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Ultimate Vanuatu Snorkeling Guide: 8 Spots To Visit!


If you’re gearing up for a trip to Vanuatu and itching to explore some epic reefs, you’re in the right spot! Vanuatu is like a snorkeler’s paradise, boasting crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral reefs that are just too good to miss. Whether you’re a pro or a newbie in the snorkeling game, Vanuatu snorkeling spots are nothing short of magical.

I went solo to Vanuatu back in 2023, and let me tell you, I fell head over heels for this South Pacific gem! Besides the awesome people and jaw-dropping landscapes, one of my absolute faves about Vanuatu was the mind-blowing reefs, blue holes, and remote islands – basically, snorkeler’s heaven.

In this blog post, I’m gonna spill the beans on some of the coolest snorkeling spots in Vanuatu so you too can have an epic trip.

Because, let’s be real, soaking in the beauty of Vanuatu’s marine life while snorkeling is the way to go.

Get ready for an underwater adventure like no other! Let’s dive in!

My experience snorkeling in port vila vanuatu answers the question, is Vanuatu a good holiday destination

Vanuatu Snorkeling: What To Expect

Vanuatu is a small island nation located in the South Pacific.

It is a beautiful destination that is only a 2-hour flight from Brisbane, Australia. 

Vanuatu boasts some of the most spectacular coral reefs in the world, with a wide variety of colors and shapes.

When snorkeling in Vanuatu, you can expect to see a diverse range of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, rays, and even dolphins. The water in Vanuatu is generally very clear, allowing for excellent visibility when snorkeling. You can expect to see the vibrant colors of the coral reefs and marine life clearly, even from a distance.

Not to mention the warm water temperature in Vanuatu, typically ranging from 24-28°C (75-82°F).

Let’s now discuss the best islands for snorkeling, more on what you’ll see, and the best spots for both beginners and more advanced snorkelers. 

Best Islands for Vanuatu Snorkeling

The tropical paradise of Vanuatu has numerous islands offering excellent snorkeling opportunities.

Let’s uncover the best islands for Vanuatu snorkeling so you can plan your perfect trip. 

Vanuatu blue hole snorkeling

Espiritu Santo

Firstly, we have my personal favorite island in Vanuatu.

Espiritu Santo is the largest island in Vanuatu and is famous for its stunning beaches and blue holes.

It is a popular snorkeling destination, with numerous sites that offer the chance to see colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, and sea turtles. 

Some of the best snorkeling spots in Espiritu Santo include Million Dollar Point, Champagne Beach, and the famous blue holes. 

Tanna Island Snorkeling experience in a blue cave

Tanna Island

Tanna Island is known for its active volcano, but it also offers some of the best snorkeling opportunities in Vanuatu. 

The island is home to some of the most pristine coral reefs in the country, so you can expect to see an array of colorful fish, sea turtles, and even sharks. 

The best snorkeling spots on Tanna Island include Lenakel Bay, Blue Holes 1 & 2, and Port Resolution.

Malekula Island

Malekula Island is the second-largest island in Vanuatu and is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the country. 

The island offers a diverse range of snorkeling opportunities, from exploring the shallow waters of the lagoons to diving into the deeper waters of the open ocean. 

Some of the best snorkeling spots on Malekula Island include Uri Marine Park and Maskelyne Islands.

Pentecost Island

Pentecost Island is known for its land diving tradition, but it also offers some of the best snorkeling spots in Vanuatu. 

The island is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and is home to a variety of marine life, including tropical fish, sea turtles, and manta rays. 

Take note, some of the best snorkeling spots on Pentecost Island include Loltong Beach and Melsisi.

Nguna Island

Lastly, we have Nguna Island, a small island located off the coast of Efate, the main island of Vanuatu. 

It is a popular snorkeling destination, with numerous shallow reefs that are teeming with colorful fish and marine life. 

Explore the underwater world and spot a variety of fish, including parrotfish, clownfish, and butterflyfish.

best spots on vanuatu for  snorkeling

8 Best Vanutatu Snorkeling Spots 

Now onto the best snorkeling spots in Vanuatu that you simply cannot miss! 

1. Hideaway Island

Starting with Hideaway Island, one of the most popular snorkeling spots in Vanuatu. It is a small island located just off the coast of Efate, the main island of Vanuatu. 

The Hideaway Island snorkeling experience in Vanuatu is truly unique thanks to its underwater post office. Yes, you read that right – a post office underwater! This is the only underwater post office in the world, and it’s a must-visit for any snorkeling or diving enthusiast.

The underwater post office is located in a shallow, sheltered bay, making it accessible to snorkelers of all levels.

To use the underwater post office, purchase a waterproof postcard from the island’s gift shop, fill it out, and then swim out to the post box located about 50 meters offshore. You can then drop your postcard into the underwater post box, where it will be hand-stamped by a post office worker and mailed to its destination. It’s a truly unique way to send a postcard and a fun experience to share with friends and family back home.

Of course, the underwater post office is just one of the many attractions at Hideaway Island. The marine sanctuary is home to an incredible array of marine life, including colorful coral gardens, tropical fish, and even sea turtles. 

Champagne Beach Snorkeling is incredible

2. Champagne Beach

Next, we have, Champagne Beach located on the stunning island of Espiritu Santo.

It is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with pale blue waters and soft white sand. The beach gets its name from the bubbles that form in the water, which resemble champagne. Sounds like my kind of beach!

Bring your snorkel and dive into the calm waters to spot a variety of fish and marine life.

Tip! Head to the darker patches of water, this is where the fish are!

3. Million Dollar Point

Million Dollar Point is another awesome Vanuatu snorkeling spot located on the island of Santo. 

What makes Million Dollar Point snorkeling so special is the variety of shipwrecks from World War II. The site got its name from the millions of dollars of US military equipment that was dumped into the ocean after WWII, providing a unique and interesting landscape for divers and snorkelers alike.

It is also well known for its crystal clear turquoise waters, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant marine life including clownfish, sea turtles, and manta rays. 

4. Pele Island

Pele Island is located off the coast of Efate. 

It is a small island with pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. 

You can snorkel around the island and spot a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even sharks. 

The island is also home to a marine conservation area, which is dedicated to preserving the local marine life so you know the reef is well looked after.

port vila snorkeling spots

5. Port Vila Harbour

Port Vila Harbour is located in the capital city of Vanuatu.

Many people stop in at Port Vila for a few nights before heading to the islands. Luckily Port Vila is home to a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even shipwrecks. 

I snorkeled straight off the private beach of my resort, Breakas Beach Resort, and saw loads of cool coral and fish!

I recommend you take a boat tour of the harbor to find the best snorkel spots. 

6. Tranquility Island

Tranquility Island, true to its name, offers a serene and secluded snorkeling experience off the coast of Efate.

Accessible by boat from Port Vila, this island is home to pristine beaches and stunning waters teeming with marine life.

Snorkelers can explore vibrant coral reefs, spot colorful fish, and even spot sea turtles. With its unspoiled natural beauty and, you guessed it, tranquil ambiance, Tranquility Island is one of the best spots for snorkeling in Vanuatu.

7. Aore Island

Aore Island, situated near Espiritu Santo, is a hidden gem snorkeling enthusiasts love. Accessible by a short ferry ride from Luganville, Aore Island offers white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters ideal for snorkeling adventures.

Explore the vibrant coral gardens teeming with tropical fish, and keep an eye out for elusive sea creatures such as reef sharks and eagle rays.

For the ultimate snorkeling trip, consider staying at Aore Island Resort so you can wake up to breathtaking ocean views, step directly onto the beach, and enjoy convenient access to some of the most spectacular snorkeling spots in Vanuatu right on your doorstep.

8. Mele Bay

Mele Bay, located just a short drive from Port Vila, is another popular snorkeling destination. Located between lush green hillsides, the bay boasts clear waters perfect for snorkeling adventures.

Dive beneath the surface to discover vibrant coral gardens, schools of tropical fish, and fascinating marine creatures such as octopuses and moray eels.

Whether you’re exploring the colorful reefs near the shore or venturing out to nearby snorkeling sites, Mele Bay should not be overlooked.

vanuatu snorkeling is wonderful for spotting turtles and other marine life

What You Will See Snorkeling in Vanuatu

Snorkeling in Vanuatu offers an amazing opportunity to explore the underwater world and see a variety of marine life up close. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced snorkeller, there are plenty of exciting spots to explore.

For experienced snorkellers, the outer reefs are home to a diverse array of marine life, including turtles, reef sharks, and colorful fish. You may even have the chance to spot manta rays and dolphins. Vanuatu also has a rich maritime history, and several shipwrecks have become popular snorkeling and diving spots, such as the SS President Coolidge and the Konanda Reef.

If you’re new to snorkeling, don’t worry. There are plenty of shallow, sheltered spots to practice your skills. The shallow lagoons are full of beautiful coral gardens, and you’ll have the chance to see a variety of colorful fish up close. You can also explore the mangrove forests near the shore, where you’ll find a variety of small creatures and plants.

With so much to see, snorkeling in Vanuatu is an unforgettable experience. So grab your snorkel gear and book your return ticket to Vanuatu!

Where to Stay in Vanuatu

Moving on to where I recommend you stay in Vanuatu if you want to do lots of snorkeling!

Port Vila

Starting off with where to stay in Port Vila, the capital city of Vanuatu.

Breakas Beach Resort

I loved my stay at Breakas beach resort, it was a beautiful beachfront resort with wonderful bungalows.

Breakas is located just south of Port Vila on a 500m private beach. It’s a short drive to shops and restaurants although you won’t really need to leave the resort as it has it all.

Free breaky is included plus there is a range of delicious Italian options for lunch and dinner.

The resort also offers daily activities including cooking classes, live music, fire dancing and more.

You don’t need to go far to access some great snorkeling at Breakas. I spent the day exploring the reef located on the private beach and it was magical.

Breakas resort port vila

Garden View Bungalow: $262 AUD (free breakfast included)

Espiritu Santo

Next up are my recommended stays on the island of Espiritu Santo.

Turtle Bay Lodge

Turtle Bay Lodge was my favorite stay in Vanuatu.

The owners were so lovely and accommodating, even when my flight was delayed and I didn’t arrive until midnight they still greeted me with a welcome drink!

It is a prime location for snorkeling in Turtle Bay plus you can borrow their Kayak and head up to the blue holes.

During my stay, I was surprised by a free fire dance performance one evening which just added to my stay.

The food is wonderful, with a range of Italian and hearty pub meals.

Double Room, Ocean View, Oceanfront: $204 AUD (free breakfast included)

I was even upgraded for free to the Deluxe Double Room which is priced at $308 AUD per night.

Tanna Island

And finally, where I recommend you should stay on the stunning Tanna Island!


On my visit to Tanna Island, I stayed at Whitegrass Ocean Resort due to the fantastic range of tours they had on offer including the Yasur Volcano tour and Blue Cave tour.

The resort was very expensive but due to the remoteness of the island, there aren’t many options.

The resort is a short walk to Blue Holes 1 & 2 which are some of the best snorkeling spots on Tanna. Or you can even snorkel right off the beach of the resort, just follow advice from the dive team as it can be dangerous.

Overall, I loved my stay at Whitegrass Ocean Resort, the staff were lovely, the food was divine (although very expensive) and the rooms were clean and comfortable.

Is vanuatu expensive? accommodation is a major factor in the overall cost of travel to vanuatu

Bungalow with Seaview: $362 AUD (free breakfast included)

This last resort is extra pricey as it is on a pretty remote island, however, I managed to grab a great deal at work and only paid $278 AUD per night (I work for a travel company).

champagne beach vanuatu

Vanuatu Snorkeling FAQs

So you’re planning a Vanuatu snorkeling trip…how exciting!!

Here are a few common questions answered to give you further insight into what to expect on your Vanuatu snorkeling trip.

Does Vanuatu have good snorkeling?

Absolutely! Vanuatu is a world-class destination for snorkeling.

The warm crystal clear waters surrounding the islands offer excellent visibility and the marine life is diverse and abundant. 

There are numerous snorkeling spots throughout Vanuatu, including reefs, lagoons, and even shipwrecks. 

Many of the islands have established marine sanctuaries, which help to preserve the local marine life and ensure that visitors can enjoy snorkeling sustainably. 

Overall, Vanuatu is a fantastic destination for snorkeling enthusiasts of all levels.

Which reef is best in Vanuatu?

Vanuatu is home to several excellent reefs, each with its unique features and drawcards.

It’s difficult to say which reef is the “best” since it ultimately depends on your personal preferences and what you’re looking for in a snorkeling experience.

However, here are three of my top Vanuatu snorkeling reefs. 

  • Coral Garden, Hideaway Island

This reef is a marine sanctuary and offers a variety of fish and coral species. It is easily accessible from the shore, making it an ideal spot for beginners. The Coral Garden is shallow, and you can see a wide range of marine life, including clownfish, butterflyfish, and moray eels.

  • Mele Reef

Mele Reef is an absolutely stunning reef system located just off the coast of Port Vila. The reef has a range of coral gardens and provides memorable snorkeling opportunities. Mele Reef is home to a variety of fish species, including parrotfish, triggerfish, and surgeonfish.

  • Pele Island

Pele Island is a small, secluded island located just off the coast of Efate. The reef around Pele Island is home to a diverse range of fish species, including clownfish, angelfish, and even pufferfish. The water is crystal clear and shallow, making it fantastic for Vanuatu snorkeling.

Overall, each of these reefs offers a unique Vanuatu snorkeling experience and is well worth exploring. That being said there are many other reefs throughout Vanuatu that offer fantastic snorkeling opportunities, so be sure to do your research and ask for recommendations from locals! 

vanuatu snorkeling

Is Port Vila good for snorkeling?

While Port Vila, is not known for its snorkeling spots, there are some excellent snorkeling opportunities within easy reach of the city. One of the most popular snorkeling spots near Port Vila is Mele Reef, which is just a short boat ride away. Mele Reef is a beautiful reef system with a range of coral gardens and a gorgeous array of marine life.

Another popular snorkeling spot near Port Vila is Hideaway Island, which is located just a short boat ride away. Hideaway Island is home to a marine sanctuary called Coral Garden, which offers a variety of fish and coral species. And don’t forget about the underwater post office!

Other Vanuatu snorkeling locations that are accessible from Port Vila, include Pele Island, Iririki Island, and Tranquility Island. 

However, it is worth noting that the snorkeling spots near Port Vila may not be as impressive as those found on some of the more remote islands in Vanuatu. Nonetheless, if you are in Port Vila and looking for a snorkeling adventure, there are still some excellent spots to explore.

Can you swim in the ocean in Vanuatu?

Yes, you can swim in the ocean in Vanuatu.

The waters surrounding the islands are generally warm and calm, making them ideal for swimming. 

However, as with any beach, it is important to take safety precautions and be aware of potential dangers when swimming.

One of the most important things to be aware of is the presence of strong currents, especially during high tide or rough weather. Swim in designated swimming areas and make sure to follow any safety advice or warnings provided by locals or tour operators.

It’s also vital to remember, you are entering the habitat of thousands of marine life such as, such as jellyfish or sea urchins. Avoid swimming far out and be mindful of any signs or warnings about marine life in the area.

Overall, with proper safety precautions and awareness, swimming in the ocean in Vanuatu can be a wonderful experience. The clear blue waters and abundant marine life make it an ideal destination for those seeking a tropical ocean experience.

Is Vanuatu expensive?

The short answer is that it depends on your travel style and budget.

Vanuatu can be expensive, but it can also be relatively affordable if you plan ahead and make smart choices.

I found Vanuatu to have similar pricing to Australia and New Zealand.

Although the quality of products and services are rarely on par with that of Australia and New Zealand so you don’t really get value for money.

Vanuatu also tends to be quite expensive in touristy areas, in particular at resorts and restaurants/cafes near attractions. You won’t see many locals there, that’s for sure.

For a full breakdown of how much I spent on my trip to Vanuatu, check out my detailed Vanuatu expense guide.

The Wrap-Up – Vanuatu Snorkeling 

Vanuatu is a beautiful destination with plenty of snorkeling spots to explore. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, Vanuatu snorkeling offers something for everyone. 

So, pack your snorkeling gear and head to Vanuatu for an unforgettable underwater adventure.

✔️ Flights: Book your flights on Skyscanner 

➡️ Car rental: Rent your car on DiscoverCars

✔️ Travel insurance: I recommend World Nomads

➡️ Accommodations: Book your stay at booking.com

✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours

Read more about South Pacific travel:

Vanuatu Travel Blog – Everything You Need to Know
Best Espiritu Santo Vanuatu Resorts
Is Vanuatu a Good Holiday Destination?
Is Vanuatu Safe For Tourists? Essential Safety Tips
Best Port Vila Tours – Top Things To Do in Vanuatu 
Vanuatu Vs New Caledonia: A Guide To Choosing Where to Go
Is Vanuatu Expensive? An Aussie Traveller’s Guide 
Vanuatu Vs Fiji? Which South Pacific Destination Should You Travel To?

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