The Land of Smiles | Vanuatu

They call it the land of smiles and with so many amazing experiences it’s hard not to smile.

Back when I was fresh out of university I was given the opportunity to move and work in Vanuatu for a Resort. Given I had had my head stuck in books for the past 6 years studying the thought of palm tree laden islands surrounded by turquoise waters sounded rather appealing. I said yes, I moved, I lived in Vanuatu for 2 years and the rest is history. Why that is relevant may seem a bit odd, but it is Vanuatu that started my love affair with a camera and the deep blue.

August 2015, we decided to venture back to catch up with a few friends and wipe the dust off our dive gear.

Santo; is the largest of Vanuatu's islands, and is home to some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the entire world. Think blue and then times it by 10. Think white sand, then think snow. Think serenity, then think silence.

While Santo is a Mecca for dive enthusiasts (like me ) it also offers breathtaking sightseeing for non-divers.

Days can be spent lazing on vacant white sand beaches, snorkeling and kayaking in the crystal clear blue water, trekking through untouched rainforest or discovering an ancient and relatively unchanged culture.

Our days started early to the clink of dive weights and finished with salty, sunburnt stares at the sunset. We spent the days floating around islands and exploring old ruins hidden amongst the palm trees. The diving was like I had never seen before, big swim throughs, lots of marine life and a water clarity that made my mouth drop.

When my husband could keep me out of the water long enough we explored the island in a car, its impossible to get lost in santo as there is only one road. Tucked away on villages lands are some of the true wonders of the world, blue holes. if you see nothing else while on Espiritu Santo you must see this, crystal clear fresh water comes to the surface through layers of limestone and coral producing water of jewel quality blue.

At night time its easy to Get caught up with the rhythm of the dancers and the sound of ancient drums beating but if your more into the local scene like us you will be three shells ( of kava ) down and just chatting away to the locals finding where any other secret spots to explore are.

Whether I was under or above the water I felt scarily at home being back in a place that stole a little piece of my island heart all those years ago.

Tangkiu tumas Santo