Espiritu Santo is Vanuatu's largest island and is widely known for it's pristine beaches, blue holes, coconut palms and world-class dive sites.
Santo first came into contact with western voyagers in 1606, when a Spanish expedition, led by Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernandes de Querios, came ashore at Big Bay on the northern part of the island. Thinking that he had come across the Great Southern Continent, he named the island La Australia de Espiritu Santo. As it turned out he had not landed in Australia, however the name Espiritu Santo, which translates to 'holy spirit' in Spanish, stuck.
Referred to simply as Santo by locals, the 'Spirit of Santo' is well known throughout the islands and the characteristic happy vibes and enthusiasm for the island are passed on to everyone who visits; many of our visitors return to stay year after year!
The majority of Santo's infrastructure was developed during WWII when the island served as an Allied Military Base. When you visit our capital Luganville you may notice the Quonset Huts around town or how wide our main road is - wide enough to accommodate two-way tank traffic!
During Vanuatu's move to independence in the 1980's Santo was also the sight of the Nagriamel movement, colloquially known as the Coconut Rebellion. Armed predominately with bows and arrows a coup was staged, led by Jimmy Stevens of Fanafo Village, which pushed for Espiritu Santo to become an independent state known as Vemerana. Ultimately the rebellion failed and Santo became part of the new Independent Vanuatu.
Today, you can explore Santo via the sealed East Coast Road that runs from Luganville, on the islands south east corner, to Port Orly village on the island's northern tip. The east coast is home to fresh water lagoons, white sand beaches, coral reefs, easily accessible wreck dives, luxurious resorts, traditional Ni-Vanuatu bungalows, coconut plantations and grazing land for our famous Santo beef. If adventure is more your style, get off the beaten track and explore south Santo. Along the way you will find secret waterfalls, dense tropical bush, traditional villages and black sand beaches. The west coast of Santo is characterised by high mountains and thick bushland - and is home to Vanuatu's highest mountain, Mt. Tabwemasana. There are no roads on this side of the island and the people who live there still maintain a predominately traditional way of life.
Santo offers the perfect combination of luxury vacation, adventure and authentic Melanesian culture, ensuring that you can mix-and-match your experiences to create your ideal holiday!