WHERE: SEYCHELLES, AFRICA
With almost half of this 115-island archipelago’s land mass designated as nature reserves, the lush, tripical Republic of Seychelles was dubbed the original site of the Garden of Eden. And it just might have been, considering the Eve-evoking, aphrodisiac Coco-de-Mer palm nut which is unique to the islands. The scent of cinnamon and vanilla draws you in, but the charm of the nation’s distinctive blend of French Creole, Asian and African cultures is just as inviting.
WHEN TO GO:
The climate offers balmy breezes and warm ocean dips year-round, but the troical islands are warmer during the northeast monsoon season from March through May and cooler during the southeast monsoon rains from late May through September.
On the main island of Mahé, , stay at the Banyan Tree Resort with its airy, plantation-style verandae-ed villas tucked cliffside on the famous intendence Beach. Book the magnificent Presidental Villa, situuated on its own private cove, complete with infinity pool, outdoor Jacuzzi and shower. (Honeymoon packages from $1270 a night, www.banyantree.com), Or fly twenty-minutes East to a former pirate cove turned eco-resort and stay in one of the 16 ultra-luxe 2000-square—foot villas on the ultra-private Fregate island, where Paul McCartney honeymooned with new bride Heather Mills. (From $2,390 per night per coouple all-inclusive, www.fregaate.com). For a less budget-breaking but still luxurious option, try the Plantation Club, a resort and casino nestled on a 100-acre beach-edged former coconut grove, where rooms offer all the creature comforts of home, including satelite TV. (Doubles strting at $265 per night, www.plantationclub.com)
IF YOU ACTUALLY LEAVE THE HOTEL:
Don’t miss the magical Aldabra, the largest rised coal atoll in the world, and home to more than 150,000 giant land tortoises. Then hit the mouth-watering Le Jardin du Roi, with its intoxicating rows of vanilla vines, cinnamon and nutmeg trees. Or take to the air for an exhilarating half-hour helicopter tour of the islands. At Fregate, charter the 43-foot Fregate Bird yacht to catch your own dinner and have it prepared by one of the the island’s gourmet chefs, or take a guided jungle hike narrated by one of th eisland’s in-house ecologists.
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