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Santo is located on Espiritu Santo, the largest island in the Vanuatu archipelago. It is the second largest town in Vanuatu after Port Vila and has become an increasingly popular tourist destination.
The area's first European contact began in 1606, when Hispanic explorer Pedro Fernandes de Quiros landed in the north of the island thinking he had found the fabled southern continent. However it was not until 1774, when Captain James Cook thoroughly chartered and explored the islands, that this hypothesis was disproved. Today, Santo is an export centre for copra, frozen meat (world famous Santo beef), timber and cacao. It boasts excellent diving, beautiful beaches, intriguing World War II history and rich Vanuatu culture.
Header photo © David Kirkland
English, Bislama and French
Guest favourites, the most booked Shore Tours at this port
Our handpicked Shore Tours are a must for any guest.
Million Dollar Point is where hundreds of tonnes of “US forces surplus” equipment was dumped at the close of the war. You can view everything from cranes, bulldozers, trucks and Coca Cola bottles, all encrusted in coral. Also located here is President Coolidge, the most popular dive site in Vanuatu and the most accessible dive wreck of its size in the world. It’s a must see for scuba diving enthusiasts!
Join our "Magical Water Music Experience" tour to witness a very unique tradition. You will travel to a small village where you will be greeted by fierce warriors and a coconut drink before being invited to view a custom dance and the traditional preparation of Kava. Next you will witness the spectacle of water music being performed by the ladies, dressed in traditional dress, including arm bands and headwear made from flowers and leaves. The women wade up to their waists in water to perform this magical water percussion, punctuated by the glee of their shouts. This is undoubtedly the highlight of any visit to this region of Vanuatu.
Journey along the wonderfully quiet and picturesque Riri River on our “Canoe the Riri River” tour and spend the day exploring this spectacular place aboard a traditional dug-out canoe. Pass through lush, green jungle, spotting native fish and birdlife. At the end of the tour you’ll arrive at the stunning, aqua coloured "Blue Hole" where you’ll have time to enjoy a swim.
Your ship will dock alongside Main Wharf.
Limited taxis are available at the wharf in Santo. Please ensure that a taxi fare for your whole journey is negotiated before accepting a ride. Taxis accept local currency as well as Australian dollars.
Local specialties include Santo beef, laplap (coconut and meat dish) and a variety of fish. Quarantine authorities do not generally allow food such as fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat products or sandwiches to be taken off the ship, however commercially packaged confectionery, chips and bottled drinking water are allowed subject to inspection.
The market, located on Main Street near Sarakata Bridge, sells fresh farm produce and handicrafts from all over the island. Most vendors will accept local or Australian dollars. The markets in the town centre are open daily (except Sunday) and sell fruit, vegetables, flowers and handicrafts. Any souvenirs that are made of plant material or animal products must be declared to quarantine authorities on arrival in Australia or New Zealand. Plant material such as certain seeds and animal products including feathers maybe restricted or need to be treated at the owners’ s expense on arrival in Australia or New Zealand. Bargaining is not customary in Vanuatu.
It is generally hot and humid with summer temperatures averaging 30 degrees. The winter months are cooler and less humid, however the sea temperature usually remains between 26 and 28 degrees, making swimming enjoyable all year round. November through to March is wet season.
Australian dollars are accepted but change may not be available. We therefore recommend that you take small denominations of Australian dollars ashore.
Limited public telephones are available in Santo. Mobile coverage is generally available as long as global roaming is selected prior to leaving home. Internet Cafes may also be available, however Wi-fi hot spots will be harder to come by.
To make your day ashore as enjoyable as possible, please wear comfortable flat soled shoes, lightweight clothing and a hat - and don’t forget your swimwear! You are also advised to bring sunscreen, bottled water, insect repellent and an umbrella during the wet season. Please cover up when walking around the island. Nude or topless bathing is not permitted.
There are a range of tours available for you to really get the most out of your time in Santo. Tours can be booked onboard at the Shore Tours desk and are subject to availability. Passengers are required to meet at a specific location for each Shore Tour departure. Please refer to your tour ticket for the correct time and place.
Coral is an extremely precious marine organism. In an effort to preserve its natural beauty and habitat please avoid touching it in all circumstances. Furthermore, just as with Australia’s beaches, blue bottles can visit occasionally in the summer months. During your time ashore we also ask that you dispose of your rubbish thoughtfully.
Please ask permission before you take photographs of Ni-Vanuatu (indigenous people).