| 10 km²|
La Digue is the third largest inhabited island of the Seychelles in terms of population, lying east of Praslin and west of Felicite Island. In terms of size it is the fourth largest granitic island of Seychelles after Mahe, Praslin and Silhouette Island. It has a population of about 2,000 people, who mostly live in the west coast villages of La Passe (linked by ferry to Praslin and Mahe) and La Reunion. There is no airport on La Digue, so to get there from a foreign country, one has to fly to Victoria and continue by ferry, usually via Praslin. It has an area of 10 km², which makes it relatively easy to travel around by bike or on foot.
La Digue was named after a ship in the fleet of French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne, who visited the Seychelles in 1768.
According to modern historians, La Digue was first sighted by the French navigator Lazare Picault in 1742, but it was not named until 1768. The first people settled on the island in 1789, when French colonists arrived with their African slaves. Most of them went back to France, but some people were left and some of todays inhabitants carry their names. Later, more French deportees arrived, followed by a large number of liberated slaves and Asian immigrants. In 1854, the first Catholic chapel was built on La Digue by Father Theophile. Most inhabitants of the island are of the Catholic faith. French colonists on La Digue manufactured coral lime, and they are believed to be responsible for the decline of the islands coral reefs. They also made copra out of coconuts, and they planted vanilla on their plantations. This tradition has been continued.
The inhabitants of La Digue are called Diguois. The first inhabitants arrived in 1798, exiled from Bourbon for taking part in a political rebellion there. They were supposed to be sent to the East Indies, but bribed the captain to ship them to Seychelles instead where many had relatives. The population of La Digue is mostly Catholic and the islands feast day on August 15 is a national holiday.
Today, the islands main industry is tourism, and it is known for its beaches, especially Anse Source dArgent and Grand Anse. La Digue went through a major tourist increase in the previous century, which heavily impacted the economy of the Seychelles. In former times, copra and vanilla production were mainstays of the local economy, which is commemorated in the islands museum.
Veuve Nature Reserve, in the islands interior, is home to the rare Black Paradise Flycatcher, of which there are only about 100 in existence. La Digues tallest peak, Belle Vue (Eagles Nest Mountain), is in the central part of the island, with a summit more than 300 m (980 ft) above sea level. La Digue is also visited for its wide variety of underwater creatures like fish, sharks and rays. The island has plenty of accommodation and activities to offer tourists. There are at least twenty guesthouses and hotels, a few restaurants and a dive centre. One can go on a boat trip or a diving trip around La Digue for one day or half a day. Furthermore, the Veuve reserve offers tourists a hiking trip with a guide who can show them the beauty of La Digue.
Since La Digue is an island inhabited by many ethnic groups, the cuisine is a specific mix of world cuisines. With the abundance of fish, the Seychellois people have learned how to make hundreds of recipes out of this simple ingredient. One can have fish curry, fish fillets, raw fish with lemon, grilled fish, steamed fish, cooked fish and so on. The inhabitants of La Digue also make fried octopuses, lobsters with garlic and their biggest speciality — bat curry. An ingredient used to a very large degree is ginger, which is put in many meals. The most popular alcoholic drink on La Digue is palm wine, which most Seychellois people like to make themselves by fermenting the inside of a coconut.