The Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles is a well-known tourist destination throughout the region. But the majority of visitors come to Seychelles and confine themselves to the main islands of Mahe. Praslin, and La Digue. In the process they deny themselves the chance to see some of the greatest beauties the island chain has to offer. Taking a boat from each of these main islands unlocks a world of wonder just waiting to be explored.
When the winter weather turns bitter and seems as though it will never end, millions around the globe dream of warm temperatures, turquoise waters, and the sun’s embrace. Whether these people realise it or not, the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles is the very definition of paradise on Earth. Consisting of roughly 100 different islands and islets about 1,000 miles off Africa’s west coast, the Seychelles have a number of hidden gems begging to be explored and experienced.
A trip to the Seychelles is not a success however unless the full breadth of the islands is experienced. Travelling to the capital city of Victoria on Mahe (the main island) and calling it a holiday would be like travelling to New York City and saying “I’ve seen America.” To experience the Seychelles one must traverse its waters, take in its natural beauty, and enjoy its beaches.
Excursions from Mahe
Every visitor to Seychelles will arrive on the main island of Mahe, home to the capital and international airport. While Victoria is the home of modernity in Seychelles, it is far from the main attraction. From Mahe, visitors can set out by boat and air transport to experience the variety of geographical and natural wonders the other islands have to offer.
A 15 minute boat ride from Mahe will land tourists on the island of Sainte Anne where the private island resort at Sainte Anne Resort and Spa has it all. The resort offers 79 garden villas for travelers and five restaurants featuring refined yet relaxed dining with a mix of Mediterranean and creole cuisine.
Natural beauty abounds on this small private island. Visitors can rent bicycles and traverse the hills of the island, lay out on the beach to get some sun, or partake in a variety of nautical adventures including scuba diving and snorkeling.
Excursions from Praslin
Praslin is the second largest island in the chain and while there is an airport, it does not operate on the scale of the international airport on Mahe. Most visitors to Praslin arrive via boat or helicopter transfer. On the island itself, tourists will find some of the richest wildlife in the country. Praslin is home to substantial stretches of tropical forest.
Numerous unique bird species call these forests home, including the Seychelles Bulbul and Black Parrot. The island is also home to the Vallee de Mai nature preserve with its one-of-a-kind coco de mer and vanilla orchids. The islands and islets surrounding Praslin are not without their own charm though.
Creole Travel Services is the nation’s leading tour operator and can take visitors from Praslin to a number of nearby islands including Curieuse, Cousin, Cousine, and Aride Islands. Unique hotel accommodations are available on the quiet nearby islets of Round Island and Chauve Souris.
Excursions from La Digue
The third largest island in the archipelago, La Digue is often overlooked by international travelers because of its smaller population and transportation issues. In order to get to La Digue, international visitors arrive at the international airport on Mahe before catching a ferry to Praslin and another to La Digue.
For those who refuse to be deterred by the boat-hopping, a true paradise awaits. Creole Travel Services can guide any visitors to La Digue to the nearby islands of Grande Soeur and Ile Cocos. Though small in stature, these two islands have so much to offer that skipping them would be criminal.
Grande Souer is a 20 minute boat ride from La Digue and is a popular destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts, in particular because of the high volume of marine life in the surrounding waters. There is also ample opportunity to trek inland on Grande Souer and picnic on its amazing beaches while enjoying panoramic ocean views.
Those looking for a truly wild destination can embark on the 15 minute boat ride to Ile Cocos. The island has been a protected marine park since 1996 and offers a multitude of aquatic and land-based excursions. What makes Ile Cocos unique is the lack of services and accommodation on the island. For a day, visitors can step out of the modern world to enjoy the quiet and beauty of Mother Nature.
Anyone who visits La Digue cannot leave the island until they’ve seen one of the world’s greatest secret treasures. Travel + Leisure Magazine lists the island of La Digue, and its famous Anse Source d’Argent beach, among the best Secret Islands and Secret Beaches on Earth.
The island of La Digue itself features towering granite boulders and a rugged mountainous landscape that must be seen to be believed. The island is home to but a few Seychellois people, roughly 2,000. Those who live here often travel by bike which leaves the island feeling like a piece of unspoiled nature in an increasingly modern world.
As for the beach at Anse Source d’Argent, there are few places on Earth to rival its quaint beauty. The beach itself is framed in by rocky granite cliffs in the background and an offshore reef that encircles the cove, keeping the waters calm and clear for swimmers. Perhaps the most stunning feature of Anse Source d’Argent is its pink sand beaches.
The Only Way to Go
With so much natural beauty spread across a myriad of islands and islets, the only way to spend a holiday in the Seychelles is with a boat at the ready. Whether it is a private or charter yacht, sailboat, or ferry, having a boat available to hop from island to island is the only way to experience all the Seychelles has to offer. From above or below the water, onshore or inland, the Seychelles has magic waiting around every turn to make a holiday special.