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When you first dock on the idyllic island of Maré, it might feel like you’re stepping onto a little slice of heaven. This untouched paradise, located in the eastern area of the New Caledonia archipelago, is full of breathtaking vistas, blissful beaches, and unique natural wonders.
On a Maré cruise, marvel at glistening aquamarine rock pools and spectacular landscapes of rocky cliffs and verdant forests against the bright blue ocean. Take a swim in its gentle, crystal-clear waters, or embark on a scenic hike that ends in one of the island’s hidden beaches. Discover the tranquility of Maré on a South Pacific cruise with Celebrity Cruises®.
Head to the stunning Natural Aquarium, a pristine rock pool near the ocean that’s connected to the seawater by a cave. Gaze into the aqua-blue lagoon and admire the vibrant coral reefs and colorful fish that populate this natural attraction.
Learn all about an island legend at Warrior’s Leap, a towering crevice located almost 100 feet above the water. According to local folklore, a persecuted warrior jumped over this 22-foot gap in order to escape his enemies, who tried to do the same but plunged into the ocean below. While you shouldn’t attempt to make the jump yourself, this cliffside destination is the perfect place to enjoy unrivaled views of the area’s stunning landscapes during your cruise to Maré Island.
Maré is mostly known for its breathtaking beaches, and while they’re all beautiful, each of them offers something unique. If you’re looking for quality snorkeling, go to Pede Beach, where deeper waters await, or Yedjele Beach, where you’ll see colorful fish in its enclosed lagoon. If you’re longing to relax on the pristine white sands of the South Pacific, then head to either Wabao or Kurine, where you can curl up with a good book and enjoy the cool ocean breeze.
Make your way through the island’s lush forests on a guided hike that will lead you to the spectacular Shabadran Terraces, a secluded beach that is accessible only by foot. Dip your toes in the powdery white sand and take a refreshing dip in the crystalline waters surrounded by rocky cliffs and verdant trees. You’ll feel as if you were lounging on your own private island.
If you want a break from the sun during your Maré cruise, consider a stroll around the village of La Roche. Stop by the Yeiwene Yeiwene Cultural Center and see exhibits and artifacts about the local tribes and customs. Visit the Hnaenedr stone wall, an ancient structure said to date back to the year 250 AD. Or, depending on which day you’re in port, scour the stalls of the local market that pops up twice a week.
On Maré Island, South Pacific flavors meld with French cuisine, as is the case on the rest of the New Caledonia islands. For a taste of the local favorites, order a plate of bougna, a dish made from chicken, lobster, or fish wrapped in banana leaves and cooked on top of hot rocks. Fans of shellfish will want to try the coconut crab, a species found only within the Loyalty Islands, where Maré Island is located.
Maré, which was previously known as Nengone Island, is the highest of the New Caledonia archipelago, standing over 450 feet above the water. It was originally colonized by France in 1866. Less than 7,000 live on the island, and most of the locals speak Nengoné, an indigenous language that is spoken in other islands around the South Pacific.
The Maré cruise port is located in Tadine, the main town on the island, located on the western coast.
Since it is a small island, there aren’t many transportation options available in Maré. Therefore, most of your sightseeing will be done either on foot or on a private bus shuttle.
Part of the beauty of Maré is that it has been unspoiled by major stores and buildings. In this slice of untouched paradise, shopping is limited to local market stalls in the villages and the artisan vendors selling trinkets by the beach.
The local currency in Maré is the Pacific Franc, although Australian Dollars are also widely accepted. Plan on having some cash on hand during your visit, as credit card use on the island is limited. Tipping is not expected in New Caledonia, but you can always round up when paying your bill if you wish to leave a little something extra.