Our first stop in the Seychelles was the remote, mostly car-free island of La Digue. We had expected to spend three nights there, but our delayed flight from Istanbul to Mahe led to us missing our early flight from Mahe to Praslin which led to us missing the last ferry from Praslin to La Digue. When planning complicated transportation itineraries, make sure to leave plenty of extra time – or else be prepared to suffer the consequences like we did!
Due to the delays, we ended up spending our first night in Praslin instead of La Digue as we had planned. We were able to book a very last minute reservation at Chalets Anse Possessions, costing us only 50 euros for the night and including an extremely helpful and patient owner.
Early the next morning we caught the ferry to La Digue. We bought return tickets (430 scr/$31 USD each) at the dock and survived the very bumpy 15 minute ride to La Digue (not for the faint of heart). 54 hours after leaving our New York apartment we made it to our hotel: Orchid Apartments, part of Chez Marston. We booked it on cheaptickets.com for $83 USD per night including tax and a 16% discount (cheaptickets frequently has promo codes for 15-20% off), which was an excellent value. With a comfy bed, large bedroom, big bathroom, and a functioning kitchen, we couldn’t have asked for more. The guesthouse also boasts a prime location – right in the geographic and commercial centre of La Digue.
Our time in La Digue was well spent; it’s such a refreshing change to visit somewhere where you can actually get some exercise travelling from place to place instead of driving everywhere. The size of the island allowed us to travel from end to end easily, and we felt like we knew it quite well after only a day and a half.
After checking into the hotel we stocked up on groceries at Gregoire’s, which has reasonable prices and a varied selection for the Seychelles (which doesn’t mean much). We stocked up on pasta, baked beans, non-refrigerated long-lasting yogourt, and frozen vegetables to keep us well fed while we were on the island.
Once we had our kitchen in order, we dedicated our afternoon to a long walk to Grande Anse. It’s a somewhat long adventure (3.8 km) or a short bike ride, but we prefer walking. The route takes you through the middle of La Digue where you get a great glimpse into local life and culture. Kids playing soccer in the streets, people outside, small shops and fruit stands, and an interesting makeshift church. It took us almost an hour to get to the beach, though it was much shorter getting back (with fewer stops). The beach itself was a very nice white sandy beach, as was Petite Anse (a five minute walk past Grande Anse). It’s worth the trip, though we enjoyed the walk more than the destination.
On the way back we got lunch at Gala Takeaway, which was outstanding. A vegetarian curry, five crepes (we took a bunch home for later), a banana fritter, an ice cream cone, and a litre bottle of water added up to only 121 SCR ($9 USD). In spite of what many say, we find it easy to be vegetarians on a budget!
The next day we woke up early, had breakfast, and went for a walk to the beautiful Anse Severe and Anse Patates. It was too cold for swimming but we took some great pictures and spent time with the giant tortoises that hang out along the road. They are humongous and not at all scared of humans, you can go right up to them and touch them!
We had lunch back at the room and returned to Anse Severe to swim in the afternoon. It’s a good place to sit in the shallow water but the reef comes close to the shore so water shoes would be helpful if you want to go far out.
Our evening was to consist of a walk to Anse Source D’Argent to catch the sunset, but when we arrived at 5:30pm the guard told us it was too late to purchase tickets! I was not going to take no for an answer and waited for him to let us through or ask for a bribe but he didn’t. Finally I handed him 200 scr (the entry fee for the two of us) and asked him to “buy tickets for us tomorrow,” which he fortunately pocketed.
We arrived at the beach just before sunset, and were surprised to find it so beautifully empty. Just us and two others who were leaving as we arrived and were kind enough to take some photos of us. I don’t know where every other tourist on the island was at that time, but I hope they somehow managed to watch the sunset – it was that incredible.
Anse Source D’Argent is probably the nicest beach in the Seychelles. The boulders and vegetation are nature’s gift to photographers and they’re best seen in the warm evening light. We had been slightly annoyed at our lack of sunny weather in La Digue, but cloudy days often have the best sunsets!