Seychelles, Maldives or Mauritius?
Are you indecisive about where to go for your holiday or honeymoon?
All 3 countries are located in the Indian Ocean and are famous for their white coral sand beaches, clear turquoise blue waters, excellent diving and deep sea fishing, as well as for their top class hotels and spas. But what are the differences?
“I have lived and worked in the Maldives for 6 months and in Mauritius for 1 year (with longer visits before and after that period) and I have been to the Seychelles a few times. Frequently I am being asked for advice on which country to choose, which one is my favourite and what the differences are.”
This might help you get some clarity if you are thinking about a trip to the Indian Ocean:
La Digue, the 4th largest inhabited island in the Seychelles (115 islands in total) and the least inhabited of the main islands, concur with my internal image of paradise. With lush vegetation, smooth granite boulders and beaches to die for. It’s hard to find a more postcard picturesque place than that.
It’s a paradise also for birdwatchers and nature lovers with many rare plants and birds and the giant tortoises.
The most secluded and beautiful beaches on the island; Grand Anse och Petit Anse are dangerous with strong underwater currents and rips…so be careful.
I would recommend a round trip if you are thinking of visiting the Seychelles and La Digue is a must, but staying there for a few weeks would be boring for most people; it’s small, quiet and very laid back…with high prices.
Seychelles has been a bit behind with the development of top end resorts and services but has made a big progress in resent years and has a well-deserved reputation as a role model for ecotourism. Hospitality and service is not occurring as naturally and generously as in Mauritius…although you can expect to find good service in the 5 star resorts. It used to be said the Seychelles has 5 star islands and 4 star service and that Mauritius is a 4 star island with 5 star service.
People speak Seychellois Creole, French and English. Culture wise it is not as rich and varied as in Mauritius but a lot more vibrant than in the Maldives. In the Seychelles it’s easy to find secluded beaches as it does not attract huge crowds of tourists, even though you can find cheaper accommodations these days. Great food by the way!
Maldives, the lowest country on the planet, with its highest point of only 2.3 meters, consists of 1192 islands spread out in 26 atolls. The rule is that there’s not more than one resort per island.
Most people stay on one or maybe two different islands during a holiday or honeymoon there. More than that can be a bit tiring as it takes time to get around; the islands are spread out over 90.000 square kilometres.
Unless you really like diving, canoeing, fishing, windsurfing, sailing and going to the spa and reading books…there’s not so many other things to do in the Maldives.
You can forget about nightlife, even in the capital it’s dead at night. Being a Sunni Muslim country, alcohol, pork, pornography and Christian literature is forbidden; foreigners and resorts are exceptions to alcohol.
I have heard many stories about couples getting bored after a while and getting on each other’s nerves. Restless people that don’t know how to do nothing or that are not big fans of water sports, should really consider another alternative.
If you are looking to back pack, looking for a self catering apartment or to make up your mind on arrival….you are not going to be very lucky. People are generally friendly and service minded. Work here is a lifestyle, not a 9-5 job: Most people that work on the resorts also live there.
Unless you stay in 5 star luxury, you will likely be served a lot of “long shelf life” food: Something to keep in mind if nice food is important to you.
This is because hardly anything grows in the Maldives…just about everything apart from fish, bananas and coconuts and sweet potatoes, is imported…mainly from India, Sri Lanka and Italy.
Long local sea transports adds to the costs and makes it hard to get fresh ingredients.
Something really great about the Maldives is that you can see booth the sunset and sunrise every day over the ocean…thanks to the flat small islands….and the night sky is fantastic.
Most islands have beautiful beaches, some more than others. What most tourists don’t know is that early every morning, and throughout the day there are people working with picking up garbage from the beaches that’s floated ashore. If left untouched, you would have very dirty beaches.
The choice of resort is extra important in the Maldives; I suggest that you take your time to choose carefully as you will stay on the resort grounds just about all the time.
Do take the amphibian plane at least once…Maldives has to be seen from the air, it’s absolutely amazing!
People and culture wise Mauritius is my favourite, with inhabitants originating form many parts of the world: India, Sri Lanka, Africa, China, Muslim countries and France. Mauritian Creole is the main language, followed by French Creole, French and English. At school it’s compulsory to study an oriental language which can be an Indian language, Arab, a Chinese language or an African language. People that work with tourism often knows how to speak a bit of Italian, Spanish, German and /or Italian as well.
Mauritius is one big island of 2040 square kilometres, with 4 smaller islands belonging to the country as well: Rodrigues being the most visited of them. Even thought it is densely populated you will find big natural parks and with untouched nature. Beach life, night life, city life, nature walks, religious festivals and cultural shows and exhibitions…plus a lot more: You don’t have to be bored in Mauritius.
It’s easy to get around; with a rented car, taxi and public transport or on a guided tour.
Even though Mauritius is famous for it’s 5 star hotels, you can find all types and levels of accommodation here.
People are very friendly and helpful; I would even go as far as saying that it’s almost hard to find bad service in Mauritius.
Good quality food is easy to come across in all price levels, with a mix of Indian, Chinese, Creole and French cuisines. Even if you are happy and comfortable with your resort, it’s worthwhile exploring a bit of the island.
If you have time and money I would recommend a trip to La Reunion, the neighbour country: A beautiful volcanic Island (still active) with high mountains and lush vegetations.
In the end, it’s only slight variations of Paradise!