Seychelles has 115 islands scattered in the Indian Ocean. From big granite islands with surreal granite rock formations, lush rainforests, unique wildlife to an amazing variety of corralling cays, atolls, and uninhabited reef islands… Seychelles are wilder and more diverse than most other exotic island destinations, inviting you to explore and discover. Yet most Seychelles travellers never leave their luxury hotels and resorts and see Seychelles as a luxury beach destination only.
Island hopping is the best way to discover Seychelles
A great way to discover Seychelles is by sailing and island-hopping. Don’t worry, you don’t need to break the bank or own a private yacht in order to discover the Seychelles by boat. As a matter of fact, a sailing trip can be much cheaper than staying at some of the luxury resorts on the islands.
Don’t rush to a travel agency looking for a cruise package thinking that you will see the best of Seychelles! Look for small boat tours, ideally a boat carrying max. 8-12 passengers. That way you will be able to reach the truly remote areas and have a more authentic travel experience.
Seychelles is not a mass tourism destination and it’s not for everyone. But if you like remote places, unspoiled nature, diverse wildlife, desolate wild beaches and fresh food straight from the sea, you will absolutely love discovering the less known islands of the Seychelles!
A few years back we booked such a trip and spent ten days sailing around the Inner islands. We visited Mahè, Praslin, La Digue, Sainte-Anne, Cousin, Curieuse, Grande Soeur, Petit Soeur, and the tiny island of St. Pierre… Most of these islands are very close to each other, yet you will be amazed to see how different each of them are. You can find more detailed information about the Seychelles islands we visited in my previous post, but here is a short overview of what you can expect to see in the Seychelles.
Seychelles is more than just a beach destination – 8 reasons why you should explore the islands
1. You get a chance to visit some of the worlds most remote pristine islands and picture-perfect white-sand beaches providing you a real Robinson Crusoe experience.
2. You can discover jungle and lush rainforests, visit desolate islands with giant palm trees and impressive granite boulders. There are some places that make you think you are on the set of the Jurassic Park movie.
3. Unique opportunity to visit Marine Parks, Nature Reserves and UNESCO World Heritage sites with preserved and unspoilt nature.
4. Coco-de-mer – the biggest nut in the world is only found on several islands in the Seychelles.
5. Wide variety of wildlife. Seychelles are famous for their giant tortoises, some as old as 200 years. You can also expect to see sea turtles, more than 30 species of crabs, diverse lizards and amphibians. Seychelles islands are also known for the great diversity of birds, including some of the worlds rarest endemic birds.
6. Diving and snorkelling with sea turtles and a great variety of colourful fish. If diving or snorkelling is the main reason to visit Seychelles, you might be a bit disappointed though. You will see plenty of colourful fish, but most of the coral is dead.
7. Creole heritage and local culture: drive the traditional ox cart, visit a local market (sometimes not bigger than a single table covered with fresh fish, straight from the sea), visit a vanilla plantation or see how coconut oil is made the old, traditional way. The coconuts are dried in a hot oven for a few days and then pressed in an ox-powered mill.
8. Food. Don’t expect familiar Western food when sailing in the Seychelles, but you will have plenty of opportunities to taste the traditional dishes. Your menu onboard will often include fresh catch of the day. The grilled, fried, roasted or raw fish is served with traditional chutney or cooked vegetables like pumpkin, eggplant, or green mangoes… The fusion of flavours from all over the world makes the Seychellois cuisine a not-to-be-missed experience in itself.
You can travel to the Seychelles, spend a week on the beach or by the pool at a luxury resort and you will probably have a good time. But if you are looking for a more authentic experience and want to discover the islands, sailing and island hopping is the very best way to do it.
Praslin island – best alternative to island hopping in the Seychelles
There is also a good alternative way to discover the Seychelles for those who don’t want to spend day and night on the boat.
You can stay at one of the many hotels on Praslin island and make day trips to the nearby islands. Praslin is the second biggest island of the Seychelles and there are many hotels and resorts on the island. And since Praslin is centrally located, you can easily visit several islands from there by taking day trips. It requires more organisation than booking a sailing tour, but it’s perfectly doable.
Most islands we visited on a sailing cruise are within very easy reach from Praslin. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of information about the available day trips at your hotel in Praslin.
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