Although the Seychelles are a very friendly place and a renowned tourist destination, you should keep a few things in mind if you are visiting there or have decided to set up shop as a tax nomad.
First and foremost you should not carry large sums of money on your person in cash. Although the level of crime is pretty low, you should still be careful as these can be snatched at a moment’s notice. The same goes for any important documentation which should not be carried on your person except when necessary. Until you have your own accommodation, keep these documents and any cash in a safe at your hotel as that will give you peace of mind. If you hire a car for the first days of your settlement don’t leave things lying around in it and be as inconspicuous as possible.
If you have to carry cash about you make sure you don’t change it all into the local currency since that will cost you a packet with the exchange rate. Also try and exchange the notes at licensed outlets and avoid unauthorised dealers as these will charge hefty commission amounts and will most probably swindle you on the exchange rate. There are licensed exchange bureaus at the airport in Victoria which should see to your requirements pretty easily.
As much as possible you should avoid using cash and stick to your credit cards. Mastercard and VISA are widely accepted on the islands and may be used to purchase several services such as car hire, accommodation and also in catering establishments. Obviously you should keep these cards in a safe place all the time since it is easy to lose them and you will be faced with the added hassle of replacing them. Cards are also normally used as security for some purchases. They are also widely accepted in shops and boutiques.
If you’re visiting on a vacation whilst setting up your company also make sure you stay at tourist accommodation which is fully licensed. Apart from degrading your stay, you will be prone to being stolen or ransacked if you leave important documents lying around at such places. Also although the Seychelles is a relatively safe place but try to avoid deserted areas such as beaches and walking alone during the night. If you don’t know the territory you may easily get lost and it is quite unsafe especially for women to be walking around in the night unaccompanied.
On a health note you should avoid staying in the sun too long since the temperatures at the Seychelles rise considerably during the day so be careful when walking around or lounging on the beach. You should also be as vigilant as possible as regards to litter like in any other country – try to keep the place as clean as possible and do not throw litter or other rubbish around.
The Seychelles are also islands with some fabulously rich natural heritage. You should explore the beaches and observe the hermit crabs in their natural habitat which are seashells that are littered all over the beaches. You should also not collect these shells as they are protected species. The country has a number of nature reserves as well as marine parks which you should find time to explore. There is also a considerable amount of flora and fauna which is indigenous to the islands and which are quite unique. If you wish to take some flowers with you as a souvenir makes sure you register it since it is illegal to take anything out of the country.
It is good to know some facts about the local currency which is the Seychelles Rupee. This is normally divided into 100 cents while the notes come in various denominations ranging from 10 to 500. You can view the exchange rates at the banks and they are also printed daily on the national newspaper. If you decide to open a bank account or conduct transactions you will need your passport. ATM withdrawals may also be made at the major banks in Mahe’ and Praslin as well as at the airport if you want some local currency.
It is important to note that exchanging currencies can only be made at banks and as mentioned before avoid illegal money transactions with unauthorised personnel. Visitors can now purchase goods with Seychelles Rupees since this was not always the case. Be careful on the exchange rate charged in certain outlets and establishments if you decide to pay in foreign currency.
As with any country do not get into trouble with the law since you may face hefty consequences. You should definitely avoid conducting illegal cash transactions since if you are caught, the law is pretty harsh in the Seychelles. Just be as quiet and go about your own way as much as possible and the islands will definitely warm to you.