Our tour about La Digue started on a small pier in the village of La Passe on the west coast of the island. The main village street goes just from the pier. This is the heart of the island where you will find a cafe, guest houses, a bank, a hospital, a police station. There are three settlements on the island: La Passe, La Reunion and L'Union. But they rather be called blocks locating very close to each other, and the whole island population is slightly more than 2,000.
Island’s life rhythm
Local people lead leisurely life, they hold their hours. Such a life rhythm is catching, it inevitably slows down your pace, so you start losing steam and enjoying the local nature.
As the locals say: “If the work disturbs your rest, let it wait”. It sounds like positive, but sometimes the leisurely life of local residents becomes inconvenient for tourists. There are no 24-hour shops, we just didn`t find them. Most shops are closed on Sunday and Saturday or work limited hours. Well, the local people may seem sometimes lazy, but they are certainly very friendly and positive.
Sunset kills all vital activity on the island. There are no nightclubs and other tourist attractions, even restaurants close at 7-8 pm, only some hotels stay open till 9-10 pm. Happily, we were not interested in night clubbing. Daytime is quite enough to buy all food and drinks you need, and evenings are for romantic pastime on the coral sand beach, for admiration of gorgeous sunsets, or can just soread your legs at the terrace of the bungalow after the whole day trekking around the island.
It is easy to spot traditions of the Creole culture on the island which are strong and a bit exotic. In the central part of La Passe one can find small souvenir shops. There we bought a bunch of souvenirs and other useful things. The local woodwork of palm tree is delightful, as well as the local vanilla and cinnamon of high quality.
The most expensive souvenirs are the Coco de Mer palm nuts which are a real honor to the Seychelles This magnificent tree grows only on the Seychelles, and the aborigines are so fond of it that one can see coconuts everywhere: even the border control stamp is made in the form of Coco de Mer coconut:
But if you intend to take a Coco de Mer coconut off Seychelles as a souvenir you have to get a special permit first and to pay up to $200 for a coconut itself which is of enormous size. Considering its weight, we declined the idea. Some things like corals, items of turtle shells and seashells are forbidden to be exported. The local people cherish their environment!
The main means of transport on La Digue is a bicycle. One can also see such exotic as oxen-carts, but they are rather tourist attractions than the island travel mode.
There are just a few cars on the island. They say there were no cars at all just some years back. Taxi prices are sky-high, but there is no choice, you have to hire a car to take your luggage to the destination place.
We took a taxi twice: to take our luggage to the hotel on arrival and to take it back to the pier on departure. Immediately after checking in the hotel we rent bikes for our whole period of stay. Follow us and you won`t regret. Take a few classes before to come to the Seychelles if you cannot ride a bicycle, it's easy. Walking is not the best option on the island: the scorching equatorial sun and high humidity can debilitate anyone. If you are traveling with kids, then better ask your hotel manager about children`s cycles and seats in advance.
Accommodation on La Digue
There are several hotels and guest houses on the island. We stayed in Patatran Village hotel. It is a nice place, you may read our review of Patatran Village here. You will find information about prices, book a room or read the guests’ reviews right here:
We cannot review other hotels on the island, because we did not stay there. But the Patatran hotel was chosen because of its bungalows on the beach and the ocean view. Its secluded location is ideal for a romantic hideaway retreat on the most beautiful island in the world!
The winding road to the hotel is beautiful, there are some really stunning views of the ocean and neighboring islands. It took us 150 Seychelles rupees and about 2 minutes to get to the hotel with all our luggage
We left luggage in the room and rented bikes for the whole period. A bicycle rent is 100-150 Seychelles rupees per day. We rented two for two-week time and got a small discount. It is recommended to check the bike brakes and gear just on the spot. Bicycles are equipped with baskets which are very convenient for day trips.
Bikes are the best way to move around the island: the trip becomes twice exciting and fast. And it is better to have a flashlight for late hours: roads are dark and not lit at night.
We spent two weeks on the island exploring the whole area up and down, getting acquainted with the local culture, enjoying the blue sky and beaches with monumental granite boulders.
Shops and restaurants
After a long flight to the Seychelles we got exhausted and hungry. So, we went to the Patatran hotel restaurant to relax and have some fun. There was such a great ocean view the from the terrace that it could be the only reason to visit it. We relished the Creole cuisine, and the food was really delicious. So, relaxed and satiated we left the restaurant and went to see the local neighborhood.
The only supermarket is in the La Passe settlement. It is not a real supermarket you are used to, but it is the biggest shop. In smaller shops you may find just drinks and snacks.
The situation with restaurants is slightly better. Each hotel has its restaurant, so you have choice and you can visit them all.
You may stick to your hotel’s restaurant if its good, but there are at least two reasons to visit each at least once: a diversity of cuisines and prices. In expensive hotel’s restaurants prices are also high. Local city restaurants are cheaper, but still good. The Creole cuisine is mainly about seafood which is available here in great variety. So, go and try different places and different dishes: someone cooks incredibly tasty fish a la Creole, others make excellent seafood salads or serve great fresh local fruit juice.
We loved the Chez Marston cafe in the center of the village for especially tasty octopus salad and soup. Another favorite restaurant is Zerof located in Reunion, alongside the Grand Anse beach road. Prices are not high, food is really delicious, but service is slow. Well, it takes a little time to catch and get used to the local rhythm.
La Digue is the most beautiful island of the Seychelles archipelago. Be sure to visit the Anse Source d'Argent beaches in the L\'Union Estate park and the Grand Anse beach on the south east coast of the island: they are so great that deserve a separate review. Absolutely stunning white sand, gorgeous exotic palms and magnificent granite boulders will easily conquer your heart. They are the best beaches throughout the world and it is impossible to stay unimpressed.
All the La Digue beaches are beautiful without exception. Go to any and you are guaranteed to enjoy it. Depending on the season and wind direction there may be strong surf and dangerous undercurrents on some beaches, but there are always others, suitable for snorkeling, swimming and leisure sunbathing.
Attention! On most beaches you had better wear slippers because corals and sea urchins can injure your feet seriously. It is wise to bring slippers with you, we didn`t see slippers in the island shops. So be prepared, take all the necessary equipment not to ruin your holiday.
Flora and fauna
The La Digue fauna is very diverse. You can meet flying foxes, tenrecs (they are like small hedgehogs), lizards, snakes (not poisonous), centipedes. Scolopendras are rare there. We saw also frigates, herons, flycatchers, black parrots, Seychelles fanciscanus and other birds.
Read also our article of the L'Union Estate National Park. There are beautiful coconut plantations, vanilla plantations, the famous Emmanuel’s house, a giant turtles shelter, a pirate ship and other attractions!