There are a few perks to working and living in Abu Dhabi.
- The weather is consistently beautiful each and every day- no snow, no ice, no bitter winds that make your face hurt. Just sun, sun and more sun. Sometimes there is a cloud or two and you think “maybe it will rain…” but then it doesn’t.
- The winter break is long- like 3 weeks long. Read- lots of time to travel and explore if you can find the right deals
- Travel to what felt like far of distant lands is now only a short direct flight away.
As we tried to decide where to go on our inaugural trip from Abu Dhabi we thought of places that we might not venture to from home. Sri Lanka, Thailand, Maldives and of course the Seychelles were a few we were throwing around (with many others of course, because really, the world is our oyster!)
After finding the right trip, we packed our bags and headed to the airport for a short 4 hour direct flight to Mahe, Seychelles for a glorious 5 days of beaches, ocean and exploring.
December-March is typically the rainy season (and summer as it is in the southern hemisphere) bringing humid, warm temperatures and (obviously) a great deal of rain. We were lucky to have only one real day filled with rain and one gloriously sunny day where we were able to soak up the sun (and a good sunburn in the process). The rest of our trip was peppered with clouds and the odd shower but nothing that would keep us from the beach and exploring the islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.
We stayed in Beau Vallon directly on the Beau Vallon beach, one of the most popular beaches on the island. In the dry season, this bay is perfect for diving and snorkeling because the waters are calm and clear. Since it was the rainy season, the water was too rough to snorkel, but it was still warm, turquoise blue and a treat to lay by and enjoy. The little town site surrounding the beach was filled with shops, restaurants and grocery stores. It was the perfect place to stay and explore on foot (since renting a car seemed a bit dangerous as they drive on the left side of the road!) We walked in to the town a few times to pick up various treats from the shops and visit the local market in the evening for dinner.
Half way through our trip we decided to take a tour of two neighboring islands- Praslin and La Digue. The tour started with an hour ferry ride from Mahe to Praslin on the Cat Coco ferry. Now I’m not a big boat person…I feel nauseous often when riding boats even when the water isn’t rough and feel the after effects of the waves for days to come. Needless to say, I was feeling quite worried about the ride and had my gravol ginger close at hand to help stay off any nausea I might encounter.
Well I could have never anticipated the trip we would have…but I’ll tell you it was quite possibly the worst boat ride I have ever been on.
When you see the crew wearing rubber gloves carrying “discomfort bags” in their back pockets and just watching for people who are showing the telltale signs of seasickness (pale, sweating, generally looking like they might die), you know its going to be rough. Actually I should have clued in when I watched locals get on the ferry, grab a bag or two and find a spot to sit.
Well, I felt a little discomfort on that first ride….and I utilized a discomfort bag to get me through the trip. But I felt better knowing I wasn’t the only one. And that Andrew, with his sturdy sea legs, felt the effects of the ride as well.
I’ve never been happier to get off a boat.
Only to get on another one to La Digue 10 minutes after. Thankfully that ride was much smoother and only 15 minutes long.
La Digue is a small island Northeast of Mahe. With a population of only 3000 people, La Digue’s main form of transportation is bicycle and small transport trucks. You can cycle the whole thing in less than a day (being only 5 km long and 3 km wide)
We visited a coconut and vanilla plantation and spent some time on Anse Source D’Argent where the Granite rocks dot the beautiful white sand beaches. It’s such a beautiful contrast against the clear blue ocean.
After La Digue, we made our way by ferry back to Praslin.
We enjoyed a beautiful creole buffet at a seaside restaurant, drove some of the island and had a chance to visit Vallee De Mai nature reserve, a World UNESCO heritage site where the famous Coco De Mer tree grows.
This tree (with its gigantic and odd shaped nuts) only grows here in Praslin….it thrives in the granitic soil and, though it has been attempted, this plant does not grow anywhere else. One tree takes over 30 years to mature and the nut takes another 7-10 years once the tree has been pollinated.
We were also lucky enough to spot 3 black parrots while on our walk. (there are only 520-900 of them on the island and they are quite shy)
We finished our day at another picture perfect beach.
The Seychelles are not high on the budget-friendly list of destinations, but we found a few ways to keep the costs down.
- Find a hotel that includes breakfast or find a self-catering hotel/apartment.
- Stay in a more tourist-friendly area. It will allow you to walk to destinations close by as taxis are very expensive to use and give you more options than just your hotel to eat at.
- Find local restaurants and grocery stores to eat and shop at. We found the food at hotels was expensive and bland…the food at the local restaurants and at the farmers market was much better and a significantly better value.
Our Seychelles trip was a beautiful mix of exploring and relaxing. We enjoyed every minute and look forward to the next adventure we take!