Vanuatu’s Incredible Blue Lagoons, not one but THREE!
Imagine swimming in water that is so damn clear you can open your eyes and see over 20 meters straight to the bottom. It is like scuba diving in the world’s clearest water. To add to that, the water is incredibly blue. I mean seriously blue, just check out the photos.
Where is Vanuatu’s Blue Lagoon?
I’m about to blow your mind here. There is not just one blue lagoon in Vanuatu, but a few of them! In Santo alone, there are actually six blue lagoons (also called Blue Holes) to explore. In my opinion, the Nanda Blue Hole is the best, however, each Blue Hole is unique.
There is also another popular Blue Lagoon in Efate (Port Vila), much further south of Santo Espiritu. A bit about that one at the end of this article.
Nanda Blue Hole
This is located mid-way up the east coast of Santo, approximately 32km from Luganville, or a 40-minute drive. The entrance to the Nanda Blue Hole is on the right-hand side of the road and is well signposted. There is a small house to the side of the entrance where you pay your 1000 vatu entry fee.
Continue down the small dirt road for a few hundred meters until you reach a small carpark. From there the incredibly blue water of the Nanda Blue Hole is just a 50-meter walk.
The Nanda Blue Hole has the clearest and bluest water of the three popular Blue Holes on Santo. The water is surrounded by a nice wooden boardwalk where you can sunbake – just watch out for the mosquitoes.
The Nanda Blue hole is 13m deep at its deepest point. You can literally see straight down to the bottom! There are some small fish in the blue hole, usually swimming around under the boardwalk, so be sure to bring your snorkel mask along.
Riri Blue Hole
The Riri Blue Hole is located much closer to Luganville, approximately 23km, or a 30-minute drive. The entrance to the Riri Blue Hole is on the left-hand side of the road and not so well signposted.
There are actually two ways to enter the Riri Blue Hole; walk or outrigger canoe. I definitely suggest taking the canoe in for the extra small fee. (Entry 500 vatu and outrigger canoe 500 vatu). If you don’t get to experience an outrigger canoe anywhere else in Vanuatu, then this is your place to do so.
Your guide, a local ni-Van, will paddle both in and out of the blue hole, and wait while you enjoy the serenity there.
The Riri Blue Hole is less developed than the Nanda Blue Hole. A small concrete walkway only surrounds one edge, while the rest is a dense tropical jungle. There is also a diving deck and rope swing here which make this place a bit more fun.
The water here is a much cloudier blue than you will see at the Nanda Blue Hole. You won’t get that awesome 20 meter underwater clarity, but you’ll still have an awesome time.
Matevulu Blue Hole
The Matevulu Blue Hole is located mid-way between the Nanda Blue Hole and the Riri Blue Hole, about 25km from Luganville, or a 35-minute drive. The entrance to the Matevulu Blue Hole is also on the left-hand side, but not so well signposted.
According to the locals, the water of the Matevulu Blue Hole is not so blue anymore. Excess rain from the cyclone which hit Vanuatu in 2018 has turned the water a cloudy green. I wouldn’t expect this to be a permanent effect, however, it’ll probably need some time to recover.
If you do visit the Matevulu Blue Hole and see that it is, in fact, blue again, please let me know!
Entry to the Matevulu Blue Hole is 500 vatu.
Secret Blue Lagoons on Santo Espiritu
There are a few other secret Blue Lagoons on the island of Santo Espiritu. None of these are signposted, and most are on private land, therefore special permission may be required.
Just north of Lonnoc Beach Bungalows (my favorite resort on Sato) is a small village called Hog Harbour. The Hog Harbour Blue Hole is located just near here, down a turn off to the right towards to ocean. It is publicly accessible but more difficult to find.
If you head even further north up the east coast of Santo Espiritu you will reach Port Olry. A dirt road branches off just beyond the town which heads over to Big Bay on the north coast of the island. Along this dirt road, you can discover more secret Blue Lagoons such as the Vatvateur and the Vatvatel Blue Hole.
How to get to the Blue Lagoons on Santo
As I’ve mentioned in my Santo travel guide, the most difficult this about this island is finding reasonably priced transport. Chartering a vehicle to take you from Luganville and back will cost at least 6,000 vatu. Another option is to hire a car for the full day for 10,000 vatu – more on that in my Santo travel guide.
The cheapest way to get to the Blue Lagoon is to jump on board a car heading in the right direction. This will cost you between 200 to 500 vatu per person per trip.
Efate Blue Lagoon (Port Vila)
Not all of Vanuatu’s Blue Lagoons are in Santo Espiritu. If you’re short on time and can only make a quick trip to Efate (Port Vila) then it is still worth checking out the Efate Blue Lagoon.
The Efate Blue Lagoon is located about a one-hour drive from Port Vila on the South East end of the island. That is pretty much the opposite end of the island, so allow a half day to visit this one.
The entry fee for Efate’s Blue Lagoon is 350 vatu. Like Santo, getting transport to the further parts of the island can be challenging. The cheapest way is to try wave down a vehicle heading in the right direction or negotiate with one of those small van drivers.
Where to next in Vanuatu?
- Meet cannibal tribes in Malekula
- Watch the incredible Naghol Land Diving on Pentecost Island
- Hike two active volcanoes in Ambrym
- Head off the beaten track to Uripiv Island