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La Digue is the laid-back, sleepier sibling to larger Seychelles islands Mahé and Praslin. Nobody ever seems in a hurry on this (almost) motor-free island. Creole houses nestle under papaya trees, their window boxes and plant pots overflowing with flowers. Fishermen dawdle along the road carrying sticks hung with fish, while wooden pirogues glide across the water. This is where you’ll find bona fide Seychellois island life.

There’s no airport on this tiny island, just 5 km (3 miles) long and 3 km (2 miles) wide, so you’ll first meet La Digue from the water. It’s a 20-minute boat ride from nearby Praslin, and you approach to views across a seductive coastline of blonde beaches, fronds of palms and clusters of smoothed boulders.

La Digue beachesLa Digue doesn’t have a list of sights to tick off. Your time is best spent gently, wandering along palm-dappled paths and between beaches with turquoise waters. You can take the locals’ lead and get around by bicycle, following the one road that curves around three quarters of the island. Pack a snorkel and you can dip into the water along the way.

Along the west coast are the two villages of La Passe and La Reunion, where you’ll find little more than a post office, tiny supermarket, handful of guesthouses and a few waterfront seafood restaurants. Slipped in between the two is La Digue Veuve Reserve, a sanctuary for the rare paradise flycatcher. You can spend a few hours here wandering the gentle trails past indigenous takamaka and badamier trees as you look for the birds.

A reef wall runs adjacent to the western beaches, creating placid waters for swimming. Here, snorkeling reveals all manner of marine life, from emperor angelfish to starfish and turtles.

Midway along the coast is L’Union Estate Farm, where you can see a traditional copra mill and plantation house, as well as a cemetery for the original vanilla-farming settlers.

Continue past the neat rows of vanilla vines (which were introduced by French settlers) and you’ll come to La Digue’s calling card: Anse Source d'Argent. Roughly translated as silver stream, the island’s — and, arguably, the Seychelles’ — most revered beach is a shimmering stretch of photogenic sand. Aside from a tiny drinks stall tucked behind the palms, it’s an unspoiled slip of beach interspersed with granite boulders that blush pink in the sunset.

On a rise in the middle of the island is Belle Vue, a thatched-roof café that looks out across the wild, undeveloped east of the island, to the Indian Ocean below. You can cycle over for lunch, or the café will arrange to pick you up for a sunset dinner — we recommend the octopus salad.

Without a protective reef, the eastern coast is unsuitable for swimming, but you can walk along its rugged, near-deserted beaches.

To the southeast are Grand Anse and Petite Anse (although the latter seems larger), a pair of coves you reach by a hilly track from the back of La Reunion. A number of clearly marked walking trails run northward along the coastline, taking you to Pointe Petite Anse, a promontory with views over to Félicité Island and Ramos National Park.

Best time to visit La Digue

The temperature on La Digue rarely dips below 75°F (24°C) even at night, averaging a comfortable 82°F (28°C) in the daytime. It’s a year-round destination but, arguably, the best times to go are April to May and October to November. At these times, the water tends to be calmest, providing good visibility for snorkeling as well as a smooth ferry journey across to the island.

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