Easo, Lifou, New Caledonia
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Easo is the capital of Lifou, the largest and most populated of the Loyalty Islands. Home to around 10,000 Kanak people, it’s a simple, relatively undeveloped and largely unspoiled place, famed for two things: a sandy palm-fringed beach that fans out on either side of the main dock, and a very friendly atmosphere. Cruise ships are often welcomed to this island paradise with traditional tribal dances as well as a colorful local market that pops up to sell food, drinks and crafts. The island itself offers a diverse landscape that ranges from the steep cliffs of the northern coast to the pristine white-sand beaches and stunning turquoise waters along the southern coast. The island’s many walking paths and trails take in pretty churches—including the famous missionary chapel, the Chapelle Notre Dame de Lourdes—and pass scenic observation points, not to mention a wide variety of wildflowers and plants. Visitors can also tour vanilla plantations to learn about this venerable spice and its production, or make day trips to the nearby island of Tiga.