There are no prizes for guessing how Yejele ‘Turquoise’ Beach got its name. Maré was the least commercial of the 4 islands in New Caledonia we visited on our South Pacific Cruise with Carnival Legend, yet its waters were the most alluring.
Maré is a raised coral atoll with a population of approximately 6,900 people, mainly of Melanesian heritage. It’s an island largely untouched by tourism, I saw only 1 ‘resort’ during our day there and use the term resort loosely.
A small marketplace has formed around the cruise ship schedules, however, and on the day we docked at Maré, Yejele Beach is lined with locals offering cold beers, relaxing massages and BBQ meats on skewers. We have more food than we could possibly want for available on the cruise ship but want to make the most of the chance to try something local. We opt for fresh coconut, which is priced at just 300 CFP (approximately $3) and once we’ve finished savouring the refreshing juice, the vendor split it open with a machete so we can feast on the flesh easily.
Aside from enjoying the massages (approx $15 for 30 minutes), Yejele Beach is all about soaking up the scenery and bathing in the blue waters. There are a limited number of kayaks and stand up paddle boards for hire, but most passengers have come prepared with snorkel equipment and set out to become acquainted with the marine life.
After having been on the ship for 3 days now, we are simply content to walk up and down the beach, dipping in and out of the water before finding shade under a palm tree.
Yejele Beach is a 20-minute drive from where the cruise ships tender in Tadine. You will need to purchase a bus ticket via your ship ($19.99 per adult for a return ticket on Carnival Legend). It’s probably a little too far to attempt to walk within the time you have at port, you could attempt to follow the road but be aware there are no pavements.
Australian dollars will be accepted by local vendors. A small number of souvenirs are sold near the port in addition to the food and drink at Yejele Beach. You may be given change back in the local currency.
Bring reef shoes if you have them as the coral can be tough on feet. Do try to avoid stepping on and harming the coral.
The beach will be busy in the morning (especially in the middle section where the shuttle bus drops you) but clears out around 3pm, so stay late to get an idea of how it looks normally.