In pirates' and buccaneers' times, it was said that they hid their treasures in Seychelles. As of today, some of them are still looking for the gold chest-shaped treasures, without knowing that the treasures are the islands themselves and the charming Seychellois.
Sometimes we forget that some destinations exist and we have to go back to them to remember how wonderful they are. It is said that if you desire something so strongly it becomes true and in my case, my wish came true.
I landed in Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands of which many of them are uninhabited, others protected and only a few allow us the privilege of knowing their secrets; a paradise on Earth. I arrived in Mahé at dawn and a warm breeze of fresh air flooded me, warning me that for a few days I was going to forget about the cold winter.
On the way to Anantara Maia, the highway ran between granite mountains surrounded by lush and leafy nature. Upon my arrival at Anantara Maia, Mateo and Lionel were waiting for us, perfect hosts, offering us a warm welcome that only here they know how to give. I was in Africa back again and the Sechellois smiles remind me how much I love this continent.
I settle into what will be my home for the following days, the Top Hill Villa, with stunning views, and flawless assistance. The holy grail of Maia is the service and customer care, they know how to make you feel at home with all the facilities so... you never stop smiling and take back your luggage full of memories!!
The feeling that for a few days you were in paradise.
The paradise had opened its doors to me, and before starting more moving activities, I went to the Spa to immerse myself in a Maia Signature treatment for more than 60 minutes Lana, who is coming from Bali, suggested to me different oil types, each one with different functions, so getting involved with the island I chose the coconut one.
Completely relaxed, I was ready for the consistent knowledge of the island.
The days go by discovering the island in all its versions:
I enjoyed the water activities as if I were s child, such as twilight stand-up paddle or snorkeling in the early morning. The calm waters of the early hours allow you to enjoy an incredible seabed and the fortune smiled at me looking at the marine creatures as the lionfish, moray, or bat-fish. Each day the experience was different but always gratifying surrounded by a tropical fish crowd in an idyllic environment.
But Mahé offers much more, walking tours and trekkings that take you to unexpected places, going through the forest, crossing rivers you come across waterfalls and natural pools nestled in the rocks, a wild and pure nature.
Anse Major was the chosen route an easy path, bordering the coast between granite rocks, coconut trees, casuarinas, banjans, and bamboos…
I enjoyed the way the cinnamon perfume and other spices invaded me. The terrestrial wildlife is peculiar, no dangerous spice and a huge variety of small endemic reptiles, fruit bats, flying fox or the tenrec, a mammal similar to the porcupine brought from Madagascar and for sure the most knowledgable spice the gigantic turtle of Aldabra, we will talk about them later….
During this immersion the inside of Mahé, I learned about Seychelles philosophy: taking care of the environment, being sustainable, not harming the Earth, and respecting the big treasure of the planet.
Before continuing with the trip I want to talk about creole gastronomy. A fusion of French, Chinese, Indian and African cuisine, the creation of the biggest and most traditional plates have a unique character that reflects the island's wealth and diversity. Fresh fish catch of the day, tropical fruits recently grabbed, seasonal vegetables dressed with the perfect spices mix awake anyone’s palate!
It was time to change the island and the sightseeing birds, with the scenic flight between islands I enjoyed viewing how they draw the reefs between the crystalline waters and the blue ranges that nature is capable to create.
The arrival at Six Senses Zil Pasyon was exciting and very endearing, a welcome to one of the most desired places and most difficult to forget. The heat and human value of the staff are perceived just by stepping on Felicité and just the name of the island says it all!
After settling into the villa, with all its privacy and a breathtaking view, I decided that I wanted to connect with the environment, calm, and serenity offered by the place, and what a better way than enjoying a lunch on the terrace, contemplating the infinite ocean, imagining how many explorers throughout history would have sailed this ocean where I was.
But it was time to activate ourselves, so paddle surfboard in hand I went rowing to Coco Island, there you feel like Robinson Cruseau! A small, uninhabited island within 20 minutes away by kayak or stand-up paddle where the white sand, transparent waters, marine wildlife, and silence take over you!
I had to come back, I did not want to miss the sunset on that kayak occasion, at the strategic point to stay completely entranced by the beauty of the moment.
The island is incredible in terms of flora and fauna and Six Senses works hard on keeping the ecosystem intact with a sustainable development plan and protecting autochthonous species. Lucie is the resident biologist with whom the sustainability plan is developed. Early in the morning, we went for a walk to the highest point of the island, Lucie loves her job and with her, you learn the hidden details of a really unknown nature for us.
Felicité is also privileged because the turtles love the island and it is one of the chosen ones to make their nests. How fortunate to see dozens of turtles being born and to experience that moment when they head to their new home, but without forgetting their roots to which they will come back to restart their new life cycle.
If there is something special about Felicité, it is its seabed, incredible snorkeling every time I went underwater to enjoy the sea. The exclusivity of the island, the care of the environment, the sustainability make that few places offer such a variety of water wildlife as Felicité: squids, baby sharks, zebra fishes, butterflies, angels and many more surround you, and the final touch was put by Fibi, the most sociable turtle of Six Senses who came to visit me and we were swimming together showing me her hiding places! My pleasure Fibi!
But I could not leave Felicité without stopping by the Spa, a jewel of Six Senes Zil Pasyon.
Nestled among giant granite rocks, overlooking the ocean, and surrounded by endemic flora, it is one of the most special spas I have ever visited. Integrated into nature it adapts to the natural formations and there you can feel the energy of the rocks, earth, sea and with expert therapeutic hands it seems like the world stops for a few moments and you connect with your essence.
My time in Felicité was coming to the end.
The last touch of the trip was on the island of Praslin, the second-largest island of Seychelles full of temptations: a perched jungle, mountains that descended into crystalline waters, palm-fringed sands, granite rocks that look decorated, and a magical valley with fascinating flora and a great variety of birds, is the Mai Valley, where we also find the origin of the Coco Du Mer, the biggest seed in the world!
Coco du Mer can weigh up to 35 kg and take 25 years to bear its first fruit!
My last accommodation was at Raffles Seychelles and once again our hosts proved to be perfect! Francesca and Mohamed accommodated me like another family member.
On the way, you could perceive the unhurried life of Praslin, fishermen, small local tents, and curvy roads in lush vegetation where the Takamaka tree is the most abundant accompanied by palms and other tropical varieties.
At the same hotel, I was able to see the Aldrabas, giant tortoises that can live u to 400 years. It is also very interesting to visit Cruioseau Island, just 10 minutes away by boat, where there is a community of huge turtles in the wild state. A jewel is only visible in Seychelles and the Galapagos Islands.
Bid a farewell to paradise required spending time on the magical and wild beaches of Praslin. Anse Lazio was the chosen one, a postcard setting whichever way you look at it. The ultramarine color of the water, the perfect temperature, palm trees, white sand, and a relaxing atmosphere where perhaps it is the most beautiful beach in Praslin put the finishing touch to my trip to paradise.
I am looking forward to continuing to discover the corners, curiosities, gastronomy, music… and everything that these incredible islands have to offer.
I think I will have to come back soon!