Disclosure: This Nagol Land Diving Pentecost Island Tour: Vanuatu Bungee Jumping article may contain affiliate links. If you click it and buy something you like, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! Read more in Disclaimer.
Are you an adventure enthusiast?
Have you ever heard about Naghol or N’gol?
What about Pentecost Island?
But I’m sure you heard about Vanuatu Bungee Jumping, right?
If seeing the birthplace of bungee jumping is on your bucket list, then the Nagol Land Diving Pentecost Island Tour is for you.
I can assure you, it’s breathtaking! Naghol or N’gol or Nanggol is a name for a Land diving ritual. It is a kastom performed by the men of the southern part of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. This ritual is considered to be the birthplace of bungee jumping.
🍕 If you have been wondering “What was Anja’s favorite meal in Vanuatu?”, you will find the answer hidden in the blog.
Naghol or Land diving is a Vanuatu bungee jumping ritual that was also covered in National Geographic. It takes place from April to June. Joining this tour you will visit a village on the south of Pentecost Island where you will witness a centuries-old ritual, called the Nanggol in the Bislama or Gol, meaning ‘body’, in the local Sa language.
It is a kastom ceremony that was brought to fame by David Attenborough. During Naghol young men jump from 20 m – 30 m (66 to 98 ft) high platforms with only lianas tied around their ankles to ensure a good yam harvest. This unique ritual was also observed by Queen Elizabeth II. (1974) and Pope John Paul II. (1986).
Below you can read my N’gol Land diving tour review on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu, what you will see and do, and why you should join a tour too!
and ALSO READ:
• GET OVER JET LAG WITH THESE 19 EASY-TO-FOLLOW TIPS
• 13 EASY WAYS TO MAKE YOU MORE SUSTAINABLE TRAVELER
• BEST WAYS OF TRACKING TRAVEL EXPENSES DURING A TRIP
• HOW TO BARGAIN ON YOUR TRAVELS: 17 ESSENTIAL BARGAINING TIPS
• 5 ULTIMATE REASONS WHY ARE HELICOPTER TOURS WORTH THE MONEY
• ULTIMATE TRAVELER SAFETY GUIDE: WHAT TO DO DURING AN EARTHQUAKE
for ITINERARY idea:
• Vanuatu itinerary: How to Spend 12 Days in Vanuatu
for Vanuatu TRAVEL TIPS:
• Vanuatu Cost of Travel and Detailed Budget Breakdown
• Ultimate traveler safety guide: What to do during an earthquake
• Epic Nagol Land Diving Pentecost Island Tour: Vanuatu Bungee Jumping
for ACCOMMODATION suggestions:
for CAPTION IDEAS:
• 111 Beautiful Vanuatu Captions For Instagram
📌 Don’t have time to read it now? Pin it for later!
1. Know before booking Nagol Land Diving tour
- LAND DIVING TOUR AVAILABLE DAYS
The Nagol land diving ceremony day tours take place every year between April and June. The Land Diving Tours operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays based on local traditions and weather conditions. In general, the tour will take place in the morning hours between 7 am and 4 pm.
It’s advisable to check with local organizers for the most accurate schedule. Keep in touch with the tour provider and make your Vanuatu itinerary flexible, since the date of Naghol tour may change, as it did for me.
- DURATION OF PENTECOST LAND DIVING TOUR
Pentecost land diving tour lasts between 7 and 8 hours.
They pick you up from a hotel in Port Vila around 7 am and drop you off around 4 pm. Depending on where your accommodation is. Do note that the Nagol land diving ceremony only lasts for about 1-2 hours. The rest is transport to Pentecost, 2 h return flight, a drive to the village, and time in the village.
- BOOKING A NAGOL TOUR
Since this is a seasonal event I would highly recommend planning your Vanuatu trip in a way to spend Wednesday and Saturday in Port Vila. And because the tour starts in the morning, you should arrive in Vanuatu at least a day before.
Aircraft flying to Pentecost is small, so book your tour in advance. I went with Air Taxi Vanuatu and booked my Naghol tour via email email@example.com a month and a half before. You can also call them on +678 5544206 or visit their website.
- PENTECOST NAGHOL TOUR PRICE
Nahgol tour cost may vary when you are booking your tour. Use the prices below as a reference only. Now, I’m not going to lie, it is not the cheapest but it is worth every penny and it was the best day I spent in Vanuatu (even though there are other epic things to do in Vanuatu).
Land diving tour costs VT 53,000 (660 AUD / 410 € / 447 USD) per person for an adult. Nahgol tour cost for children is VT 36,000 (453 AUD / 277 EUR / 303 USD) per child.
If you wish to add Epi Island Eco adventure to the Land diving, the price will be VT 59,000 for adult and VT 39,000 per child (11 years and under).
• 111 Beautiful Vanuatu Captions For Instagram
- NAGHOL TOUR ITINERARY
7 – 8: Pick up from your hotel or resort in Port Vila
8:30: Take off from Port Villa airport towards Pentecost Island
8:30 – 9:30: Flight to Pentecost island over Lopevi and Ambrym Islands (weather dependent)
9:30: Arrival to Pentecost south Lonorore Airport and transfer to the Land diving site
10:30 – 13:00: Land diving ritual
13:00: Lunch and village visit
14:00: Departure from Pentecost Island
15 – 15:30: Arrival to Port Vila
15:00 – 16:00: Drop off at your hotel in Port Vila
Times may change due to weather and land diving ritual.
- ALL-INCLUSIVE NAGOL LAND DIVING TOUR PACKAGES
Nagol land diving tour Pentecost Island packages include almost everything.
- Airport/Resort transfers (within Port Vila);
- Scenic flight over Lopevi Volcano and over Ambrym Island’s two active volcanoes (weather permitting);
- All Pentecost Island transfers;
- Naghol entry fee;
- Picnic Lunch in a local village;
- Scenic flight over Cook’s Reef on your way back home;
- Local guide.
Don’t have time to read now? Pin it for later!
2. Tips for going on Nagol land diving Pentecost Island tour
Going on Nagol land diving Pentecost Island tour was a bucket list experience for me. And while this adventure tour is fantastic, there are a few tips that can make this experience even more memorable.
- RESPECT LOCAL CUSTOMS
The Land Diving ritual is centuries old and part of the culture of Ni-Vanuatu people on Pentecost Island. Show respect for the tradition, and don’t laugh when seeing and walking along people in their traditional attire. Be prepared that land diving deaths can occur.
- BRING ENOUGH WATER – STAY HYDRATED
You will be spending from 7 to 8 hours outside. Humidity can be high and there will be limited shops along the way to buy water. You will be offered some at lunch time but better to be safe than sorry. Bring at least a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
- PLAN A WHOLE DAY FOR NAGOL TOUR
Nagol tour only lasts for around 8h. But when planning your Vanuatu itinerary, plan a whole day for it. Meaning no flights out on that day or other afternoon sightseeing booked on the day of the tour.
- DRESS FOR THE OCCASION
You will be out in the jungle, under the tropical sun. So wear comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear suitable for exploring the natural surroundings of Pentecost Island. You will be allowed to bring a small backpack, and I would advise to bring a lightweight waterproof jacket just in case. You might be fine on the ground but it gets a bit colder on the airplane.
- BRING PORTABLE CHARGER
Don’t forget your camera/phone and a portable charger. You will want to record the dives but when taking photos, ask for their permission first! I had no problem with kids taking photos with me, but adults were saying yes in a more reserved way.
Pro Tip: Avoid cotton clothes. They hold moisture and sweat, which is not ideal in tropical climate.
- CONNECT WITH LOCALS
Before and after the land diving ritual you will have some time to walk in the village. Take this time to engage with locals. It will be a fun challenge.
Village I was in spoke some sort of Pidgin French and only a few knew English words. So there was no communication. We were mostly using hands and gestures. They took us to the river, and were bringing us stuff to try. Pure and genuine connection.
3. What is Naghol Vanuatu Land diving ritual
The Naghol, or N’gol, is a traditional Kastom ceremony performed by men on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. Vanuatu land diving rite of passage was an inspiration for A. J. Hackett and the commercial bungee jumping we all know today.
3.1. When did Land diving start?
The tradition grew out of the legend of Tamaile and his wife.
In the story, the wife escapes her abusive husband by climbing a tree and hurling herself off it when the husband follows and tries to grab her.
He dives after her, falling to his death, not realizing that she had tied liana vines to her legs.
3.2. What is the meaning of Nagol or Land Diving?
3.2.1. Rite of passage
Land divers of Pentecost island are circumcised men (and boys), as young as 7. They are selected from their community and are jumping from a 20-30 meters (66 to 98 ft) high man-made tower with only a vine attached to their ankles.
Vanuatu bungee jumping is a rite of passage for young men trying to prove their manhood. It is a fertility rite, a demonstration of courage, and a celebration of the island’s cultural identity. Women and children are dancing and chanting beneath or above the tower.
They can reach up to 75 kilometers per hour (45 miles per hour) when hitting the ground with their shoulders. There is no safety equipment and land diving accidents, and also land diving deaths can occur.
3.2.2. Harvest ritual
Land diving ceremony is also an annual yam harvest ritual. When the vine stretches at the end of the dive, the land diver’s head curls under their shoulders to touch the earth, making it fertile for the next year’s yam crop.
Yams stand out among the various staple crops in Vanuatu as the only seasonal crop, harvested once a year, and the one that don’t deteriorate during extended storage.
They are highly valued for their superior food quality, and a successful yam harvest, known as Bat, ensures a quality food supply.
Pin those for a later read!
4. Nagol land diving tour on Pentecost Island, Vanuatu
4.1. From Port Vila to Land Diving site
The actual tour starts at your Port Vila accommodation. The driver will pick you up from it at the arranged time. He will then drive you to the Port Vila airport. Since this is a domestic flight to Lonorore Airport, you will have to pay a departure tax of VT200 each way.
On your way north to Pentecost Island, you will be flying in a small high-wing aircraft and each passenger is ensured to get the best window views possible. The plane is small, so limit your backpack size before you even start with the tour.
If weather permits, you will be flying over an active Lopevi volcano. Plus your pilot will show you Benbow and Marum volcanos on Ambrym Island. After that, you will already reach and land at South Pentecost Airport.
After our landing, the driver was already waiting for us with a pickup truck. Two of the passengers got to sit in front of the car, and the rest of us were sitting at the back.
The drive was bumpy and around 20 minutes long. It was passing many river streams, forests and some questionable roads to reach the village.
We saw a couple of villagers but were soon escorted through the forest to the land diving site.
4.2. Building the Nagol tower before the Land Diving
The preparation of the Land Diving begins months before the event. The tower takes locals five weeks to build. It is constructed with great care and precision, following closely monitored procedures.
In the local Sa language, “gol” means “body” and the land dive. Body refers to the tower since it symbolizes the human form with head, shoulders, breasts, belly, genitals, and knees. Diving platforms represent penises and the supporting elements beneath the diving platforms of the tower symbolize vaginas.
To build the tower, freshly cut and sturdy wood is essential. But the most important part are tree vines or lianas. They have to be elastic and flexible and are used as tower ropes and jump ropes.
Each jump rope vine is selected by an elder villager for each jumper individually. Lianas are selected based on each jumper’s weight, ensuring flexibility, length and strength. The ends are shredded so they can be tied around the jumper’s ankle. There is one liana for each leg.
When selecting a liana, accuracy is paramount. Only a couple of grams of excess weight or a couple of cm of dry vine can lead to catastrophic consequences. Liana may break and land diving injuries or fatalities can occur.
One of them happened in 1974 during the visit of Queen Elizabeth’s to Vanuatu. They wanted the Queen to see the show. But the visit was fall and the lianas were too dry. Lianas broke which resulted in fatal accidents.
That is also why the land diving ritual should only be performed around May. It is when the yams are harvested and when lianas are in the right – still flexible – condition.
4.3. Land Diving ritual or Vanuatu bungee jumping
When we arrived on the site the first thing we saw was the tower. It is spectacular.
Below the tower young boys were running around in their traditional outfits and men preparing the site.
Men were softening the area at the foot of the tower, where the land divers land. With sticks they were beating the volcanic soil to smaller pieces, so there were no clumps and it looked like a brown rug or tongue sliding down the slope beneath the tower.
Women are forbidden to go near the tower until the land diving begins.
When land diving began, us, tourists, were watching from the side. And women were chanting at the foot and at the top wearing traditional grass skirts.
Nagol consists of multiple land dives from platforms fixed at different levels, each higher than the one before. The Rite of Passage ritual starts with the lowest level (still around 8 m /26 ft) and the youngest land diver. The highest dive is from the topmost platform reserved for the most experienced land diver in the village.
All men and land divers are dressed in traditional nambas, or penis wrappers, tied up with ratan around their waist. With only lianas tied around their ankles, they climb to the platform. Before each dive, there is kastom singing and dancing performed by women.
The diver then launch themselves from the platforms. When the vines attached to the ankles reach full extension the platform snaps. The vines pull back to the tower and pull the diver with them. For a brief second everything goes deadly quiet, before in a blink-of-an-eye the land diver touches the surface. Men at the bottom then catch the diver and cut off the lianas. The chanting continues.
Nagol is a spectacle. Only watching it I got a rush of adrenaline and goose-bumps. I wanted to scream but was lost for words. Seeing the pride of diverse families and happiness of the successful dives was incredible. There was a special energy in the air. And I was privileged enough to see it. Privileged enough to attend this kastom ritual.
There were 5 Land Dives when I was there. No one got hurt or injured.
You can watch what it was like at the Nagol Land Diving ritual for all of them; Jump 1, Jump 2, Jump 3, Jump 4 and Jump 5.
4.4. Lunch in a village
After seeing the Vanuatu Bungee Jumping ritual we walked back to the village we were served some sort of traditional lunch. I would be happy to tell you what it was. I know there was rice and orange juice but the rest was new for me. It was delicious.
We were asking villagers about it but they spoke pidgin French and could not understand a word. So, we were just going with it.
After lunch, we had some free time in the village. Kids took me by the river and were showing off when doing flips and backflips into water.
🍕 “What was Anja’s favorite meal in Vanuatu?” It is their beef! Its special and delicious!
When we returned back, women and girls were sitting in a shade under the tree, back in regular (western) clothes. Mom’s and older women were sitting and girls were resting their heads on their tights.
At least that is what I thought!
Ladies were doing something on their heads and playing with their hair. And every once in a while, take their hand and put it in their mouth.
I was clueless about what they were doing. And it took me a hot second to figure it out.
And even when I did, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
They were picking lice and eating them.
Probably because of the shock and surprise on my face, a small girl came to me and opened her palm. There were lice on her palm. She was offering them to me to try. And because I still looked like a deer in the headlights, she then showed me what I should do. She ate one.
I couldn’t do it.
Instead, I offered a younger girl that came with her one. I assumed it was her sister. I have no idea up to this day who gets to eat the lice, but that little girl was beyond thrilled when I offered her my lice. It was nice and shocking to see it. A wake-up call.
And then, just like in a movie, the meeting was interrupted by our guide and the arrival of the pickup truck that took us back to the Pentecost airport.
4.4. Flight back to Port Vila
On the way back to the airport we were all quiet. There was just a random note here and there but we were all processing what we just witnessed. It left a mark in all of us and we were just happy being each in our world, collecting our thoughts.
It was the same on the flight back. I vividly remember a pilot saying, “On your left there you can see a Cook’s reef” and I looked at it and just said ‘meh’.
Like, nothing could compare to the energy of the land diving site and the mark that left on me.
We didn’t speak much on the flight. And it was only when we were leaving the aircraft back in Port Vila, that we decided to have dinner together that same night. We did have conversations then. It was just amazing to see, how deep this tour got to all of us. Not just me.
So, if you ever get the chance to go on one. GO!
Seeing Nagol land diving is not just another tour. Being there is a privilege!
5. Where to Stay in Port Vila on Efate Island
Since Pentecost tours depart from Port Vila airport, the best option is to spend the night before in, you guessed it, Port Vila. This is a small capital, with a little bit more than 50.000 people. There is a range of accommodations to suit different preferences but options are limited and get booked out fast. Thus, I would suggest booking your stay in advance.
For a charming and cozy retreat, consider staying at South Pacific Memories. You will be staying in one of their cute bungalows that provide a perfect blend of comfort and island charm. Breakfast is included in the price. They also offer complimentary bikes and private parking.
If you’re searching for a beachfront escape with luxury amenities, book your stay at Breakas Beach Resort. This resort is an excellent choice to swim in the infinity pool overlooking the azure waters, relax on a private beach, and enjoy superb food. It is just a short 5-minute drive from Port Vila, combining convenience with tranquility.
You will find an upscale stay with a private beach at Ramada Resort by Wyndham. This full-service beachfront resort not only offers direct access to a private beach but also features an inviting outdoor swimming pool. It is just a short drive away from Port Vila.
If you are traveling on a budget, check The Melanesian Port Vila. They are a travel-sustainable property and offer complimentary breakfast. For a more upscale luxurious stay check out Iririki Island Resort & Spa.
For more hotel suggestions have a look at top 10 Port Vila hotels for every budget.
Pin those for a later read!
6. Other things to do in Port Vila
Besides going on a Pentecost land diving tour, there are other things to do in Port Vila. You can explore the lush tropical island, just like I have in the first days of my Vanuatu itinerary. If you are not into island hopping or are only spending a couple of days in a former Anglo-French condominium, go on a Mount Yasur day tour from Port Vila.
Despite the small size, things worth visiting in Port Vila are Port Vila markets. There you can meet friendly locals selling their produce, buy some souvenirs, and try some local food. Visit the Museum if you want to learn about sand drawing and cannibalism, which was still in practice now so long ago.
You can go on a tour around the island and dive to the underwater post office, see mele cascades, swim in the Blue Lagoon, visit a turtle sanctuary, and learn about the Ni-Vanuatu traditions in a cultural village.
Choose what suits you best!
7. Final thoughts on Naghol Land Diving tour
If you are searching for a tour that seamlessly blends kastom tradition, adrenaline, and cultural richness, Nagol Land Diving Pentecost Island tour is perfect for you.
Seeing the Vanuatu bungee jumping ritual performed live was hands down the best day I had in Vanuatu. And the most memorable tour so far. In second place I would put the Tanna volcano tour.
The land diving tour was well organized. It was fun, scary, exciting, adventurous, scenic and informative. Like stepping into the past. Unforgettable. Drivers, guides, and pilots were friendly and informative, always wearing a smile. We are in Vanuatu – 4. happiest nation.
There’s truly nothing like the thrill of witnessing courageous divers free-falling from wooden towers, with only lianas on their ankles. Only watching it you get a rush of adrenaline, goose-bumps, you want to scream but are lost for words.
Naghol is a true once-in-a-lifetime National Geographic worthy experience. One that served as an inspiration for a modern version of bungee jumping. A true travel bucket list item.
I would rate the tour 10/5. It might be out of the Vanuatu travel budget for some, but I can 100% guarantee you that the experience is more than worth it.
Remember, always have the courage to jump into the unknown,
➤ What you should read next …
📌 Like it? Pin it!
✈ Travel like a PRO
Are you ready to travel like a PRO?
Save time and money with these travel tips and resources.
I personally use these companies to save time and money. They do the work by providing a list of options, prices, and reviews from actual guests, for anywhere I am traveling worldwide.
✈️ FLIGHTS: I use Skyscanner in combination with Google Flights to find amazing flight fares (try the Explore feature). I book directly with an airline or pair it with Iwantthatflight for the best deals.
🏨 ACCOMMODATION: Booking.com is my favorite site for finding great hotel deals. They return the best rates and reviews are from actual guests!
🚘 RENTAL CARS: Discover Cars are my go-to, when planning an epic road trip.
🗽 TOURS & ACTIVITIES: I like to wander around on my own, but when I want to explore with a group, skip the line with an entrance ticket, I book it with GetYourGuide or Viator.
❤️🩹 TRAVEL INSURANCE: I never, under any circumstances travel without insurance. In most cases, I use yearly global travel medical insurance. But, if you don’t have that and some impromptu travel plans occur, use SafetyWing. With them, you can buy travel insurance even when you are already abroad. Better be safe, than sorry!
📲 ONLINE SAFETY: NordVPN keeps your devices’ browsing safe and malware-free. Stream shows from around the world, access social media in countries where they are blocked and buy cheap flights by changing your virtual location.
STAY CONNECTED WITH eSIM: Ditch the plastic SIM cards and waiting in lines at the airport! Airalo eSIMs allow you to connect as soon as you land at your destination. They have eSIMs for over 190+ countries worldwide.
What is land diving? Why is land diving important?
Land diving is a traditional ritual practiced by the Vanuatu people, particularly on the southern part of Pentecost Island. In the ritual, known as “Naghol” or “N’gol,” men are jumping off wooden towers with vines tied to their ankles. Land diving is often considered the precursor to modern bungee jumping.
What is the purpose of land diving in Vanuatu?
Land diving in Vanuatu serves as a cultural ritual and rite of passage, symbolizing the transition from boyhood to manhood. Additionally, it is also a yam harvest ritual believed to bring a good yam harvest and ensure good year for the community.
What is the famous ritual in Vanuatu called?
The famous ritual in Vanuatu is known as “Naghol” or “N’gol,” but it is commonly referred to as land diving. This traditional ceremony involves men leaping off wooden towers with vines tied to their ankles. It holds cultural significance as a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood, and it is also believed to bring prosperity to the community, ensuring a successful yam harvest and fertility.
What is the Vanuatu Bungee jumping ritual called?
The Vanuatu bungee jumping ritual is known as “Naghol” or “N’gol,” and it is more commonly referred to as land diving.
Where did bungee jumping originate?
Bungee jumping originated from the land diving ritual practiced by the Vanuatu people on Pentecost Island in the South Pacific. The traditional ritual, known as “Naghol” or “N’gol,” involves men leaping off wooden towers with vines tied to their ankles.
When are land diving tours available?
Land diving ceremonies in Vanuatu typically take place during certain times of the year, with the most common season being between April and June. These months coincide with the yam harvest and are considered an auspicious time for the Naghol ritual.
Are there other day tours from Port Vila?
Besides the tours on Efate Island, you can go on a Mount Yasur volcano day trip from Port Vila, to Tanna Island, also known as the Tanna volcano tour. Or you can combine the Naghol Land Diving Tour with snorkeling on Epi Island.
❥ About Anja On Adventure
Anja On Adventure is a travel blog, a collection of insider tips and information on destinations, that I visited as a solo female traveler, tour guide, teacher, yacht stewardess, and Survivor challenge tester.
Anja, is a thirty-something adventure-seeking, sun chasing, beach hopping, gin-loving, tropics enthusiast with a creative mind and sarcastic spirit, who loves coconut and mango but doesn’t like chocolate and sweets. I am passionate about all things travel, maps, and puzzles. Click here to learn more About me.