La Digue

La Digue is the fourth-largest inhabited island of the Seychelles (though only 5 km [3 miles] long and 3 km [2 miles] wide) and the real deal when it comes to a laid-back tropical paradise. Only 6.4 km (4 miles) from Praslin (about a 20-minute ferry ride) and 43 km (27 miles) from Mahé, little La Digue nonetheless feels a world away.

With no natural harbor, La Digue is protected by a coral reef, which, together with masses of colossal pink granite boulders, encircle and protect the island. Streets here hum the quiet rhythm of local life: a melody of ox-carts and bicycles, paths shaded by flowers and lush vegetation, and old colonial-style houses that speak of times past. Named in 1768 after a ship in the fleet of French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne, La Digue's economic mainstays used to be vanilla and coconut oil. The island's lovely beaches, lush interior, and colonial charm have made tourism its number-one industry today. The island's population of about 2,000 mostly reside in the west coast villages of La Réunion and La Passe.

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