My discovery of La Digue
Episode 3 - My discovery of La Digue - Patrice, expert Islandian
Seychelles… are hard to label. A wanderlust-inducing getaway, an archipelago, a slice of paradise, the byword for a dream destination… Call it what you will, but in the end, we’ve all dreamt of going there one day… I’m happy to say that I lived that dream. Twice.
Paint me an island - The Seychelles, or the watercolour archipelago
The Seychelles educational tour was an intense experience that I won’t forget anytime soon. I’m lucky that my re-discovery of the archipelago (I’m blessed to have visited it in 2012) took place with two other Islandian Experts, Anaïs and Thierry. Anaïs told you all about her moments on Mahé, Thierry surprised you with his unique experiences here… and now it’s my turn to share.
First things first, after my visit, in 2012, I’m glad to see that not much has changed. In other words, the Seychelles were precisely what I had hoped for. Breathtaking, postcard-perfect, and the kind of place you know you’ll hate to leave the second you land. Mahé, (now a little more urbanised) and Praslin, still garner the most attention from tourists. After all, they’ve put Seychelles on the map. Let the tourists have them; because La Digue has my heart.
La Digue - Something like paradise
La Digue Island is 6km south of Praslin and is only accessible by boat. To get an idea of what it’s like, imagine all the things that spark your wanderlust when you think of holidays in Seychelles, jam-pack it all across 15km2, and you’ll get the picture. Relative isolation, sandy beaches framed by granitic rocks, foothills draped with coconut trees… It’s got "dream destination" written all over it.
How did I spend my time there? By committing every second I spent to memory. Here’s what I lived.
The wow effect
We figured that July was the best time to visit the archipelago even though it’s mostly sunny all year round (the temperature rarely drops below 25°C). But what makes July even better, is that the ocean temperature is (almost) identical to the air temperature.
We made the most of it. Of course, we’re professionals, so we had a hectic schedule from the get-go to report it all back to you, but that didn’t stop us from taking the time to soak it all in. The beauty of Seychelles demanded it. It hit me on my first morning that this had to be a “bleasure” destination. Actually, scratch that, that revelation came to me as we drove away from Mahé airport, along a road flanked by the ocean and kissed by the splash of waves… Yes, Seychelles are truly timeless. I had to make the most of it.
Beautiful beaches, quaint houses, and friendly smiles
Other than the landscape, the first thing that will strike you about Seychelles… is how clean it is. From the streets to the beach, it all looks like a picture-perfect representation of an Indian Ocean paradise. Even I, a fellow islander that’s seen incredible tropical landscapes since the day I was born, felt that tinge of exotic excitement that comes about when finding an isolated stretch of beach. The archipelago looks more like the work of an artist than anything else… an inspired one at that. The people are friendly too. Approachable, easy to talk too and bilingual, and if any words get lost in translation, they’re laughed away and replaced with that warmth only the Seychelles inspires. If you’re after a tailor-made getaway that’s ideal for families, couples, and even a trip among colleagues… Seychelles are it.
La Digue: The best things to do while you’re there:
If you’re after an experience that’s laid back and close to nature, La Digue is among the best you’ll find. Sure, there are quite a few luxury activities you can enjoy, but the islets hallmark is its rustic charm. If you’re into romantic beach-side dinners with the waves crashing only meters away, long strolls across deserted stretches of sand, or love witnessing those famous granitic rocks peeking out from the depth of the sea… you’ll find it all here. Construction is carefully regulated in La Digue, a decision that helps keep the local fauna and flora as intact as possible. And, since the islet is so small, most people get around on bicycles, making the traffic as fluid as possible.
As the other Islandians mentioned, one spot you absolutely cannot miss here is l’Anse Source d’Argent. The vibe is laid back; there’s catchy music playing and friendly locals serving up fresh fruit juice when you want it… perfect! But the wow factor is, of course, those majestic granitic rocks which you’ll find on postcards and tourist brochures of Seychelles … even more majestic than you’ll ever find anywhere else there.
And for the activities you can do here… well let's just say that being bored in La Digue is practically impossible. It’s got something for everyone, whether that’s watersports or treks around the island. Some boats will even take you to neighbouring islands like Cocos Island, Grande Sœur, and Félicité. The unexpected is on the menu as well, like that unforgettable moment when I stopped to take a picture of a tortoise crossing the road. And just like her, I took my time to explore the place. Despite the busy schedule, we felt so relaxed that we completely lost the notion of time… so much so that we almost missed our return ferry. Not that we would have minded that, of course!
The best hotels in La Digue:
Looking for a hotel in La Digue? Here are my top picks:
●Le Patatran: Small, functional, and charming, Le Patatran is one of the best value for money stays you’ll find in La Digue. Rooms here line the flank of a hill overlooking the ocean, (in other words, incredible views are guaranteed). For one of the best, pick the Honeymoon Suite. Check out the granitic rocks found right next to the hotel for some extra exotic charm.
●La Digue Island Lodge: The charming hotel was recently renovated. For families, private villas are the place to be if privacy is high on the agenda. If not, the beachfront rooms are a perfect alternative. Other points of note are the creole cuisine at the beachfront restaurant and its excellent diving center.
●Le Repaire Boutique Hôtel & Restaurant: This charming hotel is perfect for honeymooners. Still relatively new, the hotel is one of the best value-for-money stays you’ll find here. Its Italian restaurant is one of La Digue’s best eats thanks to the quality of its ingredients and, since it’s located right next to the sea, so it’s only a few steps from your room until you reach the beach.
●Le Nautique Beachfront Apartments: Ideal for travellers who would prefer to be independent, this brand-new hotel offers a few beachfront apartments. All are clad in bright colours and make the most of all the natural light the Seychelles has to offer. The staff are welcoming and the beachfront restaurant is all about being cosy.
●And finally, my one and only real favourite on La Digue: Le Domaine de l’Orangeraie. Le Domaine de l’Orangeraie has lost nothing of its unique charm since my last visit in 2012. Better suited for couples or a group of friends, this hotel offers a zero-stress experience in its rooms and villas strewn across the mountain flanks and with second-to-none views of the ocean. You can go ahead and book this gem without any hesitation.
Don’t forget your swimsuit!
Seychelles will always be one of the best getaways in the Indian Ocean thanks to its gorgeous beaches and landmark granitic rock formations.
La Digue, in my opinion, has the potential to be the archipelago’s best tourist destination simply because the authorities go to great lengths to keep it as pristine as possible. I am, and will always be proud to offer you the exceptional hotels of La Digue, including the Domaine de l'Orangeraie that I invite you to discover on your next trip.
See you soon then, in Seychelles !