What makes Seychelles a unique country to travel to?
The Republic of Seychelles consists of 115 islands off the east coast of Africa. The main islands of the archipelago include Mahé, which is the largest, followed by Praslin and La Digue. Seychelles has a stable government and a per capita GDP of US $11,200, one of the highest in the region. Facilities for tourism are well-developed. The total population is approximately 90,000. The capital, Victoria, is located on Mahé. The three official languages spoken in the Seychelles are Creole, English, and French. Seychelles lies within the consular jurisdiction of the U.S. Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius.
Petty crime is a problem, but violent crime against tourists is rare. To reduce the risk of theft, travelers should keep valuables in hotel safes and close and lock hotel windows at night, even while the room is occupied. Hotels that do not have private safes in the rooms will usually have one at the reception desk. Travelers are also advised to take precautions and not leave bags unattended either on the beach while swimming or in plain sight of their vehicles. Foreigners should exercise caution on beaches and poorly-lit or deserted areas at night.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Bootlegs are illegal in the United States, and their purchase may also violate local laws in Seychelles.
While you are traveling in Seychelles, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. It may be illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Seychelles, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Persons violating Seychellois laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines in Seychelles.
Arrest notifications in host country:
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
The 24-hour emergency number for all medical emergencies is 999. Medical facilities in Seychelles are limited, especially on the isolated islands where doctors are often unavailable. There is one government-owned hospital and several clinics, private and government-run. The Seychellois Ministry of Health operates an ambulance service on the islands of Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue which can be reached by dialing 999. Waiting times can vary considerably based on location. For more information, contact the Ministry of Health at P.O. Box 52, Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles; telephone ( 248) 388-000. It is recommended that travelers bring and use insect/mosquito repellent while in Seychelles and apply it at night on all exposed areas. Outbreaks of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus and yellow fever virus have been reported in recent years, as well as Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease transmitted to humans and animals by exposure to water contaminated by infected animals. For more information on these diseases and current outbreaks, please see the CDC’s fact sheets on chikungunya, leptospirosis, and yellow fever.
Safety and Security
U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations. It is dangerous to swim alone at some beaches due to strong currents. U.S. citizens should exercise caution when planning ocean activities. Currently, travel by ship to the Outer Islands including the Amirantes group, Coetivy, and Platte requires prior approval from Seychellois authorities. Two fatal shark attacks occurred in the waters off of Praslin Island in 2011. The Government of Seychelles is monitoring the waters and, in some locations, installing safety nets around swimming areas.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Seychelles, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
Driving is on the left side of the road. Roads are generally not well-maintained and are narrow and winding. Drivers should exercise caution due to a lack of shoulders and inadequate street lighting. Speed limits range from 25 to 50 miles per hour. Drivers and front-seat passengers are required to wear seatbelts. There are no laws regarding child safety seats.
Public transportation by bus is available but tends to be crowded during rush hours and may require a transfer to reach a desired destination. Taxis are also available.