Alphonse Island: A Hidden Paradise in the Indian Ocean

An isolated paradise with landscapes so incredible that they seem to come from a dream. This is the first impression of anyone who sets foot in Alphonse, a group of atolls lost in the middle of the Indian Ocean, which is part of the Seychelles archipelago. The set of three islands – Alphonse, St Francois and Bijoutier – is about 400 km from Mahé, the main island of the country, and is considered one of the most untouched places on the planet. Perfect destination for travelers seeking an authentic nature that does not give up comfort, Alphonse is a sum of white sand beaches and transparent waters, dense forests and coconut groves and home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. The important thing here is to enjoy nature to the fullest and replace wifi with unique experiences and delicious moments with family and friends.

Located 7º south of the equator, the islands are some of the most remote in the country and provide visitors with a hot climate year-round, varying between 22ºC and 35ºC. Any time of year is ideal to visit them. Between October and April, temperatures are higher and humidity is higher, resulting in rapid and refreshing tropical rains. In the rest of the year the temperature is a little milder and the climate becomes drier.

Alphonse Island has a unique resort, with 21 bungalows and five suites, offering maximum comfort and an exceptional stay. The 54m² bungalow accommodates two adults and one child and is surrounded by tropical gardens and only a few meters from a paradisiacal beach. Each has its own balcony overlooking the turquoise waters, perfect for a sunrise or sunset with a cup of coffee or a drink. An outdoor shower is also one of the highlights of the room. The suites are larger and accommodate two adults and two children in their 126m² area. Just meters from the ocean, they have a lounge area and a private deck.

The resort still offers several facilities such as a beach bar, a restaurant and a coffee smoothies in the garden, an entertainment area with pool table and table tennis, a swimming pool, the Azure Spa, a tennis court, a giant chess table , a boutique, a water sports center, a dive center, an island conservation research center and a turtle sanctuary. The resort’s cuisine is diverse and inspired by the tropical atmosphere. The dishes use local garden ingredients and fresh fish, combining influences from Creole and French cuisines. In addition to the restaurant, the hotel can also arrange dinner in the room, at the beach or at the pool.

The beautiful coastline, lagoons and plains covered by the clear sea already give the tone of the trip. And there are still unforgettable experiences to enjoy the nature of the island. Alphonse Island has several secret trails and places that can be discovered on a guided bike tour. The guide gives information about the history of the place and its biodiversity, as well as stop at various points with incredible landscapes for contemplation and photos. You can also order the bike and explore the island at your own pace by making a picnic stop – the resort can prepare a basket with pickets to be taken on the tour. For those in love with hiking, the trails can be made on foot.

A visit to Bijoutier Island is a must, with its deserted beaches and crystal clear and calm waters. A specific spot on the island houses sea turtle nests and the life cycle of these animals is all explained by the guides who lead the tour. The boat takes about 15 to 20 minutes to get to Bijoutier from Alphonse Island. To get to St. Francois Island you need to sail about 45 minutes.

Fishing is one of the main activities in the group of atolls, due to the giant variety of species found there, such as sailfish, wahoo and goldenfish, and preserved and little explored waters. Half-day or full-day deep sea fishing tours are offered and there is even a guided fishing trip on Alphonse Island.

A dolphin spotting tour is another activity available since the island is home to the friendly animals all year round and finding them in their natural habitat is certainly very exciting. They are usually shy, but when sighted they are quite energetic.

Kayaks and stand up paddle are a great option to have fun during the day and explore the waters of the Indian Ocean independently. It is a way to get close to the turtles and stingrays that swim freely near the shore. To learn more about the rich marine life of this sanctuary is indicated a snorkelling tour, whose equipment is available to all guests, or even a swim, for further exploration. There are 15 dive sites that can be known by both beginners and experienced divers, who come across fascinating species of fish each day and other sea creatures.

Other unforgettable expeditions are a visit to the corals with a marine biologist and a sunset cruise on a luxury boat, accompanied by a beer or a cocktail. Finally, Alphonse is very committed to the conservation of his fauna and flora and promotes research, rehabilitation and monitoring programs, focusing on giant and marine turtles, marine habitats and reforestation.

There is even a conservation center since 2007, called the Island Conservation Society Center, which offers activities related to sustainability, which are available to guests.

Picture: Divulgação