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Diving in Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a traveller’s paradise for both top side and underwater experiences - it truly is the land of discovery

Diving in Vanuatu

Quick facts

Vanuatu is made up of 83 islands and is world-renowned for its diving. Whether you’re interested in beautiful corals, large fish or incredible historic wrecks, Vanuatu offers divers a wealth of incredible experiences. The huge caverns and drop offs, abundance of marine life, beautiful bright corals, stunning sea fans, as well as its world-famous wrecks have all helped in giving Vanuatu its incredible underwater reputation. Vanuatu is also one of the best places for divers to see dugongs, many divers travel here in hopes of seeing these timid and gentle creatures. Vanuatu is a traveller’s paradise for both top side and underwater experiences - it truly is the land of discovery. Enjoy delicious national dishes and feel warmly welcomed by the locals. Whether you’re wanting to enjoy an adventure-packed day hiking up Mount Yasur, go horseback riding on one of the many idyllic beaches, or take it slow and relax with Vanuatu’s more indulgent offerings – such as a day spa treatment or sunset cruise - Vanuatu will ensure you have experiences you will not forget. Learn about the traditional culture and customs of Vanuatu, witness the incredible land divers jump from high platforms with only vines tied to their ankles on the island of Pentecost during April through to June; and enjoy trying kava with the locals. With so many incredible experiences waiting for you both on land and underwater you will fall in love with Vanuatu. While you’re diving the incredible wrecks, intricate caverns, and meeting the incredible marine life of Vanuatu, you will definitely be planning your next trip back.

Recommended training

Vanuatu is a great place to learn to dive with the PADI Open Water Divercourse. For certified divers, the PADI Wreck Diver course will help you get the most out of the amazing wrecks in Vanuatu and ensure you feel as confident as possible while exploring these historical sites. The PADI Deep Diver course and PADI Enriched Air Diver course will ensure you won’t miss any of the deeper sites in Vanuatu, whether it is a wreck you are diving or a beautiful cavern. You can also become a PADI Divemaster or PADI Instructor in this tropical paradise.

When to go

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Star of Russia, Port Vila - Built in the early 1800s, this 90 metre/255 foot long, three-masted sailing ship now sits at a depth of around 33 metres/108 feet with its hull still intact. Expect to see bat fish and crocodile fish, so don’t forget your camera. The Star of Russia is a wreck not to be missed. The Cathedral, Port Vila - This impressive reef dive reaches a maximum depth of around 26 metres/85 feet. This cavern is home to a variety of nudibranchs and fish species; the speckled light gives this cavern an incredible visual effect. At this site, certified divers are able to swim through a chimney at the back of the cavern which opens up to the surface of the water inside the reef. Anchor Reef, Port Vila - This beautiful reef is the perfect site for divers to observe trigger fish, anemones and clownfish. The stars of this site would have to be the baby white tips in their nursery; divers can observe these cute creatures underneath the large plate coral. At around 14 metres/45 feet you can see the anchor which gives this reef its name. The maximum depth of this dive is around 20 metres/65 feet. Moso Drift, Moso Island - This is a fantastic drift dive for those who are wanting to see an abundance of fish and marine life. There is a great chance you will see sharks, grey whalers and eagle rays. This dive site is only accessible by boat and has a maximum depth of around 25 metres/82 feet. Currents can be quite strong, so a drift diving certification and experience is recommended. SS President Coolidge, Espiritu Santo - This wreck is one of the most famous dive sites in Vanuatu. The once luxury liner turned US troopship provides divers with an incredible underwater experience. Certified divers can swim through the wreck and look out for the belongings of troops, chandeliers, the statue of ‘The Lady’, as well as a variety of tropical fish and turtles. Million Dollar Point, Espiritu Santo - After WWII, the United States military disposed of a large quantity of war machinery such as trucks, cranes and bulldozers here. This is an excellent site for both snorkelling and diving. Divers can expect to see a wealth of interesting wartime artefacts such as trucks and guns, as well as many fish and corals. Cindy’s Reef, Espiritu Santo - This site is home to bright colourful corals and beautiful tropical fish. The depth of this reef ranges from around 8-35 metres/26-114 feet. Regular marine life on Cindy’s Reef include turtles and clownfish. It is also home to stunning staghorn and plate corals. Don’t forget your camera; there are many great photographic opportunities on this reef. Katiua Rocks, Tanna - Tanna is a beautiful, untouched island south of Efate. Tanna is renowned for the traditional lifestyle on the island and its active volcano. Tanna is a newly established dive island. There are many great sites on Tanna; one such site, Katiua Rocks, is perfect for divers hoping to see large fish such as tuna, sharks and barracuda.

What to see

Some whimsically vibrant corals can be seen around Vanuatu, with a healthy population of marine life buzzing about. Rays, eels, and octopi hide out near the coral heads. A little farther out you can probably spot huge barracuda and bigeye tuna making their rounds, gleaming in the filtered sunlight.

Near the shoreline the elusive dugong can be found. These manatee-like creatures are gentle and quiet, beautiful to behold.

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Country

Made up of around 82 islands, the archipelago of Vanuatu is sprinkled throughout the South Pacific. Bordering the Coral Sea, these lovely volcanic islands brim with life.

Vanuatu’s history dates back at least to 1300 BC, when the native people lived off the land. It was not until the 1606 that the Europeans first laid eyes on the islands, but it was not until 1825 that they truly set their sights on it. The settlers came and farmed the island’s native sandalwood, and took the natives off the island to make them indentured servants. It is said that the current population is hugely reduced from what it was before Europeans came to the island.

That being said, the island today is a tropical getaway for tourists, though it is mostly a fishing community. People live off the land and the sea, taking life as it comes.

Other attractions

See Mount Yasur, a volcano that has been active for 800 years. Watch the N’gol perform death defying jumps for Pentecost each April. Visit traditional villages and try the popular drink kava with the locals. Enjoy the incredible natural beauty of Vanuatu and go sea kayaking, hiking or horse riding.

Getting there

Vanuatu has three international airports. Bauerfield Airport is found at Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila on Efate, Pekoa Airport at Luganville on Espiritu Santo and Whitegrass Airport on Tanna Island which is the gateway to the southern islands of Vanuatu.

UTC+11:00

Time zone

VUV

Currency

+678

Calling code

230 V

Electric volt

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G, 

I

Plug type

VLI

Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.