Itty-bitty La Digue offers the classic Seychelles escape. This unspoiled tropical island is covered in utter, natural beauty, bewitching bays, jade-green waters and wide open views of the sea.

Despite its lush beauty, La Digue has managed to escape the development of neighbouring Mahé and Praslin. With only a few roads and virtually no cars, just the odd ox cart it’s so laid back it’s horizontal. La Digue is definitely more of a back-to-nature than a jet-set-tourist kind of haven, making it possible to find that deserted bay where you feel like you’ve been stranded in heaven. Here’s our top ten reasons why La Digue is the closest place to paradise on earth.

La Digue is a very special kind of place. It captured our hearts as soon as we arrived and we fell in love with it more each day. The ever warm, welcome of the locals, the cycling along shady lanes, the utterly incredible nature and the jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches are hard to beat. La Digue has a relaxing laid back vibe and offers a true taste of local island living.

 

A visit to tiny La Passe feels like being transported back in time, it captures perfectly the image of a sleepy tropical port. No cars clog the streets. Locals chat idly on the jetty while waiting for the ferry to arrive. Boats bob about in gin-clear turquoise waters. Children laugh and ride bicycles on the tree-lined roads. Poke about in the souvenir shops near the jetty, sign up for a boat ride or hire a bike and peddle around a bit.

Getting around on La Digue is generally a case of hopping on a bicycle and setting off wherever you want to go! Weave around the island’s shady tracks on hired bicycles. Soak up the peace and quiet and marvel at the utter and natural beauty – riding around feels like you’re in one giant national park. Look out for wild Giant Tortoises along your travels.

Cycle across the island to Grand Anse, the beach you will have seen in a thousand images. Voted the best beach in the world by CNN in 2013, Grande Anse is a phenomenal sweep of talcum-powder sand with dramatic waves breaking across the bay. It’s reached by cycling over a long but gently sloping hill, an attractive route that takes you up through the gardens of La Digue, past a number of shacks selling fruits and juices, before a steep final descent down to the beach. Check your brakes and take it slowly; in both directions some parts of the road have a fairly sheer drop over the side. It’s a great place to come and enjoy the view and witness the wild side of the island – the beauty will take your breath away!

From Grande Anse it’s a fairly easy walk over the hill to Petite Anse, and then a slightly more taxing climb to Anse Cocos. Long sweeping arcs of pristine white sand with the turquoise blue waves of the Indian Ocean rolling into the bay. Shoes are recommended for the walk but we managed just fine in our trusty flip-flops.

La Digue is a true Garden of Eden. Most of the island remains an inaccessible, forested chunk of rock where fruit bats chatter amongst the mango trees. Everywhere you go you’ll find incredible green hills cloaked with tangled jungle and tall trees. With no streetlights to obscure the stars the night sky here is utterly incredible.

Stalls are dotted about La Digue with islanders selling their local goods and produce. You’ll be treated to the sweetest mangoes, the richest tomatoes, the sharpest passionfruit and the creamiest avocados you’ll have ever tasted. Don’t miss the Octopus curry from the takeaway at the jetty – a real Seychelles signature dish!

Don your snorkel and dip your head under for the most incredible marine life. Stunning corals and an abundance of big and small colourful fish – the snorkeling here is world-class. Anse Severe and Anse Source d’Argent were our favourite spots – if you’re lucky you may just find yourself swimming with turtles straight from the beach!

This is the most famous beach in the Seychelles and the place you daydream about: a long stretch of perfect talcum-powder sand with huge granite boulders tumbling into the sea and swaying palm trees. Alas, it’s no Robinson Crusoe experience – it can get pretty crowded here, especially at high tide when the skinny beach virtually disappears. Get there early to enjoy it without the crowds. The waters are shallow and calm so perfect for little ones to splash about and marvel at the big, friendly fish curiously swimming past you. Take note that the path down to Anse Source d’Argent runs through the old L’Union Estate coconut plantation so you’ll have to pay the Rs 100 or €10 entry fee (valid for a day) to access the beach.

La Digue is home to some of the warmest, friendliest and welcoming people we have been lucky enough to meet on our travels. With a tiny population of 2,000 people you quickly feel like you’ve joined one great, big, happy, smiling family – without doubt one of the safest places we’ve stayed on our travels.

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