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. This local’s guide to the top 10 holiday houses Espiritu Santo is based around rentals and villas specifically catering to larger groups and families. Most of the holiday houses are centred around 3 main areas – Aore Island, Tides Reach/Suranda 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 comprehensive information on the best bungalow-style accommodation on Espiritu Santo to stay in click here and for the best resort accommodation on Espiritu Santo click here.

*Recently Updated for 2024!

1. Tides Reach Beach House, Tides Reach

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 $460 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

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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 wifi 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 Tree House, Turtle Bay

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Located in what is arguably one of the prettiest locations on Espiritu Santo (Turtle Bay Lagoon), Turtle Bay Beach House and Turtle Bay Tree House are holiday house complexes that sit next door to one another.  Altogether they can cater to up to 20 people.  They represent fantastic value for money. Turtle Bay Beach House features 2 self contained studio cottages plus a 2 bedroom self contained beach house that can be rented together or separately depending on the size of your group. Every bedroom has an ensuite bathroom. Turtle Bay Tree House features 2 side by side self contained apartments (1 x 2 bedroom 2 bathroom, 1 x 1 bedroom 2 bathroom). They can sleep 4-6 people. Both holiday rentals are absolute waterfront. The on-site managers are helpful and co-operative. There’s a large covered overwater deck with a floating swim platform for sunset cocktails, BBQs and swimming. The houses are protected from the trade winds that blow regularly from June – Sept and are surrounded by islands, reef, coconut plantations, blue holes and beaches.  Reviews are excellent and the price is very reasonable considering the quality and location of the accommodation and the fact it includes free use of all onsite watersports gear and satellite internet. There’s a minimum weekly stay. Prices start from $90 AUD a night for a cottage or $165 a night for a larger 2 bedroom Beach House or apartment. Monthly prices are even better! Some minor drawbacks – the rental is next to the main road so there can be a little traffic noise in mornings and afternoons (but the house design tends to minimise this) and the beach is small and not as pretty as those in Tides Reach and Suranda. Overall a great affordable choice for larger groups/families wanting their own space and privacy. For more info/bookings click here .

5. Aoredise Villa, Aore Island

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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. Venui Plantation Oceanfront Villa, South Santo

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This architecturally designed oceanfront Villa in South Santo is located on Venui Plantation, a 100ha working vanilla and spices farm, complete with cattle, chickens, and a private beach with children’s slide and lagoon. Featuring 3 bedroom and 2.5 bathrooms it can cater to up to 6 guests. The three bedrooms are spread over two levels, the main bedroom is on the mezzanine level of the house with a private toilet and shand basin. There are two single beds in separate rooms along the side of the house and a pull-out sofa in the lounge area near the deck. The house sits on the water’s edge with stunning views overlooking South Santo Bay and Araki Island. It’s a spectacular location but the house is fairly isolated – there are no shops or restaurants nearby so best to have your own transport. Prices start from around $320 per night.

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

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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. Santo Saffire 

top 10 holiday houses espiritu santo saffire houseIf you’re after something a little special and money is no option then Santo Saffire holiday house at Natanara (about 15 min north of Luganville) is the ultimate holiday option with 80 m of beachfront, a large infinity pool, extensive tropical gardens and stunning views over Mavea and Aies Island. There are three king size fares that can accommodate 6 guests along with a huge main residence “The Pavillion”  (245sqm) that features a large kitchen/lounge/dining area and a bar. Minimum stay is 7 nights. At nearly $1000 a night for up to 6 people its not cheap but it is definitely luxury at its best. A spectacular location and property. 


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 .holiday houses espiritu santo