Vanuatu Expedition & Land Diving Festival


Hop and skip your way across Vanuatu then jump over to South Pentecost on this 12-day adventure in the South Pacific. From Port Vila, start by exploring the magic of these rainforest-rich islands. Meet the local community of Tanna, snorkel among protected coral reefs and trek to the rim of Mt Yasur. Then take the adventure up a notch as you travel to Pentecost Island. There, take in the legendary naghol festival – the original bungee jumping – and get an insight into local communities that few visitors receive. Relaxing and exhilarating all in one – this is Vanuatu.

11 days, from

$3,982

per person

GROUP SIZE

7 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: TESLC
Style: Basix
Theme: Expedition

Details

Countries Visited:  Vanuatu
Accommodation: Hotel (5 nights), Village Bungalows (5 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , Boat , Plane
Included Meals:

  • 10 breakfasts
  • 8 lunches
  • 4 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 7

  • Witness naghol – the unique land-diving ceremony of South Pentecost (and the inspiration for the modern sport of bungee jumping).

  • Travel to the home of the John Frum movement in Tanna, learning about how these indigenous villages have incorporated WWII iconography into their religious traditions.

  • Hike to the rim of Mt Yasur, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and in the evening watch the smoke and lava billowing create a natural fireworks display (from a safe distance, of course).

  • Snorkel in the clear waters around Pele and see the remarkable coral reef that is protected as part of a marine reserve.

  • Visit remote villages accompanied by local leaders who’ll ensure you have an immersive experience of Vanuatu's unique cultural practices.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Port Vila

Halo! Welcome to Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Your adventure begins today with a welcome meeting at 5 pm at your accommodation tonight. If you arrive with time to spare before the welcome meeting, maybe head to the heart of the city for Port Vila's produce market and the waterfront promenade, just a short walk away. There's also the option of hiring a sea kayak from the hotel and taking to the ocean for a true taste of the Pacific.

Day 2: Port Vila – Rentapao River

Today, you'll discover some of Efate’s best spots. A 25-minute scenic drive will take you to the exclusive kayak base on the Rentapao River. Experience Vanuatu’s rainforest and village life as you paddle its safe waters for 3 hours. After a French-style lunch at the river’s edge, transfer upstream to the river cascades, a great place to swim, relax and shake off any jet lag. You'll be back at your hotel by mid-afternoon, allowing ample time to discover more of Port Vila and choose a place for your optional dinner tonight.

Day 3: Tanna

It is an early morning start today for your Air Vanuatu flight to the legendary southern island of Tanna. From there, it's a short transfer to your beachside bungalow, your home for the night. After an included local lunch, begin the first of your amazing Tanna hikes. High on a ridge overlooking the coast is the world’s largest banyan tree. Your path there will loop back through scattered villages, food gardens and rainforest – a great opportunity to meet ‘the happiest people in the world’ going about their daily lives. Hiking time may be from 1.5 to 3 hours total depending on the route taken. Arriving back at your bungalow, enjoy the sunset and maybe a cool drink at a local bar, and keep an eye out for whales that cruise along the coast from July onwards. You'll have dinner as a group, before spending a peaceful night in your beach bungalow.

Day 4: Tanna – Mt Yasur

Get ready for a big day today! Start with a drive across the spine of the island to your new accommodation and a John Frum village hidden in the rainforest at the foot of a smouldering volcano. Road conditions permitting, you'll have a short dip in the Sulphur Bay hot springs before travelling to Port Resolution, named after one of Captain Cook’s ships. After lunch, return to the foot of the volcano and hike along a rutted road to the rim of the volcano (a driving option to the crater carpark is also available for those who would prefer). Throughout the hike, you'll feel the ground shaking and hear the volcano rumbling, and finally, as you arrive at the crater rim in the late afternoon, you'll be amazed at the firework show that awaits. Return from the volcano in the evening for a late dinner at your beachside bungalow.

Day 5: Tanna – Port Vila

This morning you'll head into the jungle-clad hills to a ‘kastom’ village. The community here has long rejected modern life and conserve many aspects of traditional lifestyle. Learn about traditional rites of passage along with their proud links to Prince Phillip as your leader guides you around the village. While life around them is definitely changing fast, it's an interesting insight into a community that's at the cusp of making decisions about their future, and how tourism can help to conserve long held practices. Have lunch at a local cafe in town and a stop at a coffee shop brewing local beans before returning to the airport for an afternoon flight back to Port Vila.

Day 6: Pele & Nguna Islands

After the spectacular culture, rainforest and volcano on Tanna, today you head to a pristine tropical island, renowned for its marine conservation area. It's a scenic drive via Efate’s west coast to the boat landing, stopping at coffee roaster along the way, followed by a short boat ride to Pele island. After a local lunch on the beach, you'll go snorkelling (weather permitting) in the marine conservation area. Expect lots of fish, maybe the occasional turtle and plenty of hard corals and small canyons and crevasses to explore. Around sunset, take a boat over to neighbouring Nguna for a village walk before returning to Pele. There is also the option to take on a more challening 3-hour volcano walk once back on Pele. Your accommodation for the night is at beachside bungalows on Pele hosted by the village women.

Day 7: Pele & Nguna Island – Port Vila

This morning, take an easy walk into Nguna’s main village to visit the historic church and community sites, before heading back to Efate for lunch at a locally-owned restaurant. Here, there are more great snorkelling options available for those missing the water. Take in the lovely views across the islands, then drive back to Port Vila, this time along the east coast road, meaning you also get to do a round-Efate tour. There are lots of roadside markets to explore and plenty of photo opportunities. Stop for a swim at the sublime Blue Lagoon or one of the local coves around Eton village. Make a final stop at a new distillery for a delicious tasting of local liqueurs. Arrive back at your Port Vila accommodation in the early evening and say hello to the new members joining your trip at a second welcome meeting at 5 pm tonight.

Day 8: Port Vila

Start the day early to catch a flight to Lonorore on Pentecost island, where you will have the chance to witness and understand the cultural practices of the land-diving Indigenous people, as well as explore the remote South Pentecost region. Transfer straight to the land diving tower to see the heart-stopping naghol ceremony. You’ll be amazed at what Lonely Planet has described as ‘the most remarkable custom in all of Melanesia’. Watch the jumpers haul themselves off the platforms as part of a ritual that functions as a coming-of-age for young men, a blessing of the earth for upcoming harvests, and a nod to an age-old Pentecost legend. Afterwards, when day trip visitors board their vehicles to head back to the airport, you will make your way to a nearby coastal village for the chance to meet your local hosts and enjoy a traditional lunch. Spend the afternoon exploring the village, when you’ll have the opportunity to meet and talk to some of the men who dived from the tower in the morning. As the sun sets across the ocean, your hosts will prepare a traditional kava ceremony to formally welcome you to the village.

Day 9: Pentecost

Today, you’ll explore the natural beauty of the region on a half-day hike through rainforest and villages or along the beach – another chance to meet and connect with the communities who call this special place home. End the day swimming and relaxing at the beautiful beaches. Your beach bungalow accommodation is the perfect way to soak up the island paradise vibes.

Day 10: Pentecost - Pang Peninsula - Port Vila

This morning, your new land diving friends will take you for a paddle in a traditional outrigger canoe, before an early afternoon transfer to the airport for the charter flight back to Port Vila. When you arrive, drive to the Pango Peninsula for an easy walk along the coast and bays to a special snorkelling spot, where you can get acquainted with the underwater world and enjoy spectacular coral gardens as your final included activity of the trip.
Enjoy your last Vanuatu sunset over an optional dinner tonight.

Day 11: Port Vila

After an included breakfast, you'll head out snorkelling if you were not able to do it yesterday. Your Vanuatu experience then concludes today back in Port Vila, after which you're free to depart at any time.