Vanuatu Adventure Part 2: Espiritu Santo & Millennium Cave Tour
After the first leg of our Vanuatu Adventure in 2012, we took a 45 minute flight to the island of Espiritu Santo. This island is the largest in Vanuatu, and is located to the North West of the Efate (the main island in Vanuatu).
We chose to visit Santo because of the local attractions, and we wanted to try something a bit “off the beaten track”. We’d heard that the tourism and culture is around 20 years behind that of the main island, and we liked the idea of roughing it.
Staying at Turtle Bay Lodge on the Eastern side of the island gives simple and pleasant accommodation. Turtle Bay is nearby some of the main recommended attractions on the Santo, such as Champagne Beach and the Blue Holes. Turtle Bay allowed us to take in the sights of what was on the island, rather than to soak up the luxury of the accommodation itself.
Driving & Transport
We recommend hiring a car, as there is no public transport. We hired a small car, which gave us the greatest freedom in exploring the island, and allowed us to take in the countryside and landscape. Interestingly there is only one main road on the island, and the entire North West area of the island is only accessible by boat!
Markets & Main Street
The main street in the capital Luganville is fairly run down, but provides an interesting insight into Vanuatu retail business and the way people shop. Many of the ‘supermarkets’ are run by Chinese businessmen, who import outdated and second-rate produce! The markets are small but again interesting, and show off much of the local produce that is grown on the island.
Millennium Cave Tour
The Millennium Caves tour is a definite highlight from our time in Vanuatu, and I’d recommend it to everyone who has a sense of outdoor adventure.
After a long, bumpy, car trip into the middle of the Santo Island, we got off and were met by a local villager who took us on a short walk to the village. At this point the outline and stages of the tour were pretty sketchy and only once we got to the village did we understand what we’d be getting up to next.
A further 80 minute walk through the pristine jungle brought us to the beginning of the downward descent into the Millennium Caves. The descent down a makeshift bamboo ladder was steep, slippery and definitely not up to Australian Oc Health & Safety standards, but with careful footing we made it down fine.
The cave is spectacular and our experience was breathtaking as we made out way through the cave, guided only by the tour guide and small torch lights.
Physical fitness and agility is a must, as we constantly scrambled over and UNDER rocks, through difficult and wet terrain. After 30 minutes in the cave there was more rock scrambling and canyoning, followed by a lovely time swimming and floating down the river as we fed coconuts to the fish.
We were exhausted by the end, but the amazing experience will stay with us for a long time. The video below shows highlights of the Millennium Cave Tour:
We enjoyed the variety of activities and sights that Espiritu Santo has to offer, and highly recommend visiting Santo to anyone who has a sense of adventure and doesn’t mind roughing it.
Please leave a reply below if you have any questions about Santo – we’d love to hear from you.