Seychelles is a destination that crossed our wanderlust minds not just once. But right after the beautiful illusion of us sipping fruit smoothies on the white-sand beach had passed, there was another thought visualizing in our minds – having to spend tons of money to achieve the illusion. But eventually, we got there and managed to visit Seychelles on a budget. Here’s how.
We want to prove that you can approach every destination and experience with the right mindset, including not going bankrupt to visit the place of your dreams. So we decided that Seychelles could be an affordable destination. We found a good deal on flights to Mahe, and then started planning our trip so we can enjoy the Seychelles islands! Here’s how we did it.
Planning the itinerary on Seychelles
We read tons of blogs and browses many Instagram photos to shape up our plan for Seychelles. We knew 8 days won’t be enough but could be a perfect welcome to the tropical paradise. Our initial rough plan for 8 days on the islands of Seychelles looked like that:
- Arrive in Mahe
- Praslin island – Côte d’Or beach, Anse Lazio for sunset
- La Digue island – bike rent, Anse Source D’Argent, Fond Ferdinand nature trail
- Mahe island – Baie Lazare, Copolia trail or another trail, Victoria – the capital,
- Silhouette island – bike, snorkel, dive
- Eden artificial island – cafes and shopping, mainly killing time before departure if necessary
While we were still at home in Sofia, we found out that Silhouette island was one of those resort islands with one expensive but lovely hotel occupying most of the land. It would cost a fortune to spend a night there, despite the discounts they offered. This left us with the three islands of Praslin, La Digue, and Mahe to roam between. They are well-connected and quite navigable. The ferry is not so cheap so we decided to minimize using it.
The plan changed while in progress. For example, we added some nice stops and beaches as we were recommended by locals and other travelers on the go. We skipped the big hiking on the Copolia trail as we enjoyed beach hopping in Seychelles just too much. The weather changed our plan to snorkel around Coco and Felicite islands, but it really helped our exploration of Curieuse Island. Let’s find out if it’s possible – a trip to Seychelles on a budget.
About Seychelles and Seychellois
The euro is a highly appreciated currency over there. US dollars are ok, but not as much used. Seychelles rupiah is the local currency. We thought people on Seychelles were quite poor so we prepared ourselves accordingly – gathered some of our clothes and brought them overseas to donate them. It was our surprise to realize that Seychellois live in quite good conditions, their houses being much better quality than what we’re used to in Bulgaria. We almost couldn’t find a place to donate our clothes, but Mahe is big enough so we asked our host to bring them to an orphanage. The good news is that generally, people don’t live in poverty in Seychelles.
Having the perfect climate to grow so many plants and being surrounded by seas full of fish, we thought Seychelles produced their food, or at least the most of it. But everything in the stores and supermarkets was imported, including fruits and jams. They have so many fruit trees growing everywhere and still, they need to import fruits and jams?!?
A wonderful surprise for us was the fact that we didn’t spot mass tourism on Seychelles. April is a good month to visit. There were some huge high-end resorts and smaller boutique options, but they hosted just a handful of people. Or that was our impression at least. On the public beaches we visited as independent and self-organized travelers to Seychelles, we met just a few people – some locals and some tourists. But we really figured the meaning of a “secluded” beach. And this is now our standard for lovely beach experience!
Moving around Seychellеs islands
On Praslin, we used public transportation buses to move around. Sailing to nearby smaller islands we did by boats, and between Praslin, La Digue and Mahe – we used the ferry. La Digue is quite a bikeable place, as only golf carts are otherwise allowed. Mahe is bigger so we arranged a car with our host while we were still on La Digue. Mahe has public transport but we were so flexible and independent with our car so we really managed to do the ultimate beach hopping.
So Seychelles can be explored by all means of transportation – by bus, by car, by ferries and boats, by bike and on foot. Buses, renting a car, walking are the options if you want to stick to your Seychelles affordable budget.
What to eat on Seychelles
We were afraid that eating out would cost a fortune in Seychelles and it turned out to be true. If you eat out, it’s so hard to explore Seychelles on a budget. So we needed to check out the supermarket situation. We had no problem finding noodles, cooked stuff, and pastries like samosas, kravattes, cakes. But further than that, only Mahés big supermarkets had plenty of choices to offer. We loved the fruit stalls here and there.
If you want to avoid expensive restaurants, another option is the takeaway places – they cook traditional food like curries, some salads, fish and meat, even pizza. It’s a relatively cheap way to experience local cuisine. Traditional local markets offer tasty treats but you have to know where to go – Victoria (the capital) has at least one, and on Wednesdays, Beau Vallon has a traditional market and fiesta.
Our ultimate food experience was a dinner cooked by elderly locals of Seychelles. We just sat there and salivated in front of huge fresh salad with dressing, plain rice, and amazing tuna fish, the recipe for which we can’t reveal. It was so delicious and those people who cooked it for us did it with love, accompanied by real hotel restaurant experience of the chef. AMAZING!
Accommodation on Seychelles
We kindly didn’t take advantage of the super-duper special offer to sleep on the Silhouette island for 1800 Euro for two nights – taxes and fees, and food excluded. We will be happy to stay there on a press trip or sponsored stay though. We had to be realistic so here’s how we arranged to stay in Seychelles on a budget.
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- Praslin – we rented a room in a local house with Airbnb. The Airbnb concept is going strong, but still, at the border, we had to say we’re staying with friends as the idea would have been hard to explain. It’s cool that people like Cindy share their houses with tourists for under 25 euros a day.
- La Digue – found a self-catering room in a very nice place – Pension Hibiscus. The staff was friendly, it was super clean and private. They had decorated our room with hibiscuses everywhere. The owner helped us arrange our car in Mahe. Paid a bit more than the average, but La Digue is tiny and so touristy. But you can definitely explore La Digue and enjoy it!
- Mahé – found a private room with a shared toilet and kitchen, surrounded by 5-star hotels in Beau Vallon. Booking.com works miracles more and more often. We paid 195 euros for three nights. Seychelles apartments to rent are the future of independent tourism. 😂
The cost of everything in Seychelles (our Seychelles budget)
Please check out our notes below to get an idea of how much things cost in Seychelles. All prices are valid as of April 2017.
- Taxi airport Mahe – ferry terminal Mahe – 35 euro
- Ferry Mahe – Praslin 55 euro
- Taxi ferry house of Cindy 10-15 euro
- Entrance fee Valle de Mai – 21 euro
- Public transport Praslin – 7 SCR (~0.5 euro)
- Beer Seybrew in shops 25 SCR (~1.6 euro); out 60-80 SCR
- Bananas – 20-40 SCR, coconut 25 SCR
- Dinner from the Praslin minimarket – 160 SCR for two, including water and beer and dessert
- Homemade dinner – 300 SCR for two
- Ent fee Curieuse island – 200 SCR pp
- Boat trip for turtles and snorkeling – 40 Euro pp
- Bottle of rose in the store – 7 euro
- Takeaway pizza – 10 euro
- Takeaway curry plus salad 120 SCR
- Ferry La Digue – Praslin – 14 euro pp
- Ferry Praslin – Mahe – 55 euro pp
- Rental car Mahé for 3 days – 120 euro, 20 liters of fuel – 370 SCR
- Parking in central Victoria – 3 hours, 15 SCR
- Eden Plaza Parking – 2 hours, 10 SCR
- Fresh juices in a cafe – 160 SCR
- Our last gala dinner last from the supermarket – 560 SCR
- Lunch Eden Plaza – 560 SCR
So this is how we admired Seychelles on a budget and we think those magical islands can be an affordable destination. Just look for flight deals, stick to homestays and smaller hotels, cook your own meal, or ask your host to cook for you, and you should be fine. Avoid too much cruising between islands, as well as private islands.
Would you give Seychelles on a budget a try? Is there a destination that is said to be expensive but you realized it could be explored on a budget? Tell us in the comments!