Easo, Lifou, New Caledonia
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Journey through the sights and sounds of the South Pacific during this lovely half-day visit to Lifou's beautiful north end.
Begin with a relaxing drive through Easo Village -- a seaside settlement with breathtaking panoramic views of jewel-toned Santal Bay. High up on the steep cliffs rests Notre Dame de Lourdes -- a historic chapel constructed in 1898 by Catholic missionaries. Notice the iron statue of Our Lady of Lourdes standing tall on the chapel's roof.
Continue across the narrow neck of the island and kick back as you travel along roads lined with thick, leafy trees and shady palms swaying in the breeze. Wind your way through Xepenehe -- a coastal village with vibrant blue-green water, hand-carved totems and a charming white bridge arching between jagged rocks. Here, and in the settlement of Komo, take in the traditional houses and their cheerful gardens basking in the sun.
In the delightful village of Hnathalo, you'll be welcomed with a cool, invigorating drink of fresh coconut water. Walk through the village with your guide for a sense of what it's like to live in this serene Melanesian setting. Traditional homes and colorful flowerbeds thrive in the island's temperate conditions. In a garden behind the chief's house, marvel at the Grand Case -- the largest chief's hut in all of New Caledonia, with an enormous thatched roof and open fireplace.
Explore the St Pierre Baptist Church -- a rustic chapel built by missionaries in 1883. Relish time to wander through the village on your own and browse for souvenirs and handicrafts made by locals.
On the journey back to port, take in the vibrant greens and blues, from sea to sky, through the open windows of the island-style bus.
Local custom requires removing hats and shoes before entering the house. Wear light clothing and comfortable walking shoes; bring a hat and sunscreen. Modest attire is required for visiting local villages; knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered; short shorts and swimwear are not allowed. It is important to ask permission before taking an individual's photograph. The bus is neither air-conditioned nor equipped with a PA system. Local escorts and students will act as guides. Your guide will do his/her best to speak English, but please keep in mind that the limited tourism infrastructure here is part of Lifou's charm, and bear with any language difficulties he/she may encounter. Restroom facilities will be rustic.