Looking for Family Adventure? #AnswertheCall in Vanuatu


Thank you to and TODAY Parenting Team for sharing my story: “Looking for Authentic Family Adventure? Answer the Call in Vanuatu.”

Making lifetime memories is the hope of many family vacations. But where to go and what to do that brings you together and makes all your senses come alive? I found thrilling adventures in Vanuatu that included walking along an active volcano, scuba diving to deep depths while surrounded by American history, flying through the jungle and meeting local people who shared their way of life which is so different from my own.

Tanna Volcano Vanuatu by Lisa Niver

On the island of Tanna in Vanuatu, we stayed at White Grass Ocean Resort and they arranged for our tour to Mount Yasur volcano. It was truly awesome to stand so close to an active volcano. We heard it rumble, we felt it shake, we saw the sparks of lava and smelled the smoke.

Lowinia Village in Tanna Vanuatu

Annie was our host and guide in her village, Lowinio Kustom Village, and greeted us with flowers. As we walked, she shared the fruits they harvested from the trees and the medicine of the plants in the jungle. We saw the cooking house and tasted laplap. They cook sweet potato, taro, cabbage leaves and coconut. I loved meeting the children and watching their dances. I was able to teach them to hula-hoop. We shared smiles and laughter. We also visited their school and our group brought many materials for their classroom including pencils, notebooks and children’s books.

On Santo island, you can relax on a pristine white sand beach.

Champagne Beach, Vanuatu
Champagne Beach, Santo, Vanuatu

I could not pick if I loved Champagne Beach or Port Olry more! Which would you choose?

Port Olry Vanuatu by Lisa Niver
Port Olry Beach, Santo, Vanuatu

I love scuba diving and explored the S.S. Coolidge wreck dive in 2007. I loved being back underwater at the same site in 2019. Sadly, this ship sunk in Espiritu Santo on October 26, 1942. Aore Adventure Sports took me diving on the wreck, Million Dollar Point and explained the World War II history of the area and the importance of the South Pacific in the battles.

Lisa Niver scuba diving Coolidge in Vanuatu

I love to listen to live music and in Espiritu Santo, we heard several bands that I loved. The Bamboo band was comprised of an entire family and the string band was superb too! The most unique live music experience was the group of wonderful women who make music in the water!

Make sure to have time to explore Éfaté where you can mail a postcard at the Underwater Post Office and zipline through the jungle!

Wherever you choose for your next family vacation, I hope it brings you less time on screens and more time together laughing, meeting new friends and trying new things.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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