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Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

 Posted by , May 21, 2009 at 15:40:13 :: New Caledonia

The Isle of Pines (French: Île des Pins; Kanak name: Kunyié), often called the "Jewel of the Pacific", is an island located in the Pacific Ocean, in the archipelago of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France. It lies 80 km south-east of Nouméa or just a short 20 minute flight or 2.5 hour fast cat trip from Nouméa. The island is 14 km wide, 18 km long, with 60 km of coastline and surrounded by its own extensive reef system and the population is approximately 2,000. Its largest town is Vao.

The Piscine Naturelle, Isle of Pines

Captain James Cook, in 1774, was the first European to see The Isle of Pines on his second voyage to New Zealand. He named the island after the tall pines (Araucaria columnaris) that cover the island. In the 1840s, European settlement came to the island in the form of missionaries attempting to teach the locals Christianity, as well as sandalwood traders. In 1853, the French took possession of the island and in 1872 the island became a French penal colony, home to approximately 3,000 political deportees from the Paris Commune.

Vao church, Isle of Pines

The Isle of Pines is a breathtakingly beautiful haven of peace inhabited by the incredibly warm Kanak people. It is often nicknamed l'"île la plus proche du paradis" (the closest island to Paradise) and is famous for snorkeling and scuba diving in and around its colorful lagoon.

Le Rocher Sacré de la baie de Kanuméra sur l'île des Pins
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HeroTravel Posted on September 16, 2013
Isle of Pines is a paradisiac island. I went there last year and it is definitively the most beautiful island I have ever visited!

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