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Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

South Pacific
Vanuatu South Pacific
South Pacific
Vanuatu South Pacific

Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

story by: Inspire South Pacific

Santo was the inspiration behind James Michener’s “Tales of the South Pacific”, giving the region an aura it’s never lost. Champagne Beach, with its silver sand and sapphire sea, fulfils every tourist’s expectation of an island paradise. Santo is a legendary destination in every way, boasting Vanuatu’s highest mountains and vast expanses of rainforest. Santo is also a dream destination for diving enthusiasts, the main attraction being the wreck of the luxury liner SS President Coolidge, which sank just off Santo in 1942 after striking a mine. Still almost intact, the liner is considered one of the best and most accessible wreck dives in the world. A bonus for divers is that close by is the aptly named Million Dollar Point, where the American forces dumped all their surplus equipment at the end of the war.

Highlights

• LU GANVILLE MARKET – Located on Main Street near the Sarakata Bridge, the colourful market sells fresh garden produce and handcrafts from all over Espiritu Santo. Open Monday afternoon to Saturday evening.

• DIVING – Some of Vanuatu’s best dive spots are found around the waters of Espiritu Santo and WWII relics make the dive experience even more exciting. A highlight for divers is the historic Million Dollar Point, where US forces dumped hundreds of tonnes of military equipment at the close of the war. Divers and snorkellers will find bulldozers, cranes and trucks piled up on one another in this unique dive site. Espiritu Santo also boasts the world’s largest intact diveable WWII wreck – SS President Coolidge. A magnet for divers the world over, this 22,000 tonne luxury liner sank in 1942 after hitting US-laid mines, and is now a protected marine reserve.

• GOLF – If you pass the overgrown remains of the wartime Bomber One airstrip, you come to the 9 hole Santo Golf Club by Palikulo Bay. The club is mainly active on weekends and visitors are welcome. Non golfers can also enjoy swimming and snorkelling at the beach in front of the club house. The club house is not manned on non-tournament days so if you wish to play, talk to reception at your hotel for details.

• BLUE HOLES – There are numerous blue holes around Espiritu Santo. The crystal clear, deep blue pools are fed by a fresh water spring and are unique to Vanuatu. They offer good swimming, snorkelling and diving. An entry fee is charged.

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