Adventures in the Isles of Happiness

Overview

A natural playground of brilliant coral reefs, erupting volcanoes, and lush rainforests, Vanuatu is a tropical explorer’s paradise. Entwined throughout the landscapes are ancient Pacific cultures with their own unique “kastoms.” We’ll paddle sit-on-top kayaks to “blue holes,” climb above the clouds to the crater rim of an active volcano, and snorkel above kaleidoscopic coral reef formations. We’ll also see the famed land divers of Pentecost Island, with their spectacular dives from forest platforms. Along the way, we enjoy the warm welcome of the Ni-Vanuatu, who delight in sharing their heritage and are acclaimed to be among the “happiest people on Earth.”

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Port Vila

In Port Vila, Vanuatu’s harborside capital, we explore the tropical coastline by catamaran, sailing island to island in the bay and gliding over magnificent coral reefs.

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Days 3-4
Land Diving on Pentecost Island / Matevulu Blue Hole

On Pentecost Island, we’ll watch nanggol (land diving), a famous spectacle that is the dramatic focal point of Vanuatu’s yam harvest celebration. On Espiritu Santo, kayaking along a stream brings us to the Matevulu Blue Hole, a freshwater spring with crystal-clear water. A jump into this incredibly blue pool is a must (and the adventurous can brave the rope swing!).

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Days 5-7
Million Dollar Point / Kastom Villages / Champagne Beach

We head to Million Dollar Point to snorkel among reef fish and some of the most fascinating underwater World War II relics in the Pacific. After visiting Kastom villages to learn about Vanuatu’s ancient cultures, we head to powdery white Champagne Beach, a stunning spot for a swim, snorkel, or stroll. We boat to uninhabited Ais Island to spend the day snorkeling in some of the most pristine coral gardens in Vanuatu, topped off by a Melanesian feast on the beach with traditional Kastom dances and music.

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

Tanna Island’s reef formations are sanctuaries for an abundance of marine life, including dugongs, turtles, moray eels, reef sharks, and blue-spotted rays. Here we snorkel and explore swim-throughs, tunnels, and grottos. We climb Yasur Volcano to watch the sunset, with molten lava lighting the sky, and explore the 200-foot-wide grotto of Lemnap Blue Cave. Our intimate beachfront lodge on this island has stunning views and gorgeous sunsets. Depart on Day 11 via Port Vila.

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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
Visit Kastom villages where locals share their knowledge of traditional medicine, crafts, cooking styles, and dancing
Relax at our waterfront island hideaways with wonderful access to ocean activities

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $6795  
Arrive: Port Vila
Depart: Port Vila
Lodging: 10 nights waterfront hotels and bungalows
Meals: All meals included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Snorkeling, Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

Snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, and reef walking excursions