The Seychelles are particularly well geared towards travellers, with a highly developed infrastructure complementing the islands' natural attractions. While this destination is on the pricey side, the quality is exceptionally high. The crime rate is low, and visitors - who make a substantial contribution to the economy - are welcomed everywhere.
Divers and honeymooners, nature lovers and hedonists, gourmets and sports aficionados, gamblers and sailors - they all come to the Seychelles and find it little short of perfect. Set four degrees south of the Equator and spread over some 400,000 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is endowed with natural beauty, ancient wonders and awesome man-made attractions.
Much of the charm of the archipelago lies in its chequered history. Both French and British colonialists have held sway here over the centuries, and immigration from both sides of the Indian Ocean has added to the eclectic mix of the population.
That oft-used word "paradise" often rears up in descriptions of the Seychelles, and with very good reason. There are no serious natural hazards, no malaria or serious diseases, and the islands lie outside the cyclone and hurricane belts. A good standard of living means there is little crime, and careful control of tourism-related development has kept arrivals to a reasonable level and forbidden unsightly high-rises.
The pirates who used to make the Seychelles their lair have long departed, leaving behind legends of buried treasure waiting to be unearthed by diligent explorers. However, it soon becomes apparent to most visitors shortly after arriving that they won't have to do much digging - the treasures are all around them.