Location: Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of Africa (1,600 from Kenya)
Website: Seychelles National Site
Language: English, French, and Creole
Transportation: Rental cars, planes, fast boats, and taxis
Cost of visiting: Expensive to very expensive
Challenges: As a developing nation with Historic ties to France, the Seychelles is an island chain with high hopes for tourism. As developing nations go, the Seychellois people fare well. From a tourist perspective, the lack of infrastructure and basic amenities makes the country of islands a challenge to appreciate for all but the most determined, those with a substantial bank account and the desire to lighten it or those willing to overlook the countless tourism shortcomings.
Basic accommodations and food costs begin on the high end of the spectrum and escalate from there without much justification. The tourism infrastructure, designed to protect the local population and the islands natural beauty, does little for the traveler. Tourism workers we encountered in the two main islands we visited (Mahe and Praslin) had an arrogant attitude and no customer service inclination.
Advantages: Unspoiled beauty in a setting with limited development.
Shopping: Other than a few local handcrafts, there is hardly anything to purchase either on the islands or at the airport duty free shop. Junk food like snacks, cookies, chocolates and liquor are hard to come by. We were unable to find a single chocolate anywhere on either island. A black pearl shop on Praslin sells jewelry and individual pearls.
Overall: If you have traveled the globe in search of an unspoiled destination, are indifferent to creature comforts, customer oriented service staff and good food, and have lots of money to burn, the Seychelles may be for you. We were highly disappointed.
Other: Coco de Mer. The Coco de mer also called double coconut, is a palm tree found only on the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean. The coco de mer fruit has 2 lobes and looks like 2 coconuts joined together. The fruit takes 10 years to mature, and can weigh up to 50 pounds, making it one of the largest fruits in the plant kingdom. The shells were found floating in the ocean long before anyone knew where they came from, and they were thought to have magical properties.