Seychelles on a budget? Yes, it can be done! Hiking Anse Major, Beau Vallon Beach sunsets, Island hopping… It doesn’t have to blow the budget!
Visiting the Seychelles, like lot of people, had been a dream for us. We didn’t ever think we could afford to visit on our backpacker budget. It wasn’t until we planned a trip to Madagascar, that we started to investigate visiting the famous African islands. Totally expecting it to be financially unviable, we were chuffed to discover that it was more affordable and accessible than we thought. You can visit these beautiful islands and not break the bank. Yes, it’s more expensive than many places, but it can definitely be done on a budget.
Below are our 12 tips on how to travel to the stunning islands of the Seychelles on a backpacker-friendly budget:
1. Find a good flight deal
Ok, so finding a good flight deal can be tricky. As a general rule, we usually find the cheapest fares through Skyscanner. We also find that the earlier we book our flights, the cheaper they are. Flights from Paris can be very affordable. Having been to a wedding in France in the second week of October, we flew from Paris to Seychelles for about €350 p/p one way.
2. Stay in Guesthouses
Guesthouses are fast becoming our favourite choice of accommodation, as they suit our more simplistic approach to travel. And it’s one of the easiest ways to save money in the Seychelles. We had always associated the Seychelles with luxury resorts, of which there are many. But if you’re planning on going out and exploring all day, is it worth spending a fortune on expensive accommodation? Staying in a guesthouse will also offer a more local experience as they are usually family operated.
We found two fabulous guest house in the Beau Vallon and Bel Ombre areas – Rowsvilla Guest House and Oceanic View Self Catering Apartments. Both spacious apartments were clean, comfortable, featured a fully self contained kitchen, wifi, great locations and friendly hosts for €65 – €85 a night. These were not the only budget options. Check out Booking.com and Hotels Combined for more.
3. Base yourself in Mahé
The Seychelles are an archipelago of 115 Islands, of which the majority are uninhabited. The capital, most developed and biggest island is Mahé. The airport is located in Mahé, along with beautiful beaches, affordable accommodation, beaches, shops and dive centres. It’s a great base for day trips to Île aux Cerfs and Sainte Anne Marine National Park. And the ferries to Praslin and La Digue depart from Mahé.
Although Mahé is typically busier than other islands in the Seychelles (majority of the population live here), there are more options available for travellers. Therefore, it can be cheaper. If you’re after a low budget, Seychelles experience, Mahé is a great place to visit and has a lot to offer travellers.
4. Self cater
We love to self cater when we travel and will always book accommodation with at least a kitchenette if possible. Eating out can cost a lot of money, especially in the Seychelles and isn’t always healthy.
Buying food from small stores, veggie markets or supermarkets can save you LOADS of cash. It also means you have full control over what you eat and if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, it’s often the easiest option. As the Seychelles import a lot of food, the variety in small shops is limited, (especially fruit and veg) and isn’t super cheap. But there was still enough options for us to cook some healthy, cheap meals.
5. Eat at local restaurants or food stalls
Avoid touristy restaurants and eat at local restaurants or food stalls. Eating where the locals eat is usually the cheapest option when travelling and also offers authentic local food. We found beach vendors at the pedestrian extension of Coral Strand Road by Beau Vallon beach. These guys were serving fresh fish, rice and curries. Ask your guesthouse for some cheap local options.
6. Take the essentials with you
This might sound like a no brainer, but definitely take reef-friendly sunscreen, mozzie repellant, hat, sunnies, flip flops etc with you. All of these things are expensive to buy on the islands!
7. Take a refillable water bottle
Tap water in the Seychelles meets WHO standards and is safe to drink. If you’re worried about drinking the tap water, take a water bottle with a filter or a Steripen. We boiled our water first and then cooled it just to be sure. Drinking tap water saves money on buying bottled water and minimises your plastic waste.
8. Consider travelling in the shoulder or low season
This is a great way to save money. Travelling during peak seasons means high prices and bigger crowds. So travelling off peak can be a lot cheaper and quieter. The trade off of course is the weather. We visited the Seychelles late October/early November and if you’ve read our Exploring Mahé Island – The Seychelles blog, you’d know we had a mixed bag. The weather was starting to turn, although it was still hot, there was a bit of rain! It’s worth looking into the seasons and deciding if travelling off-peak is right for you.
9. Take the local ferry to Praslin or La Digue
The islands of Praslin and La Digue look so incredibly dreamy. If you’re looking for a change in scenery and have a little more budget to spend, then consider visiting one or both of these islands. They are the only islands in the Seychelles accessible by ferry and are far more budget friendly then visiting remote islands only accessible by sea plane!
There are 2 local ferries that service these islands. Cat Cocos operates between Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, taking 1-1.5hrs each way. Ticket prices start at around €50 p/p one way. Book in advance to secure a seat and possibly score an early bird ticket. The Inter Island Ferry operates between Praslin and La Digue, taking 15mins each way. Tickets prices are around €14 one way.
10. Take local buses
Local buses cost next to nothing in the Seychelles and are a great way to see the islands (Mahé and Praslin). A flat fee of Rs 6 (€.36c) applies, regardless of the journey length. Pay the driver, who will give you a ticket. Routes and destinations are normally visible on the front of the bus. Bus stops usually have shelters and markings on the road. We took a few bus journeys around Mahé with no problems at all. Having said that, bus travel in the Seychelles isn’t for everyone. There’s a few things that’s worth knowing before you take a journey:
- There is a bus operating to/from the airport. Depending on where you are staying, you may need to change buses in Victoria (Mahé’s capital). There is no luggage storage options on the buses. If your bag is too big, the driver probably won’t let you on. You can’t occupy a seat with luggage either.
- Local buses double as school buses, so you may not get a seat or even get on the bus during the school run. Best to plan around these times
- Bus frequency can be limited or non existent in more remote areas of the island.
- Travelling by bus can be slow going, so is suited to travellers who have time and patience.
- There is no A/C on the buses.
For all bus timetables and info, check out the SPTC website HERE.
11. Hire a car
This is a great way to explore the harder to reach places and to travel at your own pace. For as little as €50 p/day for a small car (maybe even less), hiring a car is a much cheaper and flexible option then booking day trips or a driver. A taxi from the airport to Beau Vallon will cost from €35 one way (our guest house quoted €25). For not a lot more, you can get yourself to your accommodation and then go off exploring right away.
12. Take advantage of free activities
This is one of the best ways to save money and really explore the Seychelles on a budget. There are some great hikes in the Seychelles which are free. If you’ve hired a car, you will be able to access trail heads easily. However, it is possible to access some of these by bus in Mahé. There’s plenty of secluded beaches to explore and it’s possible to snorkel off some of the beaches too. Take your own snorkel gear and you will save money on snorkel hire.
So, yes, you can do the Seychelles on a budget. Follow these tips and make your Seychelles dream come true. We did, checkout our blog exploring Mahe Island HERE.
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