Things to Do Vanuatu
“We walked through villages, jungle, lots of mud, then waded through a river into a huge dark cave and finally we floated down the river through a pristine canyon – adventure Vanuatu style – hard to beat!”
Rob B. (Trip Advisor)
THINGS TO DO VANUATU
OUTDOOR ADVENTURE TOURS & ACTIVITIES ESPIRITU SANTO
Although the island of Efate and the town of Port Vila are the tourism hubs of Vanuatu and offer an amazing variety of things to do Vanuatu style, you really need to travel to the island of Espiritu Santo to experience the ultimate combination of ancient Vanuatu culture and incredible outdoor adventure. Being the largest island in Vanuatu, Espiritu Santo has it all – spectacular scenery, natural wonders, world class gamefishing, kayaking, diving, sailing & horse riding. There’s also amazing treks to caves, waterfalls, canyons and “kastom” villages that still live and practice ancient traditions stretching back thousands of years. Click here for an incredible travel blog about a hike to the interior of Espiritu Santo by adventurer Eddy Adrian-Vallance. It will make you laugh, cry and wish you were following in his footsteps. Travelling to Vanuatu will not only stimulate your brain but also keep you fit and healthy – see here why travelling is a great way to stay healthy and happy.
If you’re after comprehensive information about fishing/spearfishing, kayaking,diving, horseriding and sailing around Espiritu Santo follow these links to our other informative web pages – for fishing/spearfishing adventures click here, for kayaking adventures click here , for diving adventures on Santo’s incredible wrecks and reefs click here , for sailing and boat charter adventures click here and for horseriding adventures click here .
Millennium Caves Adventure
This has to be one of the most incredible tours on Santo as it combines trekking, culture, caving, canyoning, bouldering and climbing though some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. It’s like experiencing a 3D National Geographic documentary and rates as one the best things to do Vanuatu! Please note however this half day tour is not designed for small children, the unfit or the unadventurous – it’s definitely a workout and gets the adrenaline pumping! For more details check out Millennium Cave’s facebook page here .
Mount Hope Waterfall Adventure
This is a great adventure tour for the whole family and is based at the Mt Hope Cattle Station near Fanafo, about an hour’s drive from the east coast of Espiritu Santo. It consists of a short walk to a limestone river canyon where you jump into the river with lifejackets on and spend the next hour or so floating down the cool, crystal clear waters, admiring waterfalls, rock formations and zipping through rapids (or accelerations as the guides like to call them!). The finale is a climb up the stunning Mt Hope waterfall and then back through the rainforest to the starting point. Bookings for this tour are usually made through Oyster Island Resort however as this is currently closed for maintenance, check with either Santo Travel or Village de Santo .
Quadbike tours are a great way to experience the wild side of Santo – there’s a couple of different options including a 6 hr 4WD expedition to a remote cave through banyan forests and coconut plantations, followed by a short walk to the caves and a swim in a natural swimming hole (includes lunch). There’s also a half day excursion to a beautiful waterfall in south Santo and a tour to Million Dollar Point. For more information click here .
Explore the amazing waterways of Espiritu Santo with the crew from Santo Jet Skis. No license is required and the two person wave runners are powerful, fun and easy to use. It’s a great activity for families or couples looking for a thrill. There are a range of tours on offer starting with a 1hr romp around the Segund Channel (opposite Luganville), a 1.5hr tour to beautiful Bokissa Island and a 2hr+ tour to a remote coral island which includes time for some snorkelling in the most amazing coral gardens you have ever seen. For more information click here .
Cruising Safaris & Glass Bottom Boat Adventure
Based in the suburb of San Michel (just to the south of Luganville), Cruising Safaris operate a range of exciting boat tours using their specially designed 18 seater glass bottom boat. The Mystical Malo Island Tour is a full day excursion to nearby Malo Island and includes lunch as well as snorkelling, bushwalking and wildlife watching. The Sarakata River Cruise incorporates a short cruise up the largest river on Santo and includes complimentary drinks and snacks while the Sunset/Twilight Cruise offers a similar tour but out on the sheltered waters of the Segund Channel at sunset. For more information check out Cruising Safari’s facebook page here .
Freshwater Plantation Adventures
This beautiful cocoa plantation is situated on Aore Island, just across the channel from Luganville. They offer a great day tour that includes a boat pick up from in town , a guided walk through their cocoa plantation and an explanation of how chocolate is made, a short walk through the rainforest to a beautiful cliff cave and a climb to a lookout. There are also a range of animals for the kids to pat and enjoy and a range of tropical fresh fruits to eat. For more information click here .
Aore Adventure Sports
Although more well known for their fishing and diving tours, Aore Adventure Sports and Lodge based on the island of Aore (opposite Lugnaville) also offer some great watersports and boat cruising activities. These include tandem parasailing, shark tube rides, sunset cruises, scenic island tours and snorkelling excursions to some of the amazing reef areas surrounding Aore Island. For more information click here .
Blue Pool Adventure
Based out of Vunaspef village, on the east coast of Santo (about an hour or so drive into the mountains), the Blue Pool Adventure is a full day excursion suitable for all ages – as things to do Vanuatu go, this is a unique and unusual option. It’s about an hour’s walk from the village to the first blue pool in the river, where you can swim and relax. From there you follow the river down using a bamboo raft and explore more blue pools and another two different rivers, including one with a natural sand beach full of fossil shells from ancient times. For more information click here .
Bamboo Forest & River Adventure
Another fascinating and beautiful trek based out of Vunaspef village. The highlight is a leisurely walk through the rainforest to a massive bamboo forest. The trek includes a swim in the river and a hunt for sweet freshwater prawns. Suitable for most ages. The tour lasts for about 5-6 hours, including the drive up and back. For more information click here .
Marakai Village Adventure
If your goal is to take the road less travelled, experience real, living ancient Vanuatu culture and enjoy a challenging trek through the mountains of central and southern Santo then the Marakai Village Adventure Tour is for you! There are 4 day and five day treks on offer through Wrecks to Rainforest, a tour agent based in Luganville. Most of the villages you stay at are still living in full custom, totally self sufficient and do not use money. The chief usually welcomes you with a kava ceremony, traditional foods and sometimes dancing and singing and you eat and sleep as a guest of the village. There are treks to nearby rivers and waterfalls but it’s all about experiencing the culture first-hand. These tours are one of the top cultural things to do Vanuatu and require a good level of fitness, an open mind and a flexible itinerary.
Vatthe Conservation Area Big Bay
The Vatthe Conservation Area at Big Bay (in the middle of the north end of Espiritu Santo) is the only gazetted National Park in Vanuatu and is home to some of the most beautiful wildlife and natural rainforest scenery in the country. Big Bay itself is stunning, with its black sand beaches and crystal clear rivers running into the ocean from lush green mountains. It’s a mission to get to, the road there is 4WD only and it takes about 2 hrs to reach Big Bay from the east coast but its worth it if you enjoy nature in all its glory. You can stay overnight in the Bay of Illusions bungalows and activities include bird watching, a trek to the Quiros statue, treks around Big Bay, Matantas Village, the Jordan River and more. Click here for more information on the Vatthe Consveration Area and contact Wrecks to Rainforest for tour details.
WW2 History Adventures
If you are a history buff or you want to channel your inner Indiana Jones, there are literally hundreds of WW2 relics scattered all over Santo. It’s one of the most fascinating and unusual things to do Vanuatu to explore bunkers, caves and backyards and dive on wrecks, planes, tanks around Santo. Most were left over as the result of 50,000+ US troops being stationed on the island during the Pacific War (at one time Santo was the second largest American military base in the Pacific outside of Pearl Harbour, Hawaii).
Top of your list should be Million Dollar Point (follow the road north from the airport). This beautiful beach was so-named because at the end of the war, the American military offered the French and the British all their left-over military hardware for 6c in the dollar. They refused, thinking they would get it for free, so the Americans decided to bulldoze it all into the ocean instead. Millions of dollars worth of goods, boats and vehicles were dumped off the point, into the deep water adjacent to the beach. You can now snorkel this area (there is an entry fee of 500vt pp) and see everything from boats, tanks and cranes to hundreds of old glass Coke bottles – click here for the full story. Aore Island is also worth a visit for WW2 history, as you can dive on plane wrecks and view old military bunkers and installations carved into the cliff faces. Click here for more background info on war relic sites and click here for a list of history tours. An adventure of a different kind for your things to do Vanuatu list!