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Ultimate Vanuatu itinerary: How to Spend 12 Days in Vanuatu

Are you searching for how to spend 12 days in Vanuatu?
What to do in Vanuatu? Where to stay in Efate, Tanna, and Espiritu Santo?

I am here to help!

I used this Vanuatu itinerary when celebrating my birthday and backpacking Vanuatu in April, during the time, known as the land diving ritual. By spending almost two weeks on the South Pacific Island I saw all the must-do things of the Happiest Place in the World.

Find out how in my Vanuatu itinerary below.

South Pacific Memories (cute bungalows close to Port Vila)
Ramada Resort by Wyndham Port Vila (beachfront resort with a private beach on Efate)
White Grass Ocean Resort & Spa (on West coast of Tanna)
Castle Tree House (basic accommodation with a view to Mt. Yasur)
Deco Stop Lodge (I steyed here with a beautiful view over Luganville)
The Espiritu (great stay on Espiritu Santo)

Efate island tour (nice intro to Vanuatu)
Hideaway Island (send a postcard from underwater post office)
Nagol Land diving on Pentecost (AMAZING!)
Mt. Yasur hike (A MUST DO!)
Yakel tribe and Mt. Yasur combo tour (it’s like stepping back in time)
• Millenium Cave tour (amazing experience!)
Blue Cave and Champagne Beach (one of the best beaches in the world!)
Page Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

In a bit more than 1 week in Vanuatu, you will see all the major sites. From Efate to Tanna, to Pentecost and Espiritu Santo. You will hike an active volcano, dance in the Yakel Kastom tribe, and admire the land diving ritual.

This blog will help you plan your entire Vanuatu trip. You will find a perfect blend of culture and nature, sleep in tree houses, try tons of delicious food, swim in Champagne beach and blue holes, hike Mount Yasur, dive among the shipwrecks, and see where bungee jumping comes from.

Inside this Vanuatu travel guide, I included a detailed travel plan, with places to sleep, recommendations on where to eat, and things to do, to make your trip memorable. I also suggest itinerary modification and a map

Now, let’s start planning your Vanuatu itinerary, to make your trip memorable and cross off some bucket list items.

Vanuatu travel itinerary

Anja among women in a Kastom tribe on Tanna Island, Vanuatu | Anja On Adventure


● Plan to spend at least a week in Vanuatu, but if time permits, reserve 10 days in Vanuatu to have enough time to include different islands in your Vanuatu itinerary.

● Visit and feel the difference between islands Efate – more developed, touristic, and ‘Western’, Tanna – adventurous and cultural, Espiritu Santo – laid back, beach and tropical vibes.

● Include must-do things; such as visiting the market in Port Vila, Mount Yasur volcano hike and kastom village visit on Tanna, swimming in Blue Holes, and snorkeling on Million Dollar Point on Santo.

● Indulge in delicious food, a mixture of local produce and French cuisine.

● If traveling to Vanuatu between April and June, don’t miss the opportunity to go on a Nagol or Land diving tour on Pentecost Island and witness the centuries-old tradition that inspired modern bungee jumping.

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Vanuatu itinerary overview

This is the original itinerary for Vanuatu that I was supposed to follow when I celebrated my birthday in Vanuatu. Due to some tour rescheduling and flight cancellations, my actual itinerary was modified accordingly.

It could be roughly divided into three main parts; Efate itinerary, Tanna itinerary, and Espiritu Santo itinerary as you will be visiting all three main islands of Vanuatu.

You will spend the first 4 days on the main island Efate and go on a day tour to Pentecost Island. Then fly to Tanna Island for 3 days and spend the last 5 days on Espiritu Santo. The itinerary below will highlight the best things to do on each of them.

women at melanesian kastom tribe on Tanna island that I visited on my Vanuatu itinerary
Woman in Kastom tribe on Tanna Island | Anja On Adventure

How many days do you need in Vanuatu? For your first visit to Vanuatu, I would recommend doing a similar route as described in my Vanuatu blog below.

You will see all the major Vanuatu bucket list items. You will get enough time to learn about Vanuatu’s history, experience its culture, swim on different beaches, climb a volcano, and enjoy delicious food.

Trust me, there’s so much to see that you should learn some interesting facts about Vanuatu before your trip.

Since this is a semi-relaxed itinerary for Vanuatu you can do the suggested itinerary even if you are only spending 10 days in Vanuatu. But for more adventurous souls, you could add some more islands, like Ambrym, to your Vanuatu trip.

So let’s waste no more time and let’s get you ready for an epic trip to Vanuatu!

Day 1: Efate Island – Arrival in Vanuatu and transfer to Port Vila
Day 2:  Efate Island – Port Villa, Mele Cascades, and underwater Post office
Day 3: Efate Island – Day tour to Pentecost Island
Day 4: Efate Island – Tour around Efate island
Day 5: Tanna Island – Fly to Tanna and transfer to Yasur volcano
Day 6: Tanna Island Kastom village
Day 7: Tanna Island Mount Yasur volcano tour
Day 8: Espiritu Santo Island – Fly to Espiritu Santo and transfer to Luganville
Day 9: Espiritu Santo Island – Luganville and Millenium cave
Day 10: Espiritu Santo Island – Million dollar point and Blue holes
Day 11: Espiritu Santo Island – Port Orly and Champagne Beach
Day 12: Espiritu Santo Island – Espiritu Santo and departure

ash plains under mount yasur volcano on Tanna island
Ash plains under Mount Yasur volcano – the most easily accessible volcano in the world | Anja On Adventure

Detailed 12 days in Vanuatu itinerary

DAY 1: Efate Itinerary – Arrival in Vanuatu and transfer to Port Vila

Almost empty plane and empty plane seats on my Air Vanuatu flight to Vanuatu | Anja On Adventure

If you fly to Vanuatu, you will likely land at the Bauerfield International Airport on Efate Island. The airport is close to the capital Port Vila and easily accessible by public transport.

After clearing any formalities, take a moment to exchange some currency to Vanuatu Vatu or withdraw cash from the ATMs available. Just a small amount to have it ready for the bus or taxi. You can exchange the rest of it in a bank in Port Vila.

If you plan to visit the outer islands and areas outside the main city, always carry some local currency on hand. They might not have ATMs or won’t accept Credit Cards.

My flight from Brisbane, Australia, to Port Vila, Vanuatu, should have arrived in the afternoon but was delayed several times. Luckily I booked a private driver to pick me up before I landed. To be safe and stress-free which turned out to be an amazing decision.

Later on, I found out that one of the Vanuatu leaders passed away and was transported back to the country on the same plane I was on. So there were no taxi drivers, busses or other transport options at the airport.

Because of the repatriation ceremony, the usual 15-20 minute ride from the airport to Port Vila, took me more than an hour.

Technically this should not even count as a day in Vanuatu itinerary. But if your plane arrives early, you will have more time to explore Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila.

Where to stay in Port Vila, Efate Island:
The place where I stayed (Raynold’s Board and Lodge), close to Vanuatu National Museum, stopped renting rooms. Instead, look at some other accommodation options in Port Vila.
South Pacific Memories has cute bungalows, breakfast, free bikes and private parking.
• In Breakas Beach Resort you can swim in their infinity pool or on a private beach, indulge in great food, and stay only 5 min drive away from Port Vila;
• By booking Ramada Resort by Wyndham Port Vila you will sleep in a beachfront resort with a private beach and outdoor swimming pool.

Visit this page to see all available Port Vila accommodations to book online.

DAY 2: Efate Itinerary – Port Villa, Mele Cascades, and underwater Post office

Port vila Market that I visited during my Vanuatu itinerary
Port Vila market in Vanuatu | Anja On Adventure

Start your first official day in Vanuatu exploring the capital Port Vila and its surroundings.

I started my morning nowhere else than at the Port Vila Central Market. This is the largest market in Vanuatu, selling fresh fruits, vegetables, snacks, and traditional handicrafts.

The market is open every day. All day during weekdays and in the morning on Sundays.

If your accommodation is not serving breakfast, this is a great place to fill up your stomach.
I do not exaggerate telling you that I saw papayas bigger than my hand and had the most delicious avocados for breakfast.

I love markets because they are a perfect place to engage with friendly locals, sample fresh tropical fruits, and get a boost of dopamine from scents, smells, and sounds.

Banana chips in Port Vila market | Anja On Adventure

After the market catch a transport from Port Vila to Mele Cascades (or don’t). The cost of the ride is acceptable 300 VUV ($4 AU | 2,3€ | $2,5 US), for a 10 km ride.

But the entrance fee to the evergreen Cascades Waterfall is a tourist rip-off. I’m more than happy to support local communities but 2000 VUV ($25 AU | 15€ | $16 US) is a bit too much.

I was really excited to see the 35-meter Evergreen Cascades Waterfall. I mean, I came all the way to see it. But locals at my guesthouse were saying the price was too high, and not worth it. And I heard the same from tourists coming out from the Mele Cascades. 

So, I had the full intent to go inside, was there, but didn’t visit the site.

It just didn’t feel right. I also didn’t have water shoes, and the place was crowded. Since there were people on organized tours to the Mele Cascades. I’m not regretting it since we have plenty of waterfalls in Slovenia.

How to spend twelve days in Vanuatu. This is a perfect bucket list travel itinerary for anyone visiting Vanuatu islands, for the first time. Best travel itinerary for Vanuatu, that includes visiting Efate, Tanna and Mount Yasur volcano, kastom village, nagol land diving on Pentecost Island and beaches and blue holes on Easpiritu Santo. 

| Vanuatu itinerary | Vanuatu | Oceania | Vanuatu Travel guide | South Pacific

 #traveltips #itinerary #tanna #santo #pentecost #travelitinerary #travelplan
Underwater Vanuatu Post Office on Hideaway Island | Anja On Adventure

After your Mele Cascades adventure, head to Hideaway Island, one of the top things to do in Vanuatu.

Close to the shore of the island, you will find the only underwater post office in the world. The entrance fee is 1500 VUV ($18 AU | 11,5€ | $12.5 US) and you can send a postcard from it for 400 VUV ($5 AU | 3€ | $3,5 US).

Since I didn’t visit the Mele Cascades, I returned to Port Vila just in time to visit the Vanuatu National Museum. There is a 1000 VUV ($13 AU | 8€ | $8,5 US) entrance fee for an educational visit where you learn all about traditional Vanuatu sand drawings and instruments.

After your sightseeing day, have dinner in one of the resorts on the beachfront, or go to Iririki Island.

I had a homecooked dinner at the guesthouse, where the lady prepared a traditional Vanuatu dinner with pork, yam, and taro. It was delicious.

DAY 3: Efate Itinerary – Day tour to Pentecost Island

Learn all about Vanuatu bungee jumping ritual Nagol land diving Pentecost island tour and read an honest tour review of Anja On Adventure experience attending this rite of passage that inspired a modern version of Bungee jumping. Gol or Naghol is also an annual yam harvest ritual, performed in April, May and June. | Nagol land diving tour | Air Vanuatu | Pentecost island | Adventure tour | land diving #tanna #yasur #portvila #pentecost #nagol #yam
Nagol ritual or the beginning of bungee jumping on Pentecost island | Anja On Adventure

If you want to experience something adventurous, historical, jaw-dropping, and traditional, go on Nagol Land diving tour. I can GUARANTEE you, you will not regret it!

Seeing Nagol (Nahgol, N’gol, Nangol, Nanggol) or land diving ritual was one of my travel bucket list activities and the main reason why I came to Vanuatu.

My day tour to Pentecost was supposed to be later in my Vanuatu itinerary. But the weather did its thing. At first tour was canceled and later I got a spot to do it a few days earlier. 

Pentecost Island day tours run from Port Vila. If this is also on your travel bucket list, be flexible with the rest of your Vanuatu itinerary. They run on Wednesdays and Saturdays (check beforehand) so plan accordingly.

I went to Pentecost with Air Taxi Vanuatu.

The tour lasts for 8 hours and it starts with a pick-up from your Port Vila hotel. From Port Vila airport, you fly in a small aircraft 200 km north to Pentecost Island. They run on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from April to June.

On Pentecost, the transfer is waiting to take you to one of the villages on the south of the island. There you are free to walk in the village.

The highlight of the tour is seeing young men jumping off the wooden tower with only lianas attached to their ankles, as part of the Naghol or Land diving ritual. Before you return to Port Vila on a scenic flight, you are served lunch in a village.

The tour is not the cheapest, 53,000 VUV ($640 AU | 390€ | $420 US) but it is worth every Dollar, Euro, or Vanuatu vatu. An unforgettable lifetime experience and one of the things in Vanuatu, I would do again in a heartbeat.

When back in Port Vila, if you still have the energy to explore, go to Iririki Island. There are nice beaches to swim or just relax under the palm trees. I was having dinner with other tourists from the Pentecost Island tour.

You can read my Nagol Land diving tour review here or have a look what it was like.

DAY 4: Efate Itinerary – Tour around Efate island

making fire with a wooden sticks
Making fire with wood | Anja On Adventure

Explore the main island of Vanuatu, Efate.

If you are traveling to Vanuatu with a group or as a couple, you might consider renting a car. I didn’t want to spend another day in Port Vila or rent a car on my own, so I joined an Island tour with BBQ lunch.

We visited the Blue Lagoon and Eden on the River, the cultural village, and the Turtle sanctuary. There were 4 people on the tour so it didn’t feel too crowded for my taste. The guide was speaking English and French.

Tour starts in Port Vila and from there you visit a cultural village, where you learn about the history, life, and customs of Ni-Van people. I was most shocked hearing stories about cannibalism, how they use spider webbing for fishing, hunting, knowing which fish are poisonous and more.

Blue lagoon on Efate island | Anja On Adventure

Then we went to the Blue Lagoon where we had time to swim in crystal clear water. The day of the tour was a no-cruise ship day, so it was a bit quieter. After we went to Eden on the River.

Our final stop before going back was a small turtle sanctuary. Some people got to feed them and swim with them but I saw turtles in other places so was not participating in this activity.

Island tour is a good half-day tour to break up your day, and perfect if you don’t want to spend the whole day on the beach. Blue Lagoon was the highlight for me.

The tour was fine but I wasn’t that impressed, I would rate it 3.8 out of 5. Probably because I was still under a strong impression from the land diving tour the day before, which was a dream come true and one of my best days in Vanuatu.

DAY 5: Tanna Itinerary – Fly to Tanna and transfer to Yasur volcano

Ash plains under Mount Yasur | Anja On Adventure

Today you are going to visit another island in the Vanuatu archipelago. Visiting Tanna and its main attraction Mount Yasur volcano was a second bucket list item on my Vanuatu itinerary.

The first one was Naghol land diving, the second one was the Yasur volcano tour and the third one was celebrating my birthday on Champagne beach.

Plan to spend here at least 2-3 days on Tanna.

Mount Yasur is one of the world’s most accessible active volcanos on the World. If the volcano is too active, or if the weather is bad the tour might get canceled. This happened to me but I was able to do a Volcano hike on my last day on Tanna Island.

If you are flying between the islands, there is a 200 VUV departure tax that must be paid in cash at the airport before boarding your domestic flight.

Notice for domestic tax in English, French and Bislama | Anja On Adventure

Also, make sure you have enough cash with you since ATMs are very limited. Plus if you are staying in some of the bungalows overlooking Mt. Yasur, cash is the way to go and there might not have electricity or accept card payments. Bring snacks, water and warm clothes.

Direct flight from Port Vila to Tanna with Air Vanuatu only takes 40 minutes and offers amazing views. I’ve had a mid-day flight to Tanna Island White Grass Airport. I took a bus from Port Vila VT 150 VUV ($1,8 AU | 1,2€ | $1,3 US) to the airport.

Air Vanuatu plane between the islands
Air Vanuatu plane for flights between the islands | Anja On Adventure

Now, the next part of your Tanna itinerary will depend on where you will stay on the island.

Basically, Tanna is a small island and accommodation options are limited. If possible, book yours in advance! I haven’t and was struggling to book one last minute.

You will find resorts on the West side of the island, closer to the airport, and bungalows and tree houses on the East side of the island, around the Mount Yasur area. I was staying in the Mount Yasur area.

If you are staying in nicer and more modern accommodations on the West side, you can spend your afternoon snorkeling or visiting one of the blue holes. Great accommodation in that area is White Grass Ocean Resort & Spa offering complimentary Airport Transfers.

As mentioned earlier, I stayed in an accommodation with Mt. Yasur view. First, because it was easier to get on a tour, and second because I always wanted to stay in a treehouse and have a front-row view of the volcano. Service is basic, with limited WiFi and electricity. But the experience is genuine and one of a kind.

traa house on east tanna island overlooking mount yasur volcano
My treehouse accommodation on the East Side of Tanna Island overlooking Mount Yasur | Anja On Adventure

I have had my transport from the airport to the accommodation arranged with my hotel. I paid VT 4000 VUV ($48 AU | 31€ | $34 US) from White Grass Airport on Tanna Island to my Mt. Yasur view accommodation. The drive took us around two hours. It was raining heavily and the ‘roads’ were non-existent.

It was only me in the car and the driver/accommodation owner stopped at the store so I could buy snacks and water. Trust me, you will need both of those things so stack up!

The drive was first through the forest and a bit uphill, but then we started to descend.

Along the way, we stopped many times to see the ash plains of Mount Yasur and Tanna coastline. Seeing the black ash-filled landscape, the grounds shaking every now and then was surreal. It felt like landing on Mars.

Mars lookalike landscape in black, brown, and reddish colors | Anja On Adventure

The closer we were driving to the volcano, the scarier it looked. In some parts, we were able to see the smoke coming out of the ground. The smell of rotten eggs was getting stronger.

I was really impatient and too excited to go up. But the volcano was too active that day, and the weather was not nice, so all the tours were canceled. Hopefully tomorrow!

After I arrived at the Castle Tree House And Bungalow I got my very own tree house, with a view of the volcano. It was basic but super nice. The view was worth it. I also ordered some dinner and that was it for the night.

The night was cold, windy and it rained. I didn’t sleep very well, since I was admiring red lava at every volcano eruption. Magnificent to watch! And frightening. At every eruption, there was a ground shake that was felt even more high up on the tree.

Where to stay in Tanna:
White Grass Ocean Resort & Spa on the West Coast of Tanna is close to the airport and offers complimentary airport transfers. They have a private beach, free Wifi, a pool, a spa, and dining options.
Castle Tree House And Bungalow is where I stayed on the East Coast. It is surrounded by lush vegetation and has a homey, traditional feel with a free breakfast. They can help with organizing tours.

Visit this page to see all available Tanna accommodations to book online.

DAY 6: Tanna Itinerary – Kastom village

A village chief in Kastom Village on Tanna Island with Mt. Yasur in the background | Anja On Adventure

Full day for activities on Tanna Island. Choose between hot springs, going to the beach, ash boarding, visiting a kastom village, volcano tour …

It was pouring down with rain, so I was stuck at my accommodation. I was not the happiest since I was planning to do all sorts of activities. But, there was nothing I could do. You can’t fight Mother Nature.

The owner of the bungalows said that the tours to the volcano will (again) not operate today. Bad weather and high volcano activity level. Fingers crossed, I might do it tomorrow.

Luckily, it cleared up by midday so I could visit a kastom Latapo village close by for 1500 VUV ($18 AU | 12€ | $13 US). Bring cash!

Melanesian kastom village on tanna island in vanuatu
Child and his mom in Melanesian Kastom village on Tanna Island | Anja On Adventure

Most people visit the Yakel Tribe’s village on the other side of the island.

Yakel is also the tribe showcased in the Tanna movie, which I highly recommend watching. It displays kastom traditions on the island, there is (of course) a love story and Mount Yasur Volcano. You can say this is Vanuatu’s version of Romeo and Juliet.

Visiting Melanesian Kastom village in Vanuatu will be like stepping back in time.

You will be greeted by men, women, and kids wearing traditional clothes, lavalava skirts, nambas, and leaves. Then they will show you their custom and traditions. How to dance, use various leaves, how to make a lavalava skirt from hibiscus plants, how to make fire with sticks and dry wood.

Have a look at the women chanting and dancing in the Kastom village.

You will also see them dancing and singing. Women and men individually and then together. A beautiful site, especially with the Mount Yasur volcano in the background. If you are lucky, they will invite you to come and dance with them.

Later they will show you plants they use for food (taro, yam, sweet potato), herbal medicines on-site, and trees surrounding them, including a huge banyan tree.

The Kastom village visit lasted for a couple of hours and it was well worth the visit.

Back in my accommodation I ordered some dinner and went to bed hoping I will be lucky enough to do the Mount Yasur hike tomorrow.

Melanesian Kastom village
Kid is lifted up on leaves, that were crisscrossed and are held by men | Anja On Adventure

DAY 7: Tanna Itinerary – Mount Yasur volcano hike

mount yasur view from tree house
Mount Yasur volcano view from my tree house | Anja On Adventure

Another day reserved for different activities on Tanna. Visiting hot springs, going to the beach, ash boarding, visiting a kastom village, volcano tour, black magic tour …

This was my last day on Tanna Island. It was drizzling but I was still happy when I found out that the volcano tours would operate today. Yes!

After a lovely lunch, I took a scenic walk through the jungle to get to the entrance of Mount Yasur Volcano Safari. Going through the jungle on ‘local paths’ it would be 15-20 minutes. I took the safer approach and chose the road. It took me around 50 minutes (15 minutes drive). 

post office at the top of mount yasur volcano
Vanuatu post box office at the top of Mount Yasur volcano | Anja On Adventure

Hiking Mount Yasur volcano is a fantastic, frightening, and unforgettable experience.

I was at the entrance just in time for the sunset Mount Yasur tour. The tour lasted from 2 to 3 hours and I paid 8000 VUV ($96 AU | 62€ | $68 US) entrance fee. I joined other people who came from the West side or Tanna or walked to the entrance.
Volcano tour starts with a special ceremony from a local tribe. Then it is followed by a 4WD drive to the top and a short hike to the volcano crater. On the way, you will pass by the Vanuatu volcano post office.

Standing on the volcano’s edge, with LOUD eruptions, HORRIBLE smell, ash everywhere you look, and flying lava … I am not sure how safe this actually is. It is scary. It is exciting. It is raw. Filled with adrenaline. Adventure at its finest.

Below is one of the eruptions. You can see the sound (ash) wave before the ‘bam’.

First, you SEE bright yellow-red light, then flying lava and the explosion, after you can actually see the sound wave and HEAR the buumm, then you FEEL ground shaking and warm air full of sand and ash around you. After you can SMELL the sulphur. Dopamine travel at its finest.

Visiting the world’s most accessible active volcano is impossible to forget but it is far from being 100% safe. It is nature. It is wild and people have died here.

I wrote another, more detailed, article about my Mount Yasur hike experience with tips you should follow.

Before the tour, I arranged with my accommodation to pick me up after the end. It was pitch black and I didn’t want to get lost walking. I paid 1500 VUV ($18 AU | 11.5€ | $12.5 US) for the tide from the volcano to the accommodation.

Was the Mount Yasur volcano tour worth it?
Absolutely! No doubt about it! It is a scary but unforgettable experience! An absolute must-do in Vanuatu.

Anja at the top of Mount Yasur volcano | Anja On Adventure

DAY 8: Santo Itinerary – Fly to Espiritu Santo and transfer to Luganville

Extremely blue water in a Blue hole on Santo Island | Anja On Adventure

Leave Tanna and fly to Espirito Santo, or Santo, the biggest island in Vanuatu.

This will be the last leg of your Vanuatu itinerary island hopping. Depending on the day, you might get a direct flight with Air Vanuatu from Tanna to Santo. If not, you will have to switch planes in Port Vila.

I started my day bright and early. First, for the transfer from Mt. Yasur to Tanna Airport. I paid 2500 VUV ($30 AU | 20€ | $21,5 US).

My direct flight to Santo was changed, so I had to fly to Efate first and then to Santo. All good, but that meant I had to pay departure tax twice. In Luganville, I got a taxi from the airport to my accommodation and had dinner in a local restaurant.

Where to stay on Espiritu Santo Island:
• I stayed at Deco Stop Lodge. At the time they had a dorm room, but since I was the only one there, it was like having a private room. They have a pool, and are a short 10-minute walk from Luganville. They also help you book tours and have bikes for rent available.
• Two other great places to stay in Luganville are The Espiritu and Hotel Santo Vanuatu.

Visit this page to see all available Santo accommodations to book online.

DAY 9: Santo Itinerary – Luganville and Millenium Cave adventure

sign in Bislama in Deco Stop lodge in Santo island vanuatu
Sign in Bislama in Deco Stop Lodge on Santo Island, Vanuatu | Anja On Adventure

Sign up for the Millennium cave tour. You will get wet but your day will be full of adventure and this might as well be the best thing to do in Santo. If you can, add it to your Vanuatu itinerary.

Money from the tour, 7500 VUV ($90 AU | 57€ | $62 US), goes back to the local villages you will see on the tour. So by going on it, you will actually help the local community.

I was hesitant to sign up for the tour at first. But contrary to what people were saying about the Mele Cascades, all the tourists and locals were raving about this one. So I decided to go.

It is fun, exciting, and adventurous. You need to be in a good physical condition to do it as it is not a moderate hike.

You will be walking on slippery surfaces, ascending, descending, walking in a cave, and more. Harder and more exciting than the Narrows in Zion.

Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet (because they will). If you choose to bring a phone, wear a waterproof bag to protect it (or you will have no photos from it, like me).

One of the waterfalls on Millenium cave tour | Vanuatu travel

DAY 10: Santo Itinerary – Million dollar point and Blue holes

Million dollar point
Military equipment at Million Dollar Point | Anja On Adventure

Espiritu Santo is a mecca for divers, famous for diving the SS President Coolidge. If you are a diver, including Santo in your Vanuatu itinerary is a must.

Spend your day checking some must-do things in Santo. Like diving or snorkeling on Million Dollar Point and visiting Blue holes in the afternoon if you have some time and energy left.

I rented a bike for the day.

My first stop was Million Dollar Point, which is a must-visit in Santo. The entrance fee is 500 VUV or $5 AU (3€ | $3.5 US) if you pay in Australian dollars. I don’t dive but I do snorkel.

At Million Dollar Point, you can see where Americans dumped millions of dollars worth of equipment at the end of World War II.

All the ‘equipment’ is right off the shore. You can see tanks, tops, and wheels … I didn’t feel comfortable looking at all of it, so I left rather quickly.

million dollar point
Sign at Million Dollar Point on Santo Island.

I spend the afternoon cycling exploring and swimming in the Blue Holes. Blue holes are inland natural freshwater springs. They are blue oases in the middle of the tropical jungle, that get their color from the minerals, depth of the blue hole, and water purity.

I visited three blue holes in Santo: Riri blue hole, Matevulu blue hole, and Nanda blue hole or Jackie’s blue hole.

There is a 500 VUV ($6 AU | 4€ | $4 US) entrance fee for Riri and Matevulu and a 1000 VUV ($12 AU | 6€ | $8 US) entrance fee for Nanda Blue Hole.

The colors of the holes are insanely pure and the water is super clean. Let’s keep it that way! At some blue holes, there are showers to wash yourself BEFORE entering the blue hole. Make sure, you don’t use sunscreen, or repellent before jumping in! And if you absolutely have to, try to use natural brands.

My cycling day ended at Nanda Blue hole. I was just too exhausted getting lost twice and biking all the way back to Luganville. I paid a local to drive me and a bike back to my accommodation.

blue hole in vanuatu
Blue Hole in Vanuatu | Anja On Adventure

DAY 11: Santo Itinerary – Port Olry and Champagne Beach

Celebrating my birthday on a Champagne Beach | Anja On Adventure

Today you are going to spend a day relaxing on the north of Santo Island. Spend a day on a beach in Port Olry Beach and visit one of the best beaches in the world, Champagne Beach.

Champagne Beach got its name from the volcanic gasses coming through the sand, so it looks like the beach is bubbling. You can also feel the bubbles when walking on the sand. The scenery is just perfect for some stunning Vanuatu photos.

As with many beaches on other South Pacific Islands (Fiji, Samoa), there is a fee to enter.

Champagne Beach is privately owned and the fee is VT2000 VUV ($19 AU | 15€ | $16 US) per vehicle, or 500 VUV ($6 AU | 4€ | $4 US) for walk-ins. If you stay in one of the accommodations on Champagne beach, the entrance is free.

With two other travelers, we rented a taxi for a day and paid 4000 VUV ($48 AU | 31€ | $33.5 US) each. It took us to all the sites on the East Coast, Blue Holes (the ones I visited yesterday), all the way up to Port Olry and Champagne Beach.

We spent the whole day on the beach. Snorkeled, swam in the blue ocean, played with local kids, and had lobster lunch at one of the local restaurants.

local kids on Port Olry
Local kids on Champagne Beach | Anja On Adventure

DAY 12: Santo Itinerary – Espiritu Santo and departure

One of the islands in Vanuatu archipelago | Anja On Adventure

Time to say goodbye to Santo and Vanuatu. Depending on your International flight, you might have to take a flight to Port Vila first, so plan accordingly.

Richer with memories, adventures, and experiences, say goodbye to paradise (until next time).

My flight to Port Vila was in the morning and my outbound flight from Port Vila to Fiji was in the evening. So I had a whole day to spend in Port Vila.

I visited Port Vila Market again, where I bought souvenirs and grabbed another delicious burger. All before my flight to another Island archipelago in the South Pacific where I spent the next 2 months, filming a reality TV show Australian Survivor.

Fiji Airways plane taking me from Vanuatu to Fiji | Anja On Adventure

Map of an itinerary for Vanuatu

Vanuatu itinerary on a map | Anja On Adventure

Possible Vanuatu travel itinerary alternations

Learn all about Vanuatu bungee jumping ritual Nagol land diving Pentecost island tour and read an honest tour review of Anja On Adventure experience attending this rite of passage that inspired a modern version of Bungee jumping. Gol or Naghol is also an annual yam harvest ritual, performed in April, May and June. | Nagol land diving tour | Air Vanuatu | Pentecost island | Adventure tour | land diving #tanna #yasur #portvila #pentecost #nagol #yam
Me with kids in a local village on Pentecost island after Land diving ritual | Anja On Adventure

Shared 12 days in Vanuatu itinerary is great for a first-time visitor to Vanuatu.

It is more on the active side and offers a perfect combination of beaches, adventure, sightseeing, nature, and history. You will have enough time to explore what different islands in the Vanuatu archipelago have to offer.

I understand that not anyone wants the same from their Vanuatu vacation. You might be traveling at different times of the year, and spend more or less time in this not to touristy Melanesian country. Therefore flexibility is key.

Below I offer some more Vanuatu itinerary ideas on how you can adjust and customize itinerary for your needs.

Travel itinerary ideas for less than 12 days in Vanuatu

women and child in tanna tribe
A woman and her child on Tanna before showing Melanesian Kastom culture | Anja On Adventure

If you don’t have 12 days for Vanuatu and are wondering “How many days in Vanuatu is enough?” I would say, to have at least 1 week in Vanuatu, but if possible 10 days in Vanuatu would be perfect. In that time you can still visit all three main islands, Efate, Tanna and Santo.

What to do in Vanuatu for a week? If you want to explore Vanuatu in 7 days, I would suggest visiting only two islands. Efate and eather Tanna or Santo. If you feel adventurous, you can perhaps book a Tanna volcano day tour. If you still decide to visit all three, then on Santo go to Million Dollar Point and visit Blue Holes.

Travel itinerary ideas for more than 12 days in Vanuatu

Man in Melanesian Kastom village on Tanna Island | Anja On Adventure

It is always nice to have extra days in your travel itinerary. You can include more beach timemore diving time, or more adventure.

For 2 weeks in Vanuatu itinerary, spend more time on Santo if you are diving. Make sure to do the dives at least 1 day before your flight. Same if you are planning your Vanuatu honeymoon itinerary.

For more adventurous, I would suggest adding an overnight tour to Ambrym Island (another volcano) to your itinerary.

Now that you have a better idea on your Vanuatu itinerary, have a look at other Vanuatu travel guides and find out how to get to Vanuatu, cost of travel to Vanuatu, learn about my hiking Mout Yasur volcano experience, read about Naghol land diving on Pentecost, find things to do in Vanuatu, where to stay and how Vanuatu compare to Fiji and Samoa.

FAQ about travel itinerary for Vanuatu

The name “Vanuatu” is believed to have two possible origins.

One interpretation is that it’s derived from the Austronesian word “vanua,” which means “land” or “home.” The addition of the suffix “-tu” emphasizes the collective nature, making it “Our Land” or “Land of the People.”

Another interpretation suggests that “Vanuatu” could be a combination of two local Melanesian words, “vanua” and “tu,” which together convey the idea of “many islands.” Vanuatu is an island nation in the South Pacific, and the name reflects its diverse archipelago made up of numerous islands.

The ideal duration for a visit to Vanuatu can vary but in general I would recommend spending at least 1 week in Vanuatu. If you want to explore Vanuatu in 7 days, I would suggest visiting only two islands. Efate and eather Tanna or Santo. If you feel adventurous, you can perhaps book a Tanna volcano day tour.

If you have time, spend 10 days in Vanuatu to fully experience the diverse culture, natural beauty, and adventure opportunities on different islands. By spending 10 days in Vanuatu you can visit 3 or even four islands or opt for a day tour to Pentecost Island.

Yes, Vanuatu is an often overlooked Melanesian destination in the South Pacific Ocean and often considered a bucket list destination for its stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, diving sites, kastom cultural experiences, vibrant coral reefs, pristine beaches, active volcanoes, and lush rainforests. It is also worth mentioning that it is the 4th happiest nation in the world.

The best time to visit is between April to September.
This is Vanuatu’s dry season, with sunny days and less humidity. For diving, the best month are July-August. If you want to see a Land diving ritual, you should come from mid-April to mid-June. 

Vanuatu is an archipelago consisting of 83 islands. Here are some recommended bigger islands you should consider visiting. Efate (capital Port Vila), Tanna (Mount Yasur volcano, traditional villages, and Yakel Tribe), Espiritu Santo (Blue Holes, white-sand beaches, and World War II relics), Pentecost (land diving ceremonies), Ambrym.

Yes! Enjoy peace of mind on your travels with a plan from SafetyWing. You can choose between monthly coverage or insurance for specific travel dates. They are one of the biggest names in the travel insurance world, and also give you the option to get insured while already abroad! Stay and be safe!

No, but it is recommended. Accommodation in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila and on the outer islands is limited. To avoid any unwanted stress, I would recommend booking places to stay in advance or before you arrive. has a great feature on some stays, where you can reserve your room and cancel it for free if your plans change.

Maybe! It depends on your mobile provider and the plan you are on. There is WiFi in some hotels, but some basic accommodations do not have it. You can buy a local Sim card once there or travel carefree and buy an Airalo eSim before your travels.

Yes! Renting a car in Vanuatu is safe with some precautions. Do note that they drive on the right handside of the road. Check the rates at Discover Cars to make sure renting pays off. You will potentially only need a car on Efate and Espiritu Santo, to avoid paying for a taxi and have more freedom to explore.

Some of them.

You can explore areas in Vanuatu without a tour, like Port Vila and Efate Island. You can also go snorkeling at Million Dollars Point and swim in Blue Holes on your own. For others, like Pentecost land diving tour, and Mount Yasur volcano hike, I would book a tour in advance. Viator offers more tours in Vanuatu than GetYourGuide (which I used to book airport transfer).

➤ Read more Vanuatu travel guides

Epic Vanuatu Bungee Jumping tour on Pentecost
Vanuatu Cost of Travel and Detailed Budget Breakdown
101+ Vanuatu Captions, Quotes, Puns and Jokes For Instagram (+ Hashtags)

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About the author: Anja

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Anja is a travel blogger and the founder of Anja on Adventure travel blog. Originally from Slovenia, she was also living in Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, and Fiji. She loves traveling to tropical destinations, as well as beach destinations with endless summer. But you can also find her eating her way through Italy or Mexico, learning about ancient cultures in Easter Island, visiting bucket list places in Peru, or taking road trips through the USA. She is passionate about world cultures, travel, maps, and puzzles. For the past 15+ years she has been traveling the globe, as a solo traveler, and as a tour guide. Her goal is to visit every tropical destination in the World. Anja On Adventure is here to provide helpful travel guides and personalized itinerary ideas to travelers that she has gathered from first-hand experience.