Espiritu Santo:  Vanuatu largest island 

 

It is the largest island in the Vanuatu archipelago, Espiritu Santo is an unreal paradise for nature lovers. Tucked away and untouched by mass tourism, its landscapes are idyllic and still really wild. This island has approximately 40,000 inhabitants and stretches 60km from south to north and 50km from east to west. The only airport on the island is located in Luganville, it has direct flights to Australia and New Zealand.

Luganville isn’t all that interesting except that it’s the only place on the island where you will find food shops. There is only one paved road and it spans across the entire East Coast from Luganville in the south all the way to Port Olry in the north.

 

Espiritu Santo Location Guide

Port Olry : A small French fishermen village

 

Located on the north end of the island, this small fishing community is your typical Vanuatu village. The locals were extremely welcoming. In the village you will find bungalows through the entrance on the right side of “Chez Louis”.

They are quite impressive because they were built into huge trees! It costs about 40 euros to spend the night here. The white sandy beach and palm trees make this a perfect place to relax.

espiritu santo vanuatu

vanuatu espiritu santo

vanuatu beach espiritu santo

 

The most beautiful beaches of Santo : Lonnoc and Champagne Beach

 

 About 12km south of Port Olry, you will find the amazing Lonnoc and Champagne Beaches. They are the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen in Vanuatu. With the clearest of water and coral reefs suitable for snorkelling, it makes this place a piece of heaven. In Lonnoc the ‘Lonnoc Beach Bungalows’ and ‘Lonnoc Beach Lodge’ are great if you want to spend the night there.

To gain access to Champagne Beach you will have to pay about 4 euros (500 vatu). Lonnoc Beach however is free.

espiritu santo vanuatu

espiritu santo vanuatu

espiritu santo vanuatu

 

 

The amazing Espiritu Santo blue holes

 

Espiritu Santo has numerous cavities called ‘Blue Holes’. The water here has a blue translucent shade. The forest surrounding them makes it place look like you’re in the ‘Jungle Book’. I’d definitely recommend ‘Riri Blue Hole’ and ‘Matevulu Blue Hole’ – that are really beautiful.

They are located quite near to the other (25 min walk) and are about 18km north of Luganville on the East Coast. Entry is 4 euros (500 vatus) per person.

 

 Oyster Island

Oyster Island is a great place for a day trip. There are several beaches on the island as well as multiple bungalows and restaurants for lunch. Oyster Island is quite expensive so if you are traveling on a budget I would not suggest spending the night.

However if price is not an issue it will costs around 100 euro per night. Otherwise, you can ask a manager with a big smile if you can pitch your tent for the night on their property like I did. If he’s in good mood he will probably accept.

The island is located a few hundred meters from the shore of “Riri” and “Matevulu” Blue holes. To get there you can rent canoes and make your own way to Oyster Island quite easily.

Vanuatu Espiritu Santo

An interesting fact about the island, to get there you have to go to the opposite shore of the island and ring a huge bell . One of the Resort employees will pick you up by boat to take you across.

 

Discover the remains of World War II in Vanuatu

During the Second World War and after the attack on Pearl Harbor , Americans settled in several strategic locations in the Pacific Ocean, including Vanuatu. Nowadays we can observe around the archipelago and the remains of that era.

Million dollars Bay

 

During the Second World War and after the attack on Pearl Harbor , Americans settled in several strategic locations in the Pacific Ocean, including Vanuatu. Nowadays we can observe around the archipelago and the remains of that era.

I do not dive but to give you a frame of reference, here is an aerial view I have taken where we can see distinctly one of two shipwrecks.

vanuatu espiritu santo

 

Efate and Port Vila: The Vanuatu Heart

 

Located in the center of Vanuatu, Efate Island hosts the country’s capital Port Vila . After arriving in Vanuatu exhausted, I still motivated myself to explore the island’s countless natural sites.

 

Efate location guide

 

Mele Waterfalls

Located just a few kilometres from Port Vila centre. The Mele Waterfalls waterfalls, with their crystal clear water, are unbelievable and are one of the major tourist attractions of the island. The entrance is a fifteen minute walk from the main waterfalls and throughout the way you will see different natural pools where you can swim. Entrance fees are 2000 vatu (16 euros) and I would suggest you to get there in the morning because the sun passes other the hill in the afternoon and it quickly gets cold in the shade.

 

The Summit Garden

 

Located close to the Mele Waterfalls, the Summit Garden is a nice and affordable place for lunch. Nestled in a lush gardens you will find a restaurant with a breathtaking overlook view on the bay. After the bus drops you at the bottom of the hill and you will have to walk up to access the gardens. The climb is short ( about 30 minutes) but very steep. Otherwise you can get a taxi from Port Vila to save you the effort.

 

 

Efate Blue Lagoon

 

Just like the Espiritu Santo blue holes,The Efate Blue Lagoon is an advanced ocean inland with clear waters. You can get there by bus (500 vatus/4 euros) from Port Vila or between 3,000 and 4,000 vatu by taxi (25-30 euros).

Entrance fee is 500 vatus.

vanuatu blue lagoon efate 

 

Hideaway Island

 

This private island just 20 minutes from Port Vila is known for its beautiful beaches and amazing diving spot . The crossing from Efate is made by boat and you will find a resort on the island to eat and spend a night if you’re interested.

 


 

Tips to discover Vanuatu

 

  • Best time to visit: There are two seasons in Vanuatu: the rainy season that runs from December to April and the dry season from May to November. 
    If possible, avoid February / March when the rainy season is in full swing. Vanuatu is unfortunately one of the countries that is often hit by cyclones in the Pacific. I recommend to research the weather thoroughly before you get there

     

  •  Flying to Vanuatu : Because of its location and of the few number of airlines connecting to get to to Vanuatu from Europe, prices are approximately (1500/2000 euros).
    For great deals I suggest getting a return flight to Australia,that you can easily find around 800 euros. Flights from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne will operate direct links to Vanuatu with Air Vanuatu and Fiji Airways.

     

  • How long should you visit? You should allow yourself two to three weeks minimum in order to discover Vanuatu and have sufficient time to see several islands of the archipelago.

 

  • Currency: Vatu / 1 euro = 122 vatus.

 

  • Where should you stay in Vanuatu ? You can easily find on Efate and Espiritu Santo touristic accommodation. Visit Tripadvisor or booking.com to get information .

 

  • Camper in Vanuatu? I Had found some information on the subject and accommodation in Vanuatu can be expensive. I brought with me a tent and camping mattress. All places where I asked if I could set up my tent allowed me to do so. As an example, I paid 1000 vatu (8 euros) a night at “Lonnoc Beach Bungalow” and Oyster Island Resort allowed me to free camp on the beach. So it was a good way to save money on accommodation.

 

  • How do you travel around ? 

 

On Espiritu Santo: there is a public shuttle bus that does the North-South road two times per day. It cost 500 vatus (4 euros).

The stop is in front of the only Luganville petrol station. There are also many taxi drivers but the cost is higher, between 3,000 and 5,000 vatu (30-40 euros) for the same trip.

 

On Efate: public buses are basically a nine seated shuttle bus that crisscross the city according to the desired destination of passengers. There are many of them throughout the day.
To get one is very simple, flag them down, it will stop, tell him your destination and it will cost you 150 vatu (1.20) whatever your destination, 500 meters or more.

 

between islands: There is a boat called Big Sista that does Efate to Espiritu Santo (and vice-versa) two times a week and stops on different islands along the way. 
This is one day trip and it costs 8000 vatus (65 euros). You can also fly between the different islands with Air Vanuatu for a higher cost (120 euros from Espiritu Santo to Efate / one way ).

 

  • How to withdraw money? There are ATMs distributors almost exclusively on Port Vila and Luganville so remember to get enough cash when you get there.