The Seychelles islands are an absolute paradise – some of the most beautiful islands in the world in fact, but don’t think you can’t travel there if you’re on a budget! Whilst The Seychelles is known for being an ‘exclusive’ holiday destination, catering to honeymooners and luxury travellers who stay in accommodation that typically costs several hundred dollars a night, there are still ways you can enjoy a trip to The Seychelles if you have a smaller budget. Seychelles is the perfect travel destination and with some planning it can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their budget!
What are The Seychelles like?
The Seychelles islands are an archipelago of 115 islands located in the Indian Ocean off East Africa. They are a small nation with less than 90,000 people living there. The Seychelles are mostly known for their incredibly beautiful beaches and clear water. But not only will you find pristine white sand beaches here, you’ll also find lush jungle covering the mountainous interior, as well as lots of unique nature not found anywhere else! The Seychelles offers the perfect mix between a relaxing beach holiday and and adventurous exploring holiday. Also the people are very laid-back and friendly here – some of the nicest people I have ever met!
Most people will stick to the 3 main islands when they visit The Seychelles. They are Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. It is very easy and affordable to get between the three main islands of Seychelles. More about that below!
Seychelles is a complete paradise and I really recommend anyone to visit! The tips below will help you if you plan to travel to The Seychelles on a budget:
HOW TO EXPLORE THE SEYCHELLES ON A BUDGET:
- travel off-peak for cheaper flights/accommodation
- stay in an Airbnb or simple guesthouse as opposed to an expensive resort
- book everything in advance to get the best deals
- get local Creole food at ‘take-aways’ and local eateries
- explore independently: don’t do tours
- try to travel 2 of you so you split the costs of car hire and accommodation
- if you have the time, consider using the bus as transport instead of hiring a car
When is the best time to visit The Seychelles?
Generally The Seychelles have warm sunny weather year round.
The peak months for tourism in the Seychelles is from June – August. Many tourists visit during this time as the weather is very pleasant, therefore making accommodation options more expensive at this time. This means you’ll need to book accommodation several months in advance if you want to visit during these months. Despite these being the busiest months in The Seychelles however, it won’t feel crowded.
The months of April – May and October – November are therefore the best time to visit The Seychelles due to the constant weather (perfect for sunbathing and diving), not too many crowds and much more reasonably priced accommodation options as it is either side of the peak months.
From December to March it can often be humid and a bit rainy. Downpours are often short and the weather is often pleasant in between showers. Despite this, December and January are very popular months to visit and so prices in these two months also rise.
If you visit The Seychelles in the off peak months you can often get much better deals on flights and accommodation so bear this in mind if you are flexible with your dates and want to keep costs low.
SEYCHELLES BUDGET TRAVEL TIP: VISIT IN OFF-PEAK SEASON FOR CHEAPER FLIGTS AND ACCOMMODATION
Accommodation in Seychelles
As mentioned earlier, there are lots of high end accommodation options and resorts in The Seychelles to cater for luxury travellers that charge hundreds of dollars per night. There are also lots of reasonable lower budget accommodation options available however for those wanting to travel to The Seychelles at a more reasonable price.
A great option is to stay in an inexpensive guesthouse or an Airbnb. You can often find places at around $40-$70 a night depending on the location. Staying in an Airbnb also gives you the choice of being able to prepare meals in the apartment thus reducing costs further. Click here to get $34 off your first Airbnb reservation!
SEYCHELLES BUDGET TRAVEL TIP: STAY IN AN INEXPENSIVE GUESTHOUSE OR AIRBNB
How much will a budget travel trip to The Seychelles cost you?
If you choose to stay in an Airbnb, rent a car to get around and eat at modest places and don’t do tours you can get by on around $60 per day. I visited The Seychelles with a friend so obviously the car hire and accommodation costs were shared, so often travelling with a friend is a great way to keep costs down as most things are split price-wise.
SEYCHELLES BUDGET TRAVEL TIP: TRAVEL WITH A FRIEND TO SPLIT COSTS
Transport in Seychelles
The most convenient way to get around The Seychelles is by hire car – you can pick one up from the airport when you arrive at Mahe (make sure to reserve beforehand to get the best prices and options!). You can not take cars across on the ferry so if you want to explore Praslin by car too you will need to hire another car there. You can’t rent a car on La Digue.
Hiring a car gives you a lot of flexibility to stop where and when you like and explore some more hidden beaches. Car hire isn’t expensive and if you only have a short time in The Seychelles it will ensure you get to see as many places as possible as it is the quickest way to travel round. Car hire costs roughly $40 per day.
If you don’t want to/can’t hire a car then the bus is the most economical option to explore Mahe and Praslin although it will take slightly longer to get around. The buses however are very cheap: 5 Seychellois Rupee (£0.25) for a regular bus or 10 Seychellois Rupee (£0.50) for an air-conditioned bus.
Note when hiring a car! Take note on the map where the petrol stations are on the island as they are quite spaced out! There are only 6 in Mahe and 2 in Praslin and sometimes one of them may have run out of petrol or randomly be closed in the middle of the day so make sure you keep the petrol topped up as much as possible.
SEYCHELLES BUDGET TRAVEL TIP: TAKE THE BUS IF YOU CAN’T RENT A CAR
SEYCHELLES TRAVEL ITINERARY
What islands to visit in The Seychelles
The Seychelles has three main islands that are affordable and accessible to visit: Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.
Ideally you should spend a couple of days on each of the three main islands. There are of course other islands you can visit but they are expensive not only to get to, but to stay there too as all the accommodation is very high end (think $1000+ per night!). Therefore to experience the best of the Seychelles if you are on a budget I recommend you to just travel between the three main islands. There is more than enough to keep you occupied for several days here! All of the islands are fairly small and within half an hour you can be on the beach or at the top of a mountain!
Mahe is the main island of the Seychelles: the International Airport is here so this is where you will first start your Seychelles holiday. Mahe is the largest island and the capital Victoria is also located here. Don’t be fooled though, Victoria is the smallest capital city in the world! It is also the most chilled capital I have ever been to!
What to do in Mahe:
Mahe is perfect for beach hopping or for doing some trails in the National Parks.
You can hike to Morne Blanc in Morne Seychellois National Park: the hike goes through tea plantations and is quite challenging but the view from the top is incredible. It takes about 1 hour to climb to the top.
Mahe has many beaches perfect for snorkelling and swimming. Lots of the beaches and coves are secluded and some are a little more popular. Lots of the beaches have crystal azure waters and reef nearby which make them great for snorkelling. If you want to snorkel bring your own snorkelling equipment as a snorkelling tour can be quite expensive. The Seychelles has some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen: check out the best beaches on Mahe below:
Best beaches on Mahe:
– Anse Intendance
– Anse Major
– Anse a la mouche
– Anse aux pins
– Beau Vallon
– Port Launay Beach
– Anse Parnel
– Anse Soleil
Praslin is The Seychelles’ second largest island (at a tiny 38 square kilometres!) and is located about 50km north east of Mahe. It can be reached by ferry or plane (Air Seychelles). The ferry ride takes about 1 hour and can sometimes be very rough so try to take anti-sickness tablets with you.
What to do on Praslin:
Praslin is even more laid back than Mahe and is home to the world famous Anse Lazio (Anse means ‘beach’ in Seychellois Creole). Anse Lazio is one of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in the world. If there is only one beach you visit when on Praslin make sure Anse Lazio is it – you absolutely can not miss this place!
You can hire glass bottomed canoes in Praslin so you can see all the fish and coral underneath you! Pictures like this are also incredibly popular on Instagram if you have a drone! If you are visiting in October or November you will see lots of whale sharks – this is one of the best places in the world to see them and you can even go swimming with them!
Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve is also a must visit when in Praslin. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is an absolutely extraordinary forest and the vegetation here is so special that it was once believed to be the original site of The Garden of Eden! It is certainly clear to see why when you step inside.
Here at Valle de Mai you can find some very unique species, including the wild Coco de Mer trees. Coco de Mer is the world’s largest nut and is only found on The Seychelles. The Coco de Mer (sea coconut) is very rare and sometimes it is also called the ‘love nut’ or the ‘forbidden fruit’ due to it’s shape resembling that of a female bottom.
At Vallee de Mai you can also see black parrots – The Seychelles is the only place in the world where you can find them! Entry to Vallee de Mai is SCR 305.
Alternatively for a cheaper option you can go to Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve. Entrance is SCR 100 but you can only visit as part of a tour. Tours run at 9am.
La Digue is the smallest of the three main islands of The Seychelles. It takes a 15 minute ferry to get from Praslin to La Digue as it is only 12km east of Praslin.
La Digue is also famous for it’s beaches. One in particular is Anse Source d’Argent – the most photographed beach in the world according to National Geographic! The sand is a beautiful white and there are lots of granite boulders here that make it perfect for taking photographs. To reach Anse Source d’Argent you have to hike past lots of big boulders, and as this beach is very popular, arrive early if you want to enjoy it to yourself.
Also go to Grand Anse which is extremely beautiful. Petite Anse and Anse Cocos are also definitely worth a stop!
Another popular thing to do on La Digue is to rent a bike and cycle around. The island is so small that you can actually cycle across the whole island in about 20 minutes! Bikes are usually rented out at SCR 150 (£7.50) per day. Alternatively if you don’t want to hire a bike you can take a trip on an ox cart!
La Digue is a very easy paced and traditional island and no vehicles are permitted here – only bikes and ox carts. The old plantation here will also give you the feeling like you have been transported back in time! Stargazing is also really incredible here as there are no streetlights on La Digue.
If you fancy doing some hiking on La Digue head to Nid d’Aigle (Eagle’s Nest). This is the highest point on La Digue at 333m above sea level. At the top of Nid d’Aigle you will get incredible views looking out across La Digue and the surrounding islands.
Where to see the giant Albadra tortoises in Seychelles
The islands of Curieuse and St Piere are famous for having large colonies of the giant Albadra tortoises. These giant tortoises are found only here and on the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. You can take a day trip to these islands to see the tortoises wandering along the beach, or to cut costs you can just see them at the Union Estate at La Digue.
Seychelles is quite an easy country to explore independently. You’ll want to be beach hopping for the most part of the trip anyway so tours won’t be necessary, unless you specifically want to do a day trip on a catamaran or you want to visit one of the outer islands.
But these day trips can work out quite expensive and a little overpriced, and if you don’t like crowds and want to keep costs down I advise against doing them. Especially the day trip tour from Mahe to La Digue and Praslin as this means you will be on the beautiful beaches at the most crowded time as everyone else on the tour will also be on the beach. The beach is best enjoyed in the absence of tour groups so if you want to have more freedom over your time it is best to visit independently.
SEYCHELLES BUDGET TRAVEL TIP: TRAVEL INDEPENDENTLY, DON’T DO TOURS
How to get from Mahe to Praslin
To get from Mahe to Praslin you can either take the ferry (1 hour) or a flight. Despite the ferry being the most common option, do look at flight prices on the Air Seychelles website because if you book in advance often the price of the flight can be the same as the ferry! Plus you will get incredible aerial views on the short flight and avoid the rough boat ride over (lots of people get seasick!).
The ferry costs $60 each way and there are several ferries a day. The main ferry line is called Cat Cocos and you need to book tickets at least 2 days in advance. During the high season I recommend to book as soon as possible to ensure seats don’t sell out! Click here to book tickets and to view the timetable.
Mahe – Praslin: 1 hour
Mahe – La Digue via Praslin: 1 hour 30 minutes
Mahe – La Digue direct: 1 hour 10 minutes
Praslin – La Digue: 15 minutes
How to get from Praslin to La Digue
To reach La Digue you cannot take a flight, you need to take a ferry either from Praslin or from Mahe. The ferry from Praslin to La Digue takes around 15 minutes and costs $16 one way. Many people will choose to spend time on Praslin before heading to La Digue and then going back to Mahe.
Where to eat in Seychelles
If you often travel on a budget I’m sure you are aware that along with accommodation and transport, food can often cost a lot of money depending on where you eat, and it’s no different in The Seychelles. Avoid restaurants in resorts or restaurants that look too fancy. Instead, head to one of the many ‘takeaway’ stalls which are a lot more reasonably priced. They will mostly cook seafood or traditional local Creole food such as chicken curry with rice which is really delicious. The food will be a buffet and you will get two meals for about $5!
The Creole barbecues and beachside cafes are really good too if you can find one! Do as lots of the locals do and get a takeaway from one of the food stalls and eat on the beach – you get a perfect sea view and are eating at a fraction of the cost! You’ll probably even find some of the locals come over to have a chat – they are such kind friendly laid-back people!
Bear in mind the local food is always going to be a lot cheaper than any international food here as it is an island and so any imported food will cost more. The Creole food here is not only a lot cheaper but it is very delicious and really filling!
If you want to cook food to eat in your apartment you can buy food from mini-marts or the markets in Victoria and Beau Vallon. There are also a few cheap local eateries here if you wish to eat out.
As for the local drink in Seychelles – that would be the island’s local rum: Takamaka rum! Is it delicious so make sure to buy some to bring home (you can buy it at the airport after security if you are worried to put a big bottle in your check-in suitcase!).
SEYCHELLES BUDGET TRAVEL TIP: GET LOCAL FOOD AT ‘TAKE-AWAYS’
SIM card & Wifi
When I travel on a budget I often just rely on wifi, but in Seychelles the wifi is quite temperamental and pretty slow. For this reason you may want to consider getting a SIM card when you are here. Cable & Wireless do 1GB of data for 200 Seychellois Rupee and you can buy the SIM card at most shops here. If you don’t want to get a SIM card just make sure you have offline maps such as maps.me downloaded on your phone.
How to get to The Seychelles
As The Seychelles are a group of islands, the only way to get here is by flying. Air Seychelles is the national airline (partnered with Etihad Airways) although several other airlines also fly here such as British Airways, Emirates, Turkish Airways, Etihad, Air France. Flights can be expensive so I look on Skyscanner to compare prices as it compares all the airlines on different dates and gives you the cheapest options. Often you can find good deals if your dates are a little flexible or if you book separate connecting flights and have a layover in the connecting city (for example Dubai with Emirates or Abu Dhabi with Etihad).
If you are keen to visit another African island paradise, check out Mauritius! Mauritius is very similar to the Seychelles in terms of the friendly people, culture, language, landscape and lifestyle. There is certainly a lot more to both island countries than beautiful beaches alone. Plus Mauritius is even a little cheaper than Seychelles in terms of accommodation and flights.
Just like in The Seychelles the people in Mauritius speak a mix of English, French and Creole. Click here to read my Mauritius itinerary!