Wishlist

COVID-19 TRAVEL ADVISORY for Vanuatu: all ports of entry closed until further notice.

With dense jungle, towering peaks, and expansive, isolated beaches, the tiny island of Maewo, one of the most easterly islands of Vanuatu, is calling adventurers who love the romance of going off-grid.

If you’re looking to switch off from the chaos of life back home, with little access to electricity and internet reception, Maewo makes for the perfect escape. Whether you want to explore life under the surface as you venture into underwater caves, or you’re ready for a challenge above sea level, hiking to some of the island’s many waterfalls, experience true Melanesian island hospitality and culture, Maewo has plenty of opportunities for adventure and culture.

Don’t Miss

  • The glistening Moon Cave
  • Maewo’s incredible waterfalls and cascades
  • Learning from the locals as they share their culture

How To Get There

Flights to Maewo are extremely limited, leaving from Port Vila only once or twice a week. The flight takes approximately one hour. You’ll fly into Maewo-Naone Airport at the north of the island. Check out the latest flight schedules at www.airvanuatu.com

Maewo is a popular yachting destination, so if that’s possible for you, docking your boat is a unique way to approach the island.

Useful Tips

Maewo has the highest rainfall of any island in Vanuatu, so be sure to pack for wet weather. This earns Maewo the ‘waterfall island’ title, so be equally as prepared for deep clear pools and waterfall showers.

Although Maewo is a long and thin island, getting from one side to the other isn’t as easy as it seems. Speak with local guides to get advice on moving from one area to another.

Life on Maewo is entirely off-grid. Public transport is near to non-existent, and don’t hedge your bets on posting a sneaky Instagram shot while you’re over there. Make sure you charge all your camera batteries before you go, and pack the kind of gear you would if you were camping: head torch, snacks, first aid kit, snorkel gear, mosquito coils, snacks.

While transport can be elusive and expensive, walking along the west coast of Maewo is a much-loved activity. The whole island is only 56km long, and the paths along the west coast follow the coastal plains. If you have days to spare and love keeping those legs moving, consider walking the length of the island.

Day 1

MORNING

Your flight from Port Vila will take you to the northernmost end of Maewo, landing at the Naone-Maewo airport. A short drive away, you can make your way to Lua ete Salgola — a guesthouse in Kaiwo.

AFTERNOON

The guesthouse is an ideal place to set yourself up for exploring Maewo’s northern tip. Within easy walking distance of your accommodation are the Naone Cascades, also known as Big Wato, situated on the plateau above the airport. Your host can provide you with a guide to take you on the half-day excursion to see the cascades, where you’ll not only witness the power of the falls, but also experience a traditional welcome and plenty of local refreshments. Be sure to dance when a smiling face hauls you into the group!

When you arrive back at your accommodation, enjoy a simple meal from your host and the company of friendly locals as they share stories and show you what life on Maewo is all about.

Day 2

MORNING

Wake up nice and early because it’s time to go south. Getting to Asanvari requires a truck from Naone Airport to Narovorovo, followed by a speedboat from Narovorovo to Asanvari. Keep an eye out for the spectacular birds that call Maewo home – the island is very popular amongst bird watchers. While the best of the action is in the mountainous terrain in the island’s centre, those with a keen eye are sure to see some local feathered friends, no matter where you are on Maewo.

On the way, you’ll have the opportunity to jump off the boat and snorkel into Maewo’s Moon Cave. With ancient cave writings, stalactites and a kastom story that explains why the moon sits where it does in Maewo, this stopover will be sure to delight.

AFTERNOON

Once you reach Asanvari, the Mule Ocean View Guesthouse is your best bet for setting yourself up for great adventures in the south. Grab some lunch to go before you head off on a midday adventure to Lavoa Cascade. About a 2-3 hour return trip, this is the perfect way to cap off your second day in Maewo as you relax, take in the beauty of the falls, feed the fish and enjoy a sunset looking out over Ambae Island.

When you return to your accommodation for the night, enjoy a meal from the restaurant, or cook up a storm yourself with their fresh vegetables, and enjoy the sound of the ocean as you drift off to sleep. Remember, this island has very limited access to the modern technology you’re probably used to. Make sure you’ve got a head torch, a book and some mosquito coils with you!

Day 3

MORNING

Today’s all about immersing yourself in the culture of Maewo. Whether it’s weaving and dancing with the local mamas or witnessing the expert musicians making incredible music with bamboo instruments, there are plenty of opportunities to dive into Maewo’s culture, and walk away with unforgettable memories and new skills.

Depending on flight times, consider the all-day Hanare Custom Village tour. Home to the first high chief of Maewo, this sacred land is now used to showcase the traditional practices of Maewo culture and honour their ancestors. This tour will give you a taste of the Maewo way of life, from cooking to dancing to drinking to storytelling. We assure you, this’ll be one of the most powerful cultural experiences you'll have the opportunity to witness.

If you haven’t got the time to visit Hanare, start your morning off by canoe fishing, commonly known as Mule Game Fishing. During your fish, your guide will teach you traditional fishing techniques and show you where all the fish are to be found. Going out in a rigger canoe is a powerful experience and an insight into the self-sufficiency of Maewo’s locals.

AFTERNOON

To cool off before heading back to the airport, take some time to snorkel in the south of the island. The reefs here are unparalleled and a huge draw card for the yachters who flock to Maewo.