On Location in the Indian Ocean Islands

We caught up with Lindsey Wallace, Founder and CEO of award-winning Linara Travel, which specializes in travel to the sublime islands of the Indian Ocean – the Maldives, the Seychelles and Mauritius. Learn all about visiting these exotic destinations and the special features each has to offer.

Q: Describe the islands of the Indian Ocean for travelers considering vacationing there.

Maldives are coral islands, meaning they are completely flat, surrounded by coral reefs, and are home to the most luxurious overwater villas in the World! There are over 1,100 islands in the Maldives. Each resort is on its own island in the Maldives so selecting the best one for travelers is critical. Some resorts are better for couples, families, snorkeling, diving while some have a more casual barefoot feel, a more traditional elegance, or are more modern and chic. Maldives is great for travelers wanting privacy, luxury, and beautiful water.

Seychelles are largely granitic islands, meaning they have huge granite mountains and boulders that line the beaches. There are 115 islands in the Seychelles. There are rare flora and fauna on some of the islands in the Seychelles. Island hopping is popular as the main islands of Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue offer varying sites, national parks, and activities. Seychelles is great for travelers wanting stunning scenery, the ability to experience unique flora and fauna, and sailing and island hopping.

Mauritius is a large volcanic island with a diverse economy. A number of luxury resorts dot the beaches and this gives Mauritius the largest selection of activities and cultural excursions. While perhaps not quite as pretty as Seychelles or Maldives, Mauritius offers great value for money and a wide range of activities, especially if combining with a safari in Southern Africa.

Q: What is the best time of year to visit?

Maldives is a year-round destination. It gets more rain in the May to August time period but often that rain is like the dry season in other destinations where it receives a couple hours of rain in the afternoon or evening a few times a week. The rest of the year typically sees very nice weather. It’s always warm weather and warm water in the Maldives.

Seychelles is very nice for most of the year but does get rain from December to February. Outside of this period it's usually very nice. The weather is always warm and the water is always a nice temperature.

Mauritius experiences a larger range of temperatures and can be a little cool from June to August. Mauritius does get some rain from December to February as well.

Q: What travel services do you offer for the islands?

We have specially negotiated rates at all the luxury resorts and we we arrange transfers and excursions in our destinations. We have amazing guides and access to unique experiences.

You will get better rates booking through us than directly due to the volume we provide the resorts. We work closely with the resorts to ensure travelers receive the best room locations, butlers, and wait staff. This helps give travelers a better resort experience!!!

Q: What air routes do you recommend?

Maldives - Emirates Airlines is the most popular with flights via Dubai. There are flights out of 10 cities in the US to Dubai every day and then multiple flights each day between Dubai and Maldives (4 hours). As such, there’s almost always a nice connection. Other airlines that fly to the Maldives are Etihad, Qatar, Turkish, British Airways, Singapore Air, Sri Lankan Air, Bangkok Air, and more! Flights are always being added.

Seychelles - Emirates Airlines is the most popular as well. There are flights everyday between Dubai and Seychelles (4.5 hours). There are also flights on Etihad Air, Turkish Air, Sri Lankan Air, and flights via Africa that connect with Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Ethiopia.

Mauritius - Emirates Air has flights as do a number of carriers out of the Middle East, Europe, and South Africa.

Q: Tell us about some of your favorite luxury resorts on the islands and their innovative features.

Maldives has an amazing array of luxury resorts. Some of my favorites are:

  • Velaa Private Island - wine tower, golf facility, overwater restaurant
  • Cheval Blanc Randheli - fanciest rooms in the World
  • Soneva Jani - huge overwater villas with a retractable roof for stargazing, a slide going into the lagoon, and a glass cutout in the floor
  • Gili Lankanfushi - underground wine cellar, organic vegetable garden and freestanding rooms located over the water accessible only by boat
  • Per Aquum Niyama  - underwater restaurant, treetop restaurant, and overwater restaurant.

Seychelles

  • Six Senses Zil Pasyon is a brand new resort that has the most stunning spa in the World located amid granite boulders with sensational ocean views.
  • North Island and Fregate Island Private are nature preserves located on their own islands that offer the very finest in luxury, service, and unique flora and fauna.

Mauritius

  • Oberoi Mauritius has some of the nicest rooms on the island.
  • Constance Le Prince Mauritius and the St. Regis Mauritius are on two of the prettier beaches on the island.

Q: What are the most popular things to see and do on the islands?

Maldives - Snorkeling, diving spas. Some of the best anywhere!

Seychelles - Unique bird, animal, and plant life. Stunning unique granite beach scenery.

Mauritius - Activities such as golfing and hiking.

Q: Where are the best locations for snorkeling?

Maldives - Resorts such as Six Senses Laamu and Jumeirah Dhevanafushi have amazing house reefs for snorkeling. Resorts in the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in the Baa atoll are conveniently located to Hanifaru Bay – a famous snorkeling spot for seeing manta rays.

Seychelles - Six Senses Zil Pasyon has the best snorkeling house reef in the Seychelles. Neighboring Cocos Island (a 10 minute kayak ride from Six Senses Zil Pasyon) is great for snorkeling as well.

Mauritius - The South of the island has some fun spots for snorkeling although they are not the
same caliber as the coral and fish of the Maldives or the fish life of the Seychelles.

Q: What other water sports are popular in the Islands?

Maldives - In addition to snorkeling and diving, a number of resorts are conveniently located to great surf spots. The crystal clear waters make kayaking, windsurfing, and all watersports a lot of fun.

Seychelles - A great destination to sail around and island hop. We can arrange sailing vessels from small day trips to large luxury catamarans to full on yachts.

Mauritius - Kitesurfing is a popular water sport in the Southern portion of the island.

Q: What unique dining experiences can travelers enjoy here?

Maldives - Meals in restaurants that are located underwater, overwater, treetop restaurants, underground, or even on the beach. The unique dining facilities create unique memories.

Seychelles - A fusion of African, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines have created tasty seafood cooked in an array of vibrant sauces and curries.

Mauritius - A melting pot of African and Asian cuisine with a variety of vibrant food.

Photo: Photo: Cheval Blanc Randheli
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