There is no sign on the road, in the District de Medu, to show you where the trail to the Pethoen Cave begins. You just have to use the tourism map of Mare prepared by Destination Loyalty Islands to get to the approximate area and either ask someone or look for a place alongside the road where cars have pulled off to park. The trail is not marked and leads through a lush green forest to this remarkable fresh water pond beneath a thousand stalagmites. The water is icy cold and crystal clear with a glorious deep blue color. Float on your back and look out through the cave opening at the leaves of the jungle - the intensity of the green is awesome.
Pethoen Caves is one of several limestone caves on Mare Island in the Southern Loyalty Islands. Mare is an uplifted coral reef atoll and riddled with ancient coral cliffs and caves. Discover more about Mare on the Rocket Travel Guide to New Caledonia
Mare Island is the southernmost of the four Loyalty Islands in New Caledonia. It is an uplifted coral atoll with jagged cliffs on the southern shores 130 metres high. The center of the island, the ancient lagoon, is flat and there are several caves and sink-holes - some with salt water and others with fresh water. Air Caledonie offers two flights a day to Mare - a 40 minute flight. There is also a 3.5 hour high speed ocean going catamaran Betico II. There is just one Mare hotel, the Nengone Village Hotel, one Gite, two tribal stays, and one camping ground. The primary attraction for visitors are the wilderness walks, the snorkelling, the lovely beaches, and the festivals. There is no public transport on Mare but there are small tour buses, taxis, and rental car agencies. The island is small enough that you can also rent a bicycle and visit many of the main tourism destinations. As in all the Loyalty Islands the people speak their own local Melanesian language plus French.