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A Guide To Cousin Island In The Seychelles


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Deina Clift



Welcome to Cousin Island, a small piece of paradise located in the Seychelles archipelago. Nestled in the Indian Ocean, Cousin Island is renowned for its unparalleled natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and commitment to conservation. It is no wonder that this pristine island has captivated the hearts of travelers from around the world.


With its untouched beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical forests, Cousin Island offers a serene and idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you are a nature lover, a wildlife enthusiast or simply seeking a tranquil getaway, Cousin Island has something to offer for everyone.


As you step foot onto this enchanting island, you will instantly be immersed in its captivating beauty. The mesmerizing turquoise waters gently lap against the powdery white sands, creating a picturesque backdrop that will leave you in awe. The island is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it an ideal destination for eco-tourism.


One of the unique aspects of Cousin Island is its status as a protected nature reserve. With a deep commitment to conservation, the island has become a sanctuary for numerous species of birds, turtles, and other wildlife. Its importance as a breeding ground for endangered species has earned it recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Whether you choose to relax under the shade of a palm tree, explore the underwater wonders of the coral reefs, or take a guided tour to learn about the island’s rich biodiversity, Cousin Island promises an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in the natural wonders and take a step back in time to a place where nature reigns supreme.


Join us as we embark on a journey to explore the wonders of Cousin Island, where the harmony between humans and nature is nurtured and celebrated.


Getting to Cousin Island

Getting to Cousin Island is an adventure in itself. As a protected nature reserve, access to the island is carefully managed to ensure minimum impact on the delicate ecosystem. Here are the options available for reaching Cousin Island:

  • Boat Transfer: The most common way to reach Cousin Island is by boat. Regular boat transfers are available from nearby islands such as Praslin or Mahé. These transfers are typically organized by tour operators or the Cousin Island Special Reserve management. The journey takes approximately 15-20 minutes, and the scenic ride allows you to soak in the beauty of the surrounding turquoise waters.
  • Charter Boat: For a more personalized experience, you can opt to charter a boat to Cousin Island. This option gives you the flexibility to choose your departure time and offers privacy. Various boat charter services are available in the Seychelles, and they can arrange a trip specifically tailored to your preferences.
  • Helicopter Transfer: For those seeking a truly luxurious and scenic arrival to Cousin Island, a helicopter transfer is an unforgettable option. Helicopter charters are available from Mahé and offer breathtaking aerial views of the Seychelles archipelago. The journey is quick, taking around 10 minutes, and provides a unique perspective of the surrounding islands and turquoise waters.

It is important to note that prior arrangements need to be made for any form of transportation to Cousin Island. Due to its protected status, visitor numbers are limited, and advance bookings are required.


Once you have arrived on Cousin Island, you will immediately sense the tranquility and beauty that awaits you. The warm hospitality of the staff and the untouched natural landscape create a sense of serenity that will make your visit truly special.


Now that we’ve covered how to get to Cousin Island, let’s explore the different accommodation options available on the island.


Accommodation Options

Cousin Island offers a unique and immersive accommodation experience that allows you to fully connect with nature while enjoying modern comforts. There is one main accommodation option on the island:


Eco-Lodges: Cousin Island has eco-lodges nestled amidst the lush vegetation, providing a comfortable and sustainable place to rest after a day of exploration. These lodges are designed to blend harmoniously with the natural surroundings, offering a serene and eco-friendly ambiance. The lodges are equipped with essential amenities, ensuring a comfortable stay while minimizing the ecological footprint. Wake up to the sounds of birdsong, breathe in the fresh sea breeze, and witness breathtaking sunsets from your private veranda.


The eco-lodges can accommodate a limited number of guests at a time, ensuring an intimate experience and a sense of exclusivity. The proximity of the lodges to the island’s wildlife and nature allows you to truly immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Cousin Island.


Staying in the eco-lodges offers more than just a place to sleep; it is an opportunity to live in harmony with the environment and learn about the island’s conservation efforts. The lodges provide a unique setting for eco-conscious travelers looking to escape the demands of modern life and reconnect with nature.


In addition to the eco-lodges, Cousin Island provides camping facilities for those seeking a more rustic experience. Camping allows you to fully immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty, offering an experience that is closer to the elements. However, it is important to note that camping on Cousin Island requires prior approval and arrangements with the Cousin Island Special Reserve management.


Whichever accommodation option you choose, you can expect exceptional service, a serene setting, and a deep connection with the natural world. Your stay on Cousin Island will be a true escape from the ordinary, where the sounds of nature lull you to sleep and the untouched beauty of the island leaves you in awe.


Now that we’ve explored the accommodation options available, let’s dive into the incredible wildlife and nature that Cousin Island has to offer.


Wildlife and Nature

Cousin Island is a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers alike. With its diverse ecosystem and protected status, the island boasts an abundance of unique flora and fauna. Here are some highlights of the wildlife and nature you can expect to encounter on Cousin Island:


Bird Watching: Cousin Island is known as a bird lover’s paradise. It is home to numerous bird species, including the Seychelles magpie robin, white-tailed tropicbird, and brush warbler. As you explore the island, keep your eyes and ears open for the melodious calls and vibrant plumage of the island’s feathered inhabitants.


Turtle Nesting: Cousin Island plays a vital role in the conservation of sea turtles. Its pristine beaches serve as nesting grounds for hawksbill and green turtles. Witnessing the magical event of turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs, or seeing the hatchlings making their way to the sea, is a truly unforgettable experience.


Giant Tortoises: Cousin Island is also home to a population of Aldabra giant tortoises. These magnificent creatures, known for their longevity and gentle nature, roam freely on the island. Observing these ancient reptiles in their natural habitat is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience.


Flora and Fauna: Cousin Island is blessed with a rich and diverse array of plant and animal life. Take a leisurely stroll along the island’s trails to discover endemic plants, vibrant flowers, and hidden gems of nature. The island’s rugged granite landscape, tropical forests, and pristine beaches provide a captivating backdrop for exploring the wonders of nature.


Cousin Island is dedicated to preserving and protecting its unique biodiversity. The Cousin Island Special Reserve management, in collaboration with conservation organizations, works tirelessly to ensure the sustainability and wellbeing of the island’s wildlife and natural habitats.


Whether you are a seasoned wildlife enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, Cousin Island will leave an indelible impression on you. It offers a rare opportunity to witness the wonders of the natural world up close and personal.


Next, let’s delve into the guided tours and activities available on Cousin Island.


Guided Tours and Activities

Exploring Cousin Island goes beyond just admiring its natural beauty. The island offers a range of guided tours and activities that allow you to fully immerse yourself in its diverse ecosystem. Here are some of the experiences you can enjoy during your visit:


Nature Walks: Embark on a guided nature walk to discover the hidden treasures of Cousin Island. Accompanied by knowledgeable guides, you will learn about the island’s unique flora and fauna, conservation efforts, and fascinating insights into the delicate ecosystem. Traverse the trails and witness the captivating landscapes, all while gaining a deeper appreciation for the importance of preserving our natural heritage.


Bird Watching Excursions: Join an expert ornithologist and set off on a bird-watching excursion to spot some of the island’s avian inhabitants. With their keen eyes and extensive knowledge, the guides will help you identify the various bird species that call Cousin Island home. From endemic species to migratory birds, every observation is a delightful opportunity to enhance your understanding of the island’s avifauna.


Turtle Monitoring: Participate in the vital conservation efforts by taking part in turtle monitoring activities. Accompanied by trained conservationists, you can assist in monitoring nesting turtles or even witness the incredible hatching of baby turtles. These activities provide a unique chance to contribute to the ongoing efforts to protect these remarkable creatures and their nesting grounds.


Snorkeling and Diving: Discover the stunning underwater world that surrounds Cousin Island through snorkeling or diving. Explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, including tropical fish, rays, and even turtles. The clear turquoise waters provide excellent visibility, ensuring an unforgettable experience for both beginners and experienced divers.


Kayaking and Paddleboarding: Take to the water and enjoy the tranquility of Cousin Island while kayaking or paddleboarding along its pristine coastline. Glide through the calm waters, soaking in the beauty of the island from a different perspective. It is a peaceful and gentle way to explore the surrounding seascape while indulging in a bit of exercise.


These guided tours and activities are not only educational and entertaining, but they also align with the principles of responsible tourism. The knowledgeable guides on Cousin Island are passionate about conservation and are eager to share their expertise, ensuring that your experiences contribute to the long-term sustainability of the island’s natural treasures.


Now that we’ve explored the guided tours and activities, let’s take a closer look at the conservation efforts on Cousin Island.


Conservation Efforts

Cousin Island is a shining example of successful conservation efforts in action. The island has been a dedicated nature reserve since 1968 and is internationally recognized for its commitment to biodiversity preservation. Here are some of the remarkable conservation efforts taking place on Cousin Island:


Endangered Species Protection: Cousin Island is home to several endangered species, including the Seychelles magpie robin and the hawksbill turtle. The conservation team on the island works diligently to protect these species and their habitats, ensuring their survival for future generations.


Invasive Species Eradication: Invasive species pose a significant threat to the native flora and fauna of Cousin Island. The dedicated conservation team conducts regular eradication programs to remove invasive plants and animals, helping to restore and maintain the island’s natural balance.


Monitoring and Research: The Cousin Island Special Reserve management conducts extensive monitoring and research programs to gather valuable data on the island’s wildlife, flora, and ecosystems. This data is crucial for making informed conservation decisions and implementing effective strategies for preserving the island’s delicate ecosystems.


Sustainable Resource Management: The island follows strict sustainable resource management practices to minimize its environmental impact. Waste management systems, energy conservation initiatives, and responsible water usage are just a few examples of the island’s commitment to sustainable practices.


Community Engagement and Outreach: The conservation efforts extend beyond the borders of Cousin Island. The reserve actively engages with neighboring communities, raising awareness about the importance of conservation and providing training opportunities. By involving local communities, the conservation efforts strive to create a positive impact on both the environment and the people who depend on it.


Cousin Island has garnered international recognition for its conservation endeavors. It is a designated special reserve under the Seychelles Island Foundation and holds UNESCO World Heritage Site status. These accolades serve as testaments to the island’s success in preserving its unique biodiversity.


By visiting Cousin Island, you are not only witnessing the beauty of nature but also actively contributing to its preservation. Your support helps fund ongoing conservation efforts, ensuring the sustainability of this remarkable natural sanctuary.


Next, let’s discuss responsible tourism practices that visitors should follow when exploring Cousin Island.


Responsible Tourism Practices

As a visitor to Cousin Island, it is essential to embrace responsible tourism practices to minimize your impact on the fragile ecosystem and support the island’s conservation efforts. Here are some guidelines to follow when exploring this pristine natural paradise:


Respect Wildlife and Nature: When encountering wildlife, maintain a safe distance and observe them from a respectful and non-intrusive manner. Do not feed or touch the animals and refrain from removing any natural objects or plants from the island.


Minimize Plastic Waste: Help to keep the island and its surrounding waters clean by minimizing your use of plastic. Bring reusable water bottles and bags, and dispose of any waste appropriately in designated bins or carry it back with you to be properly disposed of.


Conserve Water and Energy: Be mindful of your water and energy usage during your stay on Cousin Island. Use resources wisely and turn off lights, fans, and air conditioning when not in use. Take short showers and be conscious of water conservation practices.


Follow Designated Trails: Stick to designated trails and paths to avoid damaging delicate ecosystems. These designated paths have been carefully constructed to minimize impact on the flora and fauna, ensuring that their habitats remain undisturbed.


Support Local Conservation Efforts: Consider making a contribution to the conservation efforts on Cousin Island. Donations, volunteering opportunities, or participating in specific programs can support ongoing initiatives that protect and preserve the island’s unique biodiversity.


Choose Sustainable Souvenirs: When purchasing souvenirs, look for locally-made and sustainable products that promote the preservation of natural resources. Avoid purchasing items made from endangered species or unsustainable materials.


Observe and Follow Guidelines: Listen to and follow the instructions provided by the trained conservation guides. They are there to ensure the safety of visitors and the protection of the island’s wildlife and natural habitats.


By practicing these responsible tourism measures, you become a responsible steward of Cousin Island’s natural wonders. Your actions contribute to the long-term sustainability of the island and help preserve its pristine beauty for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.


Now that we’ve covered responsible tourism practices, let’s move on to the delightful dining experiences and culinary delights that await you on Cousin Island.


Dining and Cuisine

Indulging in the culinary delights of Cousin Island is an experience that combines exquisite flavors with a backdrop of breathtaking natural beauty. The island offers a unique dining experience that showcases the finest of Seychellois cuisine and locally sourced ingredients. Here is a glimpse into the dining options available on Cousin Island:


Fresh Seafood: Being surrounded by bountiful waters, it comes as no surprise that fresh seafood takes center stage in Cousin Island’s culinary offerings. From succulent grilled fish to delectable seafood curries, you can savor the catch of the day prepared with expert culinary skills. Expect to indulge in mouthwatering dishes that highlight the flavors of the sea.


Locally Sourced Ingredients: The island takes pride in incorporating locally sourced ingredients into its dishes. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs grown on Cousin Island or sourced from nearby communities add a vibrant touch to the culinary creations. Taste the richness and authenticity of Seychellois flavors as you enjoy the island’s locally inspired dishes.


Al Fresco Dining: Dining on Cousin Island is a truly immersive experience. From romantic candlelit dinners on the beach to al fresco meals surrounded by lush vegetation, every meal becomes a feast for the senses. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature as you savor the flavors of the island under the open sky.


Cultural Experiences: Cousin Island also offers the opportunity to engage in cultural experiences that go beyond just dining. You can participate in cooking demonstrations and workshops, where local chefs share their culinary secrets and traditional recipes. Engaging in these cultural activities allows you to gain insights into the Seychellois way of life and culinary traditions.


Whether you are a seafood lover, an adventurous eater, or simply appreciate the art of fine dining, the culinary offerings on Cousin Island are sure to leave a lasting impression. Each meal celebrates the island’s natural abundance and offers a truly unforgettable dining experience.


After indulging in the delectable cuisine, let’s explore the nearby attractions and activities you can enjoy during your stay on Cousin Island.


Nearby Attractions

While Cousin Island itself is a paradise of natural beauty, there are several nearby attractions that are worth exploring during your stay. Here are some of the top attractions near Cousin Island:


Praslin Island: Just a short boat ride away from Cousin Island is Praslin Island, the second-largest island in the Seychelles. Praslin is known for its stunning beaches, including the famous Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette. Explore the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can encounter the unique Coco de Mer palms and spot rare bird species.


La Digue Island: Another nearby island that is worth visiting is La Digue. Known for its relaxed atmosphere and picturesque beaches, La Digue offers a glimpse into Seychelles’ traditional Creole culture. Rent a bicycle and explore the island’s secluded coves, such as Anse Source d’Argent, known for its granite boulders and crystal-clear waters.


Curieuse Island: Embark on a day trip to Curieuse Island, located close to Praslin. This island is a designated national park and home to a population of giant Aldabra tortoises. Take a guided tour to learn about the island’s history, visit the Curieuse Marine National Park, or relax on the pristine beaches.


Aride Island: For those seeking an untouched and truly wild experience, Aride Island is a must-visit. This nature reserve is renowned for its rich biodiversity, including several endemic bird species and abundant marine life. Explore the island’s walking trails, enjoy bird-watching opportunities, and soak in the untouched beauty of this remote paradise.


These nearby attractions offer a variety of experiences that complement your visit to Cousin Island. Whether you choose to relax on pristine beaches, hike through lush nature reserves, or explore the fascinating cultural heritage, each destination adds its own unique charm to your Seychelles experience.


Now that we’ve discovered the nearby attractions, let’s gather some practical information to help you plan your visit to Cousin Island.


Practical Information

Before embarking on your journey to Cousin Island, it is important to take note of some practical information to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit:


Entry Requirements: Visitors to Seychelles must have a valid passport with at least six months validity from the date of entry. Depending on your nationality, a visa may be required. It is advisable to check the visa requirements well in advance of your trip. Additionally, travelers may need to provide proof of onward or return tickets.


Getting to Seychelles: Seychelles is well-connected to major international airports. The main international gateway is Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) on the island of Mahé. From there, you can take a domestic flight or ferry to the neighboring islands, such as Praslin, from where you can access Cousin Island.


Health and Safety: It is recommended to check with your healthcare provider regarding any necessary vaccinations prior to traveling to Seychelles. In terms of safety, Seychelles is generally a safe destination, but it is always advisable to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings, especially when exploring unfamiliar areas.


Weather and Best Time to Visit: Seychelles enjoys a tropical climate, with warm temperatures throughout the year. The best time to visit Cousin Island and the Seychelles is during the dry season from April to October when the weather is pleasantly warm and rainfall is minimal. However, the islands can be visited all year round, as even during the wetter months, rain showers are typically short-lived.


Reservations and Guided Tours: Due to the limited number of visitors allowed on Cousin Island at a time, it is crucial to make advance reservations for accommodation and guided tours. Contact the Cousin Island Special Reserve management or reputable tour operators to secure your spot and plan the activities you wish to partake in during your stay.


Packing Essentials: When preparing for your trip to Cousin Island, remember to pack essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, comfortable walking shoes, and lightweight, breathable clothing. Additionally, don’t forget to bring your camera or binoculars to capture the incredible wildlife and natural beauty of the island.


Money and Currency: The currency of Seychelles is the Seychellois Rupee (SCR). While major credit cards are widely accepted, it is a good idea to carry some cash for smaller purchases, especially on the smaller islands. ATMs are available on Praslin and Mahé, so it is advisable to withdraw cash before embarking on your journey to the more remote islands.


By keeping these practical details in mind, you can ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable visit to Cousin Island. Now it’s time to pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this remarkable corner of the Seychelles.


If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to the Cousin Island Special Reserve management or reputable tour operators for assistance.


Safe travels and enjoy your time on Cousin Island!



Congratulations! You are now well-equipped with comprehensive knowledge about Cousin Island and all it has to offer. From its breathtaking natural beauty to its commitment to conservation, Cousin Island is a true gem in the Seychelles archipelago.


As you embark on your journey, remember to embrace responsible tourism practices to minimize your impact on the island’s delicate ecosystem. Respect the wildlife, conserve resources, and support the ongoing conservation efforts that make Cousin Island such a remarkable destination.


Immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty of the island’s pristine beaches, dense forests, and vibrant coral reefs. Engage in guided tours to witness unique wildlife, participate in turtle monitoring, and learn about the island’s rich biodiversity from knowledgeable guides.


Indulge in the flavors of Seychellois cuisine, savoring fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients while dining in awe-inspiring settings. Take time to explore nearby attractions such as Praslin Island, La Digue Island, and Curieuse Island, each offering its own special charm and experiences.


Remember to plan and book your accommodations and activities in advance, as limited visitor numbers ensure a more intimate and exclusive experience on Cousin Island.


By practicing sustainable and responsible tourism, choosing eco-friendly accommodations, and supporting local conservation efforts, you are not only creating cherished memories for yourself but also contributing to the preservation of Cousin Island for future generations.


Now, let the wonders of Cousin Island captivate your senses and provide you with a true escape into nature. Explore, discover, and create lasting memories on this remarkable island in the Seychelles archipelago.


Safe travels and enjoy the enchanting journey that awaits you on Cousin Island!