Petite Ile and the Other Attractions of Reunion island

For most people, a mention of the Indian Ocean automatically conjures up images of its most popular islands, which are Seychelles, Mauritius, and the extremely expensive Maldives islands. This is actually quite normal since these islands rely a lot on tourism as a major part of their economy. As a matter of fact, in the case of the exotic Seychelles and Maldives islands, you can even say that they rely exclusively on their tourism industry. Mauritius is a bit different in that it has successfully managed to diversity its exports, which include sugar and textile, but it is also heavily dependent in tourists as a source of revenue.

Petite Ile
Image by françoise_b (http://www.flickr.com/photos/francoise_2006/)

One island that most people are however quick to forget is the small island of Reunion, which is located a mere half an hour from to the west of Mauritius. This is quite normal as, contrary to its Indian Ocean neighbors, Reunion does not advertise its tourism industry as heavily. Although the island does have a thriving industry with a lot of tourists visiting the island every year, it does not rely on it so much. Indeed, because Reunion is French territory, it could pretty much ignore its visitors completely and still get on fine.

However, just like its neighbors, the island of Reunion also has its fair share of attractions and is an exciting place to visit. While it lacks the beautiful beaches of the other Indian Ocean islands, it makes up for this with some unique sights and incredible coasts and forests. In fact, the extraordinary differences from town to town are just one of the most remarkable aspects of Reunion. As an example, Petite Ile, located in the south of the island, is filled with flowers, some of which are unique to Reunion, while Saint Paul is popular for its buzzing street market.

You can also find the Domaine du Relais in Petite Ile, which is a park where visitors can either ride horses or simply go on a long walk punctuated by a picnic. The Domaine du Relais is one of the most famous places of the whole island as some of the views are simply amazing. It is however still far behind Reunion’s most popular attraction, the Piton de La Fournaise (usually called the Peak of the The Furnace in english) volcano. Most people will have already heard about La Fournaise, which is also one of the world’s most active volcanoes and whose last eruption occurred as late as December 2010. As you would have guessed, La Fournaise is the main tourist attraction in Reunion.

Another widely famous tourist attraction in Reunion is its High Plains, which offers the most amazing scenery of the island. The High Plains is a huge forest bordered by verdant cliffs and with incredibly dense vegetation. It is located near the Piton de La Fournaise Volcano and the views from the top of the plains are quite breathtaking. It is however recommended to rely on a guide when visiting the High Plains as it is all too to get lost in this huge forest.

Ashvin Sawmynaden, now based in Petite Ile and Guito Ramoune, is a travel blogger who blogs mainly about the Indian Ocean destinations

Planning Your Wedding in Seychelles

Seychelles wedding
Seychelles wedding

Image by Laguna Beach Beach Weddings

There are not many better places for an exotic wedding than the Seychelles. The Seychelles islands are truly special destinations and will no doubt make any wedding special. A lot of people are shunning the concept of typical weddings and instead opting to get married in such destinations, and Seychelles has slowly emerged as one of the top places for both weddings and honeymoons. If you are among those couples, there are several key points to take into consideration when you are planning your wedding in the Seychelles.

You must understand that it can take months of waiting before you can get married in Seychelles. You should first of all send your official birth certificates to the Seychelles authorities who will process these and determine whether you can actually get married in Seychelles. Obviously, just sending the paperwork by post is as simple as it gets. However, keep in mind that the wait may be long as many couples from all over the world are also applying for such weddings. Consequently, you may have to wait a while before they get around to your application.

Once the authorities process your paperwork, they will let you know whether you can proceed with your wedding Seychelles dream. You should always wait until their reply before you start bothering about your accommodation since your application may be denied. It’s quite rare that the Seychelles authorities will reject your request to get married in the islands but it could happen. The main reasons for such negative answers are usually incomplete paperwork. As such, make sure you thoroughly check everything before you send it.

Once you’ve received confirmation that you can get wed in the Seychelles, you can then take care of your flight and accommodation. You should make sure to pick special deals that include the flight and hotel room as these often work out cheaper and mean you do not have to spend so much time looking for an accommodation. Many hotels have packages for couples coming to the Seychelles to get married with several perks and benefits, and it would indeed be a shame to pass these up.

However, if you do not wish to go for such Seychelles hotels because you find them expensive, it is quite straightforward to look for cheaper accommodation. The Seychelles islands indeed host various forms of accommodation which range from hotels to self catering lodges. Many hotels will provide the facility to organize your wedding, but once you get there, it is rather simple to carry out the formalities for the ceremony. Consequently, you can choose any type of accommodation without having to bother about these arrangements. You can however inform the hotel staff that you are visiting the Seychelles to get married, and they will always be glad to throw wedding rites in your accommodation deal for free.

Once you’ve taken care of all these steps, you will no doubt be able to get married in Seychelles without having to worry about tiny details messing everything up. There is also no denying that it will be one of the best trips of your life.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwMT0wP7plI[/youtube]

How to lower your Seychelles travel budget

Seychelles is an extremely popular tourist destination and has been internationally praised for its magnificent beaches. However, due to this popularity, it is also a relatively expensive destination. Many people would invariably disregard traveling to the Seychelles in the current economic climate due to the expenses involved. However, if you know how to keep your expenses to a minimum, that Seychelles trip you’ve been dreaming of forever is well within your grasp.

Book early
One reason for the high rates charged by hotels is the fact that they are usually in such demand. A lot of people want to go to the Seychelles for various reasons, such as honeymoons, and consequently the hotels can get away with charging sky high prices for their services. One way of spending less money on your accommodation is by booking your hotel room as early as possible.

Travel during the off-peak season
This is directly linked to booking your Seychelles accommodation early. While it is an excellent idea to book your hotel or resort early, it is even better to do so during the less busy seasons. Peak seasons, especially extremely busy periods such as Christmas and the holiday months, coincide with higher rates since travelers are inclined to spend more during the festive seasons and often pay less attention to how much they are actually spending.

Choose alternative accommodation
As expensive as the luxury hotels and resorts are, the Seychelles islands are also home to an excellent range of alternative accommodation. These tourist lodgings, which include self catering Seychelles villa, guesthouses, and small apartments, are much cheaper than 5 star hotels while nevertheless providing a quality choice. They also often provide a more intimate experience, which is why so many couples are instead opting to stay in villas.

Look for special deals
One of the nicest things about the Seychelles is that there is never a shortage of special deals and packages for tourists. As such, you should spend some time searching for offers that are in line with what you are looking for. This is easily done by searching on the Internet as there are many websites that focus exclusively on offering such Seychelles deals.

You should also look for bundles that include various facilities. For example, if you wish to drive a car while visiting the island, it is cheaper to find a bundle that includes a hotel as well as a reservation with a car rental company Seychelles. Due to the high demand for these kinds of deals, more agencies are now changing their offers to accommodate these requests.

Scuba Diving in Mauritius

Scuba Diving in Mauritius
Scuba Diving in Mauritius

The island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean is often referred to as a “Paradise location”. It is an ideal destination for couples and families alike and has retained its popularity over the recent years. Although there are many activities in Mauritius, it is very closely associated with scuba diving as a result of its magnificent lagoon and the superb coral reefs that surround the island. Moreover, most 5 star Mauritius hotel bundles now offer their own scuba diving packages and there are also many companies entirely devoted to these.

The noticeable thing is that the sea conditions in Mauritius mean that scuba diving there is accessible to both beginners and seasoned veterans. There are indeed many foreigners who go to Mauritius almost every year only for the scuba diving. The North of the island is particularly suitable for scuba divers thanks to the marine fauna there and the clarity of the lagoon (the North is also known for boasting the best beaches of the island). There are several diving sites that are critically acclaimed and that people who are into the sport must absolutely visit.

Mauritius also offers a full range of diving conditions, which pretty much makes it the ideal spot for divers with varying degrees of experience. While the north coast of the island allows for extremely easy conditions, divers with more experience can thus head to the south where the conditions are a bit more difficult. The west coast should be visited by those with at least one year of scuba diving experience under their belt as the sea can be quite rough there and some parts are not actually accessible to the general public.

Although you may very well use your own scuba diving equipment, it is not very difficult to rent some equipment in Mauritius. Divers have a stunning choice as there are always a handful of scuba shops from which you can rent or purchase the regular equipment to incredibly expensive sets. Obviously, if you are just going to enjoy the activity for the couple of weeks in Mauritius, there is no need to invest a lot of money in the equipment. However, if you plan to make scuba diving one of your hobbies, it is better to go for the best equipment as soon as you can. This allows you to spend less money in the long run.

One thing you can count on is that you will not be buying poor quality equipment. Tourism is a very important, if not the biggest, industry in Mauritius and is thus tightly regulated. These shops are thus subjects to frequent checks and can only sell equipment that has been verified and approved by the authorities. Skippers and operators must also be issued licenses by the authorities, and these are verified regularly to ensure that everything is up to standard and to make sure that the tourists’ lives are not being put to unnecessary risks.