What To Do and Where To Stay in Santo, Vanuatu #AnswerTheCall


What is there to see in Santo, Vanuatu?

Thank you to Santo Heritage Tours for our day exploring with Tok Tok Vanuatu.

Our guide, Samuel, picked us up at Barrier Beach Resort at 10am and we had a fantastic adventure.

There are many coconut plantations and we stopped to savor a fresh coconut with an island straw. In Vanuatu, they use all the parts of the coconut. You can weave a mat or basket with the fronds. You can make a broom. You can start a fire and you can use the trunk for your house. It is the fruit of life because you can walk carrying only coconuts and you can drink and eat from the coconut. The trees can live for 100 years.

Did you know that there are 83 islands, 6 provinces, 115 languages and 40 dialects in Vanuatu? But everyone can tok tok bislama.

Samuel added to my list of words I can speak or tok tok in the local language of Bislama.

E straight no more

Hakuna matata

Me blong United States

I am from usa

You blong what’em island?

Where are you from

What are you going to do today

Me stay no more long house.

Maniam… get attention

Me want’em kaikai fish and chips

I want to eat fish and chips

Kai Kai e gud way gud

Kai Kai nice way nice

Food was good

Thank u tumas

Thank you so much

We passed by Riri River where we had already gone by canoe 3km to the Blue Hole.

We saw the road to James Michener’s house where he wrote Tales of the South Pacific. He lived on an island just off Santo which is now privately and you cannot visit.

There is food growing all over the island like pumpkin and taro and you can make a living fence with banana and papaya trees. There are plantations now of Noni which is used to treat many diseases. I loved seeing all of the Banyan trees.

I absolutely loved swimming at Champagne beach. The stunning white sand and gorgeous area captivated my heart. I wanted to stay all day.

Mandy and I had lunch with a view in Port Olry at Harbor beach view restaurant. I loved the water there too and cannot wait to return.

As we arrived at Nanda or Jackie’s Blue hole, our sunshine turned to liquid sunshine but I went in the clear blue water anyway! 

Thank you to Mandy Buttenshaw from DownUnder Journeys for the video and photo assistance and for being a great dive buddy and travel companion. Do you want to travel to Vanuatu? Contact her for the best information on the South Pacific! https://www.downunderjourneys.com/

Where did we stay? Barrier Beach Resort

Barrier Beach Resort is an adults-only luxury boutique resort. My beach front suite with a plunge pool was decorated beautifully and was very spacious! I loved the wooden walkways and the ambience of the property.  Calvin and Julie are gracious hosts and helped us plan amazing outings along the Champagne Coast of Espiritu Santo. We ate many meals at the onsite restaurant which were phenomenal!  I also stayed in a garden villa with a plunge pool and loved the feeling of being in the jungle. It felt like I was on my own very private estate! I loved the musical evening with the Bamboo Band, The Water Ladies of Vanuatu and the String Band. 

We had a wonderful musical evening, tour and celebration for Sue’s birthday at Ratua Island Resort and Spa.

Ratua Island is a unique South Pacific resort with hand-crafted teak wood villas reconstructed from 200-year old traditional houses in Java and Sumatra. There are 14 Indonesian villas and 2 luxury safari tents, that have been specially reconstructed onsite offering stunning views with a private deck or beach. It has an amazing ambience and the staff is superb. 

I loved our dinner and musical evening as part of Tok Tok 2019. We went by boat from the SE tip of Santo and it took about 40minutes to get there. You can drink kava, swim with horse or standup paddle board, kayak, canoe, snorkel, and swim in calm Ratua bay. 

How to get to Santo? Fly Air Vanuatu

Learn more about our journey in Vanuatu:
Watch my 38 videos: Click here
Part One: Will You #AnswerTheCall? Tok Tok Vanuatu 2019
Part Two: Will you visit Tanna, Vanuatu with me? #AnswerTheCall Part Three: Want To Dive Deep With Me In Vanuatu? Meet Me In Santo #AnswerTheCall
Part Four: What To Do and Where To Stay in Santo, Vanuatu #AnswerTheCall

Read about Vanuatu in The Jewish Journal: Part One, Two, Three, Four

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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