Nov
25
2013

Seychelles, a Winter Paradise
Nov 25 2013
by Marc Dedonder

Seychelles, a Winter Paradise

Heaven on earth? There are few destinations in the world that can claim to offer such a basic and yet so evocative program to their visitors. The Seychelles can.

This 115 islands archipelago in the Indian Ocean is an exceptional destination, 8,000 kilometers from Europe. It’s  a diamond made of sand and granite, with a perfectly preserved fauna and flora. The Seychelles offer some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

In the middle of the European winter, this is just the perfect destination for a romantic getaway or a true break. The Seychelles are an upscale destination, unspoilt by mass tourism. 200,000 tourists a year compared to 90,000 inhabitants. There’s not a single building that exceeds the top of palm trees. That explains the price, but also the reasons why you will want to travel to the Seychelles.

A vacation in the Seychelles means sailing from island to island and multiply experiences. Mahé, the main island, offers over 65 beaches, including the huge beach of Beauvallon and its water activities. You can also visit Victoria, one of the smallest capitals in the world. Don’t miss the replica of the Vauxhall Bridge clock tower in London, which will vaguely remind you of Big Ben, and the noisy and colorful indoor market. Some will like to hike in the hills of the Morne Seychellois, and visit a tea or vanilla plantation.

But paradise is not only about Mahé. A 45 minute boat ride away, the island of Praslin is famous for some of its beaches, especially Anse Lazio and its turquoise rolls, ranked among the most beautiful in the world. The island is also a Unesco World Heritage site, to protect the Vallée de Mai and its unique coconut trees that produce a fruit with a very evocative shape, called  Coco de Mer and also known as Coco Fesses (Coco butt).

Another 30 minute boat ride and you're in La Digue, an island to explore by bicycle or oxcart, that was immortalized in the film "Emmanuelle". La Digue is home to the most photographed beach in the world : Anse Source d'Argent. There's a good chance that its massive granite rocks falling in translucent waters are pictured on the computer desktop wallpaper of your office neighbor... A bath at sunset will allow you to later claim that you have been to paradise already.

A few minutes by plane or boat, you will discover Curieuse island and its giant tortoises reserve, the Aride island and Cousin island with its bird sanctuary, the Silhouette, Denis, Desroches private islands... The climate is warm and tropical, with a 29 degrees on average throughout the year; many plant and animal species found in the Seychelles are unique (75 fauna species, 1,000 flora species ); you will find diving sites for all levels; the Creole cuisine is very fine, with Chinese and African influences; pirate treasures are still buried here and there...

Yes, the Seychelles are truly the paradise on earth, for those who imagine a beach of white sand, translucent blue water and the shade of a palm tree. A paradise where gay travelers are welcome. But do not expect to find gay venues. And as in many destinations in the Indian Ocean, you'll want to be discreet and try not to offend locals with what might be considered as an inappropriate behaviour.


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