It’s true that Prince William and Kate Middleton went to Seychelles for their honeymoon. This does not mean that Seychelles is unaffordable! Seychelles is very much affordable and with Air Seychelles spreading its wings, it is more affordable than ever before. A week in Seychelles cost us about EUR 2,750. This includes air tickets from Mumbai, local transport, island hopping, couple of nights in a five star, few nights in a self catering villa and activities like national parks, hiking, snorkeling trips and diving for both of us.
There are plenty of five star resorts in the Seychelles for those who want live in luxury. Luxury is most ‘affordable’ in Mahe and gets dearer as the islands get smaller, distant and much more exclusive. A good five star resort in Mahe will cost you upwards of USD 275 per night. We stayed at the Kempinski in Mahe for two nights which was in this range.
The exclusive resort that David and Victoria Beckham stayed in costs upwards of EUR 1000 per night!
We averaged our accommodation cost by staying in self catering villas run by locals for five out of seven nights. The island of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue have a range of such villas and you can take your pick. We loved our little villa at the Acquario Guesthouse in Praslin. The place was spic and span and had a very well equipped kitchen. At ~ EUR 80 per night, including breakfast, it was perfect value for money!
Food is expensive in the Seychelles as most fresh produce (except sea food) is imported. While we were happy spending on grub, we could not find much vegetarian delights to eat. We had the local vegetable curry, pizza and pasta.
Restaurant: In a good sit down restaurant, one mains (vegetarian) costs anywhere between EUR 10 – 15. A meal for the two of us, along with a drink each (one beer and one gingerale) typically cost us about EUR 35 – 40.
Picnic/Local ‘Street’ Food: For the budget traveller, there are cheaper options. The local grocery stores stock ‘chilly cakes’ and fresh buns, which make a delightful snack….very similar to our very own ‘wada pav’. We had this for lunch on two occasions. We got about six chilly cakes for EUR 1 only! The fresh buns from the local bakery cost us EUR 1.5 and we picked up some cheese, crackers, flavoured milk and juice for EUR 10. Two slices of banana cake cost us a little less than EUR 1! So, we were done with a picnic lunch in less than EUR15 for both of us!
Self-catering: Nothing saves money like cooking your own meals in a self catering. However, our choice to light the stove was driven primarily by the limited variety of vegetarian food.
We bought some eggs, one 400g pack of pasta, bread, some fresh vegetables, herbs, salt and butter. This was enough for two days… three meals per day and cost us a total of ~ EUR 20 only!
Getting to Mahe, the largest island in the Seychelles is much easier and cheaper now, especially if you stay in India! Air Seychelles has a direct flight from Mumbai to Mahe. If you book a little in advance, the return ticket costs about USD 475 – cheaper than the flight to Mauritius!
Ferries for island hopping: Our major transport expense was on account of the ferry tickets from Mahe -> Praslin -> La Digue and back. This cost us EUR 125 – 130 per person for the round trip (air conditioned economy class). While spending this amount on ferries did appear to be on the higher side, there is no other option if you want to visit Praslin and La Digue.
Surface transport: A lot of travellers take the local buses on the island of Mahe and Praslin. While this is the cheapest option (SCR 10 i.e. ~EUR 0.70 per bus ride), it takes away the flexibility of doing things as per your schedule. Also, if you have anything more than a backpack, boarding the bus is at the driver’s mercy. Taxis are expensive and have to be called for, especially on the island of Praslin and La Digue.
We wanted to do things as per our whims and fancies and rented a car at Mahe and Praslin, which cost us about EUR 35 – 40 per day for unlimited kilometers.
On the tiny island of La Digue, a bicycle is good enough to pedal from one beach to another and can be rented for SCR 100 i.e ~ EUR 7 per day.
Beach hopping: Our main activity during the week was beach hopping in our car, which we had already paid for. All beaches in the Seychelles are public beaches and there are no charges to get to the pristine sands (Anse Source d’Argent is an exception to this).
Hiking: There are plenty of hikes that one can go for, with trails that are well-marked, none of which cost a penny. You may also choose to do a guided trip to one of the many inaccessible beaches and find your own little secret spot, which will come at a price.
Diving and snorkeling: I did two dives on the island of Praslin for a total of ~EUR 100. Half day/ full day trips to neighbouring island (for snorkelling) cost anywhere between EUR 40 – EUR 100 per person depending on the duration, food and marine park fee. We did a half day snorkelling trip from La Digue which cost us ~EUR 50 per person.
Vallee de Mai is one of Seychelles’ two UNESCO sites and is worth at least a couple of hours. Entrance to this unique national park costs ~EUR 20 per person. You may choose to take a guided tour to know more, which will cost you extra.
The BIG question… luxury… budget… backpacking?
Lets be real… Seychelles is not a place for a shoestring budget. Save a little more and you would be all set to enjoy a vacation here. The islands definitely offer options for the budget traveler as well as for the uber luxury seekers. How you wish to spend your vacation, is entirely upto you!
Does this post put Seychelles on your bucketlist?