Espiritu Santo Island, often simply referred to as Santo, is the largest island in the Vanuatu archipelago. As a scuba diver's paradise, it offers a unique blend of mesmerizing blue holes, stunning coral reefs, and world-renowned wrecks, making it a must-visit for underwater enthusiasts.
Best Spots for Experienced Divers:
The crowning jewel of diving in Espiritu Santo is the SS President Coolidge, one of the largest and most accessible shipwrecks in the world. This massive luxury liner turned troopship sunk during WWII and now lies on a slope near the shore. Divers can explore its numerous holds, encounter military equipment, personal belongings, and even "The Lady," a beautiful porcelain figurehead. Another fascinating spot is Million Dollar Point, where tons of US military equipment were dumped after WWII, creating an underwater junkyard.
Best Spots for Beginners:
For novices, the Coral Quays Fish & Dive Resort offers beautiful and protected reefs teeming with marine life, perfect for building confidence and skills. Additionally, the Luganville Seaside Jetty provides a shallow and calm spot, ideal for initial training and night dives.
Divers in Espiritu Santo are greeted by a vibrant marine ecosystem. Tropical fish such as angelfish, parrotfish, and butterflyfish dart around, while moray eels, sea turtles, and even dugongs make occasional appearances. The wrecks are home to unique species like flashlight fish, which create a mesmerizing light display during night dives.
Espiritu Santo boasts excellent diving conditions year-round. From April to November, during the dry season, divers can expect cooler waters (around 72°F) and excellent visibility, often up to 100 feet or more. The warmer, wetter season from December to March sees water temperatures around 82°F, with slightly reduced visibility.
The diving experience in Espiritu Santo offers value for money. A typical two-tank dive, including gear, might range from $100 to $150. For those aiming for multiple dives or certifications, packages can reduce the per-dive cost significantly. Diving the SS President Coolidge often comes at a premium due to its world-renowned status.
Espiritu Santo Island in Vanuatu is a diver's dream come true. From exploring historical remnants of the past to immersing oneself in the vibrant marine ecosystems of the Pacific, this island offers unmatched underwater adventures that cater to both novices and seasoned divers alike.