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Nouvelle-Calédonie — L’Île-des-Pins, New Caledonia

L’Île-des-Pins roughly translates to The Island of Pines, named by Captain Cook for the plethora of indigenous pine trees which forest the island.  Entirely enclosed by a World Heritage listed lagoon, it is blessed with every facet of a tropical paradise one could possibly imagine.  Situated approximately thirty miles or around fifty kilometers southeast of the coast of New Caledonia’s main island of Grande Terre, Île-des-Pins is the largest island in its local archipelago, in which are located Kotomo Island separated from Île-des-Pins by a narrow channel, Îlot Brosse, and the atoll of Nëkanmué also known as Nokanhui.

Île-des-Pins itself knows no paucity of star-studded sights and attractions.  The southwestern twin bays of Kuto and Kaa Nuë Méra separated by a simple strip of forest, boast the benediction of broad breathtaking arcs of scintillating silver sands, set against the lagoon’s teal-turquoise tranquility.  Near the southern tip of the island just a few minutes away from Vao the administrative center of Île-des-Pins, lies Saint-Maurice beach which showcases a veritable open-air museum of exquisitely carved indigenous Kanak totem poles.  In calm winds, an early morning sail down Upi Bay on a Kanak pirogue which is a traditional outrigger canoe, is a quintessential Île-des-Pins experience.  The sun hitting the waters surrounding the satellite islet of Îlot Brosse creates a reality bluer than fantasy can be, while the seductively curving blinding white completely shadeless powdered sugar soft sand of Île de Kutomërë in the Nëkanmué atoll is just to be seen to be believed.

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