Curieuse Marine National Park | Seychelles Travel Tips & Reviews | Africa Point
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Curieuse Marine National Park
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Curieuse Marine National Park

Snapshot

Sail across aquamarine seas towards the deep red granitic island of Curieuse. Fringed with rare Coco de Mer palms, this island and the surrounding marine environment is a quintessential Seychelles destination. Hike alongside the Aldabra Giant Tortoises, walk out to a beach speckled by nesting sea turtles for an ocean side picnic, and explore the old leper colony. Soak in the magic and wonder of this true tropical paradise!

 

Best time to visit:

It is best to visit the Seychelles between May and August when temperatures are coolest.
 

How to get there:

Curieuse is a 20-minute boat trip from the island of Praslin.
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CURIEUSE MARINE NATIONAL PARK

Float lazily across teal and turquoise waters towards a bright red island fringed with lush green mangroves and palm trees. Disembark in Baie Laraie and begin a journey through the fascinating landscapes of Curieuse Island. Signs of the island’s varied history as a plantation turned leper colony turned national park are visible as you meander across trails and boardwalks. Burn marks and decrepit Creole colonial structures highlight the dark days of Curieuse, though nature is slowly reclaiming these sites.

If you are a nature enthusiast, you will be absolutely thrilled by the number of rare trees and plants that flower through this jungle. The Coco de Mer is a definite highlight, given that it exists only on this island and one other worldwide. As you wander, be sure to pause for a picnic on the beach surrounded by giant tortoises, and scour the sand for signs of green and hawksbill turtle nesting sites. Return to the ocean for a swim beneath the sea, exploring the granite outcroppings, vibrant coral and schools of fish. Make sure you look around for sea turtles and sharks – a lucky few may be privileged enough to see one!

 

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EXPLORING CURIEUSE: ISLAND AND UNDERWATER ADVENTURES

WALKING TRAILS

Disembark from your boat in Bai Laraie and follow trails and boardwalks through this small and uninhabited tropical island. Curieuse is famed for its colour: deep red soil contrasts the lush green foliage and the aquamarine sea. Weave and wander through the dense mangroves, learning about the eight different species of trees that live here. Stand at the base of magnificent granite cliffs, admiring the windblown sides and blue and red eroded archways. If you are an ambitious hiker, you can follow a rocky and sunny trail to the summit of the island where you will be hugely rewarded with phenomenal views of the island and ocean. Descend back towards the beach to enjoy a barbeque picnic on the secluded island, while keeping an eye out for nesting sea turtles.
 
Return to the port by way of the island’s western side, where you will have the chance to admire some of the rare species of trees. The Coco de Mer (‘The Sea Coconut’) tree exists only here and on Praslin, and grows some of the largest nuts of any tree worldwide. Takamaka trees are another unique variety that grows alongside Lalyann dile and Bwa Kasan bor-d-mer. No matter where you hike, be sure to keep an eye out for a few of the 500 giant tortoises that reside on the island. They are surprisingly friendly and may even allow you to stroke their shells.

 

LEPER COLONY AND HISTORICAL TOURS

Prior to becoming a National Park in 1979, Curieuse Island was a designated leper colony. Follow the boardwalk through the mangroves until you find the ruins that are slowly being absorbed by the jungle. The colony existed from 1833 to 1965, and a number of remnants from the leprosarium are still visible today. The former physician’s residence has since been converted into an educational center and museum, housing artifacts from this dark period of history. The building itself is a beautiful example of Creole colonial architecture. Do keep an eye out where you step on the beach outside the museum – this is a favoured nesting ground for sea turtles. As you walk the boardwalk, you should also look for the burnt sections of the island. In 1771, sailors torched the entire island in an effort to establish harvesting sites for Coco de Mer nuts. Sadly, this fire destroyed much of the indigenous plants, and the scars of this fire are still noticeable today. Thankfully, nature has also reclaimed much of this dark period of the island’s history.

 

SNORKELING

Day tours to Curieuse would be incomplete without dipping below the ocean surface to explore a vibrant world of reefs and marine life. Hop off your boat with a snorkel and fins on the way to and from Curieuse to swim at St. Pierre, Pointe Rouge or the Coral Gardens. The colourful coral and large schools of fish are nothing short of impressive – and the dip in the ocean is always refreshing. It is common to see huge humphead parrotfish, surgeons and Emperor Angelfish against the backdrop of massive granite outcroppings. A lucky few snorkelers may even see a sea turtle!

 

OTHER ACTIVITIES

There are some scuba diving sites around Curieuse, though most of the diving in the Seychelles revolves around other islands. .

 

ACCOMMODATION IN CURIEUSE MARINE NATIONAL PARK

There is no accommodation on the island of Curieuse. Rather, visitors come to the island on a day trip from either a lodge in Praslin or private yacht. If traveling with a private boat, it is possible to moor overnight, though boats must be entirely self-sufficient as there are no supplies on the island.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

Curieuse Island is located 2 kilometers from the island of Praslin. The trip takes roughly 20 minutes by boat, and visitors dock at Baie Laraie. The National Park boundary itself includes the channel between Curieuse and Praslin, and includes St. Pierre and Chauve Souris.

 

BEST TIME TO VISIT CURIEUSE MARINE NATIONAL PARK

Located on the equator, there is fairly minimal fluctuation in temperature year round. The cooler and more pleasant temperatures occur between the months of May to October when a southeast trade wind is present. From November to March, temperatures and humidity rises with the northwest monsoon wind. December and January are the wettest months, though rains tend to be short and heavy with sun on either side. If you are interested in seeing green and hawksbill sea turtles hatch, it is best to plan a trip for the months of November and December.


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