Espiritu Santo is the largest of Vanuatu’s islands (4,010 km2), with some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches, amazing blue holes, caves and world renowned diving and snorkeling.
It is a little known paradise waiting to be uncovered by both diver's and non-divers. Santo offers everything - relax or picnic on white sandy beaches, dive around the SS President Coolidge, learn about culture in a Kastom village, catch marline, wahoo, Spanish mackerel, kayak from island to island on clear blue water, swim in jewel quality blue holes or marvel at bats and formations at Millennium Cave.
Things To Do
Open Monday morning to Saturday evening and located on the main street, near the Sarakata River, the town's colorful market sells fresh garden produce and handicrafts.
You can visit the Million Dollar Point where the US forces dumped hundreds of tonnes of civilian construction equipment off this historic point at the close of World War 2. It is now a watery playground for divers and snorkellers, with everything from bulldozers to trucks. Entry is charged.
Loru Park covers 220 hectares with nature walks, a bat cave and one of the last stetches of lowland forest on Espiritu Santo's east cost. Visit Port Olry where the village is built around a Catholic mission founded in 1887, or hike through Vatthe Conservation area renowned for its flora and fauna stretching across 449 miles from Big Bay to Mount Wimbo. There's a two-day trek up Mount Wimbo which provide spectacular views over Cumberland Peninsula.
The low lying islands of Malo, Aore, Tutuba and Bokisa are largely covered in coconut palms and rainforest. There are excellent diving and snorkeling spots around all of the islands and a dive centre at Bokissa and Aore Island Resort. You can also choose a slightly different adventure on Espiritu Santo involving a 3 or 5 day treks into the rainforest and a chance to live with the ni-Vanuatu people.
Dive the legendary "SS President Coolidge", a historical moment suspended in time, starting at a depth of 20 metres it's the largest wreck in the world accessible to divers from shore and only 5 minutes from the launching pad.
Lonnoc, Golden Beach and Champagne Beach have picnic spots. Entry is charged so enquire with your hotel or tour guide.
Custom (Kastom) Village
To learn about the ancient lifestyle and traditions of the locals.
Espiritu Santo was a huge military base during World War II. Local tours take in some of the relics, including Quonset huts, three bomber strip, and Million Dollar Point.
Charters to catch marlin, wahoo, Spanish mackerel, giant trevally and numerous species of Tuna including albacore and yellowfin.
Kayak from island to island enjoying the crystal clear blue water for which Santo has become renowned. Many of the resorts have kayaks available.
For a swim or a snorkel. These crystal springs are true natural wonders where crystal clear fresh water comes to the surface through layers of limestone and coral producing water of jewel quality blue.
Walk through this 50 metre high cave full of bats, stalactites, stalagmites and water sculptured rocks. During the trek you can swim in waterfalls, take time out for a picnic in a tropical rainforest and swim down the river in a tropical gorge.
Getting there and getting around
Air Vanuatu flies direct to Espiritu Santo once a week from Brisbane and Sydney. Air Vanuatu also flies from Port Vila to Espiritu Santo daily. It is a 45 minute flight from Port Vila. For details and schedules, visit the Air Vanuatu website
Most hotels and resorts will organise tours and transfers where required. There are local buses and taxis to take you around if you negotiate the rate before setting off. Car and scooter hire is available in Luganville. You will need to be at least 23 years old and have held a licence for over a year.
Things You Should Know
- Allow 1 hour and 30 minutes for for check-in time for all domestic flights. There is a provincial departure tax of 200 VT per person at each domestic airport after your check-in.
- Always reconfirm your flights with the local Air Vanuatu agent, and you can get your hotel or resort to assist you. If possible have an up to date Air Vanuatu domestic flight schedule
- Don't forget to bring your sun screen and insect repellent.
- Entry is charged for a lot of the tour locations, so if you are not sure, enquire with your hotel or tour guide.