A complete first-time visitor’s guide to L’Union Estate on La Digue Island, the Seychelles. Visit a historic vanilla and coconut plantation on one of the world’s most beautiful islands.
Even if you haven’t heard of La Digue Island in the Seychelles, chances are you’ve seen photos of its iconic white-sand beaches and one-of-a-kind granite rock formations. One particular beach, Anse Source D’Argent, is a must-visit and one of the most iconic in the country.
What you might not know is that this beach is connected to L’Union Estate, a historic vanilla and coconut plantation. It’s also very picturesque, and a perfect place on La Digue to get tropical palm-tree vacation photos.
In this guide, I’ll answer everything you need to know about L’Union Estate on La Digue. I’ll include detailed information to help you plan your trip and throw in some photos from my recent trip to help inspire yours.
COVID UPDATE FOR SEYCHELLES
Currently, you need to show proof of a negative PCR test to enter the Seychelles. Upon departure, you can book a rapid antigen or PCR test with Seychelles Medical on Mahe, La Digue or Praslin.
Important: All visitors to the Seychelles must currently show proof of travel insurance covering expenses related to Coronavirus. One of the best offerings with this inclusion is from Safetywing, which has cover starting at under $50. Another popular option for the Seychelles is World Nomads insurance.
About L’Union Estate on La Digue
L’Union Estate is located on the southern end of La Réunion on La Digue’s west coast. This estate offers a unique opportunity to learn about the colonial history of the Seychelles, complete with some of the oldest examples of French colonial architecture on the island.
L’Union Estate La Digue reflects a time in history when coconut farming was the primary source of income for the people of the island. The Plantation House is one of the main attractions and was once the home of a Mauritian Family who worked the estate.
Other attractions, which I’ll cover in a bit more depth below, include;
- Historic Cemetery
- Traditional Coconut Mill
- Plantation House
- Granit Monolith & Tortoise Pen
- Vanilla Plantation
- Souvenir Kiosks
- Old Pier Cafe
- Crystal Kayaks
- Anse Source D’Argent
The Ultimate Seychelles Travel Resource
Looking for more Seychelles travel guides and inspiration? Below are my most comprehensive guides that will serve as a great resource for your trip.
Related: 6 Best Hikes on La Digue
How to Get to L’Union Estate
Since L’Union Estate is located on La Digue, you’ll first need to make it to this island. You can briefly skip this section if you are already on La Digue.
I’ve gone into a lot more detail on the options for how to get to La Digue in that individual post. However, in general, you have 2 options to get to the island. Firstly, you could take the Cat Cocos (fast ferry) directly to La Digue Island from Mahe, which costs roughly €60 and takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. Otherwise, you’ll want to take the Air Seychelles scenic flight to Praslin, then take the Cat Rose to La Digue Island.
Once you’ve made it to the island, you’ll want to head to the southern end of La Réunion, following the coastal road. The best way to get around is by bike, as the island is so small it offers this most convenience. A bike costs roughly 100 SCR per day, I stayed at the incredible Chateau St Cloud and they arranged one for me.
Below is the exact pin to head to, it’s hard to miss. Once you arrive, you’ll need to hop off your bike to sign in and pay the 115 SCR entrance fee to access L’Union Estate (mandatory for Anse Source D’Argent and Anse Marron).
Things to See and Do at L’Union Estate La Digue
Once you arrive, there’s plenty to see and do besides lazing on the Seychelles’ most photographed beach. Below is a rundown with photos to help you know what to expect. I’ve also attached a map to help you orient yourself.
1. Historic Cemetery
As soon as you enter the estate, you’ll pass the historic cemetery. This is the oldest cemetery on the island and is very beautiful.
2. Traditional Coconut Mill
One of the most picturesque spots on L’Union Estate is the traditional coconut mill. This palm-leaf roofed hut is a traditional mill where coconuts were once husked and prepared.
3. L’Union Estate Plantation House
The Plantation House is one of the main attractions at L’Union Estate La Digue. This is a historic building which has had a few owners over the time, including a Mauritian family and even the governor of the island. It has now been transformed into a small museum with a small art gallery.
4. Granite Monolith (Giant Rock) & Tortoise Pen
It’s very hard to miss the giant 750 million year old granite monolith which stands proud at the centre of L’Union Estate on La Digue. This is one of the largest granite single-rock formations on the island and it’s truly impressive. It seems it was once possible to climb it but when I asked I was told this is no longer the case.
However, just below the granite monolith is the tortoise pen. Here, you can get an opportunity to see some of the largest tortoises on earth. The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is one of the longest living animals on earth. They can live up to 200 years and weigh over 300 kilograms! These tortoises are endemic to the Seychelles but originally come from the Aldabra Atoll in the south.
Best island to see wild tortoises in the Seychelles: Curieuse Island
5. Vanilla Plantation
If you continue on past the tortoise pen, you’ll get the chance to ride your bike through the vanilla plantation. This is still a healthy plantation producing vanilla.
6. Souvenir Kiosks
You’ll notice that there are a couple of small souvenir kiosks in L’Union Estate. These sellers have everything from local spices and rums to coco de mer nuts you can take home.
7. Old Pier Cafe
If you’re getting tired while exploring L’Union Estate on La Digue, make sure to head down to the Old Pier Cafe. I had lunch here after the Crystal Kayaks tour (below) and it was just what I needed. The cafe is set on the waterfront just near the Old Pier, another great photo spot in L’Union Estate.
8. Scenic Coconut palm Roads Throughout L’Union Estate
This isn’t an official highlight or attraction but snapping photos on these scenic dirt roads is in my opinion, one of the best things to do at L’Union Estate! These winding roads are incredibly photogenic and you’ll get an opportunity to snap some amazing photos no matter where you turn.
9. L’Union Estate Farm
The farm is one of the last attractions at L’Union Estate. This is an active farm producing a wide range of vegetables and spices. You can head down to the farm area at the back of the estate to inspect the greenhouses.
10. Crystal Kayaks tour
Okay, now for the most epic thing to do at L’Union Estate La Digue– the famous Crystal Kayaks tour. This is the most popular tour on the island and also one of the cheapest! I was really blown away by the value this experience offered. We got to explore the beauty of the Anse Source D’Argent lagoon and beach from the water, as well as a guided tour of some of the best beaches that you can only get to from the water!
The highlight for me was seeing the famous granite rock formations from the ocean, as well as stopping by Robinson Crusoe Beach (Anse Pierrot).
Featured in: Praslin Island Travel Guide – 15 Best Things to do
11. Anse Source D’Argent
Of course, the main event at L’Union Estate and even on La Digue Island (some would argue the Seychelles in general), is the famous Anse Source D’Argent beach. This beautiful stretch of white-sand beach is littered with some of the most incredible granite rock formations I’ve ever seen.
Of course, many people come through the estate just to visit this beach. A little tip, make sure to get here early if you’re looking to get some great photos, as it can get very busy!
Where to Stay on La Digue to Visit L’Union Estate
La Digue is quite a small island and you can get anywhere on a bicycle within 20-30 minutes. You’ll find a lot of hotels on the west side of the island near the jetty but only a few along the narrow stretch of coastal road on the mostly inhabited eastern side.
On La Digue, there are a wide variety of hotel and resort offerings ranging from relatively “budget friendly” self-catering lodges to incredible luxury resorts.
Below is a quick summary of the best picks.
More: 9 Best Accommodations, Resorts & Hotels on La Digue.
Amazing Chateau: Hotel Chateau St Cloud (Mid-Range)
Chateau St Cloud is where I stayed on La Digue and I can personally recommend it as one of the best accommodation options on the island. This three-star hotel is perfect as a mid-range option as the location is excellent– just a little out from the main area on a quiet street that is close enough to both the incredible south-west beaches and the port. The staff are all very accommodating and the buffet breakfast is great. Rooms are very spacious and the hotel even has a pool and bar.
Waterfront Hotel: Le Nautique (High-end)
Rated as one of the best waterfront accommodations on La Digue, Le Nautique is a luxurious offering combining traditional Creole architecture with modern comforts including king-sized beds and rain-showers. Here, you’ll also discover an amazing outdoor restaurant and beautiful garden surrounds.
Self Catering: Dream Holiday (Budget)
Dream Holiday Self Catering is located on the northern end of the island very close to the ferry terminal. This location is great as you’ll be close to bike rental shops, snack stores and even supermarkets on the main strip on La Digue. Dream Holiday offers queen rooms with air-conditioning, TV, private bathrooms, and even a balcony. This is a great option if you’re visiting La Digue on a budget while comfort and location are still a priority for you.
More Travel Inspiration for the Seychelles
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick and insightful guide to L’Union Estate on La Digue, Seychelles. While you’re here on my blog, make sure to check out some of my other articles for more inspiration for the Seychelles to help you plan your trip.