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The overwhelming majority of visitors to the Seychelles stay on one of the archipelago's three main islands: Mahe, Praslin, or La Digue. Mahe, the largest, is also the liveliest, with the most generous offer of shopping and entertainment. The capital city – Victoria – is also located on Mahe, many flocking to its Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market (often simply referred to as "Victoria Market") for produce and souvenir shopping. Mahe is most often any traveller's fist point of entry to the Seychelles, for it is on this island that the nation's only international airport is located. Praslin, albeit much smaller, has plenty in the way of nature escapes – the UNESCO-listed Vallee de Mai reserve makes for some incredible hiking through primeval mangrove forest, where the endemic (and rather wacky-looking) coco de mer grows undisturbed. La Digue, the smallest of the three, will please those looking for seclusion – the only means of transportation here is cycling, which means no vehicles or other disturbances – just you, picture-perfect beaches, and star-dotted night skies. Day-trips and private excursions can be arranged to nearby islands like Curieuse or Silhouette, as well as some of the more remote outer islands.
The Seychelles' incredible biodiversity is an attraction in itself, with ample opportunities to get close and personal with the islands' most famous inhabitants – the giant Aldabra tortoises – as well as a countless other animal and plant species (most notably among the latter indigenous coco de mer). The archipelago's luxury hotels are the ultimate relaxation retreats, and active pursuits are available in the way of hiking through thick mangrove forests, diving and snorkelling.
Seychellois cooking revolves around the sea: fish and seafood play a central part, followed closely by chicken. The proteins are frequently offered as part of a curry, served with a side of rice. Fine dining is available at most upper-range hotels (which can get pricey), but plenty of affordable alternatives can be found at small independent eateries.
Many beach bars operate as cafes during the daytime; the archipelago's largest island – Mahe – offers by far the largest variety of cheap casual eateries, especially in and around the capital of Victoria.
Those planning to explore local nightlife must head to Mahe Island's Beau Vallon or the capital of Victoria, the likeliest areas to find a party. For low-key evening drinks, most hotels will have an on-site bar, often with live music put on a few times a week. There are also a couple of clubs on Praslin Island. Another popular form of evening entertainment is taking a sunset cruise.
There are a few talented artists who call the Seychelles home; their work is showcased and sold in the studios they run, and these are normally open to visitors during the daytime (ringing ahead is recommended to make sure the locale is open at your planned time of visit). Shopping enthusiasts will also certainly appreciate the variety present in Victoria, the capital, where local produce mingles with crafts and exceptional jewellery exclusive to the Seychelles.
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