Island days, island ways
If you followed my blog and read the most recent posts about Seychelles and you are not entirely convinced that life is better on an island…well…it’s time for you to change your mind.
Ladies and gentleman, I present you the beautiful, wild, unique, most photographed, surrounded by jade waters and warmed by the most dazzling tropical sun…La Digue island.
La Digue is the smallest of the three main inhabited islands in Seychelles, with a population of only 2000 people and the perfect combo between the relaxed tropical vibe and a touch of local life. Here everything is possible and all you need in order to conquer it is love and a bicycle. Or even better – a tandem bicycle – the perfect choice for a couple in their honeymoon (the truth is I don’t know how to ride one so the only options available were renting a tricycle or the tandem bike and the second choice seemed more comfortable – for me of course).
Getting there! Most visitors to La Digue will arrive by boat on one of the fast catamarans from Praslin. There are 7 ferries a day, with the ride taking just 15 minutes and costing around 15 euros. If you win the lottery you may consider taking a helicopter transfer and landing at La Digue’s small and scenic helicopter pad next to L’Union reserve, but there is no airstrip and no planes land on the island.
La Digue is the dream island, that you always see in the glossy travel brochures with the light blue and emerald green waters, sparkling white sand and green hills covered by the tangled jungle. While in the Seychelles, this small island is a must see for all the nature lovers and travel photographers. The beaches of La Digue often win awards for being the most beautiful ones on the planet and this is no joke, you have the see the beauty with your own eyes because it will not fail to impress you. But La Digue is so much more than that! I simply loved and tried to enjoy at its fullest that tropical state of mind that bewitched me the second I stepped on the ground in the small village of La Passe, where the ferry stops.
If you are in for a for some fine sessions of beach therapy, then I happily recommend the following:
Grand Anse – with its picturesque scenery and pristine sandy surface. The water here is rather deep, so it’s not good for swimming, but it’s perfect for sun bathing and Instagram-ing.
Petite Anse – the little sister of Grand Anse, being just a short walk and offering similar scenery and characteristics. Some tourists even suggest that Petite Anse is an improved version of her big sis, thanks in part to its lack of visitors and incredible landscape.
Anse Source d’Argent – the best-known beach in the Seychelles, and certainly one of its most spectacular locations in the entire archipelago and some travelers even swear that is the most beautiful beach in the world. True or not, this uniquely enchanting beach is must-see for any Seychelles holidaymaker, the powdery sand, crystal-clear water, and imposing granite boulders. The best part in order to reach this beauty is that you have to cross the entire L’Union Estate coconut plantation south of La Passe village. This national heritage site has many attractions: a majestic Plantation House, a traditional copra mill, vanilla plantations and giant land tortoises. So take a step back in time and enjoy this establishment.
!!! You have to pay an entrance fee at L’Union Estate – 100 rupees per person (~6 euros).
Anse Severe – famous for its incredible sunset views. The beach is equally beautiful during the day, with shallow, calm water and excellent views of the ocean and of Praslin, but the warm colors of the sky set on fire during the evening make it a place to remember.
Anse Patates – a beautiful, quiet beach on La Digue’s northern coast that offers beautiful scenery, stunning rock formations, a calm atmosphere, and close proximity to some of the island’s hotels and restaurants.
If you have time to see them all, you can also check out the views on Anse aux Cedres, Anse Banane, Anse Bonnet Carre, Anse Caiman, Anse Cocos, Anse Fourmis, Anse Gaulettes, Anse Grose Roche, Anse La Reunion, Anse Marron, Anse Pierrot, Anse Songe and Anse Union – each of them with a specific charm.
Of course the lush beauty of the island will be the first thing you’ll notice and go straight to your heart and stay there through beautiful memories even after you leave this magical place, but La Digue is an experience that must be felt and lived with passion.
Exploring the dusty paths while listening to the sound of the tall palms whispering when the wind blows, admiring the vanilla plantations, being thankful for seeing the famous Anse Source D’Argent, sitting on a wooden bench at one of the fruit bars along the beach, listening to some tropical rhythms or pouring a few drops of Takamaka white rhum in your pineapple juice – these are only some ideas that will make you feel the true creole spirit of the island. Staying there, under a palm tree’s shadow, with sand all over you and feeling the breeze through your salty hair, is when you realize that you are lucky. Lucky to be part of that beauty. And also lucky to reconnect with nature in the purest way possible.
When you live your daily life in a big city, always crowded, always on the run, with not enough hours in a day, you don’t have time or you are not in the mood to take a look around you and enjoy the little things or just raise your head up and admire the sky that is so beautiful even after a long day at work. But when you wake up in the middle of nowhere, on a deserted beach, you just realize that the ocean is everything you wanted to be: beautiful, mysterious, wild and free. And then you start to appreciate even more the little things and the little moments that in fact are not little at all.
La Digue is different from Mahe and even from Praslin. This island is no tourist jet-set-tourist heaven, but a natural retreat from the busy life we are so used nowadays. There are few surfaced roads on the island and almost no cars. The only way to explore the hidden places of the island being the bicycles, some (very rare) ox carriages and golf buggy (if you stay at a hotel there).
If you go there for a day trip you must be very organized and decide which places you want to go because riding a bicycle on a hot summer day can be very exhausting even for the brave ones. Do not forget to have water with you, sunscreen if you have a sensitive skin and a fashionable but most practical item – a hat!
And the most important ingredient while on La Digue: enjoy the ride, because there are plenty of details that will catch your attention on the way!