While the primary attraction of Maré is, without doubt, its beautiful beaches and shoreline I was also looking forward to what was touted as a ‘local market’ in Tadine, the small port village were we landed via tender from our cruise ship. I love such markets.
Having lived in both Fiji and Papua New Guinea my take on a ‘local market’ is one full of colourful tropical fruit and fresh vegetables – with an assortment of freshly caught seafood where the market is by the sea.
Alas, Tadine market contained none of this and was packed with cheap (by New Caledonian standards) and, in the main, tacky tourist souvenirs – much of which originated in China. Of course, the presence of overseas produce in supposedly local markets is not a phenomena unique to Maré. To be fair, there were some local handicrafts available and I could have got my hair braided. I passed on both offers.
For those seeking colourful island sarongs (sulas/ lap-laps), tee-shirts, fridge magnets, hair adornments and simple local handicrafts this is the place to buy them as they are much cheaper here than the equivalent articles in Noumea and, from what I could ascertain, on the Ile des Pins, the two other stops on our New Caledonia cruise.
While not what I expected, the small market was worth a look in passing and, pleasingly, there was no pressure to buy anything nor was there any issue with taking photographs.
Any time a cruise ship is in port. Outside this, I suspect it is either not open at all or very restricted in size to cater for the rare independent traveller that might pass by.
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries based on my trip to Maré, New Caledonia. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Tadine Port Bar – One for the Road – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – Maré – New Caledonia’s Hidden Gem