One of Vanuatu’s tropical jewels, the island of Espiritu Santo is the biggest island in the Vanuatu archipelago. It is commonly known as ‘Santo’. There are no crowded streets, high buildings or haggling street sellers; instead Santo remains a peaceful and idyllic spot where traditional island life can be experienced.
The island is characterised by a wild and rugged beauty; tropical, impenetrable jungle, stunning beaches, picture perfect rivers and small traditional villages where the residents live as they have for countless generations. Here you’ll find simple, outdoor kitchens with dirt floors, meals cooked over open fires and the happiest smiles you’ve ever seen.
It’s possible to visit virtually untouched villages which will truly take you back thousands of years.
Santo has been well known as a diving destination but is now being discovered anew by families, nature lovers and adventurers.
The temperature is in the mid 20’s year round so it’s always perfect, even when it’s raining. In ‘winter’ you may want a lightweight long sleeved top in the evenings.
Once in Santo you are spoiled for choice for things to do. Your holiday can be as relaxing or as packed with adventure as you desire. Relax on gorgeous, pristine Champagne Beach, uncrowded and perfectly delightful. Or hike up into the wilds of the jungle with a barefooted guide whose feet grasp the earth like an old friend. Visit the local market and eat traditional food at the stalls, or dine out at one of the many delightful restaurants at the resorts dotted across the island.
For the nature lovers there are short bush walks and longer jungle treks through landscapes that will take your breath away. Two stunning conservation parks preserve flora and fauna and are visited by birdwatchers from all over the world.
Relaxing is easy in a place known for its laid back hospitality and amazing coastal scenery. You never know what little gems are to be found around every corner of the island Luganville is Espiritu Santo’s capital; it is little more than a small town albeit very important as it is the only one. It is situated on the south of the island and is the only place where you can do shopping or complete business of any kind. There’s a supermarket, a local fruit and vegetable market, hardware stores, cafes and restaurants, banks (ANZ, Westpac – both with ATM’s), government departments and more. You can access the internet here.
The rest of the island is dotted with small villages which are mostly self-sufficient with their own vegetable gardens, chickens and pigs.
From Luganville there are three ‘main’ roads though only the east coast road is sealed.
One road runs along the south coast for about 40km and ends at the village of Tasiriki. South Santo is a farming area specialising in cattle, copra and spices such as vanilla and chilli.
A second road goes inland through the middle of the island to the many villages of the Fanafo, Butmas and Palon areas.
The third road goes along the east coast of Santo, following the island coastline all the way to the village of Port Olry. It is along this road that many of Santo’s attractions are found, including the Matevulu Blue Hole, Ri Ri Blue Hole, Jackie’s Blue Hole, Suranda Bay, Peterson Bay, Turtle Bay, Santo’s golf course, Champagne Beach and Lonnoc. This road is fringed by many white sand beaches and beautiful little bays and coves. It is also along this road that you will find Turtle Bay Lodge. We are about 24km from town and 3km from the blue holes.