Close your eyes. When I say, “think of a tropical paradise,” is this the scene that comes to mind? Alan and I discovered the idyllic beach setting on a cruise excursion when we sailed the South Pacific on Seabourn Odyssey. This tropical scene wasn’t visible when the ship anchored outside the reef at Iles de Pins in New Caledonia. It took a tender ride and short walk across the island before we discovered the lagoon with trees that shaded the sandy beach. After spreading out towels provided by the ship, we spent a few brief hours alternating between sitting on the sand and wading in the warm water. A gentle breeze rustling through low-slung tree branches, no commercialism and sea green water that turned turquoise then indigo blue —Iles de Pins was as close as I’ve ever come to my vision of a tropical paradise.
NBC recently featured Dr. Beach’s 2012 list of the world’s best beaches. Iles de Pins wasn’t on it but plenty of my other favorites were, including Beachwalker Park, one of the beaches at Kiawah Island.