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Destination Guide: The Seychelles Islands

Seychelles Islands
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Giant tortoises. Gentle whale sharks. Towering coconut palms.

You'll find all these wonders and more on the 115 islands of the Seychelles, a remote island nation about 1,000 miles off the coast of Kenya. While the Seychelles are a long haul from the United States, your journey's rewarded with the chance to see world-famous beaches and wildlife that exists nowhere else on earth.

When's the best time to visit the Seychelles? The weather's delightful year-round, but the fishing's best October to April, and birding's superb from April to September. Here's a look at the highlights of the Seychelles Islands.

Favorite Seychelles Tourism Destinations

With 115 islands to explore, where do you begin? Some recommend spending a little time in the capital of Victoria on Mahé. Highlights include the lively Victoria Market (a jumble of local fruits, fresh fish, and souvenirs) and the two-hour hike to Morne Blanc, which rewards you with stunning views. But you may want to skip Victoria, get out and explore. Let's go island-hopping!

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The island of Praslin has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, all with white sand, waving palms and gentle, shallow seas. Anse Lazio is the best known, but also the busiest; for total seclusion, rent a car and go to remote Anse La Blague. Visit the Vallée de Mai preserve to see the enormous coco de mer palm trees and rare species of birds.

Curieuse Island is curious indeed. Once pillaged and burned by sailors, then used as a leper colony, Curieuse is now a protected marine park that's home to more than 500 giant tortoises and other rare species. There are no hotels on the island, but it's worth a day trip from Praslin. Look for the giant hump-head parrotfish in the harbor on your way in.

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La Digue is the most mellow of the Seychelles' inhabited islands. Just south of La Passe village is the beach Anse Source D'Argent, famous for its tumbled boulders and perfect snorkeling water. It gets crowded in the middle of the day, so try to visit early in the morning.

The Best Seychelles Resorts

If you've ever fantasized about your own private island, you can live the dream at the finest Seychelles resorts. The family-friendly Sainte Anne Island offers 87 villas, surrounded by sea, with private pools, four restaurants, and a spa. Stay from October to January to see sea turtles nest on the beach.

The ultra-luxurious, private Cousine Island is one of the best Seychelles resorts for total seclusion. With just five beachside villas, the resort balances luxury with a deep commitment to preserving the island ecology. Guests are invited to participate in conservation work, such as planting indigenous trees and helping to monitor endangered birds.

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Instead of luxury Seychelles resorts, many visitors opt for the more intimate (and less expensive) guesthouses that dot the islands. Georgina's Cottage on Mahé is a short stroll from the beach of Beau Vallon. Rosemary's Guesthouse on Praslin is a B&B with oceanview rooms, right on Cote D’Or beach.

Seychelles Islands Restaurants

The food of the Seychelles is like nothing you've tasted before: a thrilling swirl of African, Chinese, English, French and Indian influences. To eat like a local, stick to seafood; all the meat on the island is flown in. Le Château de Feuilles, at the Relais & Chateaux resort, grows its own produce and catches its fish right off the private beach. Try the giraffe crab (a local specialty named for its spots) or the parrotfish tempura.

For casual dining, Fodor's recommends Les Dauphins Heureux, a cafe on Anse Royale with notable cocktails and a great smoked fish and mango salad, and Marie Antoinette, a Victoria spot known for its fish, chicken, and curry Creole set menu.

Don't leave for the Seychelles Islands without travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance. You want to know you're protected in case of injury, illness and other travel emergencies. Travel happy!

What Do I Need to Travel to the Seychelles Islands?

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Dec 19, 2016