The Backpacking Housewife Island Hopping Seychelles

Island Hopping The Seychelles on a Modest Travel Budget

The idea a holiday in the Seychelles immediately brings to mind fabulous images of the ultimate tropical island-hopping getaway: swaying palm trees, sun-soaked white sand beaches, warm and clear azure waters… and high-end luxury resorts.

And, of course, with all that luxury we can also imagine high-priced flights and expensive hotels.

The Seychelles is an archipelago of over a hundred islands, scattered like sparkling emeralds off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, and it has always been on my travel wish list.

But, as we usually travel on a conservative budget, to facilitate our lifestyle of long term and extended slow travel, I’d only imagined that we’d ever get to the Seychelles if we squirrelled away some cash and then planned the trip meticulously to perhaps coincide with a special occasion like a wedding anniversary.

But, as it turned out, we did get to go to island hopping in the Seychelles for two fabulous weeks

And we did so entirely speculatively and at a price that suited our conservative travel budget.

“How is that possible?!” You may ask when the Seychelles is a notoriously expensive long-haul destination.

Well… there was a little bit of luck and spontaneity involved but do let me share!

How To Island Hop The Seychelles On A Modest Budget

The backpacking husband and I were back in the UK to attend a friend’s wedding after travelling through Central America, but we’d arrived in the UK with the wedding still a little over two weeks away, having factored in some time for shopping for wedding outfits and to visit family in the UK.

And, as it happened, we managed to those things much faster than we’d anticipated.

So then… what to do for two whole weeks aside from twiddling our thumbs?

We decided on a whim to browse our usual last minute travel websites and flight search engines to see if we could get a last minute get-away and on Skyscanner (n/a – not an affiliated link) we just happened to see two seats available for THE VERY NEXT DAY going from London to Mahe in the Seychelles with Emirates (n/a) at a bargain bucket price. Pure luck? Yes!

And, whether they were last seats on the flight at a discount or a mistake price, we still don’t know!

We booked the flights without hesitation – as we’ve found that hesitation is fatal to spontaneity – and also without daring to refresh the page as we’ve discovered that’s the way a real bargain will somehow magically disappear before your eyes!

Travel Tip

We then went straight to Booking.com (n/a) and booked our first night’s accommodation on Mahe.

Let’s Go Island Hopping the Seychelles!

Island Hopping Seychelles The Backpacking Housewife
Island Hopping – Seychelles

Our plan was to arrive on the main island of Mahe, and then allow a day or two to both get our bearings, and to plan how to independently travel to some of the other islands.

Sometimes, it can be a package deal with a travel agent that will get you the best last-minute bargain holiday, but we have also found grabbing a last-minute low-priced flight and booking your own accommodation independently and online can be a great way to travel on a budget too.

Remember, if you book a package with a travel agent then you pay per person, but in booking your accommodation independently you will be paying the price of the room per night.

Travel Tip

The Seychelles are made up of inner and outer islands. Mahe is the largest island and is home to the majority of the population. It has a small and pretty capital city, Victoria, and it’s the location of the international airport. We flew from London and after a quick connecting flight in Dubai, we arrived in Mahe feeling a bit jetlagged after our long flights, but excited to arrive.

We stayed our first and our last two nights in Seychelles at a small resort hotel on a lovely beach at the popular resort area of Beau Vallon. It wasn’t the least or the most expensive option available but it was right on the beach and it also had a swimming pool and an onsite bar and restaurant.

Our small resort hotel was on a lovely beach at the popular resort area of Beau Vallon.
Our small resort hotel was on a lovely beach at the popular resort area of Beau Vallon.

How To Island Hop The Seychelles On A Modest Budget

We found a hotel on Mahe which we booked on Booking.com (n/a) was a perfect place to start our island-hopping adventures and to relax afterwards before our flight home. We discovered by chance that our choice of hotel on Mahe was right next door and on the same beach as The Savoy – and so for our last two days we bought a few cocktails at the pool bar at The Savoy and we used their sun terrace and loungers and pool instead of the (not quite as nice) one at our own hotel!

While on Mahe we also explore the capital Victoria – which is the smallest capital city in Africa.

We admired the historic buildings and particularly the famous and iconic landmark clock tower.

The clock tower is an emblem of previous British rule and it looks like a mini-Big Ben. It was installed in the centre of Victoria in colonial times and in 1903 in memory of Queen Victoria who died in 1901. Made of cast iron the clock is a replica of the one at the entrance to Victoria Station in London in 1892 that commemorated Queen Victoria’s Diamon Jubilee.

The iconic clock tower has now presided over the city centre for over one hundred years and, although it was originally painted black, it is now painted silver. It otherwise remains the same, whereas the town around it has changed with the times.

Praslin Island

Having fully recuperated from our jetlag, we made plans to travel to the much smaller island but second largest of the inner islands called Praslin – an island famed for its many beautiful beaches and its jungle interior and its national park – the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve.

We took a high-speed catamaran ferry over to Praslin with a ferry company called Cat Cocos (n/a).

My backpacking husband was looking forward to the world class scuba diving from Praslin, and I was particularly interested in seeing the beautiful flora and fauna and the tropical beaches bordered with giant granite boulders, for which the Seychelles are famous. Praslin is also where you can find the famous and indigenous Coco de Mer nut.

Coco de Mer Janice Horton
The Seychelles is famous for tropical beaches bordered with giant granite boulders.

How To Island Hop The Seychelles On A Modest Budget

We alternated our days exploring Praslin island and lounging at the hotel pool or hanging out at the beach, snorkelling and scuba diving with the local dive centre, and also taking island hopping days out by booking boat trips and tours.

The ferry from Inter Island Quay, Victoria, to Praslin Quay takes one hour depending on sea conditions.

I found the journey surprisingly rough. I felt horribly seasick and made a mental note to myself to be sure to take a sea sick pill on the return journey. Despite this, I would highly recommend Cat Cocos fast ferry to you and you can find schedules and book tickets via their website (n/a).

On Praslin, we based ourselves at a hotel and beach resort at Anse Volbert Village. Again, a mid-priced and affordable hotel, not too far away in distance but a world away from high-priced hotels like Raffles, just along the coast.

From our hotel, we were able to hire a car and driver for a morning to take us all around the island and to the main sights of Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve and all the best beaches and we also took a tour of The Black Pearl Farm – which I used as research for my bestselling romantic adventure novel (affiliated link) Island In The Sun.

Then, from Praslin, it looked relatively easy to take day trips to all the smaller outer islands.

My visit and tour to the Black Pearl Farm on Praslin was research for my novel Island In The Sun.

La Digue Island

We took a small ferry boat to explore La Digue, the fourth largest inhabited island in the Seychelles, but still a comparatively tiny island considering its popularity. La Digue was named after the ship that French naval captain Marc-Joseph Marion Fresne first sailed to the Seychelles in 1768. The island is stunningly beautiful – like a picture postcard – and it is surrounded by powder soft white sand beaches and warm clear water and coral reef.

It’s just a twenty minute boat trip to La Digue from Praslin.

La Digue is a car free island, so we hired bicycles to cycle along sandy pathways through the coconut palm forests of the interior, until we came across the world famous – and most photographed beach in the world – the beach at Anse Source D’Argent.

Curieuse Island

An absolute highlight of our time was our wonderful day spent on the tiny granite Curieuse Island.

The island was once called Ile Rouge for its red soil and, from 1829 until 1965, the island was used as a leper colony. Indeed, the original Doctor’s house on the island, a Creole style building from that era that we also visited, is now completely restored and offers a small museum to tourists.

Curieuse Island is also, importantly, the primary home of the Coco de Mer palm trees.

Praslin, as I mentioned earlier to you and where I found the famous nut, is the only other place in the world to find the Coco de Mer nut growing in the UNESCO nature reserve.

But it is Curieuse Island that has the only natural Coco de Mer forest.

On Curieuse, I was keen to spent some up close and personal time with the 300 or so free roaming Aldabra giant tortoises that live on the conservation reserve as a colony and who are apparently completely unfazed by tourists.

The oldest of these magnificent creatures are well over one hundred years old. The oldest, perhaps 120 years old, although we were told by a ranger some can live up to 200 years but this is difficult to verify as they outlive their human caretakers and observers.

According to Wikipedia: as of 2016, Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise is thought to be the oldest living giant tortoise at the age of 189 years. And Esmeralda, an Aldabra giant tortoise, is second at the age of 177 years.  How incredible!

When Is The Best Time To Visit The Seychelles?

Situated just south of the equator, the islands of the Seychelles are bathed in warm sunshine most of the year and they experience just two seasons – wet and dry – and it’s the trade winds that usually dictate the weather.

The wet and rainy season is from November to March.

January and February are the cooler wettest months.

The dry season is when a south-easterly breeze blows across the islands between May to September. And so, the relatively wind free ‘shoulder’ months of April and October are considered the best time to visit the Seychelles with calmer seas and less chances of rainy days. We visited the Seychelles during the end of July.

June, July, and August, are classed as high season for tourism in the Seychelles.

In July, and during the time of our visit, the cooler southernly trade winds are known to cause a high sea swell between Mahe and Praslin, which is why we found our crossing to be a little rough.

Otherwise, in July, we found the weather to be idyllic and temperatures around 27-30 deg C.

To Conclude:

How To Island Hop The Seychelles On A Budget

At the time of writing, to find costings comparative to our own experience of island hopping the Seychelles, I did a quick check on current prices for accommodations for the month of July with smaller hotels and resorts on the Seychelles and specifically the islands of Mahe and Praslin.

I searched on Booking.com (not an affiliated link) because that’s the accommodation website that I used myself. And, although obviously the sky is the limit if that suits your budget (for example Raffles on Praslin is currently priced at £856 per room per night) the prices of accommodations you can book online classed by guests as ‘very good’ and ‘exceptional’ can be very reasonably priced from £65 per room per night.

So, if you can be super flexible and impulsive – and you can see heavily discounted seats on a flight to the Seychelles and you then independently book reasonably priced accommodation online (and I’m NOT talking about hostel rooms or shared facilities here) – then it’s absolutely possible to visit the Seychelles on a far more modest budget than you might think and that many travel agencies would have you believe.

Please note that I recommend taking out comprehensive travel insurance from the time of booking travel. This is especially important when you are booking travel independently – and not covered by ABTA – in order to fully protect your travel costs.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my photos and reading about my experiences in the Seychelles.

I do hope my tips are inspiring and useful to you.

Perhaps you’ve also been to The Seychelles?

If so, what was your favourite thing to do there?

Or are The Seychelles on your travel bucket/wish list?

Let me know!

Leave a comment below or message me on my contact page.

I’m on social media too and I’d love to hear from you or answer your travel questions.

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