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14.09.2016

Door to Takamaka Beach in Mahe Island from Mumbai or Delhi takes under 5 hours; that kind of timing gives a long weekend in Goa a run for its money. Plus, visa on arrival!

Stay

Like its siblings Mauritius and Maldives, Seychelles is notorious for its uber-expensive resorts, but here’s how to pull off a champagne trip on a beer budget: book yourself into one of the many AirBnBs springing up all over Mahe, and go drink at the swanky hotels (more on that later). We stayed at and loved Red Coconut (approximately Rs 10,000 a night), a pretty property consisting of clapboard houses and decent-sized pool, run by a well-traveled, friendly couple that have their fingers in a lot of island pies including Takamaka rum, an artisanal spirit made in the Seychelles. Another budget option is Chez Batista, a basic but clean hotel on one of the prettiest beaches. If you’d like to splurge, try the new Carrara Beach Hotel, minimalist, hip and with its own beach cove.

Like its siblings Mauritius and Maldives, Seychelles is notorious for its uber-expensive resorts, but here’s how to pull off a champagne trip on a beer budget: book yourself into one of the many AirBnBs springing up all over Mahe, and go drink at the swanky hotels (more on that later).

Eat & Drink

The fanciest, friendliest meal we ate on Mahe was at La Plaine St Andre, a gorgeous French restaurant attached to the Takamaka brewery. They serve great pork chops, blood sausages and even a full vegetarian meal, as long as you call ahead. Maria’s Rock Café is popular for its cook-your-own-meat format, where cuts of meat and fish are served over individual grills, complete with saffron and garlic butter. If you’re anything like us, though, you’re not going to want to cook while on vacation. Chez Batista, Surfer’s Café and Anse Soleil are all competent shacks on the beach, serving up creole lunches to fortify you after a long swim; and if you’re homesick, visit Baobab in Beau Vallon for great pizza and local beer.

Do

Here’s a good tip: most five star resorts on Mahe will give you free run of their properties (beach and pool included), if you just go in for a drink or a meal. We tried and tested this theory at the Four Seasons, The Kempenski, Carrara Beach Hotel and Le Meridien. The Kempenski also has a great deal where a day pass including breakfast, lunch and unlimited drinks until 4 pm costs approximately 100 euros per person.

Beau Vallon seems to be the most popular beach on Mahe, but we found it too crowded. We much preferred the nearby Carrara Beach, Anse Soleil and the beach attached to the Four Seasons, with gentle waves and lots of Instagramming opportunities.

If you have the time, take a ferry out to La Digue, another island about two hours away. It is mostly untouched with limited car access and breathtaking beaches – think Gili Islands from ten years ago, before it was overrun by first-time travelers from the American South.

Know

Visa for Indians is on arrival in Seychelles, and there are direct flights to Mahe from Mumbai and Delhi (approximately 4 hours long). Unless you plan to stay inside your resort, renting a car will hugely improve your experience on the island; driving is easy and cabs are few. Yes, that means you’ll need a designated driver – may we volunteer?

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