Guide to Indian Ocean resorts

Guide to Indian Ocean resorts

Warm ocean, sunny weather and a white sand beach surrounded by palm trees – the first picture that appears when we imagine the southern resort islands in the Indian Ocean. When choosing a destination for a beach holiday in winter, the question arises whether there are differences for tourists between the Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius and Zanzibar? At first glance, it may seem that these resorts are the same, the only difference is in the cost of the vacation. Is this really so?

For some, a high level of service is important, some cannot imagine a vacation without cool diving, while others want privacy and fewer people around. We have prepared a comparison of the islands in the Indian Ocean and focused on their main differences to make it easier for you to choose the right destination for your long-awaited vacation.


Guide to Indian Ocean resorts

The Maldives invariably remains the undisputed leader in demand for exotic islands. The state is located south-west of India, and includes an elongated chain of 26 atolls and more than 1,000 coral islands. Of these, only 20% are inhabited by local residents or built up with hotels. Previously, few people could afford this destination, but every year more new hotels and guesthouses open on the islands, increasing competition and reducing tourists’ living costs.

But still, most of the island Maldives is occupied by the concept of “one island – one resort hotel”. In this regard, vacationers are severely limited in movement and variety of entertainment. There is only one resort on the island, and tourists are completely dependent on its services and facilities. There are no shops, entertainment or other infrastructure in the area. As a rule, the cost of staying at five-star resort hotels includes access to the gym, spa, yoga and tennis classes, use of bicycles and snorkeling equipment. For an additional fee, tourists are taught diving, surfing, water skiing and seaplane flying.

Those who do not like excessive privacy and want to look at the Maldives from a different angle, go to the capital island in the Greater Male area. This is where a larger number of local residents live and there are even places to walk among the architectural monuments.

Guide to Indian Ocean resorts

In addition to the capital, you can go to local islands with developed tourist infrastructure, for example, Rasdhoo on the North Ari Atoll and Ukulas on the Alif Alif Atoll. It’s easy to save money on accommodation here by checking into a small hotel or guesthouse with all amenities, having lunch in local cafes and buying groceries in stores. And outside the hotel, explore the rich natural and underwater world of the Maldives: snorkeling safaris on house reefs surrounded by sea turtles and huge fish, day or night fishing and various sports. Near Rasdhoo Island there are about 20 diving spots where you can dive alongside reef sharks and giant rays.

The cost of living in the Maldives is more expensive than in other island resorts in the Indian Ocean. During the high season, there are practically no available rooms in budget hotels and guesthouses. But the destination has significant advantages: direct flights from Russia, a high level of service, accommodation options in private bungalows on the water and huge resort areas, as well as organized excursions with Russian-speaking guides.

Climate features: It’s always warm in the Maldives, the air temperature does not drop below +25 ⁰С. But the monsoons blowing from the ocean determine two seasons of the year, and the most suitable of them for a beach holiday is from November to April. During these months, the weather on the islands is sunny, windless, rains occur extremely rarely and mostly at night, and in the morning there is not a trace of them.

Where to stay:at five-star Veligandu Island Resort & Spa and JA Manafaru Maldives, at the three-star Embudu Village Resort or Cerulean View Residence and Sala Boutique Hotel.


Guide to Indian Ocean resorts

The Seychelles includes about 115 islands, of which only 33 are inhabited by people or organized for tourists. The largest island and tourist center is Mahe, where the capital of the state, the city of Victoria, is located. Beach holidays are also possible on three other small islands: La Digue, Praslin and Silhouette. Transfers from the airport by ferry or boat are organized, but the number of hotels and guest houses is much smaller than the number of offers on the main island of Mahe.

There are no historical or cultural attractions in the Seychelles, and all recreation and entertainment options here are related to nature, the local landscape and the ocean. Like other islands of the Indian Ocean, people come here for excellent diving, the best time for which is from March to May and from September to November. Windsurfers and yachtsmen prefer the Seychelles in the off-season (May and October), when the islands are not exposed to extreme heat, winds or rain.

The region is famous for its unique endemic nature and wildlife, which is what most excursions around the islands are associated with. For example, watching rare bird species or giant land turtles in island reserves, excursion to the National Marine Park on a glass bottom boat, snorkeling and visiting a tea plantation.

Guide to Indian Ocean resorts

In the Seychelles there are no accommodation options on the water and hotels with a huge territory, like in the Maldives and Mauritius. This is due to the peculiarities of the landscape: the islands are not of coral origin, but of granite origin, so the terrain here is mountainous and rugged with hills. But this is also considered the main feature of Seychelles, when a hotel room on a cliff offers a panoramic view of the ocean.

Hotel accommodation in the Seychelles will be slightly cheaper than in the Maldives and Mauritius. But you won’t be able to save money outside the hotel, since prices for food, gasoline, car rental and meals in local restaurants are very high here. For example, a liter of gasoline costs about 200 rubles, lunch in a regular restaurant for two costs from 8,000 rubles, and a pack of cigarettes costs from 700 rubles and more. This is how the government is trying to reduce the tourist flow to the islands in order to preserve the natural environment.

Climate features: Seychelles is a year-round destination for beach holidays. Due to its close location to the equator, there are no distinct seasons of the year with heavy rains, and due to the absence of cold currents, the ocean always remains warm. But from November to April it gets very hot and humid outside. The air temperature rarely drops below +35 ⁰С, and the humidity exceeds 80%.

Where to stay: at the five-star Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa, in four-star hotels Le Repaire – Boutique Hotel & Restaurant and Coral Strand Smart Choice, at Agnes Cottage – Emerald or Sunbird Bungalow.


Guide to Indian Ocean resorts

Zanzibar is one large island that belongs to the African state of Tanzania. People come here for an exotic beach holiday and to get acquainted with African culture.

The main difference between Zanzibar is that recreation is not limited only to natural beauty and water sports, even though diving is considered one of the hallmarks of the island resort. The capital city of Zanzibar is home to Stone Town, an area of ​​the Old Town that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique blend of different architectural styles. Here you can visit the Sultan’s residence, visit the slave trade square, the slave cave and see the English fort.

The island of Zanzibar is more focused on European tourists; it is difficult to find excursions with a Russian-speaking guide here. If this is not a problem for you, then you can go on a trip to spice plantations, taste local cuisine and take a steam bath in Persian baths. In addition to cultural recreation, Zanzibar offers trips to the Jozani rainforest with exotic plants, monkeys and leopards, day tours to the picturesque Prizon Island with giant turtles, or a visit to one of dozens of fishing villages.

In Zanzibar, the main resort areas are tied to local beaches. The most popular of them is Kendwa beach with luxury hotels, perfect cleanliness and excellent entry into the water without an abundance of marine inhabitants. This place is suitable for lovers of European comfort and families with children. In the east of the island there is Paje Beach with a less developed tourist infrastructure, but more suitable conditions for water sports, such as kite surfing. Nungwi Beach in the north of the island is chosen by lovers of snorkeling and diving. There are coral reefs here, and the soft sandy bottom and minimal tides allow you to enjoy the underwater world. For quality diving, also go to the beaches of Uroa, Matemwe, Kiwengwa and Mapenzi.

Guide to Indian Ocean resorts

The cost of hotel accommodation in Zanzibar is approximately equal to the Seychelles and lower than in the Maldives and Mauritius. But unlike Seychelles, prices outside the hotel are not so high here, and you can easily organize a budget holiday by staying in a hostel. The level of service in Zanzibar is significantly inferior to all other island resort destinations in the Indian Ocean. In hotel rooms there is often no Wi-Fi, not the newest furniture and a meager selection of dishes on the buffet. There are no direct flights between Russia and Tanzania, so getting to Zanzibar will have to be at least one transfer through Istanbul or Doha.

Climate features: You can relax in Zanzibar all year round, but it is better to choose the winter and summer months. The island is located below the equator, and during the off-season there are torrential downpours with strong winds. In winter and summer there is little precipitation, and there is no sweltering heat outside – the air temperature is about +28 ⁰С, and the water in the ocean is heated to +26 ⁰С.

Where to stay:at the five-star hotels Tikitam Palms Hotel, Zanzibar Serena Hotel and Zanzibella Hotel & SPA, in the four-star Mvuvi Boutique Resort hotel or in the three-star Forodhani Park Hotel.


Guide to Indian Ocean resorts

One large island located east of southern Africa and 900 km from Madagascar. In the past, Mauritius was one of the favorite places for pirates who rested here after long journeys across the ocean. Here you can not only sunbathe on the white sand and swim in the warm ocean, but also engage in educational tourism. The island has preserved amazing colonial architecture and ancient temples. Lovers of exotic nature and wildlife will appreciate Mauritius by going for a walk through the botanical gardens, to the lion park or on the coast.

Most hotels and resort entertainment are concentrated in the northeast of the island, in the city of Grand Bay. There are affordable prices for accommodation and a decent level of service, while on the west coast of Mauritius there are mainly expensive and fashionable hotels, where accommodation will cost a decent amount. The south of the island is wild and not intended for a long vacation. It is better to go here on a tour to see the untouched jungles and monuments of ancient civilizations.

The southwestern coast of Mauritius is suitable for lovers of active recreation. There are all conditions for practicing water sports – windsurfing and kitesurfing. This part of the island is home to the Paradise Hotel Resort, which annually hosts the international Kite Jam Festival. Professional athletes and water sports enthusiasts from all over the world come here. Hotel guests can use windsurfing equipment on the beach, masks and snorkels for free all year round, and for an additional fee take a couple of lessons from surfing and kiteboarding instructors.

Guide to Indian Ocean resorts

A holiday in Mauritius will cost more than in the Maldives or Seychelles, due to a more expensive flight and a small number of hotels. But there are more opportunities for a variety of recreation (for example, trekking, fishing and kitesurfing) without necessarily purchasing excursions to neighboring islands. In Mauritius, there is no connection to a specific small atoll, as in the Maldives, and at any time you can rent a car and go explore the region on your own. Getting to Mauritius will require one or even two transfers, and the travel time will take about a day.

Climate Features: Mauritius is located close to the equator, and has optimal weather for a beach holiday all year round. There are no heavy, prolonged downpours, as in the Maldives in the off-season, or strong steaming humidity, which is felt when leaving the plane in the Seychelles.

Where to stay: at five-star hotels C Mauritius – All Inclusive, Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel and Shanti Maurice Resort & Spa, in the four-star hotel La Pirogue A Sun Resort or in the three-star hotel Coin de Mire Attitude.

For convenient and profitable booking of hotels around the world, we recommend using the OneTwoTrip service. There you will find more than two million accommodation properties.

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