There are no glitzy malls, designer labels and international chains in the Seychelles. Instead, there are small quaint shops selling local handicrafts and knick knacks; the shopkeepers are courteous and well informed, and the ambience is totally laid-back.
Shopping in the Seychelles is almost therapeutic!
Seychelles Shopping Guide
There are many interesting things that make good souvenirs. You can carry back a bit of Seychelles in handcrafted glass bottles filled with coloured sand from the island's beaches or pick up other knick knacks like liquor and soap. The natural beauty of the Seychelles has atracted many artists, craftsmen and sculptors, who eventually decided to settle down here. They retail their work from their studios and it is not unusual to meet the artisans and craftsmen and see them at work. There is a cluster of galleries and boutiques in Victoria; others are scattered around the islands of Praslin, La Digue and Mahe.
Art Dwellings and Specialized Shops
Many studios and art galleries display and sell sculptures, paintings, jewellery, hand crafted glass creations and other handicrafts. It is a veritable feast for the art lover.
Snap craft kiosks and the Craft Village offer some unique and exquisite perfumes, soaps and lotions, which make excellent gifts for family and friends back at home. You can also pick up something for yourself and your home as well!
There are many souvenir shops on the islands of the Seychelles. Some small food stores also sell postcards and souvenirs at rates cheaper than those of the souvenir shops. It is advisable therefore to shop at these stores, because prices vary from shop to shop.
Perfumes made locally on the islands compare favourably with their international counterparts. Kreol Fleurage is a leading brand of indigenously made perfumes, each one named after a tree or flower, and all of them reasonably priced.
Shopping for self catering units
All over the islands are small shops that stock bread, milk, eggs, flour, rice, beer, soda, garlic, onions, butter, packed foods and even vegetables. These are very useful to tourists who opt for self-catering Seychelles hotels. Most of the American and European foods are available in the Seychelles, but at a higher price. Fruits, vegetables and fish can be picked up from the bigger shops in the larger towns as well as from roadside stalls where they are likely to be fresher.
Super Outdoor Market at Beau Vallon Beach
Every Wednesday and on the last Saturday of each month, the Beau Vallon Beach plays host to about 50 vendors. Located near Baobob Pizza, this market starts around six o' clock in the evening, with stalls that sell almost everything from local food and drink to t-shirts, jewellery, trinkets and other knick knacks. It is the favourite hangout spot for the locals on the night of the last Saturday of the month since this is the day after their payday. There is quite a crowd at this market but still it is great fun to browse around and try out the local fare.
There are many small stalls and shops on the islands where you can pick up odds and ends, and little necessities. Unlike the departmental stores and supermarkets where you can pick up things by yourself off the shelf, here you need to tell the vendor what you want and he will get it for you.
Coco de Mer
Coco de mer is the most unique souvenir you can carry back from a Seychelles vacation because it is found only here. There are big and small nuts as well as polished and unpolished nuts. The small ones are carved out of wood but the bigger nuts are real. Some are hollow inside so that they are lighter and easier to take back.
Do make sure to take an export certificate for the coco de mer from the vendor, as otherwise you cannot carry it out of the country.
The other unique product of the islands is a coconut liqueur called Coco D'Amour. Bottled in a container that is shaped like the coco de mer, it is an ideal gift.
The Craft Village
The Craft Village is situated inside a plantation, in the house of the plantation owner. Built in 1870, the house and everything inside it has been preserved just as it was a hundred years ago. The wooden furniture inside the house is one of the finest examples of craftsmanship that can be found on the islands. It is indeed a very pleasant experience to just stroll around the plantation browsing through the arts and craft shops which, once upon a time, were the houses of the plantation workers. Today these shops offer a variety of handicrafts of the islands. There is no entrance fee levied at the Craft Village.
The souvenir shops and post offices on the island offer fine postcards and stamps with natural motifs that reflect the flora and fauna of the islands. The discerning postcard writer will be thrilled with the variety of stamps that are available in the Seychelles, while the philatelist can pick up some collector's items, which are slightly more expensive. The contemporary ones are more reasonably priced and just as attractive.