The list of good quality, self-contained holiday houses on Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu’s largest island, has been steadily growing in recent years and there is now an excellent range of options to choose from. Most are owned and operated by ex-pats with the help of their local Ni-Van staff and families. Our list of top 10 holiday houses Espiritu Santo is based around rentals and villas specifically catering to larger groups or families. Most of the holiday houses are centred around 3 main areas – Aore Island, Suranda Bay/Tides Reach and Turtle Bay. We have taken into account not only the quality of the accommodation, but also its location, value for money and guest reviews/feedback.
For a list of the best bungalow-style accommodation on Espiritu Santo click here and for the best resort accommodation on Espiritu Santo click here.
1. Tides Reach Beach House, Tides Reach, Espiritu Santo
A beautifully built waterfront property located about a 15 min drive north of Luganville on the main island of Santo. The holiday rental features two studio style bungalows with king beds and a large central house with a 6 bunk bed room so it can cater for up to 10 people. The beach directly out front is stunning, although the water is quite shallow for swimming (it’s a long walk out at low tide). It can also be quite windy during the trade wind season (June – September). Price wise it’s a bargain – considering how luxurious it is – for a family of 6-8 it works out to around $400 AUD a night. The minimum stay is 3 days. Reviews on this property are excellent. Overall, as holiday houses Espiritu Santo go, this property is great value for money for larger family groups or younger adult groups who don’t mind some of the group sleeping on bunk beds. For more info/bookings click here .
2. Aore Adventure Sports Lodge, Aore Island
When you stay at Aore Adventure Sports Lodge you are not only treated to some fairly luxurious rental accommodation but you also have the convenience of having your own watersports and dive centre on site, with the centrepiece attraction being a fully kitted out 8m sports fishing boat run by the owners (Lyndall and Paul).
The rental is located on Aore Island, a large and beautiful island (58km2) straight oppposite the main town of Luganville. It’ takes about 10 minutes to get across the deepwater channel by water taxi in good weather. The house overlooks nearly 200m of beachfront land and features a deepwater beach with a jetty so you can swim at all tides. There are 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms which can sleep around 6- 8 people, with beds able to be set up as king size doubles, king singles or double bunks to suit the group. The style is contemporary, open plan and it features all the mod cons, including large spacious decks and a fully decked out kitchen. Lyndall and Paul live nearby and can organise airport pick-ups for you as well as diving, fishing and watersports adventures. All reviews are excellent. There’s a minimum 2 night stay and the cost is around $420/night for the entire villa. But this does include internet and use of kayaks and pushbikes. This holiday house is ideal for groups looking for an adventure holiday who don’t mind the isolation of being on an island off of Santo. For more information and bookings click here
3. Turtle Bay Beach House, Turtle Bay, Espiritu Santo
Located in what is arguably one of the prettiest locations on Santo (Turtle Bay Lagoon), Turtle Bay Beach House is protected from the trade winds that blow regularly from June – Sept and is surrounded by islands, reef, coconut plantations, blue holes and laid back resorts. It features 2 studio cottages plus a 2 bedroom beach house that can be rented together or separately depending on the size of your group. Every bedroom has an ensuite bathroom, so 4 bathrooms in all. The holiday rental is neat as a pin and the on-site managers are helpful and co-operative. Plus there is an all tide beach and a large overwater deck for sunset cocktails. Reviews are excellent and the price is reasonable considering it includes free use of all onsite watersports and a choice of flexible options. There’s a minimum 2 night stay. Prices start from $135 for a cottage and go up to around $450 AUD a night for the entire property. Only drawbacks – the rental is close to the main road and the beach is small and not as pretty as those in Tides Reach and Suranda. Overall a great flexible choice for larger groups/families wanting their own space and privacy. For more info/bookings click here .
4. The Jetty, Paradise Cove, Suranda Bay, Espiritu Santo
One of the big drawcards of this property is that it’s on a huge, gorgeous block of land (5 acres) with 60m of beachfront, so there’s plenty of space for the kids to run around in. Located at stunning Suranda Bay, only 15 mins from town, it has its own private beach and stunning water views. The holiday rental features a massive 90sq m covered deck stretching out over the water and there is even a long wooden jetty so you can swim at all tides. This is one of the few holiday houses on the island with both air-con and fans. However the room and bed set up is a little unusual – although it can cater for up to 7 guests, there’s only one bedroom. It has two double beds in it and the rest of the beds are in the main living area! According to previous guests, the house and amenities are looking a little tired in places and cleanliness may not be 5 star. There’s a minimum stay of 3 nights and the owners recommend not to bring kids under 6 yrs of age. Reviews are few and far between but mostly positive and the price is very, very cheap for what you get – around $230 AUD a night for the entire group! If you’re happy to give up a little “room” privacy and ignore the minor imperfections then this is a fantastic deal for families. For more info/bookings click here
5. Aoredise Villa, Aore Island
Aoredise Villa is located on western side of Aore Island, opposite Luganville (Santo’s main town). It’s about a 10-minute trip by water taxi to get there. The villa is small by holiday house standards – 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, lounge, kitchen – but it can cater for up to 6 guests – and it is fully self-contained with all the mod-cons. The main attraction is the fact that you can have the whole place to yourself – it’s set on half an acre of landscaped gardens with 35 metres of private beach frontage (there even a reef out front to snorkel on!). It gives you the illusion of isolation even though you can walk to nearby Aore Resort, where there is a restaurant and other activities. The huge front deck is perfect for watching the sunset over the water. Owners Stuart and June don’t live on site, but there are nearby house managers that can help you settle in. Reviews are all excellent. Pros – great location, great facilities and you get to have the place to yourself. Cons – you’re on your own, no easy way to get there (other than by boat), no internet and no shops nearby. Pricewise it’s about $225/night but that’s for up to 6 people. So, it’s excellent value for money for smaller families or 2 couples. A great self-catering island option. For more information and booking click here .
6. Santo Beach House, Suranda Bay, Espiritu Santo
This house is ideal for larger groups or extended families as it can sleep up to 12 people in 5 bedrooms (although this would be a bit of a squeeze). It’s in a beautiful location right on the water – it even has its own jetty – and is surrounded by gorgeous tropical gardens. The beach area is huge if a little shallow for swimming at low tide. There’s a fully covered, wrap around verandah and a bar area for afternoon cocktails. Price includes free on-site watersports and the entire house has been designed to be cool, airy and open plan. It’s a great layout with touches of luxury – the only draw back being it only has 2 bathrooms. Reviews are mostly positive, although there have been minor complaints about cleanliness and maintenance issues. Apparently there are also some current issues with their rain water supply – please check with the owner about this prior to booking. Price wise, the property is great value at around $430 AUD a night for the entire group. For more info/bookings click here .
7. Aore Point Private Retreat, Aore Island
Aore Point Private Retreat is a beautiful, isolated holiday house located on the waterfront on the eastern tip of Aore Island. It’s massive with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms so it can cope with two large families or a large group of adults (up to 12 people). There are sweeping views of the Segund Channel from the large, thatch covered deck, and the house has everything you could possibly need to be fully self-sufficient. They even supply sports equipment, kayaks, push bikes and an outdoor BBQ. The whole place is yours to enjoy, without a neighbour in sight, although there is an on-site caretaker who can help you settle in. The private, deepwater beach out front is also great for swimming and snorkelling. There’s not many reviews by past guests but so far, they are all positive. Bookings are for a minimum of 3 nights. The only drawbacks are there’s no internet on site and no easy way to get to the house – you have to catch a water taxi across the channel from Luganville, the main town on Santo. There are also no shops nearby so you have to stock up before you arrive. But the isolation is part of its charm and it’s a bargain at only $400 a night for the entire house. For more information and bookings click here or here .
8. Island View Cottages, Aore Island
Situated on a 2 acre property on Aore Island, just across the channel from the main town of Luganville, Island View Cottages consists of a main house with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms that can sleep a total of 8 guests (2 queens, 4 bunk beds), Plus there is an additional 1 bedroom cottage on the property that can be rented separately and sleeps 2 people. The only way to get to the property is via a water taxi from Santo, which takes around 10-15 mins and costs around $12AUD one way. The house has been recently renovated and now includes a large nakamal/BBQ outdoor area right on the water’s edge (the cottages are set back from the water in a large grassy area). Although there is no beach as such, there is fantastic snorkelling and swimming out front, with access to Cindy’s Reef. As you would expect, it has all the mod-cons plus a gas BBQ, hammocks, kayaks and bikes to use. Price wise you are looking at around $300 a night for the main cottage and $150 for the studio cottage. Although the owner Viv does not live on site, there are caretakers who can settle you in and show you around. If you don’t mind the island isolation and the fact that there are no shops nearby and no real beach out front, this a great property for families with kids, with lots of space to play in and a value for money price. For more information and bookings click here and here .
9. Paradise Lodge, Aore Island
Paradise Lodge is unique in many ways – unlike a normal holiday house the accommodation consists of various room configurations, all of which can be rented out separately depending on the size of your group. It is also the only holiday house on Espiritu Santo that boasts its own yacht – Divine Wind, a 50ft Beneteau Oceanis, operated by the owners of the Lodge, Debra and Alan. They offer their guests live aboard sailing adventures to the remote outer islands, as well as day sails and sunset sails. The yacht can sleep up to 6 people. They also do tours of Aore Island in their 1943 Willys Jeep and have a 5.4m sports boat for on-water day trips. With regards to the lodge accommodation, which is on 2 acres of prime waterfront land, there is a separate open plan, family studio with a kitchenette which can sleep up to five (1 QB, 1 Double sofa bed and a single trundle bed), a stand-alone bedroom with ensuite under the owner’s main residence that sleeps 3 people and two other separate single bunk rooms with ensuites and garden views. There is no internet available. Guest reviews and feedback are excellent. Prices start from around $390 for the family studio, while the stand-alone bedroom is around $120 for 2 people. Add on another $50- 60pp for larger groups. Complimentary watersports are included as part of the price and there is a 2 night minimum stay. Not ideal for self-catering and a little more expensive than other similar Aore accommodation but if are into yachting and want to enjoy the ultimate land/sea adventure combo, then this place is for you. For more information and booking click here or here .
10. Sails Beach House, Aore Island
Located on a peninsular overlooking Port Benier Bay on the eastern side of Aore Island, this holiday house is a little more isolated and out of the way than most of the other holiday houses on Aore Island. It can only be reached by water taxi from the mainland, or via Aore Resort and then a 15 min taxi ride down a rough dirt track. The house is a decent size, 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms with a huge outdoor covered deck and is right on the water. There is also an on-site caretaker, George, who can help you settle in and show you around. The property is fully self contained and has all the mod-cons, including internet! The beach is cute and there is some nice coral reef for snorkelling on nearby but the tide does go out a long way at low tide. It can accommodate a maximum of 6 people. The price is around $375 AUD a night which is a bargain however there is a minimum booking of 5 nights. The price includes use of snorkelling gear and kayaks. There are no shops nearby so you would need to stock up on all supplies in Luganville before coming across. A good choice for families/groups wanting to escape the rat race and just chill out – ideally you will need some form of transport to get around. For more information and booking click here .