Seychelles or Maldives for your winter vacations? What is the difference? Actually, there is no dramatic difference because both of them are stunningly beautiful and pleasant. You’ll experience a luxury vacation on the Indian Ocean islands that can immediately eliminate your winter blues.
However, some differences do exist. Let’s check out the world’s top-rated beaches.
The Seychelles are one of the most famous holiday destinations, a tropical island paradise in the Indian Ocean that is made up of 115 tiny islands. Powder-white beaches, pristine topaz waters, coral reefs, and exceptional resorts will make your winter escape unforgettable.
Often, the Seychelles are called the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean, with its unique and diverse nature. The Seychelles are home to rare animal species such as the giant Aldabra tortoises that are endemic to the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles. It is one of the largest tortoises in the world.
The aquamarine Indian Ocean provides a huge variety of marine habitats making the Seychelles some of the best spots for diving and snorkeling.
Coco de Mer
The nut of the coco de mer palm tree is the largest seed in the plant kingdom. Can you guess its weight? 15–30 kilos! But what makes it the subject of various legends is its odd shape: the shape and size of a female’s buttock on one side, and a woman’s belly and thighs on the other side. No wonder that the coco de mer fruit has been a fascinating object with mythological and even magical properties for centuries.
Having the fan-shaped leaves, the coco de mer palm trees are endemic to the Seychelles islands of Praslin and Curieuse – nowhere else in the whole world you can find them.
The palms generally grow to 25–34 m tall (the tallest on record was almost 57m). They are dioecious, with separate male and female plants. The female flowers are the largest of any palm. The male flowers, catkins, are up to 2m in length, being the longest known. The catkins continue pollinating over a ten-year period; one of the longest-living inflorescences known.
It takes up to 40 years for a tree to reach adulthood. The fruit requires another 7 to 10 years to mature and a further 2 years to germinate. To be allowed for sale it takes an additional 10 years for it to dry.
The nature and origin of this extraordinary nut was mysterious, and the propagation of the tree is not completely understood still.
At a price up to 300 USD on the best ones, you can bring this fantastic souvenir home. But remember that very strict rules apply to it being taken out of the country. Make sure you have a proper registration for it. DO NOT BUY the coco de mer if the supplier is unable to hand over the right papers, the government seal and export license. Don’t risk being fined!
Must-try dishes of the Seychelles
The Seychelles’ food is a quite a fusion of cuisines from different cultures. As you can expect, seafood is a major staple. Not surprising. But what will really surprise you are the super fresh local ingredients like barracuda, tuna or octopus blended with a variety of spices. An abundance of tropical fruit is grown locally – papaya, mangoes, bananas and the versatile breadfruit.
Here, is what you must try:
- Caris masala: traditional spiced curry seafood with a mixture of cumin, fenugreek, cloves, saffron, coriander and mustard seeds.
- Shark chutney: boiled shark meat that has been finely mashed and mixed with onion, pepper, salt and turmeric, with fresh lime juice squeezed over the top.
- Banana in coconut milk – a popular dessert: a large ripe banana cooked in coconut milk and sugar is absolutely delicious.
Dotting the Indian Ocean like a natural string of pearls, the Maldives is a once-in-a-lifetime sea vacation destination. It’s the most beautiful trip to the “Sunny Side of Life.”
While Seychelles offers a much better experience when it comes to sightseeing and activities. Maldives reigns supreme when it comes to the stay experience. If you’d prefer the tranquility and privacy of a more exclusive, untouched destination, choose Maldives.
Accessible by a short and scenic seaplane or speedboat ride from the capital, Male, you have over 100 secluded private island resorts to choose from. Riding from the airport to Male on the water taxi or a seaplane is an experience in itself!
The Maldives is the world’s lowest country, located on top of a vast underwater mountain range.
Keyn – the Maldivian quintessential cuisine
The Maldivian cuisine is a blend of distinctive flavours but there is one culinary experience unique to Maldives called a “Keyn” that you can’t miss. Keyn gives you the perfect opportunity to taste a little bit of everything that Maldives can offer. Actually, a Keyn is a set of a several dishes served in a large circular traditional tray with a lid inside in which there is enough food to feed a group of around 12 people.
The Keyn consists of rice, curries, side dishes, salads, grilled meat, coconut cream, banana, rice and breadfruit puddings and sweet delicacies. It is, quite literally, several courses of meals served in a mini buffet tray. The Keyn experience is quite the culinary pleasure.
Is there any difference between Seychelles and Maldives ways of “vacationing”?
Vacationing on Seychelles is mainly an island-hopping destination. Travellers start their holiday on one of the main islands exploring towns like Mahé, La Digue and Praslin to explore the French culture – its cuisine, nightlife and markets. After visiting the main islands, travellers hop onto their private island.
Resorts in Seychelles are built on a hillside or into the granite outcrops. The luxury villas are hidden in the tropical landscape and are the epitome of barefoot luxury. The resorts range from luxury villas with 3 to 4 bedrooms with private pools to beautiful one-bedroom hilltop villas with sunken baths and private infinity pools.
The main feature of Maldives is “one island, one resort” philosophy. Most visitors arrive at Velana International Airport, on Hulhulé Island, adjacent to the capital Malé, transferring to their island by seaplane or speedboat.
Hovering directly over the water, villas in the Maldives are built on stilts. Connected to jetties, they stretch out like tree brunches. Often, the villas have direct access to the water. Some hotels offer decks with private swimming pools or waterslides that go straight into the ocean. Luxury resorts have the bedroom roof that allows you to stargaze just from your bed.
Is there any difference between Seychelles and Maldives in geographical location?
Yes, there is. Even though both archipelagos are in the Indian Ocean, they actually belong to the different continents:
- Seychelles is located at the eastern edge of the Somali Sea, being an African country.
- Maldives lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 750km from the Asian continent’s mainland. It’s the smallest Asian country by land area.
The distance between Maldives and Seychelles is over 2,000km
Is there any difference between Seychelles and Maldives in landscapes?
At first glance, Seychelles and Maldives appear the same, but on taking a closer look these tropical islands nestled in the Indian Ocean are quite different.
It consists of 115 islands. A group of 44 islands occupy the shallow waters of the Seychelles Bank and are collectively referred to as the inner islands. Made from granite, Seychelles are rocky. Boulders frame shorelines and pearly-white beaches. However, the Seychelles’ outer islands are coral, small and flat, much like the Maldives.
Maldives is a different island type entirely. They consists of 1,192 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls, making the country the world’s most dispersed one. The Maldives is the lowest country in the world, with maximum natural ground levels of only 2.4m above sea level. Over 80% of the country’s land is composed of coral islands which rise less than one metre above sea level. That’s why most of the world’s over-water villas are found in the Maldives.
While deciding on your winter holiday, make sure you know what island country suits you the best.
Are Seychelles and Maldives independent countries?
Yes, they are.
The Seychelles became an independent republic in 1976. Its capital and largest city, Victoria, is 1,500km east of mainland Africa. Today, Seychelles has the second-highest Human Development Index of any African country after Mauritius. It is one of only two African countries classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank. Seychellois culture and society is an eclectic mix of French, British, and African influences, with more recent infusions of Chinese and Indian elements.
The Republic of Maldives was proclaimed on November 11, 1968. Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed sovereign states – a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. Malé is the capital and the most populated city, traditionally called the “King’s Island” where the ancient royal dynasties ruled for its central location. The World Bank classifies the Maldives as having an upper-middle income economy and rates “high” on the Human Development Index.
What are the official languages on Seychelles and Maldives?
- The Seychelles’ official languages are French, Seselwa, English
- The Maldives’ official language is Dhivehi. However, English is widely spoken by the locals.
Which one is more expensive – Seychelles or Maldives?
- Seychelles: 3-star hotel averaging $206, 5-star averaging $1,096
- Maldives: 3-star hotel averaging $106, 5-star averaging $1,244
Are Seychelles and Maldives safe for tourists?
These archipelagic Indian Ocean countries are particularly safe for tourists. The crime rate is pretty low; however, in the last few years petty thefts and robberies have become commonplace, especially in the capital cities Victoria and Malé.
Do you need a visa to travel to Seychelles or Maldives?
Visitors to the Seychelles or Maldives do not need to apply for a visa pre-arrival, regardless of their country of origin, provided they have a valid passport, proof of onward travel, confirmed accommodation, and the money to be self-sufficient while in the country.
If you want to have a summer break during the winter cold, the best time to visit these luxury Indian Ocean islands is from November to March.