If you are looking for a relaxed island vibe, with beautiful beaches and just a touch of local life, La Digue fits the bill perfectly. The smallest of the three main inhabited islands, La Digue has a tiny population of just 2,000 people. With no airport, and just a handful of road vehicles, this is an extremely laid back place, with some of the most iconic beaches in the Seychelles.
All visitors to La Digue will land in the village of La Passe on the east coast of the island, from where you can enjoy magnificent views back across the water to Praslin. The settlement is reasonably spread out, taking perhaps ten minutes to cycle from one site to the other, but is still very much a village. Although the town beaches have great views of Praslin they are by no means the most spectacular nor the best for swimming on the island.
The closest swimming beach is just to the north, over the hill and past the cemetary to Anse Severe, with Anse Patates a little further on also making a great choice for swimming and snorkelling. Further along the east coast the beaches get wilder - certainly more secluded but with wilder waves, and to reach the southernmost part of the coastal road will require strong legs as there are several steep climbs. To the south of town within the grounds of L'Union Estate is Anse Source D'Argent, the most famous beach in the Seychelles. Our favourite beaches on the island require a cycle over the hill to the south coast where you can explore Grande Anse, Petite Anse and the delightful Anse Cocos.
The beaches of La Digue are not to be missed. It's no surprise they frequently win awards as among the most beautiful on the planet and they never fail to impress. Whether you prefer the long sweeping arcs of pristine white sand to the south, or the beautiful Anse Source D'Argent, which is framed by massive granite boulders, these beaches will take your breath away.
Surprisingly, despite their unmatched beauty, these are not the best swimming beaches the Seychelles or La Digue has to offer. The west coast beaches of La Passe and La Reunion near town, and the iconic Anse Source D'argent have very shallow waters, whilst the wild and wonderful Grande & Petite Anse and the beautiful Anse Cocos on the South coast have big waves rolling in from across the Indian Ocean with a strong undertow making it very dangerous to swim. Anse Cocos benefits from a natural lagoon formed by granite rocks providing calm waters to swim in. You can never have it all - but while the island's better swimming spots, Anse Severe and Patates on the northern coast, may not be quite as outstanding as their neighbours they can still knock the spots off beaches in other parts of the world!
After Anse Patates the east coast is wild and beautiful, but not ideal for swimming. Big hills between the bays mean that it can be quite a taxing ride if you are not used to cycling, and you could easily spend four hours cycling to Anse Fournis and back from town, without stopping - but if you fancy exploring a rugged coast it makes a great change from the pristine coves you may find elsewhere in the Seychelles.
Some of the beaches in the far south east and south west require a bit of a hike following well hidden paths, and one or two are so remote they can only be reached with the help of a guide. However adventurous you may feel it is wise to take local advice before attempting to find them - it is not uncommon for tourists to get lost for days at a time amid the jungle clad hills.
Getting around on La Digue is generally a case of hopping on a bicycle and setting off wherever you want to go! Bicycles are often provided free by your hotel, but if not there are several places to hire bikes around town. Child seats and childrens bikes are available, but in short supply, so if you're coming with children it may be worth contacting your hotel in advance to save time.
It's easy to ride around town and visit Anse Source D'Argent as the roads are flat, but to visit Grande Anse, Anse Severe or any of the east coast beaches will mean riding over steep hills so you will need to bring plenty of puff or allow extra time. Of these, the route to Anse Severe is easiest and easily walkable from the town centre.
The famous ox carts are sadly in decline, though you may still see one or two around town, and the roads are no longer the dirt tracks they used to be. Happily the government opted for paving the track in town rather than using tarmac, and the paths over the hill and down the coast are now concrete.
There are only a handful of taxis on the island, and prices are fairly steep for a short journey - but given you are only likely to be travelling from your hotel to the jetty or vice versa you can expect to pay around 50-80 SCR. Taxis can be hired for a half day or day too, at roughly 250 SCR for a half day.
There is also an improvised bus service the locals use to reach the far corners of the island - effectively a few benches mounted on the back of a truck - which you may be able to flag down and negotiate a ride.
Many hotels will arrange a transfer service for arrivals at the jetty, and they generally use an electric golf buggy to collect guests - a nice touch, as it means the number of motor vehicles are still at a minimum.
If you must stay on the beach, you have a choice between La Domaine - though the rooms don't open onto the sea, the pool and bar have great views, Le Repaire, Le Relax, La Digue Lodge and Patatran hotel, which arguably has the best beach but is further from town if you plan to eat out. There are also a number of places between L'Union Estate and La Digue Island Lodge, that while not on the beach are literally a stone's throw away, just a short hop across the cycle path. These include Villa Creole, Le Summer and Flycatcher Lodge.
Most visitors to La Digue will arrive by boat on one of the fast catamarans from Praslin. There are 7 ferries a day, with the ride taking just 15 minutes and costing around 15 euros. There are no direct services to Mahe - you will need to change to a smaller boat at Praslin for the ride to La Digue, though the journey can be bought as a single ticket. There are two services a day that connect, and the journey will cost around 65 euros.
If you are feeling flush you may consider taking a helicopter transfer and landing at La Digue's small and scenic helicopter pad next to L'Union reserve, but there is no airstrip and no planes land on the island.