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12 Tickets to Paradise: Seychelles
What makes the perfect island? Having it all to yourself. These 12 adventure oases are guaranteed to transport you well beyond the masses.
Text by Meg Lukens Noonan   Map by Pietari Posti 

The Seychelles
Cruise an African Archipelago


Sail island to island aboard your own floating playground.
The seychelles are already home to some of the world's most lavish hotel rooms, and later this year a super-luxe Shangri-La Resort & Spa will open on a private island. Yet somehow when you're bobbing at anchor with the sun melting into the Indian Ocean, 600-threadcount sheets and personal plunge pools seem, well, a little overdone. In reality, the Seychelles, a collection of ridiculously scenic islands a thousand miles (1,609 kilometers) off the East African coast, are best appreciated and, as luck would have it, most affordably explored, by boat. Of course, the ideal vessel should have lines as noble as the surroundings and room for a payload of toys. The three-masted SY Sea Star—a sleek 138-foot (42-meter) schooner with eight comfortable cabins, teak decks, snorkeling and diving gear, a swim platform, and a fleet of mountain bikes—works on both counts.

Map: Seychelles

GAME PLAN: Sign up for an 11-day cruise on the Sea Star with Island Hopping, a German outfitter that runs guided sailing-and-biking trips worldwide. You'll spend your days prowling the inner islands. On Mahé, you'll visit the "city" of Victoria, one of the world's smallest national capitals, while on Praslin, the teeming rain forests shelter the huge and patently anatomical coco de mer nuts (one of their first biological monikers was Lodoicea callipyge, a name taken in
part from the ancient Greek for "beautiful rump"). On the tiny island of Cousin there's a refuge for 300,000 resident birds (wear a hat). The highlight, though, according to trip director Klaus Schenk, is La Digue, where bicycles and oxcarts are the main modes of transportation and the gorgeous beaches are dominated by sculpted, vaguely elephantine boulders. "It's like a children's picture book," says Schenk. The biking is mellow—never more than 28 miles (45 kilometers) in one day—and the evenings on board mellower: a slab of Creole-spiced fish on the grill, a cold SeyBrew, and a backflip into the clear, warm sea—no plunge pool required.
THE VITALS: Island Hopping runs four Seychelles voyages throughout the year, including one over New Year's 2009 ($4,091, all-inclusive;

HOT TIP: On Vieques carve out an evening to kayak Mosquito Bay. The water's bioluminescent plankton will sparkle like fairy dust with every stroke.

Wild Islands: 12 Tickets to Paradise

Aitutaki, Cook Islands Maldives
Eleuthera, Bahamas Molokai, Hawaii
Barbados Seychelles
Cayos Cochinos, Honduras St. Kitts
Guadeloupe Sumba, Indonesia
Isla Holbox, Mexico Vieques, Puerto Rico

All Adventure Islands

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