Destination

South Pacific

Destination Vanuatu Paradise logo
29th edition
        2019

10

 

 

 

Espiritu Santo:
        Go & Explore!

 

The island of Santo is mainly famous for
its dive sites, its breathtaking beaches,
its unspoiled & generous nature and, its
history marked by the World War II...

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

10

 


On the way out to Port-Olry

For keen divers, you simply cannot miss out on a dive on the famous wreck of the SS President Coolidge. This 200 m long American luxury passenger liner converted into a troop carrier sank in 1942 after hitting one of its own mines as it was about to enter the Segond Channel with more than 5000 troops on board. Now declared a Marine Reserve, it is famous throughout the world as being one of the most accessible ship wrecks anyone can explore.

Another divers’ must is Million Dollar Point, where the Americans dumped thousands of tons of equipment and machinery into the sea at the end of World War II. Don’t forget that Santo offers world-class reef dives close by.
As you drive east, you will come across Million Dollar Point then Santo Golf Club in the Bay of Palekula. If you drive north from Luganville, you will pass the Agricultural College, Surunda Plantation, then the VARTC (Vanuatu Agricultural Research & Technical Centre), specialising in the plantation of cocoa and coffee, both sold commercially.

Blue Holes 

Further along the east-coast road, don’t miss the Ri Ri River Blue Holes where locals will take you on dug-out canoes, Matevulu, and Jacquie’s, nor the wonderful aspect you get just before veering off towards Champagne Beach. The northern part of the island is quite magnificent and the islands”  

 

 

 known as “Dolphin” and “Elephant are quite distinctive. A bit further on, you'll find Champagne Beach and Lonnoc Beach Bungalows, which has its own beautiful beach.

After stopping off at Little Paradise Restaurant at beautiful Port Olry, you can continue your drive north right up to Sakao Peninsula or alternatively, join up with the road to Big Bay (Matantas).
The descent towards Matantas Bay is spectacular. Travellers are advised to drive slowly through the village, and stop at a small place called Bay of Illusion Bungalow, where you can have lunch and walk to the bay. They can take you on a tour to the “Queiros” statue erected in 2006 to mark the 400th anniversary of his discovery, and to Vanuatu’s model national park, the Vatthe National Conservation Area.

 

 

 

 

 

 


This is a true eco-tourism destination, with various activities and basic accommodation.
The 2300 ha protected virgin forest extends right down to the beach of Big Bay where Captain de Queiros landed his ships in 1606.You can follow the road from Turtle Bay to Fanafo to visit Jimmy Stevens’ village and Vil Vil cultural village.

Direction Tassiriki

Drive on past Coral Quays Resort, where the tarsealed road becomes a coral dirt road – you might require 4WD – past Vanuatu’s largest cattle farm “Milai plantation”, then more cattle farms and coconut plantations, over

 

rivers and creeks – some of the bridges may be a bit dicey. Stop alongside a black sand beach where some dug-out canoes lie, and across the water, you will see Tangoa island. Swimming here is not recommended, sharks are known to lurk around this area.

After Tangoa, you will drive over several rivers, including the Wylapa, but crossing the Navaka river could be difficult as there is no bridge and there are many pebbles at the bottom. Observe the flow of water, it is up to you to decide whether to cross to the other side or turn back. If you are able to cross the river, there is a beautiful pebble beach at Ipayato village, you can ask permission to visit. It will take approximately two and half hours from town to Tassiriki village, the gateway point for the west coast, accessible only by boat. The village women make pretty woven baskets.

Take a boat ride to Wusi village, famous for its pottery, then further north to Karepua village to climb Vanuatu’s highest mountain Tabwemasana. These villages have no phone connection, so the only way to contact them is by coconut telegraph.

Direction Nambel village

Visiting an extraordinary cave called 'Millennium Cave', passing through bamboo bridges and ladders, making your way through the virgin forest, passing through huge caves and down a river in a skiff, is one of the must-do activities while in Santo.

 

 


 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Espiritu Santo: Go & Explore!

The island of Santo is mainly famous for its dive sites, its breathtaking beaches, its unspoiled & generous nature and, its history marked by the World War II...

On the way out to Port-Olry

For keen divers, you simply cannot miss out on a dive on the famous wreck of the SS President Coolidge. This 200 m long American luxury passenger liner converted into a troop carrier sank in 1942 after hitting one of its own mines as it was about to enter the Segond Channel with more than 5000 troops on board. Now declared a Marine Reserve, it is famous throughout the world as being one of the most accessible ship wrecks anyone can explore.

Another divers’ must is Million Dollar Point, where the Americans dumped thousands of tons of equipment and machinery into the sea at the end of World War II. Don’t forget that Santo offers world-class reef dives close by.
As you drive east, you will come across Million Dollar Point then Santo Golf Club in the Bay of Palekula. If you drive north from Luganville, you will pass the Agricultural College, Surunda Plantation, then the VARTC (Vanuatu Agricultural Research & Technical Centre), specialising in the plantation of cocoa and coffee, both sold commercially.

Blue Holes 

Further along the east-coast road, don’t miss the Ri Ri River Blue Holes where locals will take you on dug-out canoes, Matevulu, and Jacquie’s, nor the wonderful aspect you get just before veering off towards Champagne Beach. The northern part of the island is quite magnificent and the islands” known as “Dolphin” and “Elephant are quite distinctive. A bit further on, you'll find Champagne Beach and Lonnoc Beach Bungalows, which has its own beautiful beach.

After stopping off at Little Paradise Restaurant at beautiful Port Olry, you can continue your drive north right up to Sakao Peninsula or alternatively, join up with the road to Big Bay (Matantas).
The descent towards Matantas Bay is spectacular. Travellers are advised to drive slowly through the village, and stop at a small place called Bay of Illusion Bungalow, where you can have lunch and walk to the bay. They can take you on a tour to the “Queiros” statue erected in 2006 to mark the 400th anniversary of his discovery, and to Vanuatu’s model national park, the Vatthe National Conservation Area.

This is a true eco-tourism destination, with various activities and basic accommodation.
The 2300 ha protected virgin forest extends right down to the beach of Big Bay where Captain de Queiros landed his ships in 1606.You can follow the road from Turtle Bay to Fanafo to visit Jimmy Stevens’ village and Vil Vil cultural village.

Direction Tassiriki

Drive on past Coral Quays Resort, where the tarsealed road becomes a coral dirt road – you might require 4WD – past Vanuatu’s largest cattle farm “Milai plantation”, then more cattle farms and coconut plantations, over rivers and creeks – some of the bridges may be a bit dicey. Stop alongside a black sand beach where some dug-out canoes lie, and across the water, you will see Tangoa island. Swimming here is not recommended, sharks are known to lurk around this area.

After Tangoa, you will drive over several rivers, including the Wylapa, but crossing the Navaka river could be difficult as there is no bridge and there are many pebbles at the bottom. Observe the flow of water, it is up to you to decide whether to cross to the other side or turn back. If you are able to cross the river, there is a beautiful pebble beach at Ipayato village, you can ask permission to visit. It will take approximately two and half hours from town to Tassiriki village, the gateway point for the west coast, accessible only by boat. The village women make pretty woven baskets.

Take a boat ride to Wusi village, famous for its pottery, then further north to Karepua village to climb Vanuatu’s highest mountain Tabwemasana. These villages have no phone connection, so the only way to contact them is by coconut telegraph.

Direction Nambel village

Visiting an extraordinary cave called 'Millennium Cave', passing through bamboo bridges and ladders, making your way through the virgin forest, passing through huge caves and down a river in a skiff, is one of the must-do activities while in Santo.