Espiritu Santo is the largest of the islands of Vanuatu in the south western Pacific Ocean and has Vanuatu's highest mountains; Mt Tabwemasana, over 1700 m., that rises out of dense vegetation covering an entire chain which runs along the full length of the island on the western side. It has great expanses of original rainforest home to interesting birds and beautiful orchids. Huge Kauri trees still grow in the southwest mountain forests. The southern and eastern parts of the island are quite flat, covered with plantations and cattle grazing land. Divers are drawn to Santo by its famous wrecks and spectacular marine life.
The main town is Luganville, the second biggest in Vanuatu and where you will probably land. Espiritu Santo was the first island in Vanuatu to be discovered by Europeans in the 17th century and later was a favourite place for foreign settlers. It was also famous as a military base during World War II, where up to 100 000 soldiers were based and the American Army left behind many buildings and several interesting wrecks for divers. During World War II, James A Michener was stationed here where he wrote the legendary Tales of the South Pacific from which sprang the musical South Pacific. From Santo, Michener would gaze across the sea to Bali Hai, or the island of Ambae.
Other sights of interest include Big Bay Conservation area, the first National Park created in Vanuatu, The Blue Hole, Cascades Waterfall and the WW2 Bomber Airstrips. Champagne Bay is located on the north east coastline of Espiritu-Santo, Vanuatu. It is truly breathtaking with the most spectacular stretch of beach fringed with palm trees.
The following 12 cruises call at Espiritu Santo (V).
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