Sainte Anne Island was the first stop on our Crystal Esprit yacht cruise, and it was paradise. With endless lines of palm trees shading idyllic sandy beaches, this place is a dream.
Located just four kilometers off the east coast of Mahé, this island is a must-see for any Seychelles visitor. Sainte Anne Island is the largest of Sainte Anne Marine National Park’s eight islands, and it is full of stunning beaches.
Here’s how to make the most of your time exploring Sainte Anne Island in the Seychelles.
What to Expect
With balmy weather and warm seas all year long, Sainte Anne Island is all about living it up on the beach. The island is also home to the Sainte Anne Marine National Park which draws lots of visitors, and was in my opinion, one of the most beautiful spots of coastline!
Sainte Anne Island is small, so it’s easy to wander from beach to beach while you are exploring.
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What to Do
Most people come here to hit the beach and soak up the Seychelles sunshine! There are six main beaches on the island, and they are all worth exploring.
Located in the southwest, Grande Anse is the biggest beach and one where you’ll definitely want to spend some time.
If you’re lucky enough to be on the island from late November to February, you can see the sea turtles laying eggs at Anse Royale. I missed the prime time, but I still got to see lots of sea turtles and a healthy marine life.
We took the yacht tender to a beautiful white-sand bar where Crystal Esprit had set up snorkeling equipment and stand-up paddle boards for us to enjoy.
The other main beaches are Anse Tortues, Anse Cimitiere, Anse Manon, and Anse Cabot (FYI: Anse means cove or bay in French, so you’ll see this word a lot around the Seychelles).
About Sainte Anne Marine National Park
Sainte Anne Marine National Park is one of the most beautiful spots in the Seychelles; it was opened in 1973 as a way to preserve local wildlife and is the first such refuge in the Indian Ocean.
Fishing and water skiing are banned from the area, and it’s the ideal place to get some peace and quiet.
With its incredible underwater world, Sainte Anne Marine National Park is a popular spot for glass-bottom boat trips as well as snorkeling and diving. You’ll see stunning coral and vibrant tropical fish everywhere around the islands.
The islands of the Sainte Anne Marine National Park, while tiny, have interesting stories to them.
Cerf Island, the second largest in the park, has fewer than one hundred residents but is home to three resorts and a restaurant. Île Cachée, just off the shores of Cerf, is a popular nesting site for local seabirds.
Round Island actually used to be a leper colony and is now home to the five-star Round Island Resort.
Long Island, once a smallpox colony and prison, is now having a five-star resort developed on it. And there’s a lot of development in progress.
In 2005, the government of the Seychelles decided it was too pricey to maintain the islands on its own and is now opening up the area to development. This means that a lot more hotels and resorts are on their way to the Sainte Anne Marine National Park, so change is a-coming.
While the development seems to be well organized, I still recommend checking out the park while it’s in its wild state.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay on the island, there’s only one hotel: the Beachcomber Seychelles. Fortunately, it’s a gorgeous resort.
It has eighty-seven private villas set in a picture-perfect tropical oasis. It offers all-inclusive package deals, and you can upgrade to get a private infinity pool. There’s chic Mediterranean cuisine and you’ll find amazing views along with a spa, pool, fitness center, and all of the other perks you’d expect form a top-notch resort.