A few days after our intimate wedding in Dubai, we boarded a four hour flight south to spend our honeymoon in the stunning Seychelles – an archipelago nation off the east coast of Africa. After seeing unbelievable photos of the Republic of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, I had been completely fascinated by the country for a couple years. I knew it was the perfect place to spend our honeymoon. Thankfully my wonderful husband agreed, and since we were in the area and could use our Starwood Preferred Guest points for the hotel – it all worked out perfectly.
We stayed on the main island of Mahe, at the Le Meridien Barbarons. The resort was nestled amongst tropical gardens on its own private beach, on its own blue lagoon – which was great for snorkeling. Since it was the low-season, some days we had the gorgeous white sand beach to ourselves, how romantic!
English (and French & Creole) is widely spoken, so communication was never a problem. Even though it’s an African state, the Euro is the currency of choice on these islands, so watch out as everything (accommodation, meals and transportation) is quite expensive.
We wanted to explore the island and dine outside of our resort so we hired a private driver to take us around Mahe. He took us to where he liked to eat, an open-air restaurant, right on the beach. We ate prawn pineapple pizza from a wood-fired pizza oven and sat at a table with our feet in the sand. He also drove us to an amazing seafood restaurant, Chez Plume, where we wore bibs and dinned on Seychellois lobster.
We could not leave the Seychelles without seeing the ‘most photographed beach in the world‘, and instigator of my intrigue: Anse Source D’Argent on La Digue. It’s definitely not the easiest beach to get to. We flew from Mahe to Praslin island, taxied to the wharf, and then took a boat to La Digue island. The adventure of our journey and the anticipation of getting there, only heightened my excitement.
Upon disembarking from the boat, we rented bicycles from friendly vendors, since there are no taxis or buses on the tiny island – although we could have hired an oxcart. Along the way we stopped to drink fresh young coconut, fed leaves to giant tortoises, and cycled through vanilla plantations. We were pretty hungry from our ride, so luckily right off Anse Source D’Argent, there was a little restaurant where we ordered some fresh fish and rice. We then proceeded to bike for about 2.5 km to Grand Anse beach, which was even more breathtaking.
It’s a good thing they have impressive environmental protection laws: The Seychelles holds a record for the highest percentage of land under natural conservation—nearly 50% of the total land area of the entire country. This enforcement will allow them to protect their giant tortoises and the “world’s heaviest seed pod”, Coco-de-mer – a species of palm that grows only on the islands of Praslin and neighbouring Curieuse. Sometimes nicknamed the “love nut” because of its suggestive shape.
Legend has it, Valley de Mai on Praslin is the original “Garden of Eden” where Adam and Even lived at the beginning of time and ate the forbidden fruit. I totally believe it. With prehistoric looking granite boulders, ancient reptiles, giant tropical foliage, and the most saturated colors of blues and turquoise waters on pristine, white sandy beaches – the Seychelles are truly unique islands that really do feel like the land before time.
Since the Seychelles are luxurious, secluded, remote (northeast of Madagascar and southwest of the Maldives), and unbelievably stunning, they are an idyllic island playground for the uber-wealthy. Salma Hayek and her billionaire husband also chose an exclusive island in the Seychelles as their honeymoon destination. I’m not exaggerating about this place. I have done a lot of traveling and am obsessed with tropical beaches, but have never seen anything like these islands. I have visited tons of beautiful beaches and islands in Australia, U.A.E., Oman, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, US, Fiji, Hawaii, Dominican Republic, Bali, Borneo, etc. etc. but none compare to the uniqueness of these islands.
With 115 coral and granite islands, I’d love to go back some day to explore even more of them. Put the Seychelles at the top of your ‘bucket list’ – these islands are the ultimate paradise.