Are you a digital nomad or long-term traveler from the U.S. looking to relocate somewhere warm and tropical, even if temporarily, but you're craving something different, far more exotic than the overly Americanized Mexico or the resort-packed Caribbean?
If flying halfway across the globe isn't an issue for you, there's a chance you may find refuge in this paradisaical archipelago off the coast of East Africa, where the sun shines year-round, beaches are truly unruffled, and the pace of living is deliciously slow.
Oh, and have we mentioned that, as an American, you can stay there for an entire year without first applying for a long-term residence visa?
Dear fellow world trotters, this is Seychelles:
The Paradise Island Country You've Probably Never Heard Of
An archipelagic state in Africa made up of 115 islands, Seychelles is the digital nomad/slow travel hub you've never heard of, but probably should have:
First of all, it is hot. Located in the Indian Ocean, one of the warmest regions in the world, temperatures there are nothing but balmy, which means you can go swimming, explore the many forested reserves, and be your happiest self in short shorts irrespective of season.
Then, there is the majestic nature: it is home to countless sandy beaches, many of the smaller islands are fringed by colorful coral reefs, and the country as a whole is dotted with protected reserves home to rare species, including the native giant Aldabra tortoises.
Thirdly, Seychellois culture is nothing short of fascinating: besides the native African heritage, the islands have been hugely influenced by Europe, particularly the English and French, two naval powers that fought for control of the territory for centuries.
What's So Special About Seychelles?
The modern-day Seychellois are a multi-ethnic people, reflecting the nation's colonization History, and in case you have been wondering, it has three national languages: Seychellois Creole, derived from French, French itself, and English.
All of these sound cool enough, but they don't necessarily set this unheard-of African country apart from numerous other sun-drenched destinations that are easier to reach from America, namely Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.
So why would American nomads base themselves in Seychelles, a faraway spot requiring one, if not two connecting flights, when they could simply take the next low-fare flight out to the Mexican Caribbean and live their best Tulum life?
Well, if you're keen on privacy, you've had enough of overtouristed destinations, and you've been seriously considering shutting yourself out from the outside world to focus on yourself – and still be working from a beautiful environment – this is the right place for you.
Then, the answer is in how isolated and preserved these islands are.
A Remote Tropical Oasis
Once again, they are arranged in a collectivity in the Indian Ocean, east of mainland Africa, and the nearest neighbors are the fellow island-states of Comoros, Madagascar and Mauritius.
Still need help with your geography?
Do the Maldives sound familiar? Seychelles is not too far from there, either, and though they are pretty similar in terms of natural sights, the turquoise waters that bound them, and the tropical vibes, one is a digital nomad hub of the first order, the other a mere resort destination.
As you might have guessed, Seychelles will appeal mostly, if not exclusively, to nomads and permanent travelers who would love to live somewhere like the Maldives for an extended period of time, without the exorbitant accommodation fees and limited services.
The largest island in Seychelles, Mahé, houses a charming capital, Victoria, where a Big Ben-modelled clocktower stands and traces of French architecture can be seen in every street in the colonial center, as well as long miles of sandy beaches and undisturbed jungle.
Where To Stay In Seychelles As A Digital Nomad
If you're a digital nomad, it is definitely the best island to be, as there are more long-term rentals available, Victoria locals are more used to foreign guests compared to other islanders – and will certainly make you feel welcome – and there is always something new and exciting to see.
Internet is generally faster and more reliable in Mahé, and there's even a selection of nomad-friendly cafes in the capital, with some of the top picks for remote workers or travelers looking to socialize being News Cafe, the charming Wildflour Cafe and the aptly-titled Waterfront Cafe.
With the exception of Mahé, where close to 80% of the population lives, a majority of the islands are holiday spots and/or uninhabited granitic atolls. The second largest is Praslin, and unless you're picturing yourself in a Robinson Crusoe scenario, there's not an awful lot going for it on the workcation front.
One thing these islands do have in common is that practically all of them are surrounded by bright-blue, warm waters and dominated by wildlife, and basing yourself in Mahé, you can get to the last few, truly unspoiled beaches in the world quite easily, either by small planes or ferry boats.
We still haven't discussed the best bit.
Americans Don't Need A Long-Term Visa To Relocate To Seychelles For A Year
Americans can live in Seychelles for an entire year visa free, provided they fulfill four requirements: not having been convicted of crimes in the country before, presenting a valid return ticket or proof of onward travel, showing proof of accommodation and sufficient funds for your intended period of stay.
If you're staying long-term, it is advised that you present documentation encompassing the initial three months.
Upon arrival, you'll be instantly issued a three-month entry visa, called a Visitor's Permit. Before it expires, it can be renewed from within Seychelles for successive periods of three months up to a year, as long as you continue to fit the criteria for visa issuance.
This is most Americans, unless of course, they have been convicted of a crime, or local authorities believe they are a national threat.
Each renewal costs approximately $73, and documents must be presented every three months to the relevant authorities before the current visa runs out.
Immigration officers will expect you to continue presenting proof of accommodation and sufficient funds upon each renewal.
The Only Downside Is…
Now, here's the catch, at least for some: Seychelles is not the cheapest country in Africa.
Matter of fact, it is not cheap at all, as authorities define ‘sufficient funds' as being $150 or more per day, and the cost of living is significantly higher than your average underdeveloped African country.
That is because Seychelles is not underdeveloped at all, despite being one of the most remote and least populous in Africa, with a population of just under 100,000 and over 800 nautical miles from the mainland.
It is a high-income country, one of a handful in the poverty-stricken continent at that.
Remember our Maldives comparison?
Seychelles is not quite as prohibitively expensive, but judging by its remoteness and high living standards, it's not somewhere budget-conscious nomads would like to set foot in, unless they're making $4,160 per month.
That being said, it is one of the safest countries in Africa, with very low rates of petty crime or violence, and excluding affordability, it scores either ‘good' or ‘great' on most subcategories on Nomad List, a popular platform ranking different digital nomad destinations.
Out of the most important, Safety is ‘good', Food Safety is ‘good' verging on ‘great', Lack of Crime is ‘good', English is spoken fairly well among locals – it is one of the national languages in the end – and Power Grid is ‘great'.
If you've ever worked remotely from South Africa in the last two years, you know how important that last factor is.
How To Get To Seychelles From The U.S.
As seen on Booking.com, the quickest and cheapest way to get to Seychelles from the United States is flying via a third country in Africa, Europe or the Middle East that offers nonstop connections to Mahé Island Airport (SEZ).
Two of the most popular options leaving from New York (JFK) connect in Addis Adaba, Ethiopia, and Doha, Qatar. Unless you're lucky enough to find an ultra-cheap flight, one-way tickets will typically cost over $1,000.
Prices for the Ethiopia route on Ethiopian Airlines start from $1,262.20.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.