For travelers looking to get away from it all, Seychelles is a dream destination. This archipelago, made up of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, is perfectly secluded and welcomes visitors graciously while maintaining an untouched, natural environment. La Digue, one of the principal islands, manages to be tropical, homey, understated and classy all at once, without sprawling resorts, glitzy casinos and bustling hotel activity centers.
Anse Source d'Argent is one of the most popular beaches to be found on all the islands, with pink sands offset by towering granite boulders that have been worn by time and weather. The ocean here is sheltered by a reef, providing calm and shallow waters that make a perfect playground for little ones. Most will find it hard to tear themselves away from the lovely seclusion of Anse Source d'Argent, but the island is ripe for exploring, with rows of beaches and craggy nooks.
Island tour operators run ferry boats and helicopters for a day of island-hopping -- a great way to experience the distinct personalities of the neighboring islands. It's no surprise that Seychelles was once thought to be the location of the Garden of Eden -- you just may be tempted to stay at Anse Source d'Argent for good.
Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) is located on the largest island of Mahe. A trip to Seychelles, while well worth it, requires a good deal of travel time and, for many visitors, a number of connections. Visitors traveling from the United States must first fly to an international airport that services the Seychelles, such as Paris, London, Munich or Zurich; the flight from London to Mahe is between 10 and 12 hours, while it is about 9 1/2 hours from Paris.
Once at Mahe, guests traveling on to La Digue may reach their final destination via helicopter or ferry.
Don't expect a minivan or air-conditioned bus to meet and greet guests at the ferry jetty -- ox carts are so common on the island that La Digue Island Lodge sends one to transport guests and their luggage from the ferry. Visitors may rent a bike to get around La Digue, or ride the traditional way -- on an old-fashioned ox cart.
The best time to visit is from May to September. It is more humid during the rainy season, from November to March.
The largest hotel on the island, La Digue Island Lodge offers private chalets and bungalows as well as the many comforts of a small resort, including a swimming pool, restaurant and bars, and organized activities such as snorkeling, scuba and weekly boat excursions. Another island outpost is Choppy's Beach Bungalows, a smaller hotel offering 10 rooms, a restaurant and planned day trips. Both hotels are walking distance from the legendary Anse Source d'Argent beach.
Reflecting its French and English roots, the cuisine of Seychelles is positively unique. Most restaurants serve food with Creole flavors, like the Restaurant Patatron at the Hotel L'Ocean, which dishes out tasty food and a grand view of the Indian Ocean. Order a Seybrew, the locally brewed lager, and enjoy the sunset at the P'cheur Restaurant at La Digue Island Lodge. The laid-back Lautier Koko offers tropical treats at the daily luncheon buffet, and a barbecue dinner is available on request with advanced reservations. Fresh fish is always a good choice at any of the restaurants, and some of the best catches on the island include red snapper, tuna and the difficult-to-find filet of parrot fish. Finally, legend has it that if you eat breadfruit, a local favorite, while visiting, you are sure to return to the island; you can enjoy it fried, boiled or mashed.
A travel visa is not required; however, all visitors must have a passport, a return ticket and proof of accommodation.
The currency on the island is the Seychelles rupee. But you should use foreign currency or a credit card to pay for hotels, transportation and organized tours. For other expenses, you can change money on the island to get local currency.
When planning a trip, keep in mind that the time difference is 9 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
While you are there
Tour the beaches of La Digue. Start at the wild Grand Anse, which is a sight to behold but not safe for swimming, then continue on the path to Anse Cocos, accessible only by foot from Grand Anse. Here you can relax in the sheltered waters just right for an afternoon dip.
Get a taste of local culture visiting the old mill at L'Union Estate, and learn a lesson from the island tortoises that stroll the grounds. Then visit the granite boulder of Anse L'Union, the 1-acre stretch of granite that serves as a landmark on the island, as well as a national monument.
To fake that you've been there
Pick up a fashion magazine or search the web for pictures of the white sands and granite boulders of La Digue; it shouldn't be hard as the picture-perfect Anse Source d'Argent is one of the most photographed beaches in the world.
Linking for a better vacation
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