(Source: the Vanuatu Tourism Office)
Espiritu Santo is the largest of Vanuatu’s islands (4,010 km2) and with some of the most beautiful white sand beaches, amazing blue holes, caves, world renowned diving and snorkelling, it is a little known paradise waiting to be uncovered. While Santo is a Mecca for dive enthusiasts it also offers breathtaking sightseeing for non-divers. Days can be spent lazing on vacant white sand beaches, snorkelling and kayaking in the crystal clear blue water, trekking through untouched rainforest or discovering an ancient and relatively unchanged culture.
During World War II 100,000 allied troops and support staff were stationed in Santo. Remnants of this time including the SS President Coolidge, a 22,000 Tonne luxury liner turned troopship which sunk just of shore, have become world renowned dive sites. Divers and snorkelers can explore ship wrecks and sites like Million Dollar Point where thousands of tonnes of war surplus were dumped in the ocean by the US, as well as amazing coral reefs and blue holes joined by underground caverns.
Air Vanuatu flies direct to Santo twice a week from Brisbane and once a week from Sydney. Air Vanuatu also flies from Port Vila to Espiritu Santo daily. It is a 45 minute flight from Port Vila.
Spend time in Luganville, the main town of Santo where there is a local market with fresh produce and local crafts, a number of bars, restaurants and tour operators.
Dive and snorkel at some of the world’s most amazing sites including Million Dollar Point, the SS President Coolidge, USS Tucker, Blue Holes, coral reefs and more.
Spend time relaxing or picnicking on the bare white sand beaches. Lonoc, Golden Beach and Champagne beach have picnic spots. Entry is charged so enquire with your hotel or tour guide.
Visit a custom (Kastom) village to learn about the ancient lifestyle and traditions of the locals.
Take one of the many fishing 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.
Visit one of Santo’s amazing blue holes for a swim or a snorkel. These holes are true natural wonder where crystal clear fresh water comes to the surface through layers of limestone and coral producing water of jewel quality blue.
Just an hour drive from Luganville, you can visit Millennium Cave and walk through this 50metre 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.
Nature lovers should take a day trek to Vatthe/Big bay Conservation Area or Loru Rainforest Protected Area for exceptional bird watching and nature tours amongst pristine rainforest. There are also treks to swim in blue pools and climbs to view beautiful vistas.