Talcum-powder beaches lapped by topaz waters, lush hills, a sublime laid-back tempo; these dreams of a tropical paradise become reality in the Seychelles.
Mother Nature was very generous with these 115 islands scattered in the Indian Ocean, and has spoiled them rotten. Undeniably, the beaches are the big attraction, and what beaches: exquisite ribbons of pearlescent sand lapped by topaz waters and backed by lush hills and big glacis boulders. And hardly a soul in sight. Choosing your favourite beach is like trying to pick a flavour of ice cream – they're all so good! Hot favourites include world-famous Anse Source d'Argent, secluded Anse Marron, sexy Anse Takamaka and picture-postcard perfect Anse Lazio.
White-sand beaches, secluded coves, coral-coloured sunsets, swish hotels, slick restaurants, hushed spas. With such a dreamlike setting, it's not surprising that honeymooners and those seeking a glamorous tropical getaway have long had the Seychelles at the top of their wish lists. You too can live the high life at one of the country's star-spangled hotspots, provided you have the cash. If you’re not a millionaire, fear not. This paradise is more affordable than you think. On top of ultraluxurious options, the Seychelles has plenty of self-catering facilities and family-run guesthouses that are easier on the wallet and offer local colour.
Charge your camera batteries, people – the Seychelles is not dubbed 'The Galàpagos of the Indian Ocean' for nothing. Watching sea turtles nesting on Bird Island's sandy beaches or giant Aldabra tortoises roaming freely on Curieuse is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. If you're hoping to spot sooty terns, tropicbirds, warblers and magpie robins in their natural habitats, the bird sanctuaries of Aride, Cousin, and Bird Islands should figure heavily in your planning. And Praslin's Vallée de Mai is a slice of Eden where you can see the very rare coco de mer palms in their natural state.
Diving and snorkelling are the most popular activities in the Seychelles, and rightly so. Healthy reefs, canyon-like terrain, shallow shelves, exciting shipwrecks, impressive granite outcrops and splendid coral gardens give divers and snorkellers almost instant access to a variety of environments. The water is warm and clear, and teeming with life from the tiniest juvenile tropical to the largest pelagic creature, including whale sharks. Whether you're an experienced diver or slapping on fins for the first time, there are sites for all levels. And you'll be welcomed by qualified, multilingual instructors in state-of-the-art dive centres.