If I could imagine Heaven, this is how mine would look like. White, silky sands, turquoise, clear waters, palm trees, silence and great connection with nature. A place where time stands still and it doesn’t matter if you did what you had to do for today, cause there’s always a tomorrow. A place where you are not afraid to walk on streets, where people are greeting you without expecting anything and where you can wear whatever you want without being judged. Welcome to SEYCHELLES!
WHY VISIT SEYCHELLES
When I first arrive to Seychelles I was disappointed. I have already started from home with some impressions of my friends that were not so fascinated about it, but with my friend that was travelling with me who promised me the most beautiful beaches! And this was one of the many times I understood to take advices but follow my intuition. I knew I was going to love Seychelles, I just didn’t know how much yet!
It was on an early rainy morning, I was flying from Dubai to Mahe, couldn’t sleep and I was hungry and cranky. Needless to say that we had to wait for two hours in the harbor for our ferry to come to take us to Praslin, then we would have had another ferry connection that would take us finally to La Digue. I slept on the bench, freezing because of my lack of sleep and could feel the rain entering into my bones. Of course it was just a sensation as I was covered by a pergola and it was not cold outside.
When we finally made it to La Digue, the rain stopped and I could see the wonderful colors of the island, cheerful people all around me, and I could feel a warmth in my soul that never left me ever since.
So, if you are looking for a quiet place, with wonderful landscapes, the most beautiful beaches, amazing nature and happy people, this is the perfect place to be! If on contrary, you are a person who likes to party, lot of noise and great gang to hang out, this is not the place for you!
WHERE TO START FROM?
They say you have to keep the best for the last but I would say it’s advisable to start from La Digue, otherwise the way back to the airport would seem too long. So, from my point of view, even if La Digue is the most beautiful of the islands, in terms of time, I would start with La Digue, then Praslin a few days, and back to Mahe for another few days. Of course from any of them you can go by boat on any other islands, but if you are there first time and you want to spend some time, I think this is the perfect plan!
The ferry is not cheap and you must plan your time very well. It’s 1 hour from Mahe to Praslin and another 20 minutes from Praslin to La Digue. We bought tickets both ways as it was cheaper, careful that you have to choose the hours when you buy your tickets and in case you change your mind, you have to do it 24 hours in advance. We didn’t take this into consideration and we had to pay for other tickets on our way back from La Digue to Praslin.
Book at least 2 nights in each island and I would suggest not to go for a 5 start resort, as you would be tempted not to leave the hotel. Seychelles it’s all about exploration and looking for amazing beaches and landscapes that you are not able to reach in resort. Also, mind that the internet is slow and is not available everywhere. For me, it was amazing! For some might be a problem!
La Digue is a small island (5/7km), part of the Seychelles Archipelago. Is a popular honeymoon destination offering tourists a great opportunity to immerse themselves into the local culture, relax and explore the surroundings. As I was there with a friend of mine (also woman), for me was the perfect place to discover a part of me that was long forgotten and enjoy the community with nature.
With such small number of cars, La Digue is a great choice for the environmental travel, as most people tend to make use of bikes. An excellent moment to practice my skills as I haven’t ride a bike since I was 12. I managed very well but if you are not comfortable with it or your physic doesn’t merge, you can ask for a driver to take you with the buggy wherever you need at cost of minimum 6euros/ride, depending on where you want to go.
If you want to see beautiful landscapes, reserve two or three hours to go by bike (the buggies cannot reach some of these parts, so the only way to do it is my bike), to the north part of the island. The road is hilly but the views are amazing, trust me, it worth the effort!
LA DIGUE HOTELS
La Digue hotels are mainly small, self-catering villas ran by locals, but opulent choices are of course available. For example, if you prefer a more luxurious option you can choose to stay at Le Domaine de l’Orangeraie Resort and Spa. But if you are looking for a convenient price and a very nice stay you can choose between La Digue Island Lodge or Le Repaire. There are both very well situated, pretty close to the ferry and not so far from the two most beautiful beaches of the Island. Anyway, on such a small island you are not far from anything.
FOOD IN LA DIGUE
As with all the Seychelles, food is expensive and mainly imported. You can have very nice food as the only Italian restaurant at Le Repaire, owned by an Italian woman, very nice. There are some other small restaurants that provide in some designated evenings barbeque or self cattering, with live music at decent prices compared with local prices such as La Digue Island Lodge or Villa Creole. Or you can enjoy a nice pizza at a very good price at Pizzeria at Gregoire’s. Be very careful as the restaurants are closed for lunch and they open in the evening, after 7.
BEACHES IN LA DIGUE
If you are in Seychelles for it’s beautiful beaches and for the amazing nature, please don’t stay in the resort or hotel. Rent a bike or ask for a buggy and go looking for the great places that you can reach only if you get out of your area. Some of them are reachable only by foot, but it would worth the effort!
From my point of view, Grand Anse is the most beautiful of La Digue beaches. With amazingly wide beach and white, soft sand, beautiful turquoise water and lovely waves you can play with, this is the place to be! Surrounded by rocks, it’s a great place to have some beautiful photos!
From Grand Anse you can reach by food, climbing the rocks and throw the jungle, about 20 minutes walk, Petite Anse beach. It’s a unique beach, with small tents made out of palm leaves, where in it’s clear water you can see beautiful, colorful fishes.
And, walking again throw the forest and climbing the rocks, about 30 minutes walk, you can reach Anse Coco, a beautiful beach with a small lagoon on the left side.
The most famous beach of La Digue is though Anse Source d’Argent. You can get there either by bike, entering Union Estate Park (you have to pay for the entrance) or walking across the beach (kind of long way). I suggest that you reserve a day to see the park, with amazing plantations of vanilla and palm trees, and it’s lovely big turtles. And for the rest of the day, enjoy some hours at the beach. You can reach the beach also by walking throw the rocks, this time without climbing. It’s a nice place to take some great pictures and to stay at the shadow of the palm trees. The water is a bit weird as it’s very shallow, with rocks and no place to swim. But the views are amazing! Also, they say you can enjoy here the best sunset!
In Pralin we stayed in a hotel close to the ferry, with very nice view and an infinite pool, but the owner very rude and with lots of rules. We moved around the island with the local bus, very cheap (around 50 cents a ticket) and quite decent. The taxis are quite expensive (minimum 40$, depending on where you want to go). I have visited Anse Lazio, a very beautiful beach, reacheable only by foot or by personal car. The bus leaves you 20 minutes distance walk from the beach. The road is pretty uphill, then downhill, so if you are not so good with your physical condition, on that hot weather, I wouldn’t suggest going there by foot.
In Mahe we enjoyed a nice hotel on the beach, with beautiful landscapes, very close to Anse Royale. We’ve also moved by local bus as it was way cheaper than the taxi. Also the bus left us a bit far from the beach, so it took us around 30 minutes walking to the Anse Intendance. Very beautiful beach, actually at that time they were preparing for a wedding on the beach. With beautiful waves, very strong current and amazing sand, I would say it’s a must when you get to Mahe!
POINTS OF INTEREST
LA DIGUE – Union Estate Park – At the southern end of La Réunion, cross over to the l’Union Estate, a former coconut and vanilla plantation that is a real insight into La Digue colonial history. The park has an entrance fee of SCR 100 (about 10$). Besides that, the Aldabra Giant Tortoise enclosure is another popular tourist attraction. Near the tortoise enclosure is the vanilla plantation. Neighboring the vanilla plantation is a 40-metre monolith in the sky. The Giant Union Rock occupies an area of 4,000 m², and is estimated to be around 700 million years old. The walk eventually leads out into the powerful, imposing rock formations that flank the narrow Anse Source d’Argent beach across its 1 km length. Here, the rocks, the green palms, the white beach, and the turquoise ocean blend in perfect harmony.
PRASLIN – Vallee de mai – The “Heart of Praslin” is home to remnants of the original palm jungles of the Seychelles and has often been described as a “Garden of Eden” thanks to its secluded and mystical nature. The park was placed under protection as far back as 1966, with over 1,400 trees of the legendary Coco de Mer falling under the protection of the Seychelles Government due to their uniqueness and that of the location. The Coco de Mer, the largest seed in the world, is particularly admired by visitors, and is the reason for the National Park’s world heritage site status. The Vallée de Mai is also home to the rare Black Parrot, of which there are three species in the Seychelles and one more sub-species in Madagascar. The birds are very shy and usually can only be heard.