Adventures in the Islands of Happiness with Jon Imhoof


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
Port Vila to Espiritu Santo

From Port Vila, Vanuatu’s capital city, a scenic flight brings us to Espiritu Santo, the largest island in the Vanuatu archipelago. We’ll snorkel at Million Dollar Point, paddle traditional outrigger canoes to Riri Blue Hole, spotting rainbow lorikeets and Vanuatu kingfishers as our canoes drift beneath the rainforest canopy, visit Kastom villages where locals share their customs and culture, and float down a river gorge 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 on the beach. At uninhabited Turtle Island, we’ll spend a glorious day snorkeling the colorful reef, beachcombing, and simply enjoying the delights of our own private island, topped by a traditional Melanesian feast. An unrivaled day of adventure awaits us at the spectacular Millennium Cave, where we boulder hop through the cavern, then float down a gorge—a natural waterpark!

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

In the lush tropical jungles of Pentecost Island we witness Nanggol—land diving, the inspiration for modern-day bungee jumping. The spectacle is the dramatic focal point for a festival that celebrates the yam harvest. Back on Santo, we paddle kayaks along a crystal-clear stream beneath the forest canopy, keeping an eye out for incredible birdlife as head to Matavulu Blue Hole, a natural freshwater spring with crystal-clear water. A jump into its incredibly blue realm is a must!

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

Heading to Tanna Island, we explore an area where unique reef formations create sheltered sanctuaries for an abundance of marine life, including amazing coral formations, dugongs, turtles, moray eels, reef sharks, and blue spotted rays. There’s also interesting topography, with swim-throughs, tunnels, and grottos to explore. A short but steep climb brings us to the rim of Yasur Volcano, where we watch a spectacular sunset. As darkness falls, the full majesty of the volcano becomes illuminated as molten lava lights up the sky. At the amazing Lemnap (Blue) Cave, a quick duck dive brings us into a stunning 200-foot-wide grotto where a 15-foot hole in the top streams sunlight, turning the water into a beautiful turquoise blue. Our home on Tanna is the White Grass Ocean Resort, an intimate beachfront oasis with absolutely stunning views and sensational sunsets. Depart on Day 11.

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Get lost and found on a deserted island and snorkel some of the best reefs in all Vanuatu
See Pentecost islanders dive from land towers in celebration of the yam harvest
Witness village life virtually unchanged by the modern world
Relax at our waterfront island hideaways


Length: 11 days
Cost From: $5795  
Arrive: Port Vila, Vanuatu
Depart: Port Vila, Vanuatu
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