An hours flight by light aircraft north from Vila, this largest island of Vanuatu.
The beauty of Santo is unmatched anywhere in the South Pacific, with stunning jewel-like islands just a few hundred metres from the mainland, coconut fringed beaches lined with powdery white sand, amazing blue water swimming holes and majestic mountains cut by awesome ravines shrouded in magnificent tropical jungle.
It is perhaps best known as the inspiration for James A. Mitchener’s classic “South Pacific”, for over 2 million allied troops passed through or were based here during W.W.II. Amid the thick jungle there are remnants of crashed B17 bombers, deserted Dakotas and Quonset huts. Many of the buildings in the only town, Luganville, are old Quonset huts, with fences of upright Marsden matting rusting away under a deluge of decorative vines.
Beneath the waves at Million Dollar Point, divers can view the legacy of military evacuation, where the U.S. forces dumped thousands of tons of war surplus prior to returning home. For divers, Espiritu Santo is the Mecca of the South Pacific. It is the final resting place of the 33,000 ton liner turned troopship SS “President Coolidge” and the destroyer USS “Tucker”, both victims of US placed mines.
Fresh water cave diving is also becoming popular, with the recent discovery of connecting sinkholes and caverns.
There are numerous accommodation styles on Santo. SCUBA divers should stay at resorts or lodges close to the main town, Luganville where dive operators are based, otherwise there will be up for a lengthy and expensive drive to town each day. Tours to Champagne beach, Blue Holes, bomber airstrip etc can be organized.