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Malekula is the second largest island in Vanuatu and one of the most culturally diverse, with over 30 languages spoken. Those who live on Malekula are proud of their history and are excited to share it with any visitors, while also looking to lead a more peaceful way of life.

At the south-eastern end of Malekula, the island is shaped like a sitting dog so near the tail you’ll find the Maskelyne Islands. The Maskelynes are a chain of islands, the biggest of which is Uliveo. A very remote area of Vanuatu, the islands are perfect for swimming, snorkeling and getting up close and personal with the submerged world.

30 Maskelyns islands Dugong tour low

Don’t miss

● Snorkelling with the enigmatic dugongs
● The Losinwei Cascades and their hypnotic natural pools
● Experiencing the Big Nambas and Small Nambas cultural dances

How to get there

There are regular flights, as well as boats, leaving from both Santo and Port Vila that will take you to Malekula. For flight details, check out It is important to note, there are two airports, one in the north (closer to the Dog Head Trail) and one in the south (near the Maskelyne Islands) so depending on what your plans, make sure you pick the right one! You can catch local boats to any of the outer Maskelyne Islands.

Useful tips

  • If you love snorkeling, consider packing your own gear.
  • Some of the islands have snorkels and flippers available for rent, but others don’t.
  • Stay in bungalows on the Maskelyne islands for the ultimate local experience.

Pack reliable walking shoes. If you’re heading out to Losinwei Cascades, the rocks can get slippery

Things to do and top attractions on Malekula and the Maskelyne Islands

Snorkel with the dugong

There aren’t many places in the world that you can snorkel with the elusive dugong. Dugongs are considered to be a vulnerable species and their global population has dropped significantly over the last decade. They are shy creatures who enjoy their own company, but here in the Maskelynes, you have the unique opportunity to not only find them in their natural habitat, but swim with them too.

Your guides can introduce you to the exciting underwater world, just off the coast of the Maskelynes and point out the sights to you as you explore beautifully preserved reefscapes that play host to clownfish and giant clams. Make sure you stay at the Batis Seaside Bungalows for the ultimate dugong experience.

For more info on these gentle giants of the sea, check out this local site.

Explore the Losinwei Cascades

The walk to Losinwei Cascades is only an hour long, with light undulating terrain. It can get pretty wet along the way, as you’ll be walking through ankle-deep streams and scrambling over rocks. Make sure you wear good walking sandals or waterproof boots.

As the light filters through the trees, be sure to take in the beauty of the plunge pools along the way. At the end, strip down and cool off under the cascades. Follow the locals up to higher levels and jump off if you dare!

15 Malekula Losinwei waterfall low

Your guides will be sure to source some fresh coconuts and fruit from the surrounding area, a perfect snack for a beautiful location.

Stay in the Nawut Bungalows

While you stay in the Maskelynes, let the Nawut Bungalows be your sanctuary. With three waterfront bungalows, Nawut is a great place to base yourself if you’re looking for snorkelling, beautiful sunsets and an ‘outer island’ experience (who isn’t?).

Or ask the friendly staff at Santo Travel to recommend the right place for you.  

Experience the Big Nambas and Small Nambas cultural dances

You can visit both the Big Nambas and the Small Nambas on Vanuatu, differentiated by the type of penis sheath the men use in their cultural dress. Experiencing the cultural dances of these two tribes is to immerse yourself in ancient, but very much alive, cultures.

If you are staying in the north of Malekula, it’s an arduous journey to get to the Small Nambas, requiring a four-hour cross-island, off-road drive. However, upon arrival, you will be greeted by the Chief, who will walk you through his property and share stories from his village.

The Small Nambas cultural dance never leaves this geographical region – so you won’t find them in Vanuatu festivals or on stages on other islands. The Small Nambas are inviting you to visit them directly. We promise it’s worth it.