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The Seychelles Are the Tropical Island Getaway US Travelers Can Actually Enjoy Right Now

The current rules involve private jets, PCR tests and minimum stays at specially approved resorts--including these five luxury options.

Six Senses Zil Payson Seychelles Courtesy Six Senses

When it comes to far-flung tropical island destinations, places like the Maldives and French Polynesia may draw the bulk of the attention, but we’ve always had a soft spot for the Seychelles, the archipelago nation that’s set just off the coast of East Africa. Like the Maldives, the 115 islands of the Seychelles are surrounded by the dazzling waters of the Indian Ocean, and many feature idyllic, uncrowded white-sand beaches that often rank among the best in the world. The country also offers a unique culture that’s a mix of Creole, African, French, British and Indian influences, and has natural wonders such as Aldabra giant tortoises, dense rainforests and ancient indigenous flora like the coco de mer palm, which has become the official symbol of the nation. Another plus: Unlike in some other archipelago destinations where each resort sits on its own islet accessible only by seaplane, the Seychelles boasts several larger islands connected by ferry or speedboat, making it easier to try out more than one resort or island-hop for the day.

Though current travel restrictions have halted many activities in the Seychelles for now, those looking to relax and recharge in one of the most beautiful destinations around can still travel there—even, with a little extra work, if you’re from the US. As of this writing, the country has divided approved countries into two categories, each with slightly different requirements. The US is not on either list for now, but US residents traveling by private jet will be allowed entry as long as they receive authorization in advance and stay at a certified hotel or resort. All visitors must also show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival, and must follow on-island health and safety protocols; depending on the length of stay or how many resorts you visit, a second on-island PCR test may also be required. Details on whom to contact for private jet approval and other requirements can be found here.

Once you have made it through all those hoops, it will be smooth sailing—especially if you’re holed up at one of these five luxury resorts, which range from options located on their own islands (including one with a private runway) to a recently rebranded pick on the main island of Mahé. Note that while each of these resorts is approved to host US private jet travelers, a couple have additional requirements, such as a short in-villa quarantine, a minimum night stay or a second PCR test; contact each directly to confirm the latest regulations.

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