The Seychelles were disputed between France and Great Britain during the age of colonialism, with Britain ending up in control in 1814 after the Napoleonic Wars. The islands achieved independence in 1976, however free elections did not occur until 1993. The politics of this island group remain in something of a state of flux, although this should not bother the tourist after a relaxing beach vacation.
No visa is required for all nationalities, though all foreigners must have passport valid for at least 6 months, and must have proof of accommodation bookings before arrival. An initial entry permit is granted for 1 month but can be extended for a maximum of 3 months at a time up to a maximum of 1 year in total.
The only international gateway to the Seychelles is Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) near Victoria. Air Seychelles  flies to London, Paris, Johannesburg, Rome, Milan, Frankfurt, Mauritius and Singapore via Boeing 767 aircraft. International service is also available from Nairobi (Kenya Airways ), Dubai (Emirates ) and Doha (Qatar Airways ), and regular charter services from Frankfurt (Condor ) and Amsterdam (Martinair ).
The strict controls imposed on cruising yachts in the early 1990s have been gradually lifted and rules and regulations are no longer so complicated. However, some restrictions remain in force, mostly for the sake of environmental protection.
Air Seychelles  operates multiple daily flights between Mahe and Praslin. Over two dozen flights vary in frequency from 15 minute to 2 hour intervals, depending on time of day.
Air Seychelles also operates once daily or several times per week between Mahe and the islands of Bird, Denis, Fregate, Desroches and Alphonse. Assumption Island and Coetivy can be reached by air charter.
Helicopter Seychelles  provides shuttles between the main islands Mahe, Praslin and La Digue as well as charter flights to/from most of the inner islands. Helicopter Seychelles is the only scenic flight operator in the Seychelles. Depending on the timeframe, these scenic flights cover the main islands of Mahé, Praslin, La Digue and the surrounding smaller islands of Cousine, Félicité, Grande Seour, Curieuse and Cousin.
Cat Cocos is a high speed catamaran operating twice or thrice daily roundtrips between Mahe and Praslin. The sailing normally takes one hour.
Five or 6 roundtrips daily are made by schooner ferry between Praslin and La Digue. The crossing is 30 minutes and the schedule is timed to interconnect with Cat Cocos.
It is also possible to take small boats from Mahe direct to La Digue, although departures can be unreliable, there is limited wet weather cover and the journey takes about 3 hours (but that's cheaper than an Indian Ocean Island cruise!)
Having a car is really a good idea. It is easier to find a good view point. You can only rent on Mahé and Praslin. You can find a car for only 45E per day but keep in mind that renters must be at least 21, have a valid driver's license, and have at least three years of driving experience.
Taxis are also popular means of transportation for both short trips and day rental and can be obtained almost anywhere.
Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) runs daily bus services on the islands of Praslin and Mahe from morning to evening on nearly every available road on the island. The bus usually passes by every 15 minutes.
Seychelles is hot and humid, with an average yearly temperature of 84°F (29°C), and average sea temperature rarely dropping below 81°F (27°C). However, the heat is usually mitigated by refreshing sea breezes, especially by the beaches. The cooler season in Seychelles is during the southeast monsoon season (late May to September) and the warmer season is during northwest monsoon (March to May). Northwest monsoon season tends to be hot and rainy while the southeast monsoon season is usually drier and cooler.
Languages spoken in the Seychelles are Seychellois Creole, English and French.
The islands' currency is the Seychelles rupee (SCR). ATM machines usually have the best conversion rates, however, airports and banks also conveniently exchange money.
The best place for shopping is Victoria, the capital, and more specifically the market at the city center, Seychelles Buy and Sell . There are also a few outlets on the island, Praslin, but few shopping areas on the other islands. Larger hotels have boutiques but shopping in Seychelles is not one of the major attractions.
While visiting, be sure to buy the classic and traditional Seychelles souvenir, the coco-de-mer, or the 'nut of the sea,' a nut from trees native to the islands in the Seychelles - but this requires an export licence. Other locally made souvenirs, although not as unique, can be purchased like sea shell and pearl jewelery, textiles, and straw hats, in addition to needlework & crochet, paintings by local artists, and woodwork.
Visit the beaches. Many of the beaches are untouched by man's influence and are refreshingly uncrowded. They offer clear blue skies and a tranquility you will rarely find. Visit the Vallee de Mai which is a world heritage site, and home to the world's largest seed: the coco de mer.
Aldabra Atoll: The world's largest coral atoll that stretches about 22 miles east to west and encloses a huge tidal lagoon. Aldabra is the original home of the giant land tortoise and tiger sharks and manta rays can also often be seen here.
Watersports: The warm Indian Ocean waters make Seychelles the perfect place for the water enthusiasts. Explore on the board of a yacht, power boat, catamaran or sailboat. Windsurfing is also popular and the best time for this activity is usually around May and October, at the start and end of the trade winds.
Surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing are also extremely popular and can be done almost anywhere in Seychelles.
Land Sports: Golf, tennis, squash, badminton, horseback riding, biking and hiking are some of the recreational activities available on the Seychelles Islands. Bike rentals and walking tours are great ways to sightsee and since distances are relatively short and the scenery is beautiful, walking is probably the best way to see the islands. Bird watching is also popular and the islands are home to many of the worlds most treasured and rare species of animals. The best place to do so is Cousin Island which although only 1 km (0.6 miles) in diameter, is home to more than 300,000 birds.
Seychelles also contains numerous markets, art galleries and shops, colonial Creole-style plantation houses, and the main island of Mahé has six museums, a botanical garden, and several national monuments.