|Another Time, Another Pace
Vanuatu is a “Y”-shaped chain of 83 islands lying 2500km northeast of Sydney (Australia), 2000km north of Auckland (New Zealand) and 800km west of Nadi (Fiji). The total land mass is around 13,000 sq. km. The islands range in topography from towering volcanic cones, dense rainforest to raised coral islands with wide beaches and deep natural harbors.
The people of Vanuatu, a name that means ‘Land Eternal’, are predominantly Melanesian. The Ni Vanuatu have populated these islands for centuries and with more than 115 distinctly different cultures and languages still thriving here, Vanuatu is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world.
There are small communities of French, British, Australian, New Zealand, Vietnamese, Chinese and other Pacific Islands people living in harmony with the Ni Vanuatu. Until 1980 Vanuatu, then known as the New Hebrides, was jointly administered by France and Great Britain as a ‘Condominium’.
Your Gateway – Port Vila
Port Vila is sandwiched between a magnificent natural harbour offering stunning views of Iririki and Ifira islands on one side and two turquoise lagoons on the other. Efate has a rugged coastline and rolling verdant countryside, fast flowing rivers, waterfalls, isolated sandy bays and lagoons. Much of the interior is impenetrable rainforest.
Numerous activities are available in and around Port Vila, from scuba diving, windsurfing, snorkeling and catamaran sailing to sea kayak adventure tours, horse back riding and helicopter flights. The town has an attractive marketplace and the French cafes and restaurants give it a slightly continental flavour.
Erakor Island Resort - Surrounded by white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, Erakor is only minutes from the mainland by a free 24-hour shuttle and just 5 minutes to Port Vila, this 16 acre unspoiled island paradise offers you true “seclusion without isolation.”
Hideaway Island – A charming island resort set in beautiful Mele Bay offering oceanfront bungalows, lodge units and shared accommodations. Just 15 minutes from Port Vila and 10 minutes from the airport, the resort is built from local materials and blends well with its tropical garden setting.
Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu - Formerly Le Meridien and recently renovated, this resort overlooks the tranquil waters of Erakor Lagoon. Only 5 minutes from Vila, it has 150 air conditioned rooms with balconies overlooking either a garden or lagoon view and 10 deluxe over water bungalows.
Iririki Island Resort - A haven of privacy and under-stated elegance occupying its own island in the heart of Port Vila Harbour. Here you can watch million dollar sunsets while sipping cocktails at the poolside Bali Hai Bar. With 70 air conditioned private bungalows, each offering spectacular views of tropical gardens or harbour vistas. Just 3 minutes from town by a 24 hour private ferry.
Le Lagon – Situated on 75 acres of tropical gardens alongside the turquoise and crystal clear waters of Erakor Lagoon with views of the Pacific Ocean. All rooms and bungalows offer garden or lagoon views and open out to furnished patios or balcony’s just perfect for enjoying one of the South Pacific’s finest tropical settings.
Poppy’s On The Lagoon – Located on the shores of Erakor Lagoon, just a 15 minute walk into town. Soak in the rays on a private white sand beach, cool off in the lagoon or 1 of the 2 pools. Poppy’s offers a wide range of accommodations for every price range.
Mangoes Resort – A kid free resort with views of Erakor lagoon from your own balcony. Sample an array of local and international gourmet delights, sip on exotic cocktails by the pool and be part of a range of exciting yet relaxing holiday activities.
Vanair flies to Santo from Port Vila three times daily. Santo is Vanuatu’s largest island in size and is fascinating in its diversity. Here Vanuatu’s highest mountain, Mount Tabwemasana rises out of the dense vegetation covering the entire chain, which runs along the full length of the western side of the island.
Scuba divers are drawn by the famous wrecks and spectacular marine life.
SS Tucker - This US destroyer was the first ship to fire against the Japanese during the Pearl Harbour attack. On the 3rd of August 1942 she was delivered a fatal blow by a ‘friendly’ mine on her approach to Santo. Torn in two she now lies in 23 metres of water on a sandy bottom. Her location makes her a fantastic dive for any level of diver.
SS President Coolidge – The largest most accessible wreck dive in the world and considered by many to be the best wreck dive! The SS President Coolidge was a luxury liner launched in February 1931 and was converted to a troop carrier during WW2. While entering the Santo Harbor she hit two ‘friendly’ mines on October 26, 1942. Structurally intact, you can swim through the many holds and decks viewing the numerous remainders of both her luxury liner days as well as her war history.
Deco Stop Lodge - Wake up every morning looking out at the ocean. Situated on a an acre of land overlooking the Segond Canal, Deco Stop Lodge has 11 units, catering mainly towards divers. It’s just a 10 minute walk into town. All rooms have private facilities.
Hotel Santo – 5 minutes from the airport, the hotel is located in the heart of Luganville close to the shops, the banks and the market. An ideal base for scuba divers, as the dive operators are all located nearby and you will be picked up and dropped off after each dive. The Coolidge is a mere 5 minutes from the town center. Hotel Santo is a handy base for all Santo sights. All rooms have private facilities and direct dial telephones.
Aore Island Resort – Located on Aore Island, just 1 miles across the water from Santo. Aore sits on a superb tropical waterfront, with a picturesque backdrop of coconut palms and lush tropical jungle. The resort has 18 bungalows, all with large balconies overlooking the beach and ocean.
Bokissa Eco Island Resort – Situated on 175 acres of unspoilt tropical rainforest and palm fringed beaches. With only a maximum of 35 guests on the island at any one time, Bokissa is a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty Vanuatu has to offer.
Coral Quays – Located on San Michel Bay, blending into six acres of tropical gardens, this low key resort offers 18 light and airy bungalows, all with ceiling fans. Explore the bay with the resorts Sea Kayaks, feed the fish or dive amongst the magnificent corals, all from the resorts newly constructed jetty.
Allan Power Dive Tours – For over 30 years Allan Powers and his crew have been taking divers onto the Coolidge to explore the many holds and decks, and to visit “The Lady.” From transportation to the dive site, to gear hire, Allan’s crew will cater to all your diving needs.
Aquamarine – Specializing in boat and shore diving the President Coolidge. Also offers instruction and guided tours to the best variety of wrecks and reefs around Santo.
Tanna is one of the most popular islands of Vanuatu for tourists because of its volcano, Mount Yasur, so easily accessible. In addition to the volcano, which is always letting off steam, Tanna offers a variety of other attractions such as the dance of the Toka, John Frum’s Village, the wild horses at White Grass, various hot springs, as well as custom dancing. There are several accommodation options while visiting Tanna: White Grass Ocean Resort, Nina’s Guest House, Tanna Evergreen Resort and Friendly Bungalows, a small resort sitting on a black sand beach, near the entrance to the volcano park.