France of Three Oceans—a wonderful show of nature

France of Three Oceans—a wonderful show of nature 98800 Noumea nc

From the hills of La Réunion to the French West Indian mangroves, from French Guyana's Amazon jungle to the dry plains of New Caladonia and the Pacific atolls, such are the exotic and promising jewels of ecotourism and nature hiking.


Beyond the coconut trees and the beautiful beaches, there are unique worlds offering a diversity of environments. A protective system and a conscious awareness of the local authorities promote this important heritage: controlled tourist planning in fragile zones, long-term development, a sanitary environment (no risk of malaria, for example). From then on, these "nature" destinations attract the French as well as the tourists from the big nearby countries (the United States for the Antilles, Asia for New Caledonia and the islands of Tahiti, South Africa for the la Réunion, etc.) Small detours...


Guadeloupe - French West Indies 

The tropical forest and volcano are part of a national park in Basse-Terre, the southern half of the island. It awards an ecotourism approval to some ten gîtes and as many tourism companies (such as sea kayaking) and places to visit (such as the carved rock archeological park and the water gardens). The isolation and small size of the island explains a fauna with a small variety, but Guadeloupe has two unique species of bats. It has an extravagant vegetation. From the peak of the volcano Soufrière (1497 meters) one can distinguish the rain forest (70 types of giant ferns and giant trees) and the mesophile forest that is dryer and competing with the banana plantations. 260 km of "traces"--marked trails are on Soufrière along with big waterfalls. The summit is accessible to a sturdy hiker but is often covered by clouds especially from December to February. The northern part of the island, Grande Terre is flat with sugarcane plantations. A natural preserve called the "grand cul-de-sac

marin" protects the lagoon and its mangrove.



  For more information:

French West Indian Cultural Association – French

Natural Park in Guadeloupe – French

Guadeloupe Regional Tourist Office – French

Grand cul-de-sac marin Reserve – French 

MartiniqueFrench West Indies 

The Natural Park covers two thirds of Martinique.  This island cousin of Guadeloupe also has a beautiful rainforest (giant gum trees, bamboos etc.) at the foot of the still active Mont Pelée (1397 meters high) where the 1902 eruption destroyed the city of Saint Pierre. There also, the "traces" --marked trails will lead you to the often cloudy top in six hours.


Other trails go to the Caribbean coves, notably along the 20 kilometers between Prêcheur and Grand Rivière. The roads explore sugar cane, banana and coco plantations and a cultural aspect to the island.


For more information:

The Natural Park of Martinique – French

Martinique Regional Tourist – French

Martinique Regional Tourist Office – English


French Guyana - South America 

On the edge of the Amazonian basin, where a jungle preserve reigns, this vast territory benefits from a regional natural park.



The somewhat negative image of clandestine gold seekers panning for gold does not overshadow the most important aspect of this region—the wild and beautiful nature.



Exploration of the area, in pirogues, often starts at Saint Laurent du Maroni in the north or at Régina in the south east. One eats and sleeps at stops under a "carbet" or simple hut with a palm roof and of course a hammock. In the night the jungle produces a thousand sounds. In the heart of the forest, the vast swamp of Kew is decorated with multicolored birds and crocodiles are lying in wait! Along the coast it is possible to see the famous Luth turtle that can reach up to 2 meters long and weigh more than 600 kilograms. However this does not prevent him from swimming thousands of miles (taking a breath only once an hour) while migrating to the North Atlantic. The beaches of French Guyana serve as the reproduction site of this rare and fragile species which is important because the Luth cannot live in captivity. The eggs are laid nearly Sinnamary and L'Amana, a natural reserve that is maintained by the World Wildlife Fund.


For more information:

Guyana Tourist Board (English site under construction)

Contact in Cayenne : 05 94 28 92 70

l'Amana nature reserve – French


La Réunion - Indian Ocean 

This little island comes from a "hot point" in the earth, a volcanic eruption isolated from the continental plates. Its main volcano, the Piton des Neiges (Snow Peak)--3069 meters, is extinct. Here there are short periods of frost and rarely snow. the second volcano, the Piton de la Fournaise, the Blazing Peak is still active and offers impressive eruptions. La Réunion has beautiful beaches and a lagoon. Its mountainous and tropical nature is ideal for the hiker and amateur naturalist.



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Les Hauts, the mountain in the center of the island presents rare landscapes: the hills of Salazie and Cilaos, very steep with great waterfalls. As for the Mafate hill, the deep basin surrounded by crests, attracts sturdy walkers who, while hiking the paths, can imagine the life of the postman or doctor in past times who traveled the route for several days at a time. Today the helicopter helps the small hamlets be less isolated. The villagers cultivate a few acres of very steep land.




The rainforest of Bébour-Bélouve is very dense because of all the precipitation—more than 11 meters of rain per year! Nearby the Takamaka and Trou de Fer canyons are deep and lined with immense rock faces and impressive waterfalls that shoot down into the forest.


The crater of the Piton de la Fournaise, which is very dry, can be crossed on foot but you must strictly follow the signs marked "securisé."  Along the coastline at Sainte Rose the waves are too rough for swimming but they don't scare the fisherman who brave the waters in small boats known as barques,


Suggested walking itineraries are available in the topographic guide of the Féderation française de randonnée (with the main routes R1 and R2) as well as gîtes and other places to stay. You can arrange the hikes on your own, but there are many local companies that can be of help.


For more information:

La Reunion Tourist Board - French 

La Maison de la Montagne, practical information – French


New CaledoniaPacific Ocean 

400 km long, the main island Grande Terre, also called New Caledonia, is surrounded by the Loyalty Islands (Lifou, Ouvéa, etc.) and is ringed by a barrier reef that creates one of the largest lagoons in the world. The marine world of New Caledonia is unique—9/10 of the 4,500 types of invertebrates are found only in these warm waters. And the exotic fish make this a big attraction for scuba divers who are estimated to do some 50,000 dives per year.



On land, the dry plains of the northwest coast, known as the savanna a insoles or the bush, has a western feel. Around Burial, there are cattle and cowboys and horseback riding ranches for tourists.


To the north of Kane is a forest that when seen from the sky appears to be heart-shaped. It is known as the Heart of Vow has been made famous in photographs.


In the south, around the major city of Nome, inspire of nickel mining, there are some 3,300 types of plants have been identified with three quarters of them being native to the island.


For more information:

info on the northern province - French

info on the southern province and Nome – French



The Islands of TahitiPacific Ocean 

Without forgetting the beautiful beaches and lagoons, where scuba diving is the best way to see the exceptional underwater nature, the big islands of the Pacific like Moore, Arietta and Tahiti also offer mountains and virgin forests. Not far from Pipette, the experienced hiker can climb Mont Aria (2066m). And the Marquises Islands are ideal for beginning adventurers. - English

Tahiti and Pacific islands

Hiking guide - French 

More information

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