Hidden treasure: Espiritu Santo

Espiritu Santo is the largest island of Vanuatu, an archipelago of 83 volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, Melanesia region. The first European to arrive on the north side, was the Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernández de Quirós in 1605.

Espiritu Santo has a tropical climate, beautiful white sand beaches (Lonnoc Bay, Golden Beach and Champagne Beach), high mountains and lush rainforest.

It is a popular tourist destination for divers thanks to excellent diving and snorkeling spots, reefs and underwater caves around the entire island. Here it is possible to dive the SS President Coolidge, one of the largest and most accessible shipwrecks in the world, or swim in the blue holes where crystal clear water comes to the surface. Turtles, Manta Rays and Reef Sharks are regular visitors to the reefs.

The island also offers kayaking, horseback riding and trekking expeditions and for visitors interested in the local production, is possible to organize a visit at the Freshwater Plantation farm, with a walk through the plantation, discovering the process and tasting cocoa beans or at Aore Island Coffee, for a guided tour behind the creation of organic coffee.

 The capital Luganville has various shops, restaurants, hotels and the local Mama’s market, a waterfront covered market, selling home made souvenirs and food produce. The locals work in shops, hotels and in the fishing industries. Visitors can learn about the local culture by visiting the villages of the island where life is still very authentic.

Info: http://vanuatu.travel/index.php

Photo credit: ©Vanuatu Tourism Office. Photographer David Kirkland