Currency and getting cash
Money and currency exchange
The National currency is the Seychelles Rupee (abbreviated to SR, SCR or R-S). The normal exchange rate for one pound is about 17 SR. Hotels, banks and car hire firms usually accept international credit cards (American Express, Diners, Eurocard/MasterCard, Visa). Otherwise traveller's cheques in euros, pounds or other common currencies are recommended as a safe option. Cash can be exchanged on the Seychelles at a better rate than at home. And on the islands, bank rates are more competitive than in the hotels.
The Bureaux de Change / bank desks are open on arrival of international flights (even on weekends and in the early morning).
Generally, shop and business opening times correspond with actual daylight hours and are somewhat laid-back compared to Central European habits. Most banks in Victoria are only open for a few hours in the morning. There are banks on Mahé in Victoria, Beau Vallon, Anse Royale and at the airport, on Praslin in Baie Ste. Anne and Grand Anse and on La Digue on the coastal promenade. The opening times are not always the same, usually Mon-Fri 8.30-13.00.pm and Sat 8.30-11.00.pm. At the airport the counters are open from Mon-Fri 8.30-12.30.pm Sat 8.30-10.45.pm as well as at the arrival and take-off times of international flights. If you really need cash urgently, then you can always use your credit card at an automatic cash point.
Foreign exchange regulations
Foreign currencies as well as Seychelles Rupees (SR) can be imported without restriction. You may only export amounts not exceeding 100 Rupees in notes, and 20 Rupees in coins, per person.
In Victoria and elsewhere one can buy food, items and daily necessities in small shops or kiosks. The fresh food market opens daily at 05.30 am. (Recommended!). Many hotels have boutiques selling souvenirs and travel accessories at rather expensive prices.
Offices: Mon-Fri 8-12.00 & 13-16.00 pm Shops: Mon-Fri 8-17.00 pm Sat 8-12.00. Some close for lunch 12-13.00.pm. Small shops on the outskirts of town or in the villages frequently remain open longer into the evenings and on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons. That applies also to shops and boutiques near to the hotels and hotel boutiques.
The well known teas and spices are popular souvenirs on the Seychelles along with exotic perfumes which the German Pit Hugelmann has created from tropical plants (Kreolfleurage, Anse Nord'Est, Mahé).
There are large selections of vases, figures and other ceramic articles from different potteries, e.g. Seypot. One can also get beautiful stamps showing animals and plants from the counter at the Post Office (at the Clock Tower, Victoria).
A Seychelles nut is one of the most original Souvenirs, costing at least 100 £. Before purchasing refer to the export regulations. No less exotic, due to the form of its bottle, is Coco d’Amour - a creamy liqueur which is made from the coconut.
Hand made boat models look really nice but they are not at all cheap. There is a wide selection of attractive sea-shells. They are taken, on demand, out of the sea - with the living animals inside them - and dried ashore. There is also jewellery on offer made from other articles and shells, some from endangered species.
In accordance with the Washington Treaty regulations it is illegal to trade in endangered animal species or parts thereof, or export these back to Europe.
Tips are not necessarily expected, just like at home. Good or particularly attentive service can be rewarded with a tip whether it is for the chambermaid, waiter or any other service, not forgetting that a service charge is already included in the bill.