Isle of Pines (today part of New Caledonia) was named by Capt. James Cook when he discovered it as a first European. Tree-rich shores of this isle where not palms, but pines are the most common evidently charmed him. For most people the symbol of paradise island always includes sand beaches with palm trees in the background. Île des Pins is different in this matter. Its native, very tall, evergreen New Caledonian pine trees (araucaria columnaris, genus of coniferous tree) overwhelm palms and make this place unusual in its expression. One of its kind with just a few tourists around, plenty of coral reefs, white sand beaches and shallow turquoise water, Ile des Pins is simply beautiful.