Honeymoon Destinations: Maldives vs Seychelles

I often get asked from soon to be married friends where they should go on their honeymoon.  It's a loaded question which I would often respond with a spitfire of questions myself.  By the end, it typically boils down to people wanting part of the vacation to be some sort of relaxing, remote, tropical beach destination.  When I get asked what beach destination is best, I will give them two options based off where I've been, the Maldives or the Seychelles.  The reality is that both of these destinations are incredible and you really can't go wrong but there are differences between the two. 

Over the water bungalows in the Maldives 

Lets start with the Maldives.  The picture in your head of tiny islands with white sandy beaches and over the water bungalows is spot on.  That is exactly what you are going to get at the Maldives.  I don't know exactly know how many resorts there are but each one, or at least through my research, is basically it's own island.  So essentially when you pick a resort, you are going to be heading to a private island and pending on the location, may not see anything else in sight.  Thus you are truly going to get that remote feeling of being isolated in the Indian Ocean.  And depending on your resort, at times you may feel like the only one there (we had that feeling). 

Our island resort in the Maldives 

The Maldives will be the ultimate lounging around beach vacation.  You aren't going to be going to any cities or ancient ruins when visiting the Maldives, everything is going to revolve around the sand and the sea, but you know what, that sounds pretty great by me.  There truly is nothing you need to worry about and no schedule you need to keep, everything is going to be right there for you. 

The Anatara Veil in the Maldives 

Although for those that can get a little restless, laying on the beach isn't the only thing to do.   For when you need a break to cool down, you have some of the best snorkeling at your finger tips.  You can jump off your balcony or walk straight into the ocean to see all sorts of exotic sea life.  On top of different types of fish, you'll see sharks, stingrays and if you are not so lucky like us, maybe a poisonous snake.  No really, we were snorkeling one afternoon and saw something swimming in front of us and learned later that it's one of the deadliest oceanic snakes but very rare to see (lets just say we didn't have the appetite for snorkeling after that).  Pending you resort,  there will also be plenty of activities like scuba diving or swimming with Whale Sharks.  We opted for scuba diving as I had never done it before and it was so incredible we opted to do it again two days later.  

Samantha as we were heading out to Scuba Dive 

A big part of your trip is going to depend on what resort you end up picking since you really won't be venturing from it.  We opted for the Anantara Veil which I couldn't recommend more. They are three little islands, one was adults only, one was for families and one was completely private.  The few things I would think about when looking at a resort outside of price is where it's located (how remote do you want to be), the activities at the resort; for instance I think some are better for certain things like swimming with Whale Sharks than others and the restaurant options.  You aren't leaving the island for any meals so make sure they have enough optionality which the Anantara did.  If you are going to be going for more than 4 nights which I probably would recommend, I would aim to stay at two resorts to change up the scenery.  We only did one for five nights and while it was perfect, I still would opt to go to a second resort next time around.

Our balcony in the the Maldives where we would jump off and go snorkeling 

All in all, the Maldives is going to be an unbelievable option, it's everything you picture it to be.  If you want the over the water bungalows, the ultimate hospitality experience, a picture perfect view everywhere you look and incredible white beaches, it's the best option.  It most likely will be the pricer of the two options but it is your honeymoon so why not splurge. 

Maldives beach in the late afternoon sun 

About 1,400 miles south west of the Maldives is the African island nation of the Seychelles.  Similar to the Maldives, the country is consisted of only islands however some islands are much larger but the Seychelles have less in quantity as there are only about 100 in the Seychelles compared to the 1,000+ in the Maldives.  

The beach at the Banyan Tree in they Seychelles 

The Seychelles, while a beautiful island nation, has a completely different vibe than the Maldives, to me it felt almost Caribbeanish.   You are absolutely going to feel remote but it's a bit different than the Maldives.  Part of it will also depend on where you stay in the Seychelles.  There are certainly islands that are very isolated that have high end resorts however there are also some of the best resorts on their main island Mahe, that is home to 100,000 people.  Hence it's a bit different than being on an island where the only thing on it is the resort you are staying at.

One of the islands of the Seychellles 

That said, we stayed in Mahe at the Banyan Tree and I loved it, you can't go wrong with this option for a honeymoon.  You don't have the over the water bungalows but you are still going to be staying at a world class resort with an incredible beach.  And unlike the Maldives, the Seychelles will probably give you a little bit more to explore outside of activities that only involve the beach or ocean.  On Mahe alone, you can head into the capital to explore the town (something we didn't do given time but would have).  Also, the Seychelles have a mountainish/jungle terrain so even driving around the island is an enjoyable activity and on the popular island of Praslin, there is a big jungle reserve you can explore. You can also easily island hop depending on where you stay which we opted for on our second day.  We ended up taking a helicopter to Dhigu (you can take a high speed ferry) and rode bikes around the island finding small little beaches along the way. 

The main pool at the Banyan Tree

When thinking of where to book in the Seychelles, I would also think about what you are looking for.  If you are going for your honeymoon, you probably would want at least five days at the island nation thus definitely opt for two locations and two islands.  A good option for at least one is Mahe as they have phenomenal resorts in both the Banyan Tree and the Four Seasons.  Again, optimize for what you will care about which will most likely be restaurants and activities because if you stay a good resort, you'll get a great beach and good hospitality.

Local making fresh fruit smoothies at a public beach on Dhigu 

The Seychelles is going to give you great optionality as a honeymoon beach destination.  It will have a little bit more to do than just sitting around on the beach and best of all, you do get more culture.  Most people you interact with  in the Maldives will be employees of the resort you are staying at where in the Seychelles, you'll meet locals (so long as you venture out).  

One good thing about the Seychelles is you won't just be eating on your resort so you can get fresh local food 

Again, you can't go wrong with either of these locations for a honeymoon.  They both will be one of the best trips in your lifetime and won't disappoint.  It truly comes down to what you are looking for; the Maldives will give you picture perfect island beaches with over the water bungalows where as the Seychelles will provide you with African island culture, tropical jungles, and spectacular beaches. 

Beach in the Seychelles 

One last point.  A huge part of the equation is where else do you think you will be going for your honeymoon.  It's not entirely easy to get to any of these locations so you need to be strategic about your planning and think carefully where else you will go.  My recommendations for the Maldives would be to spend some time in Sri Lanka which will offer plenty of adventure and then take a one hour flight to relax on an island.  For the Seychelles, that's simple, an African safari.  The easiest would be South Africa but pending your timeline, you could do others.  Either, you won't go wrong and will have the trip of a lifetime.

Samantha and I at a private beach dinner on our honeymoon in the Maldives

Comments

  1. In my opinion, Seychelles are cheaper than Maldives. Though, Maldives is the most popular resort in the world, but, it is very expensive.

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