THE VANUATU BLUE HOLES
Why You Should Visit:
I have swam under a stunning seven tiered waterfall in Thailand surrounded by lush green jungle and cheeky monkeys.
I have swam in the impossibly aqua blue lagoon waters of both Bora Bora and Moorea in French Polynesia.
I have swam in outback waterholes in jaw dropping gorges in Central Australia.
I have swam in the natural swimming pool on the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia.
I have swam at the well known Hanauma Bay, several lagoons and both the East Coast and North Shore beaches in Hawaii
I have swam in the very beautiful Lake McKenzie on Fraser island (I’m lucky enough to live right next door to this one)
I am no stranger to amazing swimming spots! I can honestly say that the Blue Holes on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu hold their own with these other heavy weights. In fact, I would place them in my top three favourite swimming holes EVER.
Unlike these other awesome swimming spots, getting to Santo is only a two and a half hour direct flight from Brisbane, Australia.
What are Blue Holes?
The Blue Holes are naturally occurring freshwater springs that have formed due to the unique geology of the island. When it rains, water from the volcanic mountain range on the Western part of the island flows underground into limestone caves. This corrodes the limestone and creates underground streams which eventually find their way back to the Eastern side of the island.
By the time the water resurges back to the surface, it has been filtered underground through the limestone and is close to pure. This combined with the depth creates the jewel colour blue of the water.
Which one should I visit?
There are three main blue holes that are open to tourists on the island of Santo. They are all located on the picturesque coconut tree lined east coast road. (You NEED to hire a car and travel to the end of this road! See my blog post on Port Olry – Where the Coconut Highway Ends for more on this).
Riri Blue Hole:
Even though Riri Blue Hole wasn’t the bluest; it was by far my favourite. I instantly fell in love with the jungle surrounds. You can’t tell from the photos, but the water was fairly clear. Entry fee was 500VT per adult (we were not charged for the kids). There are toilets and a picnic area and in general, the whole area is lush green and in its natural state.
Nanda Blue Hole:
This Blue Hole was really, really, REALLY stunning blue. At the full 13 metre depth, I could see the bottom clear as day when I was floating on top looking down with my snorkel. Whilst its not like snorkelling over a coral reef, there a few fish around the edges to watch. The water here is also cold and like Riri Blue Hole, it’s easier just to jump in and get it over and done with.
Entry fee here is 1000VT per adult (again, we were not charged for the kids). Whilst the blue hole is surrounded by beautiful greenery, there is more infrastructure here including a boardwalk, modern toilets, a cafe and picnic shelters. The greenery here has more of a rainforest feel than the jungle feel of Riri Blue hole.
Matevulu Blue Hole:
Time got away and I didn’t get a chance to visit this one unfortunately. Sounds like a good excuse to come back here!
Why They are Important!
The blue holes are a freshwater source for the local villages. In fact, I saw some locals fill up water bottles whilst we were visiting. So do your bit and take out whatever you bring in.
Also, maybe don’t pee in the water!
Visiting the Blue Holes with Kids
I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t bring kids here. Kids of all ages (including adults) will love the Blue Holes. There are jumping platforms both rickety and solid and swing ropes for the brave. There are usually a few local kids hanging around willing to show you how its done!
Due to the depth of the water, if your kids are young or not confident swimmers, they will need some kind of flotation device. At the ages of nearly 2 years and 4 years, my kids can’t swim properly yet. However, they had a great time with arm floaties either hanging off, or within arms reach of an adult.
One of the wonderful things about the island of Santo, is that nature is mostly left untouched. This makes for fantastic scenery; but it also means you will need to put mosquito repellent on the kids and yourself.
Want to discover more awesome places for your next getaway?
For more blog posts, articles and photographs of my travels through Espiritu Santo with kids, please check out my Vanuatu page here: Vanuatu
For information on all of my destinations, check out this page: My travel destinations
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