbound Merino is my preferred company. If you’re a member of NM+, you can get 15% off your purchase)
- 1 long-sleeved T-shirt
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 6 pairs of socks (I always end up losing half)
- 5 pairs of boxer shorts (I’m not a briefs guy!)
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 razor
- 1 package of dental floss
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small bottle of shower gel
- 1 towel
Small Medical Kit (safety is important!!!)
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antibacterial cream
- Hand sanitizer (germs = sick = bad holiday)
- A key or combination lock (safety first)
- Zip-lock bags (keeps things from leaking or exploding)
- Plastic bags (great for laundry)
- Universal charger/adaptor (this applies to everyone)
- LifeStraw (A water bottle with a purifier)
Female Travel Packing List
I’m not a woman, so I don’t know what a woman wears, but Kristin Addis, our solo female travel guru, wrote this list as an addition to the basics above:
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 sarong
- 1 pair of stretchy jeans (they wash and dry easily)
- 1 pair of leggings (if it’s cold, they can go under your jeans, otherwise with a dress or shirt)
- 2-3 long-sleeve tops
- 2-3 T-shirts
- 3-4 spaghetti tops
- 1 light cardigan
- 1 dry shampoo spray & talc powder (keeps long hair grease-free in between washes)
- 1 hairbrush
- Makeup you use
- Hair bands & hair clips
- Feminine hygiene products (you can opt to buy there too, but I prefer not to count on it, and most people have their preferred products)
For more on packing, check out these posts:
Seychelles Travel Guide: Suggested Reading
Stranded in the Seychelles: Teachers in Paradise, by Bev Spicer
This light-hearted travelogue highlights the fun (and often chaotic) friendship of two women as they venture to Seychelles to teach English. Follow along as they meet expats and locals, explore the islands, and settle into life in paradise before they have to come to grips with the realities of “real life” back home.
Voices: Short Stories from the Seychelles Islands, by Glynn Burridge
This award-winning collection of short stories is the perfect introduction to the island. Based on folklore, life on the islands, and his own observations, these stories paint a vivid picture of the land and its people. It’s a quick read but one that offers helpful insights about the culture and what it means to live in in this remote paradise.
For Your Eyes Only, by Ian Fleming
This collection of short stories centers on one of the world’s most popular fictional characters: James Bond. As always, a dangerous mission requires the one and only 007 to save the world. In the book, Bond travels to Seychelles — and several other picturesque destinations. While a work of exaggerated fiction, it’s nevertheless a fun beach read to enjoy while you soak up the sun in paradise.
Seychelles Travel Guide: Related Articles
Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Africa and continue planning your trip: