Confused at one time with the actual Garden of Eden, Praslin Island floats in the Indian Ocean like a waking emerald dream, a piece of impossible beauty in the archipelago of Seychelles. This pristine parcel of land, only 38 square kilometers in area, is the second largest island in the chain, with Mahé, an hour away by boat, boasting the title of largest of all the islands. The entire coastline is various beaches, from rock-strewn coves to powdered, white sands, Praslin caters to all tastes and delights.
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Hedging the islandís north coast is Curieuse Marine National Park, which offers fantastic snorkeling and diving opportunities. Composed of several options, St. Pierreís is a snorkelerís paradise, while Point Rogue will entice divers.
The Marine Parks on Praslin showcase over 900 different fish species alone. Coco de Mer palm trees sway above the Park on the hillsides, and their significance should not overlooked. At one time, Coco de Mer seeds were so rare and prized, that any found had to be immediately relinquished to the king upon pain of death.
Indeed, it is their unique shape, which resembles a femaleís pelvis, that convinced General Gordon of Khartoum he had found the land of Eve and Adam. Coco de Mer trees grow only on Praslin and their seeds are the largest of any plant in the world.
Praslin is also home to the amazing Vallée de Mai, the smallest UNESCO World Heritage sight on the planet. The Vallée de Mai is a tiny forest, considered to be the remnant of a long-gone continent that is sized for giants. Every plant here seems huge and overwhelming, warping perspective of self-importance. It is lush and enchanting, with streams and waterfalls keeping it cool. This spellbinding forest houses flora and fauna found no where else in the world, including the black parrot and fruit pigeon. Carnivorous pitcher plants set down roots here, along with the deliciously named vanilla orchids. A small fee paid to enter goes directly into the upkeep and maintenance of the forest.
Praslin is quieter than big sister Mahé and a little less developed, adding to the feeling of purity and harmony with nature. There are about 5,000-6,000 inhabitants on this island in small and scattered villages. Mostly, livelihoods consist of fishing, farming or tourism, which usually entails working in the resorts and hotels that dot this island and offer accommodations for every budget, that all might be able to share in paradise.
While all the beaches on Praslin are exquisite and worthy of visiting, one stands out amongst the rest and is consistently ranked among the beast beaches of the world, if not the best beach in the world: Anse Lazio. The entire island is granite, with a ridge of mountains, like a backbone, forming the middle. Anse Lazio is defined by large granite boulders that are strewn into a natural cove, and the coral reef surrounding Anse Lazio keeps the waters calm and quite safe, while also showing snorkelers and divers an underwater festival of marine life colors.
Praslin makes an excellent home base for further island exploration, including day trips to nearby sister islands of La Digue, offering a step back into a slower life, and Cousin Island, significant for endangered birdlife and hawksbill turtles. Also visit Aride National Park with over 2,000 bird species and a vibrant, healthy coral reef. With so much to do, including golf and water sports, it is no wonder Praslin continues to call her visitors back into her embrace year after year. Eden at sea, sublime, carefully kept pristine and the way nature intended her to be seen, Praslin Island is a remarkable, mesmerizing choice for a rejuvenating getaway.