We all have this feeling of longing for the beach once in a while, or if you are anything like me it’s all the time! I love tropical weather, the sand between my toes and turquoise warm clear waters I could just stay in all day long! That is me, dreaming, but for some it’s a daily routine. Ah those lucky people who don’t live in the UK or any cold-ish European country for that matter. I cannot complain though as we have been to some amazing places all over the world and we have seen some many so-called paradise islands and beaches. Would that make me an expert? Hardly say so. I just know what we like and Seychelles (and snorkeling spots in Seychelles) we DEFINITELY liked. Full stop.
Why go to Seychelles
If you have never heard of Seychelles ( I really doubt it but who knows!), it is an archipelago of 115 islands located in the Indian Ocean, off East African coast. They are pretty popular all year round as Seychelles weather is fantastic, they don’t suffer from long monsoons, hurricanes etc. and have warm temperature always stay around 30C and above. With its spectacular marine flora and fauna, the islands rank on the top of the lists for best beach holiday destinations around the world. They are also very well-known for its diving and snorkeling experiences.
We were super excited about the later as it had been ages since our last island hopping experience. Was it better than say snorkel we did in and around Malaysia (#shoutout to Perhentian Islands!!!), Great Barrier Reef or even Red Sea (Love Dahab!)? Sadly not, but I still think it was an amazing experience overall due to the laid back atmosphere of the islands and stunning scenery. I know what you are thinking now – EXPENSIVE! Well, it is definitely not a poor-backpacker friendly place but definitely the trip would be cheaper than Maledives, as in Seychelles you can find some decent budget accommodation.
Best time to snorkel in seychelles
Although snorkeling is possible all year round, there are periods when it is more recommended. The best snorkeling experience is certainly from March-May and then September-November. During these months, there is good visibility and the water is usually calm. Temperatures normally vary from 29° to 31° in these months. In October you could be lucky to snorkel with whale sharks in Seychelles. We visited in June and the visibility was great although some beaches got a bit too choppy to snorkel.
Good news! every beach in the Seychelles is open for public and it is free (apart from D’Argent). You don’t have to stay in a fancy hotel to enjoy the best places although sometimes you do have to book your visit. Snorkelling is a free activity as well, but do make sure you bring your own kit to not overpay on site. Here is our recommendation if you are looking for one. We visited in June and the visibility was great although some beaches got a bit too choppy to snorkel.
Best snorkeling spots in Seychelles…from the beach
Of course you already know that best snorkel is around any reef. These usually are better preserved far from the beach but you usually need to book yourself an excursion to see those. Curieuse Island and Coco Island are such tour destinations you can easily visit from either Praslin or La Digue. However, we just don’t like organised excursions so we went on a quest of finding the best spot for snorkel from the beach. So here is the list of beaches we found great for that.
#1 Anse Source D’Argent, La Digue
Well, who have not heard of this place ha? The most famous of them all in Seychelles and the only one with an entry fee. You are not paying so much for the beach but the sanctuary spread around it and guys, it is totally worth it! You get to see some spice gardens, tortoises and some rare plants as well. What did surprise us is the snorkel here. It was not on a map we received from the ferry company and yet it was pretty good. It was exactly here, that we have seen Yellow Spotted Moray that scared the hell out of us. So lucky! The shallow waters are crystal clear and there was abundance of colourful fish like Damselfish and Moorish Idol and large fish like Batfish around. Sadly, there is not much of a good reef. Ah almost forgot – did I mention the hawksbill turtle we saw there?
- Anse Source d’Argent is a series of 11 beaches and creeks. Don’t stop when you get to the first ones (the busiest), but carry on until the last beach, which is where the lagoon is best preserved.
- We also found great snorkel and Moray (hurrah) around the big rock located somehow in the middle.
- You can enter from before 7 am and leave after sunset despite of what some may say.
- Ticket is valid all day so we went before breakfast to avoid crowds and then for sunset – so worth it
#2 Anse Cocos, La Digue
This one was a bit of surprise as we thought we would not be able to get there without a guide. So not true! You simply cycle to the Grand Anse (simply ha! wait until you hit those hills), walk over to Petite Anse and then trek to Cocos. All of 3 beaches are not suited for swimming due to strong currents so don’t be put off by the waves and keep going. When we got to the Anse Cocos we looked around and our first thought was to go right to where the nice large rocks were. And so we did but it was too choppy to swim. Tom did almost stepped on a sting ray so that was exciting ha? We then remembered there were natural pools around so we trotted to the other side. What a treat that was! Behind the big rocks there was a natural pool with calm water and colourful fish you could see from the beach! There was loads of people as well but most did not snorkel and just sun bathed. The deeper we went the better the colours and the bigger the fish got i.e. Blue Tang, Goldbar Wrasse
- Local people and guidebooks will recommend you against walking to Anse Cocos alone but, seriously, it was a very easy hike up and down. We saw people turning down after 5 mins as they were afraid of the trail. This is all due to people getting lost and sadly dying on these rocks over the years, however trail is very visible and easy to follow so try to and you won’t regret it!
#3 Sunset Beach, Mahe
This would be our favorite beach of all – small, pristine and sooo romantic. Good that we chose the hotel by this beach for our anniversary day ! But of course this blog post is about the snorkeling and not the beach so here it comes 3rd. The snorkel is excellent at both sides of the beach but more big-ish fish gather around the hotel rock as they are being fed….by tourists….like us haha See the video on how trained they are! We had loads of fun with them as we also took food with us when swimming. You can spot some stingrays there as well, but be careful as they can be dangerous.
#4 Anse Severe, La Digue
That was our first. We stayed in the bungalow nearby and it was a great spot. This beach is very recommended for snorkel and we on it straight away. The left corner was good but not great frankly speaking. If you feel adventurous try the right corner instead but venture out around the rocks as that is where the pristine reef is as well as some deeper parts of the sea. The recommended Anse Patates is just around those rocks so these two pretty much connect. Patates was way too choppy to have any good swim there and the beach is so filled with people, it was a major push-off for us.
- Anse Severe is a famous spot for seeing the rare Spotted Eagle Ray. We were so lucky to see one once at sunset, swimming just meters away from the shore. It was feeding and came very close to the beach for us to enjoy. Lucky again!
#5 Anse Lazio, Praslin
We were staying near the Anse Volbert, which is very pretty and a great spot for sunset drinks. The snorkel however was not that great. You can of course take a kayak and go out a bit more but other travelers told us that there was not much to see. We were very excited to see the islands finest, Anse Lazio, so we hoped on the local bus one morning and we were there in no time (maybe holiday no time as it took 20 mins!). The beach is rather big so make sure you go to either end again to get some good snorkel out of the day. We would recommend the far left where there is a number of large rocks in the water and some good fish spotting.
- This is the only beach we have been to in Seychelles that had a lifeguard. Perhaps it has something to do with the shark attacks in recent years. I believe they now also have a net there to protect people from attacks. On the other hand there were plenty of stingrays everywhere so even when having a dip we had to be very careful not to step on one!
Other travel essentials:
- How to get there? We flew with Emirates from London via Dubai but there are also connections with Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Air France, Turkish Airlines, Quantas and Air Seychelles from Germany. Most Airlines go to Mahe and some to Praslin as well. Find your flight here.
- Where to stay? As I mentioned Seychelles cater for all kinds of travel budgets although you will struggle with hostel accommodation. We loved the self-catering options as you get to stay in private apartment or bungalow and enjoy privacy and own space. We booked all of our hotels/bungalows with booking.com as the same rooms/places were cheapest on this site. Weirdly enough Airbnb had a lot of great self-catering accommodation to choose from but it was rather pricey. Have a look though and take advantage of our Airbnb discount here.
- How to move around? It is easy to move around the main island with the interisland ferry and speed ferry. La Digue is small enough to cycle around and Praslin and Mahe have great network of local buses. It was great to see how many tourist used the buses instead of taxi companies. Perhaps that is because taxis want to charge $30-50 for a ride – 100x more than a local transport rate!
- What to bring? It is a beach holiday destination so you know the drill – hat, sunglasses, swimsuit, flip-flops etc, you got it. There is a bit of mosquito situation in the evenings over there, especially in cooler months. If you want to take advantage of your bungalow veranda, enjoy your evenings out and eat al-fresco, we suggest you bring a good repellent or – and that is what works best for us – citronella coils to burn. Also, if you are not staying in a resort and plan to island-hop then consider bringing a backpack and not a suitcase. We loved that we could easily move around and drivers also allow backpacks on local buses, while large suitcases they don’t at busy times. If you need to buy a backpack, we recommend Berghaus brand which we have used for years now. They do last!