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If you seek an island paradise, look no further than the Seychelles. This idyllic Indian Ocean archipelago preserves a pristine tropical environment and a pleasant, laid-back way of life. You can savor delectable curried fish, watch the waves break on a tranquil white sand beach or glimpse rare creatures that live nowhere else.
Many trips to the Seychelles begin on Mahe Island. The city of Victoria is home to a popular open-air market where local merchants sell fresh herbs, spices, fish and fruit. Nearby, a former coconut grove serves as a nine-hole golf course. You will encounter lush jungles, mangrove swamps and sandy beaches after departing the city.
Many visitors journey beyond Mahe to experience the natural wonders of the less-populated islands. You may spot one of the last 40 paradise flycatchers on Earth, watch carnivorous plants in action or see the world's largest coconuts. The past remains alive here as well; you can still hear traditional music and see wooden ox carts on the streets.
Although they attract a fair number of visitors, these islands offer so many desirable beaches that you may easily escape the crowds. You can walk along a sandy shore, go swimming or enjoy a picnic during any month. One remote, unpopulated beach is Anse La Blague. It provides a purely natural experience without the din of boomboxes or speedboats.
Many travelers enjoy visiting the Seychelles to observe unique wildlife. Local bird species include the tiny paradise flycatcher, the white-eye and the rare fruit pigeon. Hundreds of giant tortoises live on Aldabra Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can also spot various sea turtles while snorkeling or scuba diving.
If you want to experience authentic island life, visit the small coastal town of La Passe. Most people in this quaint village still travel by walking, riding bikes and boarding the ferry. They enjoy life at a slower pace and make time to chat with their neighbors. To gain a better view, hike to the summit of nearby Eagle's Nest Mountain.
With 116 different isles to explore, many foreign visitors enjoy island hopping in the Seychelles. The isolated nature of an island promotes greater differences in culture, flora and fauna. There are several ways to tour the Seychelles. You may use a helicopter, pontoon plane or boat. Ferries serve many of the populated islands as well.
Best Time To Visit:
Although more rain falls in the late autumn and early winter, the Seychelles offer pleasant weather throughout much of the year. Winds become slightly higher in May and subside by October. The Seychelles Tourism Board recommends April, May, October and November for swimming. This is an excellent time of year for bird-watching expeditions as well.
May weather also proves desirable for hiking, sailing, surfing and diving. The ocean water becomes particularly warm in the late spring. However, you may prefer autumn if you enjoy fishing, snorkeling or Creole culture. Travelers can attend a seven-day Creole festival in October, and the country hosts an International Fishing Competition during November.