Whether you’re planning on traveling around or spending your whole journey on a single island – the Indian Ocean offers some of the most beautiful places on the planet. The Seychelles, La Reunion or Mauritius are some of the most renowned islands within the Indian Ocean. Today we’re going to show you everything you absolutely need to know about and present you with some interesting background-facts:
What’s so special about the Indian Ocean?
The most important things in my opinion are:
1. The tropical climate
2. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean
3. The unique atmosphere of each island
4. It’s a paradise for surfers and divers
5. Beautiful beaches
6. A unique flora and fauna
Additionally, I’m sure there are lots of more important reasons, such as the welcoming people, the fantastic hotels or interesting places of interest. I think everyone should travel the Indian Ocean at least once during their lifetime. It’s really worth it! Most people do need a few days to get used to the tropical climate though and you should never forget using sun-blockers, but I’m certain that you won’t regret a trip to the Indian Ocean.
The Seychelles consist primarily of the main island Mahé (154 km²), Praslin (38 km²) and La Digue (10 km²). The most fascinating aspect of the Seychelles were the giant turtles and the indescribably beautiful underwater scenery. Diving or at least snorkelling for a little while are an absolute necessity on the Seychelles. Also: The islands are home to the Seychelles black parrots and the famous nut, “Coco de Mer”.
Nowhere else on the planet you’ll see more rain during just a few days. That alone might be worth a visit for some people, but the island offers far more. La Réunion posseses its own unique micro climates that range from rainy kingdoms to vast steppes. The island is mainly shaped by the vanilla and sugar-cane industry with huge influences from the French way of life. Another very characteristic aspect is the Vulcan Piton de la Fournaise, which is still active today.
Whether it’s menacing waterfalls within deep jungles in the Black-River-Gorges-National-Park, sugar-cane plantations, a short stroll through the island’s main city Port Louis, the Dodo – the island’s heraldic animal – or the fascinating underwater landscapes coupled with perfect beaches. Mauritius is the island of your dreams!
Tips for traveling the Indian Ocean
If you’re traveling from Europe you can expect at least 11 hours of flight time, which is often stretched quite a bit longer due to layovers. Because of that you should plan your trip accordingly. I recommend staying at least 10 days to account for jetlag and traveling days.
Vaccination against tetanus, hepatitis and diphtheria should be administered with enough time ahead and refreshed if necessary. On top of that I recommend asking your doctor about a malaria prophylaxis. A travel health insurance may also come in quite handy during your stay in the Indian Ocean. Medication can be bought from local pharmacies. You should plan accordingly though, if you depend on medication.
To visit you’ll need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months past your stay and a plane ticket to leave the area. Even kids need a passport which requires a photograph from ages 6 and onwards.
On top of that you should bring enough cash to survive a few days without banks, as banks can be quite rare on some of the islands within the Indian Ocean. A credit card will help you get some money in case of emergency. Rupees (1 rupee = 100 euro-cents) can be bought right after your arrival at the airport with cash or traveller’s-cheques.
Sidenote: Cars are driven on the left side of the road on Mauritius and most other tropical islands. Roundabouts fall under the priority-to-the-right rule. It’s also prohibited to take pictures at the airports, harbours and near barracks.
Never drink tap-water and always wear bathing shoes or thongs while walking through shallow waters. The oceans are riddled with sharp corals and sea urchins.
Most hotels offer a pay-to-use internet connection. If you don’t mind surfing the web outside I recommend looking into cyber- and internetcafés. The best period of travel is from May to September, though you can travel the islands during the whole year. The main season on Mauritius is between November and April. During the rainy season, you’re met with humidity-levels of up to 90% with temperatures of around 30° outside and 25° in the water.
Tip: A prepaid SIM-card bought in your country of destination can save you a lot of money for phone calls.
Regardless of where you’re heading: A holiday in the Indian Ocean, especially on the Seychelles, La Réunion and Mauritius will give you lots of joy and unforgettable memories.