Adventures in the Isles of Happiness

Overview

With more than 80 islands in its enchanting archipelago, Vanuatu is a natural playground of brilliant coral reefs, erupting volcanoes, and lush rainforest—a tropical explorer’s paradise! In this land of primeval landscapes and rich cultures, each village retains its own unique “Kastom” (customs). On our adrenalin-filled, multisport adventure with Trip Leader Jon Imhoof, we’ll paddle sit-on-top kayaks along crystal-clear streams to stunning “Blue Holes,” climb above the clouds on an active volcano to witness the sights and sounds of Earth’s creation, snorkel above vibrantly-hued reef formations and an abundance of tropical fish, and encounter the Ni-Vanuatu, a people who delight in sharing their culture and are acclaimed to be among the “happiest people on Earth.” Jon has been fascinated by Vanuatu ever since he first saw images of the celebrated Pentecost land divers, and in his 30 years of leading tours and traveling the world, he has never found a place as diverse as Vanuatu. Join us for an intriguing adventure in these far-flung isles of the South Seas!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Espiritu Santo

We begin our explorations on Espiritu Santo, the largest island in the Vanuatu archipelago. On arrival, we head straight to Million Dollar Point for our first snorkeling excursion. We paddle by traditional outrigger canoe to Riri Blue Hole, with its incredibly blue water, spotting rainbow lorikeets and Vanuatu kingfishers as we drift beneath the rainforest canopy, and visit fascinating Kastom villages to learn about Vanuatu’s ancient cultures. We also enjoy a relaxing float down a river, letting the currents take us to a spectacular cascading waterfall.

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Days 3-5
Champagne Beach / Turtle Island / Millennium Cave

Known for its powdery white sand, Champagne Beach is a stunning spot for a swim, snorkel, or a stroll. At uninhabited Turtle Island, the delights of our own private island await, including snorkeling the reef, beach combing, and a traditional Melanesian feast. To travel through the massive and spectacular Millennium Cave, we boulder-hop through a cavern, cross bamboo bridges, and float down a gorge amid lacy waterfalls and lush rainforest.

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Days 6-7
Land Diving on Pentecost Island / Matavulu Blue Hole

On Pentecost Island, we witness Nanggol—land diving—a spectacle that is the dramatic focal point of the yam harvest celebration. Back on Santo, kayaking along a crystal stream beneath the forest canopy brings us to the Matavulu Blue Hole, a freshwater spring where we take a dip.

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Days 8-11
Tanna Island / Yasur Volcano / Lemnap Blue Cave

On Tanna Island, we discover unique reef formations that are sanctuaries for an abundance of marine life, including dugongs, turtles, moray eels, reef sharks, and blue-spotted rays, and we also explore swim-throughs, tunnels, and grottos. We climb Yasur Volcano to watch a spectacular sunset, with molten lava lighting the sky, and explore the 200-foot-wide grotto of the amazing Lemnap Blue Cave. Our home on Tanna is an intimate beachfront oasis with absolutely stunning views and sensational sunsets. Depart on Day 11.

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Highlights

Highlights

Snorkel some of the best reefs in all Vanuatu, swim in crystal-clear blue holes
See the famous Pentecost “land divers” leap from towers in celebration of the yam harvest
Enjoy a warm welcome into Vanuatu’s village life and learn about their unique cultures
Relax at our waterfront island hideaways

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $5995  
Arrive: Espiritu Santo
Depart: Port Vila
Lodging: 10 nights waterfront bungalows
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Snorkeling, Cultural Adventures, Sea Kayaking, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

Snorkeling, hiking, sea kayaking, and reef walking excursions