With its luxury resorts and royal honeymooners I’d always assumed the Seychelles is a destination solely for the uber-rich. I never imagined we’d be able to come here on our shoestring budget but luckily for us there is a simpler side to the Seychelles. It turns out with a little pre-planning and some island know-how it’s possible to experience these beautiful islands without totally blowing your budget. It’s time to share the secrets with you…. Marooned in the middle of the Indian Ocean, this archipelago of 115 paradise islands is notoriously exclusive (and expensive). Blessed with stunning beaches and brilliant blue seas, it’s hardly surprising the Seychelles rank among the world’s most idyllic island getaways. There are three main islands which are easy and affordable to get to. Mahé is the largest island, home to the international airport and the Seychelles’ charming capital, Victoria. With a jungle-clad mountainous interior and countless beautiful bays and coves fringing the island; the main attractions are beach hopping, snorkeling, swimming and hiking through the lush thick tropical forests. The second-largest island, Praslin has a sleepy, laid back vibe and is far less developed than neighbouring Mahé. With stunning white shores and lush tropical forests covering the hills, Praslin is a delight. The beaches here are absolutely stand out and the famous secluded coves of Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette frequently make top ten lists of the most beautiful destinations worldwide. Praslin is also home to the Vallée de Mai nature reserve, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Itty-bitty La Digue offers the classic Seychelles escape, a sleepy island where everyone cycles everywhere and there are no streetlights to obscure the stars. It’s also home to the most spectacular beaches including the lagoon of Anse Source d’Argent and the secluded coves of Grand and Petite Anse. The islands are well known for luxurious hotels, but they also come with the kind of price-tag that would see us remortgaging the house. Luckily, there is also a growing number of affordable places to stay, particularly on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. With a bit of digging around online you can find self-catering properties and family-run guesthouses often just as close to the famous, world-class beaches. Tripadvisor, Flipkey and AirBnB are a good place to start and The Guardian recently dug out some beachside, budget B&Bs worth a peek: The Guardian We were lucky enough to find the Palmont Apartments at Beau Vallon in Mahe. This budget-friendly self-catering complex offers a range of studio, one and two bed apartments. Comfy and spacious they are a real home-from-home and the location couldn’t be better - walking distance to shops, amenities and the beautiful, sweeping bay at Beau Vallon. With a well-equipped kitchen, daily cleaning and WiFi included we really couldn’t ask for more. The BBQ, garden and small play area for the girls are an absolute bonus. Palmont is a proper gem at an unbeatable price for budget travellers in Mahe. The Seychelles Tourist Board (www.seychelles.travel/en) also has budget accommodation starting from €50 a night, as well as plenty of self-catering villas. Discounted rates are often offered the longer you stay, so staying in one place rather than hopping around helps keep costs down. Restaurants in the Seychelles are eye-wateringly expensive, but you can find decent cheap takeaway cafes and stalls dotted around serving up wholesome local dishes, pizza and pastas. On Mahé, the daily market in Victoria is a great spot to stock up on fresh fish, fruit and island veg if you’re happy to cook for yourself. Wednesday’s see the night market roll into Beau Vallon; with heaps of stalls on the beachside promenade you can tuck into local dishes such as coconut curries, creole chicken and stuffed chapattis on the cheap. A sunset picnic with the sand in your toes is a real weekly treat. Travelling around the Seychelles is safe and easy. The tourism infrastructure is robust and everyone is friendly, welcoming and speaks good English. Taxis are pricey, so hopping aboard the regular round-island buses on Praslin and Mahé is the cheapest way of getting about. A set fare of 5 SRP (25 pence) will get you anywhere on the island! Bicycles are your best bet on La Digue - your only other option is the island’s unique ox-cart taxi service. Mahé and Praslin are hot, humid and extremely hilly, so unless you’re super fit a scooter would be a better choice than pedal power. Car hire is widely available on Mahé and Praslin and discounted rates can be negotiated for longer term rentals. Either way it’s worth investing in at least a few days of your own wheels so you can explore the far flung corners of Mahé and Praslin. We loved our 3 days zipping about exploring courtesy of Maki Car Rental The cheapest way to travel between the islands is aboard the Cat Cocos Ferry Service. The ferry from Mahé to Praslin takes an hour, while La Digue is a speedy half-hour hop from Praslin. Organised tours all come with a hefty price tag but luckily the Seychelles is jam-packed with stuff to do for free. You can enjoy bucket and spade days at some of the world’s most staggering beautiful beaches. The best bit about the Seychelles is all the beaches are publicly owned so even the ones fronted by five-star luxurious resorts offer access to everyone. At the secluded cove of Petite Anse in Baie Lazare you can rub shoulders with the guests of the fancy Four Seasons without paying a penny. Incredible snorkelling is often just a short swim from shore and the islands are criss-crossed with trails for hikers and bikers to explore the thick, tropical forests. The charming Seychelles capital of Victoria is a delight to explore; check out the buzzing market, browse the books in the brilliant children’s library and discover the Giant Tortoises in the tranquil Botanical Gardens. Don't miss Paradis des Enfants - with an incredible outdoor playground of stuff to swing on, slide on, climb on and explore; the kids will be in heaven. When they get a bit hot and bothered head indoors to games, rides and huge soft-play area in air-conditioned comfort; there's even an ice-skating rink to cool off in! The busiest seasons are between December and January, and the Seychelles ‘summer’ from May to September, when the weather is mostly dry and settled, and prices skyrocket. The ‘winter’ from October to April is when the islands receive most of their annual downpours, but with the temperature still hovering around 24 degrees you’ll still have a good chance of catching some beach-lounging weather. It helps to travel off-season, as prices are generally discounted and there’s more chance of grabbing a bargain. Unsurprisingly, it depends on what you want to do but we are comfortably squeezing by on around on around £70 a day for accommodation, meals, entertainment and transport. We live simply and eat locally, catching buses everywhere, cooking all our meals at home and BYO our own beers for sunset on the beach. But as long as you're willing to make a few small sacrifices you can enjoy this paradise without blowing many pennies at all. We’re so glad we added the Seychelles to our 2015 plans - it’s a truly special place with incredible natural beauty, friendly and welcoming locals. Don't let all the idyllic images of five star luxury put you off - there certainly is a simpler side to the Seychelles and it's so worth discovering. One Response Karina Perdomo March 19, 2016 I visit your blog whenever we’re about to fly with the girls, I think this time you’ve inspired us to visit Seychelles 🙂 Thank you! Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.