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Espiritu Santo: Vanuatu's largest island

11:30 AEST Thu Jul 29 2010
Jason's headed to Espiritu Santo, the largest island in Vanuatu. He'd been told the South Pacific's best beach is there and that was enough incentive for him.

Santo, as it's known to locals, is covered with high mountains and lush rainforest. Its eastern coast has endless safe and beautiful sandy beaches, colourful coral and abundant fish in the warm waters. Inland it has limestone swimming holes, great golf courses, caves and thick jungle.

During WWII the island was a military base for thousands of US troops. One of those soldiers was James A Michener and it was in Santo that he took inspiration for Tales of the South Pacific. The great musical South Pacific was based on his writings.

Wharves, landing fields and military equipment left at the end of the war can still be seen. Divers from around the world go there to Million Dollar point to explore the wreck of SS Coolidge.


The road to Moyyan on the island's east coast was laid by US troops and it led Jason to Moyyan House by the Sea. Designed for the tropical climate, the small hotel is between the jungle and the beach and is just steps away from beautiful Barrier Beach.

Spacious architect-designed for the tropical climate, the small hotel's modern farés offer seclusion, privacy and comfort. There is one faré with living and kitchen areas and four with separate bedrooms. They accommodation up to just eight, so small groups may have exclusive use of Moyyan by the Sea.

Snorkelling equipment at the water's edge allows you to visit several reefs full of vivid coral and tropical fish. Clear bottom kayaks provide a window to underwater life. There's also a rubber ducky for guests' use. The surrounding area can be explored on rugged mountain bikes.

You can borrow clubs for a round of golf, play bocce on the sand or enjoy a board game. All of these activities are included in the tariff.

Meals are prepared from local fresh, seasonal and organic produce. It all goes well with an icy cold local beer.

Locals from Saralatu village are employed at Moyyan so your money helps the community.

A visit to Champagne Beach is a must. It's near Hog Harbour Village, and when you see its sand and 'fizzy' water, you will understand how it got its name. You can also sit back and relax as a guide takes you to Blue Hole by canoe. It's 50m across and 18m deep and its azure clear water is amazing. The water comes from limestone rocks.

It's fun to take a trip along the Riri Riri River in a dugout canoe. The clarity of the water allows you to see marine life and there are lots of blue holes along the way.

A visit to a traditional village is a wonderful experience. You will be welcomed by the village chief and traditional song and dance, and see how all men, women and children have their place and roles in daily life. After a day of work in the village, men and boys spend afternoons in the nakamal, a hut taboo to women. It's where men prepare and drink kava, sing traditional songs and pass the skills of their ancestors to their sons.


Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu.


Moyyan House by the Sea accommodation starts at around $285 a night.

Prices correct at July 29, 2010.

For further information

Moyyan House by the Sea
Barrier Beach
Espiritu Santo
Ph: 678 30026

Visas: Australians do not require a visa to stay in Vanuatu for up to 30 days. An extension of up to four months in a one-year period is possible.

Electricity: 220-280 volts, 50Hz using Australian-style plugs.

Time zone: GMT + 11 hours.

Currency: The vatu.

Telephone code: +678.


It is recommended travellers to Vanuatu see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information contact

User comments
How gorgeous did that blue hole look - a touch of paradise! This is the next "must visit" destination on my list!

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