Not many places can truly do justice to the tag of “paradise beach”, but that was the exact word that came into my head as we arrived in La Digue, Seychelles
It was always in our holiday plan to visit La Digue, since it is famed for some of the most iconic beaches of the Seychelles, with a laid back vibe and lack of vehicles and traffic. It is also a very short ferry ride away from Praslin, where we had been staying for almost two weeks. Another reason for our visit to La Digue was to meet up with our new friends, a lovely Norwegian family we had been hanging out with around Praslin.
This diminutive island of only 10.08 Km2/4 sq miles can easily be explored on a day trip from Mahe or Praslin. Visitors usually land by ferry boat in the village of La Passe on the east coast of the Island, unless money is no object when with a bit more cash to spare you can fly in by helicopter and land in possibly one of the most scenic helipads in the world. That was certainly not our case, we paid about 30 euros for a return ferry ride from Baie St. Anne in Praslin which took about 20 minutes to hop across the calm waters to La Digue.
As we stepped from the ferry we saw our friends Kent, Sessile and Symen holding 4 bicycles and waving to us from the entrance to the pier. We all greeted each other excited to be meeting up again, they had been on the Island for few days already and were eager to show us some of their favourite hang outs. So with a little Island to explore and very little time on our hands we all got on our rented bicycles and set off to explore this pretty Island. Bicycles are the main means of transportation in the Island and to hire it for the day costs around 6 euros. There are very few vehicles on the Island, mostly owned by the hotels. There is a traditional rural and laid back feel to La Digue and although tourism is the main source of income we did not see many big hotels and resorts during our explorations which I was quite relieved to find out, since a big resort would feel very wrong and one can only feel a sense that they don’t belong here at all. Although one can argue that the small population of about 3, 000 people need jobs to survive, as always there are no easy answers to the question on how to best preserve a small Island like this. To keep its charm and identity whist providing a livelihood to local’s?…… It is a tricky one.
We cycled towards the L’Union Estate and its coconut plantation where you have to pay about R$ 100 to enter the fabulous Anse Source D’Argent, possibly the most famous beach in the Seychelles. Certainly the most photographed, located in the most idyllic spot among the naturally sculpted granite boulders that frame the tropical vegetation. The pure white sand is lapped by the transparent and impossibly emerald green waters of the Indian Ocean. A couple of shacks sell fruits and a variety of fruit juices and shakes. We found a perfect spot for us to relax and enjoy few hours in paradise.
The shallow water, although beautiful and inviting, was not great for swimming, but who cares when you are surrounded by such beauty? In any case swimming was far too energetic for us, since hanging out with our friends, relaxing and tasting some of the delicious fresh fruit and refreshments on offer at our charming local beach bar was exactly what we felt most like doing.
The hours passed very quickly and we started feeling very hungry so we got back on our bicycles and cycled around in search of a good place to eat, the choice was limited in particular because it was already 2 pm and many places were not serving lunch any more. In any case we eventually found a lovely restaurant by the sea to eat our last meal altogether, and then bid farewell to our lovely friends. We promised to meet again either in Norway or in England in the very near future.
Our love affair with La Digue was rather brief but fulfilling, although as our ferry pulled away we looked at each other and felt that it would have been lovely to have stayed at least for one night in the Island and experience it more like a local and less like a tourist.
Have you been to the Island of La Digue in the Seychelles? What other paradise Island would you recommend? Let me know in the comments.