Seychelles

Overview

Introduction

Although travel to Seychelles might be considered a luxury, it is without question a spectacular destination. The Seychelles islands are filled with physical beauty—distinctive granite rock formations, white-sand beaches and clear blue waters surrounding Seychelles' beaches.

The Seychelles (pronounced SAY-shells) may be the only country described exclusively in hyperbole. "Paradise," "Garden of Eden" and "spectacular" seem to be among the most common terms employed. The hyperbole is well-earned, but this has as much to do with the people as with the scenery. In addition to a beautiful setting, the society's attitude toward tourism is remarkably healthy.

It seems to have avoided the atmosphere of mutual exploitation that exists on many Caribbean or South Pacific islands whose economies also rely on tourism. In the Seychelles, the gap between rich and poor is not striking: Local residents are as likely to be managing well-run properties as making beds. Pride in their islands is near universal, and resentment toward visitors is, though not entirely absent, seldom expressed.

Of course, this may change as the government continues to develop the islands for increased tourism. More cruise ships are visiting and new roads cart boatloads of people to once-isolated beaches. New luxury resorts open every year, and older hotels are being refurbished to ever-higher standards. Residents have been turning their homes into guesthouses. Travelers who seek "paradise" may want to go sooner rather than later.

There is one factor, however, that will always limit the number of visitors: cost. It's expensive to get to the Seychelles, and food and hotel prices are also high.

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