New Caledonia (New Caledonia)

Languages: French

Currencies: XPF · CFP franc (₣)

Capitol: Nouméa

Continents: Oceania

More useful information

Area: 18,575km2

Population: 271,960

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: No

United Nations member: No

IDD Prefix: +687

Timezones: UTC+11:00

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Last updated on May 16, 2024

When I was flying to New Caledonia I knew almost nothing about the country! One of the best things of New Caledonia is the island(s) are still relatively undiscovered, which makes it a perfect destination for traveler like me – off the beaten touristic paths 😉 

Well, there are few prons and cons in respect of these paradise islands, but definitely they are worth visiting at least once in your lifetime. New Caledonia is home to the world’s largest lagoon, surrounded by the second longest coral reef! No wonder snorkeling in New Caledonia Barrier Reef in Pacific Waters is one of the most stunning adventures you can live on the island. There are many tropical islands around, so let me guide you on best spots to explore the underwater world of New Caledonia.

Fantastic snorkeling in New Caledonia Barrier Reef.

Snorkeling in New Caledonia Barrier Reef.

Grande Terre is the main island of New Caledonia, but the whole archipelago spreads across over 140 tropical islands. 

New Caledonia is French oversees territory and the official language is French, however in big cities people also speak basic English.

Noumea – is the capital and biggest port of the country. And this is from where you will be embarking to reach surrounding islands for a half or full day trip. 

For full travel advise check my: Travel Guide to New Caledonia. 

Full travel guide for New Caledonia – home to world’s largest lagoon.

Snorkeling in Amedee Island - the Snake Island.

In my opinion snorkeling in Amedee Island is the best experience of all. The surrounding coral reef is mind blowing. Ask local tour operators they will tell you the same – want a best snorkeling – take a tour to Amedee Island. Besides, it’s a magnificent island to spend a day on with tiny island bar, picnic areas and free sunbeds along the beach. 

Amedee Island island is best known for the Lighthouse and Sea Snakes (not aggresive but highly poisonous). Check my full guide from a full-day tour to Amedee Lighthouse Island – things to know before you GO: What to do on Amedee Island the Snake Island. 

Escape to tropical paradise of New Caledonia – What to do in Amedee Island, the snake island.

The easiest way to get to the island is booking one of the half or full-day tours. It takes 40-55 minutes to reach the island by a speed boat (depending on a sea conditions). One of the best tour options to Amedee Island with hotel pick up and drop off, including welcome drinks and lunch buffet is Amedee Lighthouse full-day excursion.

If you are seeking for a private tour, there isn’t a better option than top rated Amedee Island and Outer Reef Half-Day Private Water Taxi Tour from Noumea.

How expensive is New Caledonia?

That’s a very good question and it’s worth to know this before coming to New Caledonia.. not like me knowing nothing about the country. New Caledonia is expensive, maybe even more expensive than Australia. However Vanuatu in opinion is way more expensive than New Caledonia. 

There are just few budget accomodation options on the main island but if you’re planning to stay on smaller islands that’s going to be expensive. 

Basic shopping will be at least $50, lunch $15-20. Good news is there are many supermarkets: Auchan, Carrefour, Decathlon, in case you need snorkeling equipment or sun lotion. 

Best news is snorkeling in New Caledonia is one of the cheapest attractions, full-day boat trip to nearby islands will cost you $50-$100, $150 for luxury trip. 

Fantastic snorkeling in New Caledonia Barrier Reef.

Snorkeling in Isle of Pines.

Isle of Pines is the most famous paradise island of the archipelago, known for its white sandy beaches and turquoise shallow waters, making it perfect spot for snorkeling in New Caledonia. 

There are two ways to get to Isle of Pines:

  • By BOAT (2.5h boat trip from Noumea port),
  • By FLIGHT (30 minutes flight from Noumea).

The island is surrounded by a coral reef, Oro Bay the most popular snorkeling spot – is home to a wide range of marine species: colourful fish, turtles, rays and even sharks. 

Two amazing accommodation options on the island:

isle-of-pines, south pacific.

Turtle Tour to Signal Island.

Signal Island is very popular snorkeling destination. It’s a charming, quiet white-sand island, where you can easily spot turtles and reef fish in the reef corals. It only takes 30 minutes to go from Noumea to Signal Island.

Snorkeling in Ilot Maitre.

Ilot Maître is a small island located just off the coast of Nouméa, surrounded by a protected marine reserve with excellent snorkeling area. It’s a great destination for a half-day tour. Snorkeling Conditions are generally good in clear and calm waters. You’ll be able to admire colorful corals, tropical fish, sea turtles, and occasionally rays and small sharks. 

Remember conditions can vary depending on the weather and tide, but normally tour operators will be able to advise best times to snorkel.

Fantastic snorkeling in New Caledonia Barrier Reef.

Baie des Citrons Beach in Noumea.

If you want to stay on the island there are many beautiful beaches on the south of Noumea. There’s a lovely coastal route, which I took to travel around the peninsula. 

The Baie des Citrons Beach is located few kilometres from Nouméa Port (you can take a local bus to get there). The bay offers a really nice snorkeling experience, including sea turtles and colorful fish. The bay is also known for its clear waters, which ensures great visibility. 

Fantastic snorkeling in New Caledonia Barrier Reef.

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Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!