Last updated on May 28, 2023 by Wandering our World
When it comes to tropical Indian Ocean paradises, you can’t get much better than Mauritius or the Seychelles.
However due to their remote nature, visiting either is costly and the airplane journey long. So making the choice between Mauritius or Seychelles for your dream getaway is vitally important.
However other than their remoteness, these islands are vastly different. For example, the Seychelles tends to have the better beaches and feels more romantic. While Mauritius is busier, but better for hiking and adventure.
Of course that’s just the beginning when it comes to how different they two island nations really are. But having spent time in both, we compare them below.
We look at which has the better beaches, nightlife, food, what activities you can do in each, how the vibe compares, what the infrastructure is like and lots more.
So read on to begin your Indian Ocean adventure!
- A Quick Overview
- Which Has Better Beaches & Landscape?
- Which Has Better Culture?
- Which Has Better Food?
- Which Has Better Nightlife?
- Which Is Better For Families?
- Which Is Better For Couples & Honeymoons?
- Where To Stay According To Your Budget
- Which Is Cheaper?
- Which Is Safer?
- Which Is The Better Choice
Mauritius vs Seychelles: A Quick Overview
Other than residing in the Indian Ocean, both of these little countries are quite different.
For beach lovers, you will find spectacular beaches and turquoise swimming waters in both Mauritius and the Seychelles. We tell you some of our favorites further on in this article.
However the Seychelles, as a nation made up of 115 different islands, is the best choice if beaches are your top priority.
There are numerous beaches in the Seychelles, including many iconic white sand stretches of coastline. Plus with so many islands it’s possible to find secluded spots that still have a deserted island feel to them.
That’s not so possible in Mauritius, which packs 1.4 million people – and a lot of tourists – onto the island.
However Mauritius probably has better snorkeling opportunities. And as a volcanic island it has dramatic mountains and forests that open up opportunities for hiking and jungle trekking.
Seychelles also has forests and mountains worth exploring, as we explain later. Although as the Seychelles is a nation spread out among numerous islands, you must island hop to see all the best sights.
That makes Mauritius much easier to explore. Because barring a few small islands off the main island, everything you will want to see and do can be done easily by renting a car.
Mauritius is therefore probably suited to a holiday of one or two weeks. While the Seychelles may be better for a longer vacation.
But ultimately, both Mauritius and the Seychelles offer that laid back island life holidaymakers are seeking, and that’s famous in creole nations.
Plus, with English and French widely spoken in each, they are easy nations to navigate for most tourists. The people in both nations are exceptionally friendly, and well used to tourists too.
However it comes to accommodation choices there is a larger variety of choices in Mauritius too, which probably makes it the better island to visit on a budget. That’s also true in respect to exploring the island, as the Seychelles requires expensive island hopping, Mauritius doesn’t.
The infrastructure in Mauritius is also well developed. However buses can be slow between cities and areas. Although within cities and towns they are effective and cheap, as we’ve written about before.
Below we look at the scenery on offer in both countries. Before comparing the culture, standard of hotels, nightlife, food and more!
Which Has Better Beaches & Landscape?
Mauritius: The Beaches & Landscape
Mauritius is home to dozens of spectacular beaches, all with their own quirks.
You can find a huge stretch of beach at Flic en Flac, which is perfect for dipping your toes in the water as you walk the coastline. With bars and food stalls lining the beach, this is a fun and lively place to visit, especially at the weekend.
One of the best swimming beaches can be found at Pereybere. The fine white sand here continues into the sea for dozens of meters, making it the perfect place to swim without fear of stepping on rocks or sharp coral.
Grab a coconut from one of the friendly sellers at the beach edge, and settle down for the day. However this is probably the most popular swimming beach in Mauritius – and it’s one of the smallest too – so it can get very busy.
Just off the west coast is the beautiful little Ile aux Cerf. This private island can be reached by boat from the little fishing village of Trou d’Eau Deuce, and is also a great swimming spot that is quieter than popular and easy to reach Pereybere.
Mauritius also happens to have some of the best snorkeling spots in the Indian Ocean.
Ile aux Cerf is a fantastic snorkeling spot, as is Blue Bay in the south of Mauritius where you can see countless colorful fish living among the coral. Locals often bring bread to feed the fish when snorkeling. Try it out and you will be surrounded by fish within minutes! Having a great underwater camera – such as this one – is a must.
This island is far more than just sun, sea, and sand though. The dramatic Le Morne mountain is a national heritage site and climbing it will bring spectacular panoramic views of the island and ocean.
Black River Gorges National Park is a huge expense of jungle-covered interior with spectacular waterfalls, hiking trails, and friendly monkeys. And when it comes to hiking, Mauritius has Seychelles beat.
The village of Chamarel is nestled beside it at high altitude, and the drive from here down towards Black River will expose you to some of the island’s best views.
Seychelles: The Beaches & Landscape
The Seychelles is everything you want when it comes to a beach holiday and more. And as a general rule, the more remote islands you manage to visit in the Seychelles, the more beautiful beaches you will find.
However no trip to the Seychelles is complete without visiting the breathtaking Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue island.
The turquoise water and vanilla-colored fluffy sand is set against a backdrop so stunning it’s movie worthy. And it actually is. This iconic beach is so beautiful it’s been filmed for numerous movie and television projects.
Beau Vallon beach on Mahe island is a popular place for couples and families alike. It can get busy, but the shallow water is perfect for swimming and the sunset spectacular.
For good snorkeling, Anse Badamier on Curieuse Island is one of the best spots across the archipegalo. Here you can swim with colorful reef fish, hawksbill turtles and even nurse shark pups.
In fact one of the most spectacular turtle spots in the Seychelles is the remote Bird Island. Famous for it’s diverse bird-life which is well worth seeing in itself, you’re almost guaranteed to swim alongside turtles here.
The Seychelles has more to offer than just beaches too. If you’re feeling adventurous, then a visit to Morne Seychellois National Park is well worth it.
This forest has the only remaining indigenous rainforest in the Seychelles and is home to some wonderful and unique wildlife. Watch your step though – the world’s smallest frog lives here. The Sooglossus gardineri frog is just 1cm long!
A hike up Niz d’Aigle on La Digue island will give you panoramic views over the island and across the Indian Ocean. It’s one of our favorite hiking spots in the archipelago.
Which Has The Better Culture?
Mauritius: The Culture
Mauritius is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country which makes it a unique and interesting country to explore.
There’s a strong Indian influence here due to many Mauritians being descendants of indentured Indian workers brought here by the British in the 19th century. Indentured work was a form of forced work which was increasingly used after the abolition of slavery in the colonies.
Over half a million indentured workers passed through Mauritius’ capital of Port Louis, and the immigration depot where they were brought, Aapravasi Ghat, now serves as a museum and is worth visiting.
The UNESCO World Heritage site, Le Morne, should also be visited to understand Mauritius’ turbulent history. The mountain was used as hiding place for slaves that managed to escape.
Out of that history came Sega – the rhythmic dance and music that’s heard on beaches up and down the island. It originated as the songs and dances of slaves, and is heritage as much as it is a form of dance. You can often see people enjoying Sega at the weekend on popular beaches such as Flic-en-Flac.
For something a little different, head to the Botanical Gardens in Pamplemousses to walk in the shade among an incredible variety of colorful plants and exotic trees.
Mauritius also has a significant Chinese population, and subsequently the capital – Port Louis – has its own China Town. Situated in the city center, look out for the colorful murals and numerous Chinese restaurants to try out.
Seychelles: The Culture
The Seychelles is its own diverse mix. As a nation made up of immigrants, the culture has been formed though African, Asian and European influences.
A visit to the capital of the Seychelles, Victoria, should be on your itinerary.
One of the smallest capital cities in the world (population: 25-30,000), Victoria is a colorful charming town which has many art galleries, craft markets, and architectural curiosities to visit and discover.
Just outside of Victoria you can visit the ruins of Mission Lodge. This missionary school from the 1800s will give you an insight into life for the Seychelles’ early settlers. There’s also a spectacular viewpoint nearby the ruins.
On the island of La Digue, visit the fascinating L’Union estate. This sustainable coconut plantation is a fun place to tour, but also has historical sites such as the cemetery of the island’s original settlers.
Which Has Better Food?
Both island nations have delicious seafood, but with different cultural backgrounds in both countries, that’s where the similarities end.
Mauritius: The Food
The Indian influence shines through in Mauritius where popular street food includes dholl puri, which is a wrap made from yellow split peas garnished with different curries or lentils.
Another popular street food worth trying – and a personal favorite of ours – is boulette. This is a dumpling usually filled with either chicken, lamb, fish, or Chayote (chouchou in Mauritius), served hot with soup and chili. It’s delicious.
Fried noodles, and fried rice are also popular here – a hat tip to the Chinese population in Mauritius.
To wash it all down, try the local beer of Mauritius, Phoenix.
Of course rum is also very popular. Many different kinds are made on the island, but La Rhumerie de Chamarel has some of the best – they also do tours and tastings.
Seychelles: The Food
Seychelles cuisine is focused heavily on seafood. No surprise there for a nation made up of 115 islands!
Grilled fish is a popular dish in the country, with Red Snapper one of the most common choices. Served with chili, this is a must-try dish but it will be spicy.
Why not pair grilled fish with Seychelles version of French fries – Breadfruit chips!
A unique dish to the Seychelles, and one people are either desperate to try or want to avoid completely, is shark chutney. This side dish is found in many creole restaurants and is exactly what it sounds like!
Want something to wash down your breadfruit chips and shark chutney? How about a wine made from the flowers of coconut trees. That’s what sweet-tasting Kalou is made from.
Recommended: Seychelles for Foodies
Which Has Better Nightlife?
If we’re to compare them head-to-head, Mauritius’ nightlife is more lively than the evening scene in the Seychelles. The country offers a wider range of night entertainment, from beach clubs to nightclubs and casinos.
On the other hand, Seychelles’ nightlife scene is more relaxed. Locals and tourists here enjoy the night scene by cozying up in beach clubs and sipping on cocktails while listening to live music.
In the end, Mauritius offers everything that Seychelles’ nightlife has to offer, and more!
On top of that, the night entertainment options in Seychelles are more limited and exclusive. However, both places still offer a fun nightlife worth checking out. So let’s look at each in more detail!
Mauritius: The Nightlife
The coastal town of Grand Baie on the northwest coast of Mauritius is known for its awesome nightlife. You’ll find plenty of bars, nightclubs, live music venues, and beachfront bars there – anything that suits your taste!
Banana Beach Club is one of the most popular nightlife spots in this town. This beachfront bar is a relaxing dining establishment that turns into a lively party hub at night, with live DJs and themed parties.
A similar and no less popular place is the Beach House, a chic bar offering an extensive spirits collection, good food and live music.
But for a more upscale night scene, check out Buddha Club in the La Cuvette beach area. It has a trendy ambiance and is popular for drinking cocktails while watching the sunset.
Those looking for more partying and clubbing should go to Insomnia Night Club or Shotz. Both are located in the Flic en Flac area – another famous party spot in Mauritius – and both are known to be great places to go dancing.
And if you’re looking for a casino, Ti Vegas Casino in Grand Baie is a popular casino and clubbing spot. Outside of Grand Baie, Le Caudan Waterfront Casino in Port Louis is famous for its wide range of options and tournaments.
Seychelles: The Nightlife
Nightlife in Seychelles is concentrated on the island of Mahé. And if you walk the streets at night, you’ll likely hear the sound of local bands playing Creole music and popular tunes, especially in crowded areas like Beau Vallon and Victoria.
Another island known for its nightlife is Praslin. On this island, night entertainment is often centered around beachfront establishments, resorts, and hotels (meaning they’re fancy and pricey).
Places like Pirogue Restaurant & Bar and Lemuria Resort Bar give customers a sophisticated nightlife experience with cocktails and cultural performances.
A fun fact about Seychelles is that the night entertainment establishments can be pretty exclusive. So if you’re wearing casual clothes, expect to sometimes be turned away at the door.
Which Is Better For Families?
Both Mauritius and Seychelles can be great for family vacations, depending on what you’re looking for.
However we would recommend Mauritius for families with older kids. This is because the country has more activities suitable for families that love exploring and adventure.
On the other hand, the Seychelles might be better suited for families with babies and toddlers, as it is very quiet and less crowded, so family holidays tend to be extremely relaxed.
Overall, Mauritius also has a more developed tourist sector which will make it a better holiday destination for some.
Mauritius: For Families
From water sports and hiking to exploring cultural sites, there’s an endless supply of family fun.
This nation is a great place to give your kids more experiences, while also teaching them about different cultures.
If you’re visiting Mauritius with kids, we recommend staying in the Belle Mare area. The big water park in the country, Splash N Fun Leisure Park, is located in this area.
On top of that, there’s the Aquacity Belle Mare Watersports where you and your family can try parasailing, tube riding, and walking under the sea. And don’t forget about the Belle Mare Ruins!
The Flic en Flac area is also a good choice for families because it’s close to Casela Nature Parks, an amusement park that offers safari tours, camel rides, zip lines, walking with lions, and lots more. You can also take a dolphin and whale watching excursion around the Flic en Flac coast.
For an even more surreal excursion, go on the Blue Safari Submarines trip which will take you 115 ft under the sea. You’ll get to see coral reefs, marine life, and old ship ruins.
There are plenty of other family-friendly attractions in Mauritius too, such as the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden where you can see giant water lilies amongst many other plants, La Vanille Nature Park where you can feed tortoises and see other animals.
Want to do some shopping? Grand Baie is filled with many boutiques and local markets selling souvenirs. There you can enjoy an afternoon of shopping for local garments and handicrafts before heading back home.
Seychelles: For Families
While there are no big water parks or theme parks in Seychelles, you can enjoy a day at the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve or Seychelles National Botanical Gardens to get in touch with nature.
Other popular activities are snorkeling, island hopping, and water sports.
And to immerse yourself in Creole culture, take a Creole cooking class with your family. You will learn how to prepare traditional dishes using local spices.
However ultimately, Mauritius has far more to keep kids happy and occupied than the Seychelles.
Which Is Better For Couples & Honeymoons?
When looking for a tropical honeymoon destination, white sand beaches and crystal clear waters are some of the most important factors.
And as we’ve mentioned above, Seychelles wins in this category even though neither country will disappoint you when it comes to beaches.
So, what about other factors that contribute to a great honeymoon destination? Well when it comes to activities, there’s no doubt that Mauritius offers a wider range of things to do.
Therefore, Mauritius is a great option for couples who love fun nightlife and adventurous activities. On the flip side, Seychelles is better suited to those looking for a romantic secluded honeymoon.
Let’s look at both in more detail!
Mauritius: Couples & Honeymoons
Grand Baie, Flic en Fac, and Trou aux Biches are amongst the most popular honeymoon spots in Mauritius.
The first two are known for being lively tourist spots with plenty of activities, water sports, and night entertainment, while Trou aux Biches is a little more secluded and known for its pristine beaches.
Several popular honeymoon activities in Mauritius include snorkeling, having beach picnics at sunset, getting couples spa treatments, wine tasting, and going on catamaran cruises.
But if you and your partner like to stay active then hike through the breathtaking Black River Gorges National Park!
You can also hike to Charamel Waterfall, an impressive 272 feet water falling off of a cliff, or to the collection of 7 waterfalls known as Tamarind Falls.
Another fun activity for couples in Mauritius is going to markets and festivals!
Something fascinating about the archipelago is that it’s home to a diverse mix of ethnicities and religions. Major festivals in Mauritius include Hindu festivals such as Holi and Maha Shivatree; Eid ul Fitr for Muslims; Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, and lots more!
Seychelles: Couples & Honeymoons
If you have the budget and you’re looking for a private honeymoon with breathtaking views and an unbeatable romantic vibe then the Seychelles is the one for you.
Known for its pristine beaches, natural beauty, and lush landscapes, the Seychelles really is the perfect backdrop to the perfect honeymoon.
Furthermore, the Seychelles is known for its exclusive vibes and gorgeous beach resorts and private villas.
And if you’re looking for activities, most couples in the country enjoy leisurely beach activities or island hopping. Sunset cruises are also popular for couples on their honeymoon.
Where To Stay According To Your Budget
Budget: SALT of Palmer is actually one of Mauritius’ best hotels, but if you book well in advance it is sometimes possible to get a room here at a third of the price of other five-star hotels. This adults-only resort has all the luxuries you’d want to, and straddles a gorgeous white sand beach. See photos and rates!
Luxury: Set right on the beach and with exceptional sea views, a stay at Constance Prince Maurice is going to feel as luxurious as it feels relaxing.
This five-star, all-inclusive resort, has spa facilities, incredible swimming pools and restaurants, and the tour desk can organize any excursion you want – from rum tasting to helicopter tours. See photos and rates!
Budget: AQUA Boutique Hotel is a stunning hotel situated close to the Anse Nord d’Est Beach. There’s a sprawling garden, a refreshing infinity pool, and each aparthotel room comes equipped with its own little kitchenette.
It’s within reach of local towns and has easy access to stores and restaurants as well as some beautiful sightseeing opportunities. And all of that at a fantastic budget price point. See photos and rates!
Luxury: Nothing says luxury like a private island, and Denis Private Island in Seychelles offers a resort experience unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Each room is like a private villa, spacious with beachfront views.
Activities can be arranged through the hotel, and the island is a short 30-minute flight from the main airport. They also have their own private restaurant that serves farm-to-table food and a gorgeous infinity pool overlooking the ocean. See photos and rates!
Which Is Safer?
Both Mauritius and Seychelles are very safe to travel to. There’s no specific travel advisory by the US government regarding either country.
That said, some tourists have been the victims of theft while hiking remote trails in Mauritius.
Instead of crime, you should probably worry more about the weather! The tropical cyclone season runs from November to May, so make sure to always follow the news about the weather and natural disasters prior to your visit to the country.
And for the Seychelles, make sure to triple-check with locals about which beaches are okay to swim in.
Even beaches that are safe to swim in at certain times of the year can be unsafe in other seasons. And also, be careful when navigating the mountainous winding roads, especially when it’s raining.
Which Is Cheaper?
Overall, staying in Mauritius is more affordable than in the Seychelles. After all, the Seychelles is a small archipelago with a small population, less developed tourism infrastructure, and a limited supply of food.
And as we’ve mentioned above, the Seychelles is filled with upscale restaurants and hotels and therefore can be very exclusive.
Mauritius, on the other hand offers more range, from budget guesthouses and mid-range hotels to luxury resorts.
Not only that, but it’s also cheaper to get around in Mauritius because the transport is more accessible and affordable.
Mauritius Or The Seychelles: Which Is The Better Choice?
Both of these creole island nations are colorful friendly destinations that have great beaches on offer to holidaymakers.
However, if beaches are the most important thing to you, then the Seychelles is the place to go. Its numerous islands are home to some of the world’s most beautiful, and also secluded, beaches.
But a trip to the Seychelles may require island hopping which can be expensive. Hotels in the country, and food as well, tend to be more expensive than Mauritius.
Mauritius has more accommodation options, and with a large local population it’s easy to find cheap food throughout the island.
Mauritius can be easily explored in a week or two with a hire car as well, and so may be best suited to holidaymakers on a shorter vacation. Whereas to visit many of the most interesting sites in the Seychelles, you will need at least two weeks.