La Digue is arguably the most famous island in the Seychelles, as it is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Anse Source d’Argent. This beach has been featured on thousands of postcards, posters, and screensavers, and is considered a must-see for anyone visiting the Seychelles!
Accommodation: We stayed at CocoLux apartments, where we also cooked our own meals. The room was clean, well-equipped, and had everything we needed. The only complaint I had about this hotel was the neighboring chicken coop, which was located right next to the property. From 5:30 am, the roosters would make themselves heard every three seconds. While this may sound romantic, it was very disruptive to sleep!
Transportation: We used Cat Cocos ferries to get from Mahé (with a stop in Praslin) to La Digue and back. I paid €225 for two tickets. I booked the tickets about 3 weeks before the trip. You should not book your tickets last minute, as there are not many ferries per day and ferries tend to be full.
Excursions to the small islands nearby: We went on an excursion to Felicite, Grande Soeur, and Coco Island with Geoli Charters (you can Whatsapp +248 2 512 411). Our all-inclusive excursion to the islands cost about 8500 SCR, but they also offer other excursions from Praslin, for about 5500 SCR. These are especially advantageous for large families, as part of the price is for the boat, which can also accommodate several people. However, of course, you need to take into account that the cost of lunch and entrance fees to the islands is per person.
Many different excursions can be found on the GetYourGuide platform.
Internet: Outside of the hotel, we used Airalo mobile internet with eSim, 7 days, 1GB $9.50, use the code ALINA7758 to get $3 off your first eSim purchase! It worked really well, we didn’t have to look for a local SIM card (according to the prices available online, it would have been more expensive).
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Arriving to La Digue
We last visited La Digue eight years ago, and I was curious to see what had changed. As we got off the ferry, it was still raining, but the water in the harbor looked unusually blue.
We waited a while at the ferry for our suitcases to be unloaded. The work was being done by hand, and I watched the nearby water closely, as the suitcase wheels tend to roll well! Luckily, none of the suitcases fell in. The crowd around us thinned out as people picked up their belongings and met their greeters. I patiently waited for our suitcase to finally appear. Since it was one of the first ones loaded, it was now at the very end.
Once we had picked up our bags, we started looking for our guesthouse greeter, as we had requested transportation. We didn’t see our names on any of the signs, so just kept on walking. It turned out that a guy had already greeted some of the other guests, and then they were all waiting for us at the parking lot by the golf cart. Even though La Digue Island is supposed to be car-free, there are a few golf carts or even trucks that have been converted into buses that speed around the island.
After ten minutes drive, we arrived at our hotel. We had booked an apartment style hotel so that we could cook our own meals. Even though it was only lunchtime, our rooms were ready and we were let in. We had brought pasta, tomato sauce, some instant oatmeal packets, instant soups, and dried mashed potatoes form our stay on the other islands. We would definitely have to go to the store anyway, and I found out that the nearest one was just a seven-minute walk away. We decided to walk there to save rental money for the bikes, as the price for bicycles was per day, and it was already the afternoon, and we anyway needed to rest first, as the long journey had taken its toll.
Eating and Shopping on La Digue
As we walked to the beach, we passed by the Gala Takeaway cafe, which we remembered from our previous visit as a more wallet-friendly place to eat. Restaurant served meal on the island could easily cost over 60 euros for two, so we used to be frequent visitors to this eatery. However, it was Sunday, and the place was closed, so we’d need to cook ourselves. As we were walking by, we saw flocks of chickens around it. Such sights are an essential part of the landscape in La Digue! There are chickens, roosters, little chicks, and lazy cats in every bush you look into.
We reached the grocery store and were pleased to see that there is finally a decent grocery store on the island! During our previous visit, the selection in the stores was so scarce that I was a little worried about our plan to live in an apartment here, but there was no need to worry. There are also no more problems with bank cards, those were accepted without issues. After taking the bags to the room, we decided to take a small walk around the neighborhood. The Veuve Reserve is located directly opposite the hotel, where the Seychelles endemic bird, the Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone corvina), lives. After examining the photograph on the poster, I realized that I have already seen its female in the hotel garden!
Next we headed to the beach, which is just a few hundred meters away. We saw bioluminescent plankton there on our previous visit! It was still too light to see it yet, but we stayed a while with the sun setting in the distance and waves crashing calmly. We immediately noticed that now the houses are built very close to each other and the coast, so the beach itself looked much smaller. Fortunately, on La Digue Island, as in other islands in the Seychelles, all beaches are public and are accessible. Sometimes you just have to wander around to find the entrance!
Anse Source D’Argent, the most famous beach in the Seychelles
We spent the next two days cycling to Anse Source D’Argent, one of the most famous beaches in the world, which is considered to be both the most photographed and the most beautiful paradise beach, which adorns not only Seychelles postcards, but which can sometimes be seen in images in my home country – in waiting rooms, on video screens in cafes and as wallpaper on computers.
Although the beach itself is public, it can only be accessed from the water side for free, and the surrounding land is private property, the former vanilla plantation, where you can still see one of the most famous spices in the world growing. To enter to the plantation, you need to pay an entrance fee, that lets you come and go all day long as many times as you wish.
After paying for tickets, we immediately head further, riding past the vanilla rows. As an insecure cyclist, the passing vehicles caused a lot of worry for me, and I was happy when I saw a sign that you can no longer drive either by bicycle or by car. In the bicycle parking lot, it seems that we were the only ones who still locked them, because the other visitors simply leaned the bikes against the racks.
In the morning, the beach area tends to be crowded, as many people come on a day trip from Praslin and leave shortly after lunchtime. There were so many visitors at the entrance that there wasn’t any space to put down a blanket! Many people were taking selfies and I saw at least four drones fly in the air, despite the fact that according to Seychelles law, flying drones near helicopter landing pads is not allowed, and the helipad is right around the corner from the beach.
Already from our last visit we remember that Anse Source d’Argent is most enjoyable in the afternoon or, heading going further in, behind the main rocks at the “wild” beaches. We hadn’t planned to go there, as we didn’t check the low tide starting time, but still ventured a little in that direction. If we would have keep on going, for the way back the water would probably be up to our chest, not anymore just waist!
We return to the beach in the evening, at sunset. In order to do that, it is important to enter before the gates are closed, and then you can get out even after closing. At sunset, the beach was almost completely empty. Crabs started crawling out of their hiding places, and the huge granite rocks looked painted in orange shades of the evening sun. No trace of the bustle! That’s how this place actually looks! The few people who were there, disappeared the moment sun set. We still waited until night fell, hoping to see the bright Milky Way, but small clouds appeared in the sky, and our plan failed.
After the beach, we walked to the center, trying to avoid trucks, to throw a few postcards in the mailbox. The mailbox is exactly the same as it was 8 years ago! When the job was done, we decided to have dinner outside the hotel for a change. It’s time for “Gala Takeaway”! We managed to get in by the skin of our teeth, although the opening hours are still an hour away, the doors was closed right behind us. Otherwise the staff wouldn’t have time to serve and prepare all the orders! The line was long, the cafe has obviously had become more popular, and the staff was not coping well with the number of orders. We moved forward at a snail’s pace, and once we reached the cashier, it turned out that most of the food was already out of stock. Finally, two burgers and a mango juice cost us 30 euros which wasn’t as cheap as we remembered, and having waited for an hour and getting not a great meal wasn’t ideal. We decided that will stay clear of eateries and restaurants, and stick to home cooked meals.
Back to Anse Source D’Argent
The next day, our plan was similar, to head back to Anse Source D’Argent, only this time we adjusted to the tide times to start our walk when the water is still receding and immediately head to the far end of the beach. Along the way, a dog joined us and accompanied us to the end of the bay. As soon as we were at the end, it jumped into the water and started looking for something to eat in it. We wondered what is it, but couldn’t see what it was eating!
As the water level was reaching the lowest point, I was observing the sea urchins and snails at the bottom. After a short while, waves appeared from the ocean side. The tide has changed again! When we reached the end of the bay, we realized that we were wrong the last time we visited here 8 years ago, thinking that we had gotten to the next beach, the farthest “Anse Marron”, but in fact we had only gone as far as “Anse Pierrot”. It is no wonder that back then the owner of the guest house shook her head in disapproval about us going without a guide, since it is dangerous! Watching the rough waves in the distance it is clear that further beaches are wild indeed, and it is really safer to go with a guide, who either takes you through the jungle or through water, when it is clearly known that the tide will not surprise you halfway. Strangely enough, this time we don’t see any tour groups, although there were several before!
When we returned to the main beach, I noticed that a paradise flycatcher was flying over our heads. It seemed that the bird was not afraid at all. It sat on a twig literally a few centimeters away from me. Then, flying, it slightly touched Jekabs with its wings. Jekabs continued taking pictures of all the while. It was great that the birds were found not only in the reserved area, but also elsewhere on the island!
Day Trip to the Neighboring Islands – Grande Soeur, Felicite and Coco
Our time on La Digue Island was almost half over, and we had saved a thrilling excursion for the end, a one-day trip to the nearby small islands, snorkeling, lunch and seeing truly deserted beaches with Geoli Charters!
We were restlessly waiting at the hotel reception for someone to pick us up. It seemed that the buggy driver had forgotten about us, the receptionist called him, and then after another 10 minutes he finally came. The guys from the local tourism company were already waiting for us at the port, where we boarded the motorboat. We were warned that the ocean is a bit rough, but it was nowhere near as bad as the day we took the ferry!
We reached Grande Soeur, or the Big Sister Island, but the rough water made the water murky and visibility for snorkeling was poor. We decided to go to the neighboring Little Sister Island to snorkel there, where the water was clearer and there were really a lot of fish. We missed swimming with turtles, which we later saw other travelers enjoying at the larger island. But at least we saw the graceful animals in the water from above!
The boat stopped off the island and we were picked up by a smaller boat that took us to the shore. We had an hour to explore the island before lunch. Walking through the island, we saw both the Seychelles’ characteristic tortoises walking freely around the area, as well as small ones that lived in a pond and from above looked like floating watermelon halves! It was a completely different sight, seeing them walk around in the wild, biting the grass or swimming, rather than in closed enclosures like La Digue or Mahe Islands!
When we went across the island to the far beach, we were met with fabulous views. The ocean retreated, exposing a solid base overgrown with seaweed, granite blocks on both sides and in front of it, bright blue water with storm clouds in the distance. Besides us, there was only one other group of people here who briefly filmed with a drone and then left. We stayed alone, trying to keep track of every detail so that we could remember it at home on rainy days.
We stayed on the beach for a while, and then we went to the palm trees when we were called to eat. Had an hour really passed?! No, but the food was ready. The crew invited us for the meal while the fish was still soft!
We headed out to the dining tent. Several tables were set up here, each cook decorating them as best they could with the materials at hand. Antoine set the table for us. He had come especially for us from La Digue on a small boat of his own to serve us lunch! A huge amount of food was put on the table – each of us got a fish that would have been enough for two, roasted chicken, various salads, all prepared according to our taste so that they were not spicy. There were also a lot of fruits, all of which were from Antoine’s garden. After several days of homemade pasta at the hotel, we had a real feast here! We overate so much that we could barely move!
We went back to the far end of the beach for a while and on the other side, to take pictures of the Seychelles blue doves (Alectroenas pulcherrimus), and then it was time to move on. We drove past the Coco island, which had fabulously colored water and oddly shaped granite blocks, and then we went to the Felicite island, which has a very luxurious hotel, where one night costs several thousand dollars. We were told that David Beckham’s house used to be there. We didn’t go out on the beach this time, but just snorkeled. So we snorkeled to our heart’s content. There were a lot of fish here!
One fish looked to be upset, because both me and Jekabs got a small bite on the leg! Snorkeling, we could see the damage of El Niño – the corals at the bottom were in ruins. The fish were trying to find something to eat among the dead coral. We didn’t see any turtles here, but we saw several stingrays. After the first swim, when we saw that the skin had still had too much sun, this time I was in the water with clothes on, because the sun was also stinging here.
Riding bicycles on La Digue
We decided to ride our bikes to the far end of La Digue Island on our last full day there. However, the bicycles that we had used diligently in the previous days, and which we always locked in the bicycle parking lot at the hotel, were missing! We had returned the keys to the reception before the excursion, yet there was nothing to take from the bike parking lot when we were told to take the same ones. The receptionist shrugged and gave us another key. It turned out that there are only a few types of keys, and they fit several pairs of bicycles, so it seemed that someone had taken ours in this way. The receptionist didn’t seem to be too worried, so we weren’t either.
It took some time for me to get used to the new vehicle. I finally managed to learn how to switch gears in the hilly areas. My biggest concern were the trucks. Luckily, once we reached the very far end of the island, the traffic was minimal. However, the mountains were getting steeper and steeper, and the water we brought with us was soon gone. Fortunately, after a while there was a small shop, where I immediately bought a liter and a half of water to last for a while! From time to time we would overtake other riders or be overtaken by others. On the most popular beaches, the entire roadside was strewn with bicycles, some of which still had colorful boxes to carry water, beach slippers, or a towel. Many looked like they had seen better times, with large rust spots, but somehow all the tourists still got around.
Finally, we reached Anse Fourmis and debated whether to try to go through the jungle to the farthest Anse Cocos beach. The circular road around the island was still only a semicircle, not completely circling the island, and it was clear that at least with bicycles we would not get any further. We decided to go back to the hotel, have lunch, and then go to the beach from the other side, just like we did eight years ago. We rushed through the inhabited areas, along small paths, where the navigation said that there was no road at all, but in fact there was a good, concrete road, and fairytale-worthy beaches, where ivy-like plants were wrapped around the tree trunks.
We first reached Grand Anse beach, but no one was swimming there – there were posters around informing about the strong current. The air was full of water droplets from splashes from the waves crashing. We walked quickly on to Petite Anse beach, where there were also only a few people, as sunset was approaching! We decided not to go to Anse Cocos this time and stay here. We quickly got into the water, up to our hips, because the incoming waves were incredibly powerful. Someone was also filming with a drone here. It seemed that on this trip, even when you have found a quiet beach without people, there is always someone in front of you with a drone, buzzing overhead. We were probably just as disturbing to them, as we spoiled the frame of the empty beach!
After swimming, we were the last ones left on the beach, and it was really time to go, if we didn’t want to ride back in the dark. We quickly climbed over the small granite boulder ridge, through which the path winds. We went through Grand Anse, where this time our bicycles were the last ones in the lot.
When we started our way back through the jungle trail, the street lights starting turning on. But not every path had lights, so we had to use headlamps. At first, half of the way we had to push the bikes up, because we had to climb the mountain again, but then the ride was pleasant, only down. We also took a turn at the entrance to the vanilla plantation, to ride down the familiar streets again.
Farewell to the Seychelles
We visited the Veuve Reserve Park on our last day on La Digue, as we had around an hour before our ferry back to Mahe. We paid the entrance fee and were immediately warned that there were many mosquitoes in the park. Unfortunately, we had left our mosquito repellent in our suitcase, so we decided to go without it. At first, there were really no mosquitoes – but there were birds! We saw a flycatcher, then another, then another!
Although the guidebooks said that the entire park could be seen in fifteen minutes, it took us longer – we first walked to the place where the flycatchers were, and then we went on, watching the lizards. One lizard, having seen us, was confused, and, instead of running away into the trees, it first climbed on my sandal and then on my foot!
We took a picture of the lizard, but we didn’t have much time before the ferry departure, so we had to start heading to the port soon. At that moment the mosquitoes also appeared – whether we had entered the more humid part of the jungle, or we were sweating and mosquitos could locate us better, or we were simply walking too slowly, but they started to bite so much that you could hardly stay in one place. We were still surprised by about 40 fruit bats in the trees, and we walked on at a brisk pace. The mosquitoes flew around us like a cloud, so we ended up running out of the park!
It was time to go to the ferry, and someone from the hotel drove us there. When we arrived at the port, it started to drizzle as we joined the line of people waiting for the ferry. The rain did not bother us at all, as it was incredibly warm. I again carefully watched what would happen to the luggage. Those who were going to Mahe had to put their bags in one place, and those to Praslin – in another. I placed mine in the right location, hoping there were no mix-ups!
The boat first stopped at Praslin Island to pick up other passengers, and then we saw an impressive size cruise ship between the islands. It turned out that this was the first one of the season, and the ship also stops in Mauritius and Mumbai. A two-week trip on it costs starting €8,000!
This is how our two-week trip to the Seychelles ended, bringing us to a total of one month in Seychelles. We know for sure that we will be back!
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This trip would have not been possible without the support of Visit Seychelles. All opinions are our own.