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From Insta-worthy swimming holes to impressive waterfalls and the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, there are so many great places to cool off in Vanuatu. You might be surprised by your favourite swimming spots in Vanuatu, they’re not always the ones you’d expect. 

Vanuatu has a few surprises up its sleeve when it comes to the top beaches and swimming spots on the islands. If you thought your favourite would be Vanuatu’s famous blue holes, dotted with rope swings and full of tropical fish, you might be right. However, you may find it’s the black sand beaches of these magical volcanic isles that steal your heart and have you coming back with your family year after year. 

Top tip for swimming in Vanuatu: most swimming holes and beaches are maintained by locals and have a small charge per person which goes towards supporting their village, so remember to take cash with you. 


Back to Eden, Efate

Known for their excellent snorkelling tours, the Back To Eden guides will take your family on a 1.5-hour snorkelling adventure that your kids will rave about for years to come. Picture huge anemones affectionately referred to by the Back to Eden staff as “Nemo City”, giant clams, amazing varieties of coral and even the occasional turtle. 


Vanuatu Dive Clown Fish


Malo Blue Hole, Malo

Located on the island of Malo, the Malo Blue Hole is deep, crystal clear and full of colourful fish. Perhaps one of the more rustic of Vanuatu’s blue holes, there are no facilities here, but this adds to the feeling of being at your very own, unspoilt tropical swimming hole. Getting to Malo is easy as it’s located just off Luganville, on the island of Espirito Santo. Once on the island, hop in a kayak and paddle through the rainforest up the gentle river. Pack some refreshments if you’re planning to spend some time here, and don’t forget your snorkel.


Espiritu Santo - Blue Hole 1 1


Port Olry, Espiritu Santo

Not only is Port Olry a fantastic swimming spot on Santo, but it also has great beachside cafes where you can sample the local seafood while looking out over the water. If you fancy venturing further than the pristine beach, hire a canoe or kayak and paddle out to the nearby islands where undisturbed reefs harbour provide some of the best snorkelling in Vanuatu. Located just north of Champagne Beach, you can beach hop all the way back to your hotel.


VTO0049 Port Orly


Mele Cascades, Efate

The Mele Cascades are perhaps some of the most well-known waterfalls in Vanuatu. Not far from Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, it’s a fantastic swimming spot for the whole family. You can visit the Mele Cascades waterfalls on their own or as part of a sightseeing tour. Whether you hire a car, grab a taxi or take a guided Port Vila tour, this is a popular spot so it pays to get there early. Access to the 35-metre high waterfall is about a 20-minute walk from the entrance (the walk can be steep and slippery in parts, so pack your reef shoes) and a cafe and toilets are available. Once you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with great views and a refreshing swim in the sparkling natural pools surrounded by the hum of the jungle. 


Efate - Mele Cascades Underwater


Eton Beach, Efate

Sheltered by a reef a short distance out into the bay, the water at Eton Beach is calm and the colourful marine life below the surface impressive. The beach is sandy and the water fairly shallow along the shore, making Eton Beach a perfect location for both kids and adults who are new to snorkelling. The ideal time to visit is high tide, so check the tide times before setting off.




Blue Lagoon Swimming Hole, Efate

Whether your children are outgoing or shy and retiring, they won’t have a problem making friends with the locals and joining in with their games jumping off the huge rope swings at the Blue Lagoon swimming hole. Like most Ni-Vanuatu people you meet, the locals here are smiling and welcoming and the atmosphere is very relaxed as people cool off in the refreshing water. A 35 minute drive from Port Vila (and close to Eton Beach), this swimming spot is one of Vanuatu’s best and well worth the trip. 


Efate Blue Lagoon


Lelepa Island, Efate

To the north-west of Efate, Lelepa Island is one of the islands that make up Port Havannah’s natural harbour. Made famous by Fels Cave, which has cave paintings dating back thousands of years, Lelepa Island also offers superb snorkelling with an abundance of tropical fish and an opportunity to find out more about the local people as you exchange stories at an afternoon tea in the traditional Vanuatu village.  

Efate - Lelapa Kayak


Uripiv Island, Malekula

Claimed by some to be Vanuatu’s best coral reef, the snorkelling at Uripiv is quite something. 

On your underwater adventures here you can expect to see huge colourful clams, a variety of captivating tropical fish, turtles, reef sharks and, if you’re lucky, you might even swim with dugongs. Uripiv Island can be found just off the east coast of Malekula Island (the large island between Espiritu Santo and Efate) and the reef has been declared a conservation area to protect the marine life that calls it home. 


Black Sand Beach, Tanna

When you picture an idyllic island in the South Pacific, bright white soft sand, lush green palm trees and clear blue water probably come to mind. While Vanuatu has plenty of beaches just like that, perhaps one of the more intriguing places to swim on the islands are the black sand beaches of Tanna, created by one of the world’s most accessible volcanoes, Mount Yasur, which rises 361 metres above Tanna. The best black sand beaches include Louniel Beach on the north-east of the island and Iwaru Beach just 15 minutes south of the main village of Lenakel, both are also excellent surfing beaches.

 Iwaru Beach


Tranquility Island Resort, Moso Island

Whether relaxing in a hammock on the beach or snorkelling through the coral forests beneath the water, you’re bound to see turtles while at Tranquility Island Resort on Moso Island, making it easily one of the best places to snorkel in Vanuatu. The eco resort, just off Efate, helps Hawksbill turtle hatchlings survive the harsh ocean environment by looking after them until they are big and strong enough to release. If your family enjoys scuba diving, or perhaps wants to try it for the first time, this could be your favourite Vanuatu resort as they have twenty different dive spots nearby. 


Riri Blue Hole, Espiritu Santo

Paddling a traditional dugout canoe through the hidden river network deep in the rainforest to reach this blue hole makes diving into refreshing water even more rewarding. Surrounded by leafy green trees, this swimming spot in Vanuatu is one of the most picturesque places on the island, so don’t forget your waterproof camera. 

 Espiritu Santo - Blue Hole 2


Hideaway Island, Efate

Hideaway Island, home to Hideaway Island Resort, is a five-minute ferry ride from Mele Beach on the island of Efate. The marine sanctuary surrounding the island protects the local underwater inhabitants who can be seen darting through the colourful coral gardens, thriving in the warm Pacific waters. Kids love snorkelling at Hideaway Island because it’s one of the only places in the world you can post a letter under the sea. Yep, that’s right, an underwater post box that can be accessed right off the beach. If you want to learn to scuba dive, Hideaway Island is a great place to get started.



Tony Beach, Gaua

Want to get off the beaten track and experience Vanuatu’s outer islands? Gaua is the place to go. Popular as a well-earned break after the three-day Lake Letas, Mount Garet and Siri Waterfall hike (not suitable for kids under 10), Tony Beach Paradise is a pristine snorkelling and swimming spot on the north coast of the island of Gaua. This rugged campsite offers picnic lunches or beach barbecues with fresh seafood, as well as one of the best kept secret swimming spots in Vanuatu.