Monday, 5 October 2015

Espiritu Santo - Vanuatu's hidden oasis of deserted Idyllic beaches, blue holes and welcoming smiles

Jaz from our Depth Travel Office talked about her trip to Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu on our Travel Talk segment with Radio 612 ABC Brisbane on Saturday 18th of July.

Vanuatu was first discovered in 1606 by a Spanish explorer, Pedro Fernendez de Quiros who sailed into the Big Bay on the large Island of Espiritu Santo. James Cook who arrived on the Islands in 1774 drew the first charts and christened them the New Hebrides. Vanuatu which is divided into six provinces achieved independence under it's present name in 1980.

There are direct flights from some Australian major cities into Port Vila and also into Santo direct. Pacific Cruise companies also use Port Vila as a stop.

Isolated paradises still exist and they are only a 2 hour direct flight from Brisbane! The people of Vanuatu are among the most welcoming I have ever encountered, from the minute I arrived my our group was taken in as one of the family. Living a tranquil life on coconut lined beaches they we eager to share every beautiful corner of their beautiful island with us. We traveled with another family, both of us had one year olds at the time. The beaches are extremely safe for children, the cuisine made life easy with kids, as it is quite bland consisting mostly of fresh seafood and salads. Most accommodation will provide cots for babies, boiling water to clean bottles. Car seats are not a common thing in Vanuatu (our daughters of coarse loves sitting on our laps!) , you could however bring your own if this was of concern.

We spent 10 amazing days on Espiritu Santo lounging about and exploring the island. We opted to stay in quite humble bungalow accommodation, there is a vast range of accommodation on Santo to suit every taste and budget.

The must do list for Santo would be their breathtaking beaches, such as Port Orly and Champagne Beach. Espiritu Santo is quite a large island and all the accommodation options on Santo are very spread out, your best option is to either rent a car or hire a driver for the day to show you around. One thing quite unique to Santo are their Blue Holes. Fresh water inland water holes that have the most incredible coloured water that is sure to take your breath away. We spent hours swinging into the blue holes, swimming and enjoying the scenery.

We did other days tours to Luganville to the local markets and a trip to visit a village where we were witnessed one of the most impressive tribal dances I have ever encountered! They call it the magical water dancing music experience. The woman submerge themselves in a large concrete pool wearing traditional clothing, they then cup their hands through the water the splash around, the music they produce is unbelievable, you would need to see it to believe it!

Espiritu Santo is not a destination with high rises, shopping and day spas. Santo is a place to go and completely unwind. Read a book, spend quality time with the family, enjoy deserted beaches and blue holes and get in tune with nature. It is a destination I will return to one day, I just hope it remains as it is…