The Seychelles are the stuff of legends. Centuries ago, French pirates stashed stolen treasures on these turquoise shores in the Indian Ocean, and today people are still searching for the buccaneers’ golden chests. But I’m not one of them. I’m spending one week in the Seychelles to explore the islands’ other treasures. And there are many.

Beach on Praslin, Seychelles

Mahe Island
My trip to the Seychelles starts on the island of Mahe. It’s the largest of the 115-strong archipelago, and home to the capital, Victoria.

Beach in the Seychelles

A guest of the Seychelles Tourism Board, I’m staying at the Hilltop Boutique Hotel just outside the city center. It’s a great introduction to the country’s smaller properties that offer affordable luxury in a country seen by many travelers as prohibitively expensive.

Hilltop Boutique Hotel in the Seychelles

Just as Hilltop—which has spacious rooms and a good sister restaurant called Marie Antoinette—is a great introduction to the non-five-star resorts in the country, Mahe is a great introduction to the Seychelles.

Hindu Temple in Victoria, Seychelles

Victoria is pint-size as capitals go, but has a lively food market with fresh fish, bright mangoes, and redolent cinnamon bark, as well as a colorful Hindu temple and several churches.

Sir Selwyn Selwyn Clark Market in Victoria, Seychelles

Gift shops abound, and there’s even a miniature Big Ben in the city’s main roundabout.

Little Big Ben in the Seychelles

There’s plenty of culture here, too. The annual Creole Festival is in full swing during my time on Mahe, and the streets fill with dancing, music, and local food.

Creole Festival in the Seychelles

All of the buildings along the main road are decked in colorful streamers, and there is a celebratory feeling in the air.

Creole Festival in the Seychelles

In a quieter corner of the island, an artist named Michael Adams welcomes me into his studio and gallery. Set back among the trees and vines, it’s a wonderful world of color and shapes, drawings and oil paintings. I visit him thanks to the generosity of Arthur Lo Pinto from Creole Travel Services, who volunteers to take me around the island one Sunday.

Artist Michael Adams in the Seychelles

Back outside, Mahe’s beaches are stunning, from the lively shores of Beau Vallon in the north to the white sand and turquoise waters of Intendance Beach in the south. Between them are green mountains with sheer granite cliffs and some of the most beautiful rock formations I’ve ever seen.

Beach in the Seychelles

Oh, and everyone on the island seems to keep giant tortoises as pets. As one does.

Giant Tortoise in the Seychelles

Praslin Island
After exploring Mahe, I take the Cat Cocos ferry to Praslin, where life is slower and more laid back. My home for the two nights on Praslin is the Les Villas d’Or Hotel. It’s right on a stunning tropical beach, and my newly refurbished bungalow has everything I need to live like a local on the waterfront.

Les Villas d'Or Hotel in Praslin, Seychelles

While on Praslin, I tour the famous Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve, a densely forested area home to the endemic Coco de Mer. The coconut not only contains the world’s largest seed, but also looks rather like…well…you know…

Coco de Mer in the Seychelles

Make-you-blush coconut appreciated, I spend the rest of my time on Praslin enjoying the other natural wonders.

Vallee de Mai in the Seychelles

One day I go on a snorkeling tour with Creole Travel Services. The boat, christened Oplezir, takes me to three islands: Sister Island, Felicite Island, and Coco Island. We snorkel at each, eating lunch in between. The water is clear, and I see great tropical fish and a few turtles despite the fact that most of the coral has died off due to rising sea temperatures.

Oplezir Yacht in the Seychelles

Back on Praslin, I dine at restaurants like La Pirogue, which serves a great local octopus curry, and Bonbon Plume, a beachfront restaurant on the famous Anse Lazio. The seafood in the Seychelles is fresh and plentiful, and most of my meals revolve around grilled fish, chicken or octopus curry, and spicy mango salads. The only downside is that the service isn’t always what it should be.

Sea Turtle in the Seychelles

La Digue
The third and final destination during my week in the Seychelles is the island of La Digue.

Boats in the Seychelles

As soon as the Cat Rose ferry pulls in from Praslin, I know that the tourism board has saved the best for last on my itinerary.

Beach on La Digue in the Seychelles

La Digue is a special place, an island with no cars and no hurry to change that—or anything else. Bike and ox cart are the main modes of transport here, and everything moves at island speed.

Ox Cart on La Digue in the Seychelles

A golf cart transfers me from the ferry to my hotel, the Casa de Leela. It’s inland from the beach and across the street from a nature reserve. The room is large and the staff welcoming, and I even have my own bike for the duration of my stay.

Bike on La Digue in the Seychelles

I hop on, eager to explore La Digue. What I find is that the beaches here are even more picture-perfect than those on Mahe and Praslin. How that’s possible, I don’t know.

Beach on La Digue in the Seychelles

Over by Anse Source d’Argent the stunning curved boulders provide a dramatic backdrop against the powdery sand and aquamarine sea. And by the harbor, the sunsets are spectacular. It’s paradise, and I can’t believe I can’t stay forever.

Sunset on La Digue in the Seychelles

But when I go, I take with me the knowledge that while the Seychelles are the stuff of legend, those seeking buried treasure don’t realize that the real riches are sitting all around them.

26 Comments on Lady in the Seychelles

  1. The stuff of dreams! If that’s not paradise, I don’t know where is! Beautiful photos, I love the one of the sea turtle, seeing them when I’m snorkelling aways gives me such a thrill. The coco-de-mer is hilarious, I’ve heard of them but never seen one!

  2. Being from the west coast of the USA the Seychelles seem like an entire world away! I’m so glad I got to see your photos of this gorgeous archipelago until maybe someday I get there myself.

  3. The Seychelles look so insanely beautiful! That blue crystal waters and gorgeous natural spaces, the cites… aggggh I really need to go there! I hope you had fun there!!!
    With love,

  4. I’m American and living in Seychelles! I’m sorry we didn’t meet when you were here. One week is definitely not enough to explore the main islands–it’s a place to relax and enjoy nature and forget about the rest of the world. I fell in love with Seychelles when I visited as a tourist and moved my life and work from San Francisco to this little corner of paradise. Living here is much different than visiting of course–it’s better and I’ve loved every minute of it!

  5. Looks great including the boutique hotels. Thanks for sharing!
    Was the aiport/customs easy to get through? We have heard from horror stories!

  6. Hi there,

    We’re headed to Seychelles for 6 nights, 7 days. Just wondering how many nights you spent on each island and looking back, if you would have changed the amount of time you spent in each place. We’re thinking night 1-Mahe, night 2,3,4 – Praslin, night 5,6-La Digue. Looking for a good balance of nature and relaxation. Thanks!

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