The Seychelles (a 115-island nation) is a World Heritage Site with an incredible one-third of the country’s area protected. Not very distant to the northwest of Praslin Island, Seychelles – the second largest island in the Seychelles – and the nearby capital island of Mahe, lays Curieuse Island, a bio-reserve. Curieuse Marine National Park was designated as such on June 1, 1979, in order to protect its outstanding natural beauty, and for the ecological importance of its marine life.
Today daytrip visitors take an organized boat tour from Praslin Island to snorkel and SCUBA dive as well as to see many things unique to Curieuse, including the coco de mer, mangrove forests, Aldabra tortoises and sea life.
From 1833 to 1965 the island was used as a leper colony. The museum housed in the old doctor’s residence tells the story of the leper colony – that visit was quite interesting and educational.
The coco de mer, which grows only on Curieuse Island and nearby Praslin Island, produces the largest nut in the world. The double coconut shaped fruit is used in Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. The fruit is said to be shaped like a young woman’s “bum” viewed from the back and like a “shapely woman” when viewed from the front.
The granitic cliffs and boulders along the shore are a magnificent sight. The vertical erosion is the result of “scrubbing” by the wind and rain. We enjoyed an afternoon of snorkeling in the preserve after strolling along the beach and observing numerous large Aldabra tortoises.