Ports & Excursions

Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

With radiant turquoise waters hiding a wealth of colorful corals and fish below, Isle of Pines is a wonderful place to dive and explore. Although this breathtaking island has been nicknamed "the closest island to Paradise," it once served as a penal colony to thousands of French deportees.

Pottery found on the island dates back to 1500 B.C., although the discovery of the island is most often attributed to Captain James Cook, who sailed by during a voyage to New Zealand in the 18th century. Cook named the island after its towering native pines, but he never set foot on land, presumably threatened by the sight of smoke rising above the trees.

The great explorer missed out on some of the most fascinating treasures ashore. From the tiniest endemic creatures to the far-reaching views offered by its highest peak, Isle of Pines is a unique island destination with plenty to discover.

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  • Beaches Beaches

    Choose from Baie de Kuto, where giant palms provide ample shade as you gaze out at pristine waters, or Baie de Kanumera, where you can't help but swim and explore the world under the sea.

  • Isle of Pines Penal Colony Isle of Pines Penal Colony

    Once home to nearly 3,000 French political prisoners, Isle of Pines still holds the ruins of its penal colony as well as Cimetiere des Deportes, the final resting place of its inhabitants.

  • Pic Nga Pic Nga

    On a clear day, you can peer out from the island's highest point, Pic Nga, and see miles into the distance, with a fantastic view of the island and the turquoise waters beyond.

  • Local Cuisine Local Cuisine

    Your visit to Isle of Pines isn't complete without sampling the fresh local seafood and the island's specialty: escargot.

  • Unusual Wildlife Unusual Wildlife

    Scour the island for rare species such as the cute New Caledonian Crested Gecko and Giant Gecko - the largest gecko ever discovered on Earth which is rarely seen by humans.

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