Curieuse Island is a breathtaking place close to the Praslin northern coast. The island is not only picture perfect but also the best place to snorkel amongst abundant marine life, turtles, small sharks and also a great opportunity to spend a few hours in the company of the world’s largest living land tortoises.
This Island is one of the best place in the Seychelles to visit and the best one if you want to have an authentic experience with the giant tortoises of Seychelles. That’s because there are so many tortoises roaming free, living happy and healthy, they are not kept in cages. In other words you’ll be able to enjoy a wildlife experience sustainably and more naturally.
A day trip to Curieuse Island it is simply magical and a must do in your Seychelles itinerary. The best way to get from Praslin to the island, is to pick one of the many island hopping and snorkelling trips departing daily.
The main reason of visiting Curieuse Island as I said before.. is the tortoise. We arrived here after 15 minutes boat ride from Praslin and immediately upon disembarking the boat we spotted our first Aldabra Giant Tortoise chilling on the sand, ohh my, how cute she was! Being so close to them made me so happy. It really blew my mind just how relaxed and free they are.
In the early 80s they started a conservation project relocating the giants turtles to Curieuse Island in order to save them from being extinct. The tortoises are endemic to the Seychelles and were originally elusively found on Aldabra AtollIn. Today more than 300 of them live freely and happy on the island being allowed to do whatever they want, to walk wherever they want and to eat as much grass as they want. And of course they are the main point of interest for most travellers.
The baby tortoise are kept in a nursery and once they reach an appropriate age, the tortoises roam freely on Curieuse Island. To see them free in their natural habitat, is a feeling I can’t describe. It was so many of them and I was walking from one to another to pet them and take awesome photos, because who can resist those cute faces. I just can’t believe how sweet and gentle they are.
I spent a few hours petting, taking photos and just watching them. They are so funny, because it seems that they are all the time hungry and spend a lot of time eating, but I guess this is a vegetarian thing. My favourite spot was the nursery, where they have like 30 baby tortoises.. super cute! The ones that haven’t reached a month yet, were kept very safe, because it seems that people were stealing them, but you can see the little ones through a fence.
After spending time with the tortoises in the green area, we went to relax on the small beach nearby. This is a lovely beach with with sugar like sand, giant granite stones and a huge jungle a few meters from the shore. There was nobody in here so we had the place only to ourselves and we enjoyed it the best we could. Here you can adventure in the forest of mangroves, have unique experiences taking sun with a tortoise near you and basically enjoy a natural beauty without the crowds.
Turtle Pond is a breathtaking little bay of blue and white hues with a little touch of green, given by the mangrove forest. If you have a drone it is best seen from above. I highly recommend you to fly, because the views are insane. This beach is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It can be found only 2 minutes walk from where are the tortoises. And of course while you explore the beach, many tortoise will come and go, some of them hide in the bushes.
this is a protected land
Curieuse island is a nature reserve, an absolutely essential breeding ground for flora and fauna. The Conservationists are very careful to keep the wildlife safe in restoration and conservation of fishes, corals, Aldabra tortoises, several bird species, mangrove swamps and Coco de Mer palms. Due to its protected status you will find no hotels, restaurants or roads on the island.
snorkelling the Curieuse island
Of course I can’t be in such amazing place with plenty of snorkelling opportunities and not to snorkel. After all the fun we had with the tortoise we jumped into the water. Here, we snorkelled in roughly 2-5 meters of crystal clear waters. We have been spoiled with abundant marine life, colourful corals, many tropical fish and even sharks. The underwater was literally Heaven.
I feel like the luckiest person in the world for having the privilege to swim with little sharks. It’s like the best feeling in the world seeing them around you. But they are a little bit shy, because when I tried to get closer to them, they were getting away.
The little bay is unbelievably beautiful with the granite boulders, the mangroves in the background and tortoise sleeping at the beach. It has a special charm that really makes it so unbelievably photogenic. Around its shore is some of the clearest water on Earth just perfect for swimming.
The best thing of the island is to see the tortoise in freedom and not caged in a Zoo. They walk anywhere they want to and I absolutely loved that. Well.. this is the reason I never visit Zoo´s and I prefer to see animals in their natural habitat. We found some of them just behind the mangroves roaming free (although when looked closely we’ve seen many more tortoises hiding in the bushes). They usually are just sitting there like bumps on a log eating grass, but sometimes when they get curious they come to you, cause maybe they may get some more food. Super cute!
HIGHLIGHTS OF CURIEUSE ISLAND
- Seeing giant tortoises in the wild
- Hike through mangrove forests
- Abundant marine life
- Tasty lunch at the beach
- Swimming with baby sharks
CURIEUSE MARINE NATIONAL PARK
There is a trail from Turtle Pond to Anse St. Jose that passes through the thick mangrove forest and is one of the most breathtaking sites on the island and during the hike you’ll discover so many untouched gems. It’s a must do when you visit the island. I would highly recommend you to try this trail when you come here.
Beside spending time with the tortoises or snorkelling you can walk among the lush green mangroves forests on the southern part, where you can take a small hike. This trail is roughly 1.7 kilometers long and it’s taking about 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to Anse St. Jose. It’s so nice to walk in the jungle full of palms, mangroves and impressive granite boulders. The trail is impressive, it feels so remote and is so untouched!
ABOUT CURIEUSE ISLAND
We enjoyed a lot exploring Curieuse Island. Swimming with baby sharks it was simply magical, hiking in the lush jungle and playing with tortoise. This is for sure a day we will never forget.
What makes this island stand out beside the stunning beaches (some of them makes you think that you are on the moon) is of course the tortoise population that lives here and endangered Coco de Mer palms. We came here with the idea that the best thing is the tortoise, which it was, but we were pleasantly surprised to find out even more.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and maybe I made you book a trip to this stunning little island. If you want to know more about what you can explore in the Seychelles , you can check out my Praslin blog here.