La Digue is the quintessential Seychelles. A relatively short ferry ride from Mahe (or Praslin), La Digue has many beautiful beaches, but the most famous of them all–Anse Source D’Argent (affectionately known as ASDA on travel forums…which sort of sounds like a drug…so I’m sticking with Anse Source D’Argent), is the beach that appears in magazines and advertisements. If you have ever looked at pictures from the Seychelles, you will immediately recognize this beach! (Yep, that’s DH standing in neon yellow, happy the sun made an appearance!)
Mason’s–probably the largest day-trip organizer/operator in the Seychelles–offers tours that go to both Praslin and La Digue in a single day a few times a week. Initially, we looked at doing one of these trips since we figured it would be easy. We were on vacation after all. But, Mason’s never responded to requests for pre-booking when I was planning, and reviews on this particular excursion were really mixed. People felt rushed, complained about too many activities, etc. So we opted to do La Digue on our own. I had inquired before our arrival about ferry schedules, etc., and Le Meridien had all the information waiting in our room and was ready to help us figure out our plans, which was much appreciated.
Now, if you only have a day, prefer to be led around, given information, and stop in Praslin, by all means–do the tour! But if you want to explore and relax on your own on La Digue, definitely go on your own. If we had more time, I’d definitely also spend time on Praslin, too. But we had to pick one or the other. Here are some tips to make arranging the day trip a little bit easier.
Book ferry tickets in advance, particularly during high season. We did not book tickets in advance, and, as a result, had to be at the ferry office right when they opened (6:30am I believe) to ensure we could get a round-trip ticket for the same day. You need to book at least 48-72 hours in advance online, depending on what website you use for booking. The ferries definitely fill up during high season. Alternatively, you can fly into Praslin and take a short (15 min) ferry to La Digue from there. I believe you also get a bit of a discount booking in advance; the ferry is $$$$, like everything in the Seychelles. It was close to $360 for a roundrip ferry trip for 2 people.
Take motion sickness medicine if you even might get sick. Beware, the ferry is a vomit-comet, and people are throwing up everywhere (have I told you how much I love my prescription medicine? yes, yes I have). They have staff running around with sea-sick bags. It is quite the production and is very very rough. It takes approximately an hour or a little more to get from Mahe to Praslin.
Don’t worry if you stop in Praslin and take another ferry to La Digue. We thought we had to have the ferry that went straight to Mahe and didn’t stop in Praslin. We are still not clear whether this ferry actually exists, but either way, a stopover in Praslin means, literally, you walk 20 feet on to another waiting ferry. They know that many people transfer, so they aren’t going to leave you if they incoming ferry is 10 minutes late. The Cat Cocos (from Mahe to Praslin) and Inter-island Ferry (from Praslin to La Digue) are really the only game in town, the docks are tiny, and it is super easy. It does not add more than 20-25 minutes or so to your total travel time.
Rent a bike. When you get to La Digue, rent a bike. There seems to be a bit of price-fixing going on as no one would negotiate with us, but whatever. I think we ended up paying about $15 for 4 hours. You can definitely walk to Anse Source D’Argent if you want, but it is faster to bike and you spend less time walking and more time on beautiful beaches. No one steals bikes, you just park them and leave them at the entrance.
Keep exploring. Keep enjoying! A lot of people tend to congregate around the first part of Anse Source D’Argent. But there is lots to explore. We didn’t make it all the way, but you can keep walking and walking through little tunnels, dense vegetation, and sometimes in the ocean around the giant boulders to see more and more amazing views and beautiful beaches. The snorkeling is also very decent when you just wade out and start swimming. I’d suggest grabbing some beer/drinks/groceries (there are 2 little supermarkets on the way to Anse Source D’Argent) and skipping the restaurants, because who wants to sit in a restaurant when you can sit on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world?
Finally, remember what time the ferry leaves. We are usually really organized, but for some reason misremembered the ferry schedule and were running a bit behind! There are very limited places to stay on La Digue (not to mention we didn’t have any stuff with us), so while I’m sure we could have slept on the beach, keep an eye on the time. The ferry is very close to on schedule and for the amount that you are probably paying for a hotel off the island, you don’t want to miss a night.
We had some minor rain storms which led to a wide variation in the color of the sea and sky; pretty neat. Grab a rain jacket or at least a dry bag for your camera for sure. La Digue is absolutely worth a day trip from Mahe. And if you want a super relaxing day enjoying delightful scenery, we would definitely recommend doing it on your own as it is very easy!