Dreaming of escaping to paradise in 2022? Two idyllic island destinations that fit the bill are the Maldives and Seychelles.
2,000 kilometers of balmy, crystal-clear sea separates these two tranquil countries. They’re among some of the most luxurious vacation destinations in the world, as well as being prime spots for romantic honeymoon retreats. Each one has so much to offer its visitors, from colorful culture and mouth-watering cuisine to wonderful wildlife.
When it comes to which is the right destination for you, it can be almost impossible to decide!
The Maldives is a magnet for milestone birthday trips and it specializes in luxury all-inclusive getaways featuring private overwater villas and instant access to vibrant coral reefs. Seychelles vacations offer up world-famous beaches and amazing activity options for adventure-seekers and animal lovers.
To help you solve the seemingly impossible dilemma of which of these Indian Ocean gems to visit next, here’s our expert analysis.
The azure waters of the Indian Ocean lap the shores of both nations and provide the perfect playground for those hoping to swim alongside mesmerizing marine life.
It’s a really close call when it comes to which destination has more to offer animal fanatics. While Maldives vacations give you instant access to reefs from outstanding overwater bungalows, Seychelles has a much larger variety of wildlife.
Venture to Bird Island to see thousands of sooty terns soaring through the sky or to glimpse nesting hawksbill sea turtles! There are also Seychelles’ giant tortoises that roam freely in places like lovely La Digue and the Victoria Botanical Gardens on Mahe. For lush plants, including the extremely rare coco de mer tree, pop over to Praslin to take a stroll around the gorgeous Vallee de Mai.
The Maldives’ all-inclusive islands make it our top choice for total seclusion. Even in the peak season (between December and April), you’ll feel like you’re in your very own slice of paradise thanks to the nation’s numerous intimate resorts. Stroll barefoot along white-sand beaches and slumber in plush villas boasting uninterrupted sea views and their own butlers and private chefs.
That’s not to say Seychelles is overcrowded. It’s also home to tiny islands where you can have plenty of privacy. You could choose to split your vacation between several of them. You can enjoy a dose of culture on Mahe with trips to tea plantations and tours of the capital, Victoria, before hopping over the water to blissful Sainte Anne or catching a flight to divine Denis Island.
Succulent seafood, tantalizing tropical fruits and creamy coconut permeate the local cuisines of the Maldives and Seychelles. Their local gastronomies are somewhat similar, with both being heavily influenced by an eclectic mix of cultures.
You’ll find the close proximity of Sri Lanka and India has lent Maldivian food a distinct Asian flare, with fragrant curries, crunchy samosas and soft chapati all on the menu. By contrast, Seychelles’ local Creole fare features grilled fish (from fresh tuna to barracuda), whole-roasted breadfruit and sticky bananas caramelized in coconut milk and sugar. You could also sample local favorites like goat or octopus curry!
Whichever destination you ultimately decide to visit, you can expect to leave with a very happy belly.
Verdict: Maldives and Seychelles
The Maldives’ tiny isles might be an adventure to reach, but it’s the Seychelles that comes out on top in this category.
A vacation to this blissful corner of the Indian Ocean allows you to visit multiple islands instead of basing yourself on just one. Divide your time between lazing around on the beach and embarking on various cultural activities, whether that’s exploring the bustling markets and local history museums in Victoria or meeting local artisans at the Seychelles Craft Village.
The terrain is also far more varied in Seychelles. Hike through ancient rainforests to lofty viewpoints with panoramic vistas of the sea and sky on Mahe or trek through the Vallee de Mai for a real-life Garden of Eden experience.
There are opportunities for wonderful water sports on Seychelles vacations, too. Go parasailing or jet skiing at Beau Vallon Beach or take a catamaran tour to dozens of sensational snorkeling sites. Fishing, diving and swimming with whale sharks (only between August and November) are also on the agenda for those with a wild side.
Best time to visit
Now you’re clued up on both destinations’ many allures, let’s dive into the best times to visit:
All-year-round sunshine and warm temperatures make a vacation possible 365 days a year. Nevertheless, Seychelles’ rainy season tends to fall between November and March, with tradewinds causing the weather to be a little more unpredictable. It’s a more affordable time to go, though, with accommodation and flights usually discounted.
In general, the best time to visit Seychelles is between April and May or September and October. June, July and August can also be fine times for a getaway, although they fall within the country’s ‘winter’ season, meaning the average daily temperatures sit around 68°F/25°C.
Despite its relative closeness to Seychelles, the best time for a Maldives vacation is very different. In fact, peak season falls between December and April once the monsoon season has passed. May can also be a good time to go; although you might experience a few rain showers, you’ll find some resorts are often half the price.
Still undecided between the Maldives or Seychelles vacations?
Call our experts to determine which island escape is the right one for you!