Velit Bay is located on the Island of Espiritu Santo, the largest of 83 Islands which makes up the Archipelago of Vanuatu covering 12,250 sq km.
VANUATU – Espiritu Santo Island (Santo)
One of Vanuatu’s tropical jewels, the island of Espiritu Santo, commonly known as “Santo”, is the biggest island in the Vanuatu archipelago. Far away from crowded streets, high buildings or haggling street sellers, Santo remains a peaceful and idyllic spot where the traditional island way can be experienced in everyday life. The island is teeming with wild nature and beautiful beaches and dotted with small traditional villages.
A best keep secret of the pacific, Santo is opening up as the new and preferred destination for families, nature lovers and adventurers. Direct flights with Air Vanuatu are making Santo more accessible and there is a wide choice of activities for a fantastic holiday, be it relaxation or adventure.
Vanuatu consists of 83 islands with the capital, Port Vila, located on the island of Efate. Santo is the largest island in Vanuatu. Vanuatu has a population of over 200,000 people scattered throughout the islands. Port Vila itself has a population of approximately 30,000, with some 5% of European and Asian descent.
The Republic of Vanuatu, formerly known as the New Hebrides, was reportedly discovered by Captain James Cook in 1774 and is known as the ‘untouched paradise’.
It is located two and half hours flight from Brisbane, and three hours flight from Sydney and Auckland.
Up until independence in 1980, Vanuatu was governed jointly by the United Kingdom and France, leaving behind both English and French influences reflected in the spoken languages and the culture.
Vanuatu is renowned for it’s friendly people and it’s pristine environment.
Vanuatu has a well deserved reputation as a unique tourist destination. With an all year round warm and mostly sunny climate, swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving and sunbathing are always enjoyable.
The water temperature ranges from 22 degrees in winter through to 28 degrees in summer. Like all tropical regions, Vanuatu suffers some exposure to cyclones between November and February.
Along with Vanuatu’s tourism attractions of beautiful beaches, magnificent scenery and unpolluted waters, tourists are also provided with an opportunity to travel to the other islands forming part of Vanuatu where they can experience rare active volcanoes and the world famous Pentacost Jumpers.
In Santo along the east coast road which is fringed by many sand beaches and bays are a host of attractions including Matevulu, Ri Ri and Jackie’s Blue Holes, Suranda Bay, Peterson Bay, Turtle Bay, Velit Bay, Santo’s Golf Course, Champagne Beach and Lonnoc.
For those interested with World War 2 history, Santo was home to 100,000 military personnel during the second World War in 1942. The island boasted five airfields, four hospitals and many services for the armed forces.
Some sites of note today with a military significance include:
Million Dollar Point – A location where after the World War 2, the American’s forces based in Santo were ordered not to leave any military equipment and supplies on the island (to avoid such not getting into the wrong hands). The solution was the establishment of an underwater dump site, now known as Million Dollar Point. This historic point is now an excellent spot for divers & snorkeller’s where you can see ship wrecks, and numerous amounts of military hardware and supplies – including bulldozers, cranes, trucks etc. There is also a wide variety of marine life which has made their home amoungst the wreakage.
SS President Coolidge – This is the largest accessible shipwreck in the world lying in 20 – 70 meters (66 – 231 feet) of clear water. It is virtually intact and a popular dive site.
The Coolidge was aimed at holiday makers seeking sun in the Pacific and Far East. During her time as a luxury liner, she broke several speed records on her frequent trips to Japan from San Francisco. Her WWII efforts began by evacuating Americans from Hong Kong when Japanese-British relations became strained in 1940. She was later to assist in the evacuations of many people from Asia as the Japanese increased aggression.
For a more in depth account of the ship, we recommend reading ‘ The Lady and the President – The Life and Loss of the SS President Coolidge’ by Peter Stone.
Lt James a Michener’s house – You can also visit the house site of the famous Lt James a Michener who was based here, author of the famous Tales Of The South Pacific and an incredible military hospital base with a million dollar view.
Places to Stay in Santo – A range of accommodation exists in Santo to suit travellers of all budgets. Some hostels/ resorts include;
- Beach Front Resort
- Coral Keys Resort
- Decostop Lodge
- Nemo’s Hotel
- Turtle Bay Resort