Adventures in the Isles of Happiness

Overview

Vanuatu is a natural playground of brilliant coral reefs, erupting volcanoes, and lush rainforests—a tropical explorer’s paradise. Amid these primeval landscapes are rich Pacific cultures with their own unique “kastoms.” On our multisport adventure with Trip Leader Jon Imhoof, 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 reef formations amid an abundance of tropical fish. 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 spectacle that is the dramatic focal point of the yam harvest celebration. On Espiritu Santo, kayaking along a crystal stream brings us to the Matevulu Blue Hole, a natural freshwater spring with crystal-clear water. A jump into its incredibly blue realm 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 as well as some of the most fascinating underwater World War II relics in the Pacific. After a visit to Kastom villages to learn about Vanuatu’s ancient cultures, we head to the powdery white sands of Champagne Beach, a stunning spot for a swim, snorkel, or a stroll. We boat to uninhabited Ais Island, surrounded by some of the most pristine coral gardens in Vanuatu, to spend the day snorkeling and beachcombing, 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 unique 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 sunset, with molten lava lighting the sky, and explore the 200-foot-wide grotto of Lemnap Blue Cave. Our home on Tanna is an intimate beachfront oasis with absolutely 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: $6695  
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