Thinking of spending your next holiday on an island paradise? Bali and the Maldives are famous options chosen by many tourists. However, there are also other jewels in the Indian Ocean. Imagine crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, palm trees, colorful fish and ocean-view hotels. That’s exactly what Mauritius and Seychelles have to offer.
Which one is better for you? Here we’ll have a look at some aspects you may want to consider when deciding on your next dream destination.
Location and Accessibility
Mauritius is a multicultural island located in the Indian Ocean 1,200 miles from the southeastern African coast. Mauritius was discovered by the Arabs in the 9th century and then colonized by the Dutch, French and British empires for several centuries before it became independent in 1968.
Mauritius is visited by nearly 1.5 million tourists every year from all over the world. Flights from New York have at least one stop, take around 24 hours and start at $1100 while a ticket from Los Angeles is slightly more expensive. From Europe, on the other hand, there are direct flights for $750 that get you to Mauritius in 12 hours.
Seychelles is an archipelago composed of 115 islands located roughly 1,100 miles north of Mauritius and 932 miles east of the African continent. It receives around 350,000 visitors per year and offers stunning beaches and unique wildlife. Most of the flights from New York stop in Dubai and take you to Seychelles in 20 hours for $1100, while a ticket from Los Angeles takes 25 hours and costs around $1300. The access from Europe is easier with direct flights from the main cities that will get you to Seychelles in 12 hours for $800.
Keep in mind that Seychelles is an archipelago and has 3 main islands that are well connected by boat and plane – Mahé, Praslin and La Digue- (except La Digue which doesn’t have an airport). However, if you want to go to more remote islands it’s going to cost you.
When to go?
Mauritius has a mild tropical climate with two main seasons: the summer from October to April with high temperatures and humidity, and winter from May to November, which is a bit cooler and drier. Additionally, the cyclone season runs from January to March and the peak season from November to April. Considering weather and crowds, the best months to visit Mauritius are the end of April, May, October, and the beginning of November.
Located very close to the equator, Seychelles also enjoys warm weather throughout the year and has two main seasons: a hot and wet summer from December to March, and a drier winter from June to September. Crowds flock to the archipelago in December, January, July, and August, making April, May, October, and November the best months to visit Seychelles if you want mild temperatures and good weather.
Mauritius vs Seychelles: Things To Do
Mauritius is an island in the heart of the Indian Ocean surrounded by turquoise waters and white sand beaches. Some of the best ones are Tamarin Beach, Blue Bay, Mont Choisy, and La Cuvette among many others.
However, Mauritius offers much more than just beaches. It’s home to a large coral reef making it a world-class destination for diving and snorkeling and there are great activities for those who like the outdoors. The Black River Gorges National Park is a great hiking spot with its beautiful flora and fauna and the nearby Valley of Colors has some of the best waterfalls on the island. You can also explore caves, go zip-lining on the neighboring island of Rodrigues or visit the Ile Aux Aigrettes nature reserve.
Even though tourism is one of the main pillars of the economy in Seychelles, there are strict controls that limit the expansion of the industry to protect the local flora and fauna. The archipelago is home to Aldabra Atoll, the 2nd biggest coral atoll in the world, four national marine parks and several nature reserves.
There are three main islands in Seychelles. Mahe is the economic center of the archipelago and is home to Victoria, one of the world’s smallest capital cities. It offers great hiking trails in Morne Seychellois National Park, awesome diving and snorkeling options, cool sites such as the Natural History Museum or the Botanical Gardens, and the beautiful Beau Vallon and Anse Intendance beaches.
Praslin and La Digue, on the other hand, offer a quieter and more relaxed experience. Praslin has the best marine life in Seychelles so it’s a fantastic destination for divers and snorkeling fans. It’s also home to the Valle de Mai Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage list site that is a true paradise for birdwatchers and allows you to see some endemic rare flora and fauna. If you like beaches, Praslin is your place. Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette on the north of the island are arguably two of the most stunning beaches in the world.
La Digue is the smallest of the three main islands and for many it’s a paradise on Earth. It’s much quieter and exclusive than Mahe and Praslin and with its very laid back vibe, it’s said to be the most charming of all.
Mauritius vs Seychelles: Accommodations
Tourism is one of the main activities so both Seychelles and Mauritius have many hotels and resorts to choose from.
In Mauritius, there are plenty of local inns that will help you save some money if you’re willing to compromise on luxury. A night in a local house costs as little as $20 for a room, an apartment with ocean view starts at $70, while a resort with spa will set you back a minimum of $300.
Seychelles is full of luxury resorts but there are more affordable guest houses which are a good option for independent travelers.
In Mahe you can find accommodation for all budgets. There are rooms in local homestays for $80-$100 per night, as well as villas for $300 or exclusive resorts for $2000 per night. Praslin tends to be more expensive with rooms with ensuite bathroom from $100, villas for $300 and luxurious suites for $1000 per night.
Mauritius vs Seychelles: Cuisine
Even though Mauritius and Seychelles have strong Creole heritage, they have been influenced by a number of cultures and inherited some of their flavors.
Mauritius is often called a ‘melting pot of flavors’ for a reason. Its cuisine is a reflection of its diverse ethnicity making it very tasty and unique. Some of the dishes you should try while on the island are dholl pori (fried wheat thin bread stuffed with peas and served with bean curry), rougaille (Creole tomato stew with meat), alouda (sweet milk beverage of different flavours), as well as seafood and curries of all flavors and types. Last but not least, rum is very popular and there are a bunch of local distilleries.
Seychelles cuisine has Creole and Asian influences with some European touches. Apart from grilled fish, curry fish and all types of seafood, some local specialties are sausage rougay (sausage with tomato and onion sauce), satini (raw papaya or apple mixed with spices, onion and chilli) and ladob (dessert made with bananas and coconut milk). There are also excellent fruits and local alcohol such as kalou (fermented palm wine) and buka (rum made with sugarcane).
Mauritius has a lot of street food and you can get your fill for $5. A meal in a mid-range restaurant costs around $20 per person while a more refined option will set you back around $50.
Food in Seychelles is more expensive. You can expect to pay $10 for a snack, $25 for a meal in a local restaurant and around $80 for a dinner in a 5-star hotel.
Mauritius vs Seychelles: The Cost
Even though Mauritius and Seychelles aren’t the cheapest destinations out there, you can enjoy these islands without breaking the bank.
In terms of accommodation, food, and shopping, Mauritius tends to be cheaper than Seychelles. Local guest houses and restaurants are great value for money and will help you save some dollars. If you don’t want big luxuries, expect to pay between $100 and $150 per day.
With its unspoiled natural sights, Seychelles, on the other hand, is a more exclusive island and that comes at a price. However, if you’re planning to stay in a B&B and eat in local restaurants, you can enjoy the island for $200 per day. Keep in mind that Seychelles is an archipelago and moving around requires a ferry or a plane. Ferries between Mahe, Praslin and La Digue are frequent and inexpensive but costs increase considerably if you want to visit some of the outer islands.
Did you know?
- The constitution of Mauritius doesn’t mention an official language for the country. However, most Mauritians speak Creole as their mother tongue as well as English and French.
- With only 95,000 inhabitants, Seychelles is the least populated country in Africa
- Seychelles receives a quarter of the tourists compared with Mauritius
Mauritius vs Seychelles: Verdict
Mauritius and Seychelles are two of the most beautiful islands in the world and are unique in their own way. Mauritius has stunning white sand beaches with crystal clear waters, stunning nature such as the Black River Gorges National Park and amazing underwater. For those looking for adventurous holidays, Mauritius won’t disappoint, offering great activities such as zip-lining, visits to the Ile Aux Aigrettes nature reserve, or some of the neighboring islands.
If you’re looking for a more private and exclusive holiday, Seychelles is your choice. The government set strict controls to limit the expansion of tourism and established protected areas to preserve local flora and fauna. The archipelago is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and it’s the perfect image of paradise for those who want a relaxed and romantic holiday. For those who are more active, there are also great activities such as diving with sharks, bird-watching or exploring the beautiful Morne Seychellois National Park.