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Resorts of the Seychelles

THE FACTS

Located outside the Indian Ocean's cyclone belt, the Seychelles is a year-round destination, though the seasonal monsoons here can have an effect on the quality of the beaches at various resorts. Diving is best September through November and March through May. The most direct route to these islands off the African coast is via Air Seychelles (800/677-4277, ext.115; www.airseychelles.net), which connects through several European cities. It's a 10-hour flight from Paris.

GETTING AROUND
Cox & Kings

To get the full Seychelles experience, visitors should sample several resorts. But airline connections can be confusing and infrequent, and many properties are accessible only by helicopter. Your best bet is to have a tour operator such as Cox & Kings—experts in the region—arrange the trip. 800/999-1758; www.coxandkingsusa.com

Le Méridien Pearl of Seychelles
The Méridien hotel group recently launched a luxurious 34-cabin catamaran that takes guests on three- to seven-night cruises through the islands. FROM $655, DOUBLE, PER NIGHT. 800/543-4300 OR 248/298-000; www.lemeridien.com

WHERE TO STAY
Fr´egate Island Private DOUBLES FROM $1,800, INCLUDING ALL MEALS. FR´EGATE ISLAND; 800/225-4255 OR 248/282-282; www.fregate.com
Banyan Tree Seychelles DOUBLES FROM $950, INCLUDING BREAKFAST. ANSE INTENDANCE, MAHÉ; 248/383-500; www.banyantree.com/seychelles
Lémuria Resort DOUBLES FROM $570, INCLUDING BREAKFAST. ANSE KERLAN, PRASLIN; 800/735-2478 OR 248/281-281; www.lemuriaresort.com
North Island DOUBLES FROM $1,656, INCLUDING ALL MEALS. NORTH ISLAND; 248/293-100; www.north-island.com
Cousine Island DOUBLES FROM $1,350, INCLUDING ALL MEALS. COUSINE ISLAND; 248/321-107; www.indianoceanislands.net
Alphonse Island Resort DOUBLES FROM $600, INCLUDING ALL MEALS. ALPHONSE ISLAND; 248/323-3220; www.alphonse-resort.com

DON'T MISS
Dinner at Marie Antoinette
The family recipes—parrot-fish fritters, fried eggplant, chicken curry—haven't changed since this Creole restaurant on Mahé was founded in 1976. DINNER FOR TWO $60. SERRET RD., VICTORIA, MAHÉ; 248/266-222

A Palm Reading
At Jivan Imports, a simple souvenir shop in Victoria, 81-year-old Kantilal Jivan Shah provides free fortune-telling—and history lessons—to customers he likes. In other words, stock up on a few trinkets. ALBERT ST., VICTORIA, MAHÉ; 248/322-310

A Hike Through Vallée de Mai Rain Forest
Clearly marked paths make for easy exploring in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's against the law to remove the massive coco de mer nuts, but they can be bought at the Ministry of Environment down the road and at various shops around the islands. ADMISSION $15 PER ADULT. VALLÉE DE MAI, PRASLIN

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