Espiritu Santo

Overview

Introduction

The second-most-populous island, "Santo," as local residents call it, contains many reminders of World War II. Luganville, located on the southeast coast, is a somewhat sleepy city these days, but during World War II it was a huge U.S. military supply center. Many of the Quonset huts erected then are still in use. The city's market is a great source for local souvenirs.

Divers and snorkelers have much to explore around Santo. The island is dotted with freshwater blue holes and lagoons that are ideal for snorkelers. Divers can descend to the wreck of the 654-ft/199-m troop transport President Coolidge (sunk during World War II) and can penetrate the interior of the wreck to gaze at a mural featuring a lady and a unicorn. Another good place for divers and snorkelers is Million Dollar Point on the southeast corner of the island. It's where the U.S. Army dumped tons of supplies at the end of the war—we were amazed by the sight of literally thousands of bottles of Coca-Cola and 7-Up sitting among the Jeeps, bulldozers and other war material on the sea floor. For beach lovers, we recommend the sandy strips at Champagne Beach and Palikulo Point. 200 mi/320 km north of Efate.

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