True Paradise on Earth
by Phil Carta
always thought that calling a place "Paradise on Earth" was just
a little too hypey for me . . . at least until I visited the Seychelles.
Seemingly forgotten out in the middle of the Indian Ocean, a thousand
miles from Africa, this archipelago of more than a hundred islands
stretches for hundreds of miles. The warm waters, high standards
and friendly people draw many year after year to these Jewels
in the Ocean that are the Seychelles. Whichever way you turn,
there is a lovely beach and upscale dining. And for honeymoons,
the romance of the Seychelles has everything else in the world
beat, bar none.
is a nature lover's dream, made up of both granitic and coral
islands. The granite islands are the visible tips of mountain
peaks that were originally located on the giant continent of Gondwanaland
which contained Africa, India, Australia and Madagascar. As these
parts drifted apart over the eons the islands of Seychelles remained
in isolation, enabling their plant and wildlife to develop unaffected
by outside influences. This protective isolation - in effect until
only just a few hundred years ago - combined with the ecological
stance of the Seychelles government, has enabled this unique environment
to survive and flourish.
natural wonderland lies not on the islands but in the surrounding
clear, warm waters. Water temperatures average over 78ÉF year
round and visibility often extends to 100 feet. More than 200
species of fish and 250 types of coral are found on the reefs
of Seychelles. Invertebrate life exhibits an amazing range of
form, size and color with an incredible variety of shells. Giant
sting and manta rays, whale sharks, tuna and other pelagic visitors
is much more than beautiful beaches and great diving. Hiking the
many trails through the jungles, to the hilltops and to isolated
beaches where it will seem like you are the first ever to visit,
is one of the great pleasures of the islands. For many of the
hikes you can obtain excellent booklets that describe the flora,
fauna and other sights along the trails. There even are helicopter
tours of the islands.
are densely populated by land and sea birds, some of them so rare
that they are found only on specific islands. So day and overnight
trips to other islands such as Cerf, Silhouette, North, Bird,
Denis, Cousin, Cousine, Félicité and Frégate
are quite popular.
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Carta is the owner of Phil Carta's New Adventures, a travel firm
specializing in tropical islands and destinations around the world.
Originally a specialist in scuba diving travel (Phil is a NAUI,
TDI and PADI scuba diving instructor) New Adventures provides
both tours and vacation packages primarily to places Phil has
personally visited. In the Indian Ocean and South Pacific that
includes the Seychelles, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Micronesia,
the Maldives and Egypt and the Red Sea. In the Caribbean you may
see Phil almost anywhere, although his favorites are Aruba, Bonaire,
Cura┴ao, Dominica, Jamaica, Antigua, the British Virgin Islands,
the Cayman Islands, and the islands of Belize and Honduras. New
Adventures has an excellent and informative web site at http://www.newadventures.com
and Phil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org