Vanuatu offers a paradise for diving enthusiasts. This island nation is filled with many excellent diving sites waiting to be explored. You can also expect great water visibility and ideal water temperature to make each dive a pleasant experience.
If you are looking for a great place for an introductory dive, Vanuatu is a great place for that. There is a wide variety of options when it comes to diving sites that range from reef dives to wreck dives. Each of these diving environments varies in difficulty that makes them ideal for novice and experienced divers alike.
Aside from the variety of the dive sites, the accessibility is also another factor that would make diving in Vanuatu a must in your bucket list. Many of the dive sites are accessible in about half an hour from Port Vila, which is the nation’s capital.
As such, there are also many dive tour operators that can be found on the island. These tour operators can provide the gears and equipment you need so that all you have to do is show up at the day of your dive. If you want to go night diving, you definitely can but there is a surcharge for that.
The awe-inspiring caverns and shipwrecks are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. You can also encounter various marine life species during your dive, which includes dugongs, giant moray eels, green and hawksbill turtles, and more. The underwater post office is also another must-see attraction while diving in Vanuatu.
where to dive
The SS President Coolidge
If you are into shipwreck diving, this particular wreck site is a must in your checklist. It is not only the largest but also the most accessible wreck dives. The ship is about 200 meters long and located just off the Espiritu Santo Beach. This wreck is accessible within a short walk from the shore with the shallowest point only 20 meters deep.
Due to the size of the shipwreck, most divers take several dive trips to explore the entire wreck. You can explore what’s inside the cargo wherein you will find ammunition, rows of toilets, barber’s chair and more. If you dive this wreck, don’t miss the opportunity to enter the old ballroom. You can also go deeper at 70 meters to take a photo with the ship’s name (as bragging rights!).
This dive site is named after the two ‘bombora’ formations that are found on the site. There is also a sheer wall that you will encounter here. The highlight of this dive site is the encounter with several fish species, as well as corals and grottos.
Star of Russia
This is another wreck dive that you simply cannot afford to miss in Vanuatu. The Star of Russia wreck is relatively intact. It is a square-rigger located at the bottom of the ocean floor near Port Vila. Now serving as the home of many fish species, this boat was designed by the same folks behind Titanic.
Million Dollar Point
Just like the SS President Coolidge, the Million Dollar Point is another dive site near Espiritu Santo Beach in Vanuatu. This site is home to war machinery such as cranes, trucks, and bulldozers that had been disposed by the US military after the World War II.
This wreck has now transformed into an artificial reef, which is home to various species of fish and corals. The site was named after the fact that the equipment that were disposed on this site are worth millions of dollars.
If you enjoy cavern diving, then you must head to this dive site during your time in Vanuatu. This dive site is located about 26 meters off the Pango Peninsula. This cavern dive site is sought after for the spectacular lighting effects that you will encounter underwater.
Get the chance to swim through the cavern and its many chimneys. You will also discover a large pool inside the reef wherein you can look through and marvel at the beauty of the deep open ocean.
MV Semle Federsen
This is a cargo trading vessel that sunk off the Pango Coast in 1985. This vessel is now an artificial reef that is home to various plants and animal species. You can access the cabins, stern, and wheelhouse of the vessel about 40 meters deep.
There is an outstanding visibility on this dive site that can reach up to 60 meters. As you descend the mooring line, you will enjoy a spectacular view of the whole ship.
If you are looking for a dive site with great photography, add Ollies Lolly to your diving itinerary in Vanuatu. This dive site is located near the Hideaway Island. Your initial dive will start at 9 meters and you can explore deeper to find heaps of fish and soft corals.
The Konanda is a great dive site for those who are new to wreck diving. This is a 45-meter Island Trader set that sits on the bottom of the sandy floor. The rigging and derricks can span up to 10 meters from the surface. The deepest point of the dive is at 26 meters and it is safe to enter the cabins.
BEST TIME FOR DIVING
Vanuatu, just like any other nations in the South Pacific, enjoys a beautiful tropical climate nearly all year round. You can expect great weather no matter what time of year you visit.
But for an optimal diving experience, you can book your diving trip from April to October. This will give you the best diving conditions with water temperature ranging from 18 to 28 degrees Celsius. The wet season is from November to March.
There are several points of entry to Vanuatu, which makes it easily accessible for tourists regardless of where you are traveling from. Virgin Australia and Air Vanuatu offers cheap flights to and from Vanuatu. Majority of the connecting flights here are from major Australian cities like Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne.
When booking a flight to Vanuatu, you will be flying in to Bauerfield International Airport. From the airport, there are many transfer options to get to the various islands of Vanuatu.
What to see
Vanuatu is a tropical destination that is sought after by tourists who want to exploit its natural beauty and great climate. Even if you are not into diving, you will still have plenty of other things to enjoy while in Vanuatu.
While it is a haven for diving enthusiasts, Vanuatu offers a blend of natural sights, culture, history, and local cuisine. If you are looking for an adventurous hike and be treated to natural beauty, head to the Millennium Cave and the Mele Cascades.
For a bit of cultural immersion, head to the Port Olry. This is a small francophone fishing village that boasts of shallow and turquoise waters, along with pristine white sand beaches.
The island is also home to many active volcanoes that are worth exploring, if you have the adventurous spirit. Mt. Yasur can be accessed via 4WD vehicles. You can get up to within 150 meters of the crater rim.
Vanuatu is an island nation located in the South Pacific region. This nation is actually an archipelago of volcanic origin. It is located east of Australia and New Guinea, northeast of New Caledonia, southeast of Solomon Islands, and west of Fiji.
France and the United Kingdom entered an agreement on 1906 for joint management of the archipelago. But in the 1970s, an independent movement arose until it became officially known as the Republic of Vanuatu in the 1980s.
Vanuatu is a Y-shaped archipelago made up of 82 small geological islands. All of these islands are of volcanic origin. Of the 82 islands, only 65 are inhabited. Port Vila, the nation’s capital, is among the largest towns on the archipelago, along with Luganville and Efate.
Vanuatu is home to many active volcanoes including Mt. Yasur and Mt. Lopevi. There are also many underwater volcanoes. It is common to experience volcanic activity on the islands along with the threat of a major eruption.
Here are all of our articles about scuba diving in Vanuatu. Click the links below! Want to write for us? Hit us up at Justin@artofscubadiving.com
Travel information about Vanuatu
Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of nearly 80 islands that stretch 1,300 kilometers, The islands offer scuba diving at coral reefs, underwater caves and wrecks such as the WWII-era troopship SS President Coolidge. A country of roughly 280 thousand people.
Capital city of Vanuatu: Port Vila
Best times to visit Vanuatu: Vanuatu has a wonderful tropical climate, the weather is normally good all year round, though conditions are at their best from April to October when temperatures are a restful 18°C to 28°C. November to March sees the arrival of the wet season.
How to get to Vanuatu: Getting to Vanuatu is stress-free and reasonable to the great variety of cheap flights operated by Virgin Australia and Air Vanuatu. Direct flights are available from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to Port Vila, with connecting flights accessible from the majority of Australian capital cities.
Visa requirements for Vanuatu: Tourist visas are not required for stays of up to 30 days for U.S. citizens.
Currency of Vanuatu: The currency in Vanuatu is the Vanuatu Vatu
Official Language of Vanuatu: Vanuatu has three official languages, English, French, and Bislama, a creole language derived from English.
UNESCO World Heritage sites in Vanuatu