Champagne Bay, Santo, Vanuatu

When tourists come to Santo, the one place they want to go is Champagne Bay.

Gorgeous

Gorgeous

Just a 40-minute drive from Luganville it is arguably one of the prettiest beaches in the world.  It has all those ingredients everyone is looking for; warm turquoise waters, white sand, tropical fish, a coral reef, together with that feeling of being washed up on a deserted island paradise.

Travelling in style

Travelling in style

Except when the cruise ships come in.  Most of the cruise ships dock at Luganville but several times a year a cruise ship will anchor off Champagne Bay and then around 2000 people will descend on the beach.  Circumstances like that are best avoided and my advice would be to drive on to Port Olry which has a beach equally as pretty.

Stalls for the markets

Stalls for the markets

However, one positive aspect of a cruise ship visiting for the day is that the local people set up stalls and you can buy souvenirs, cold drinks and snacks from the villagers.  Otherwise the beach is pretty empty and you will need to provide your own refreshments.

Ticket Office

Ticket Office

Champagne Bay is owned by a village so as you drive in you will be stopped at the little office and asked to pay 500 vt (around $6.00) per person or 2000 vt (around $24.00) per vehicle.  Very good value compared with visiting a beach in Sydney where parking your car out in the elements will cost considerably more.

A first glimpse of Champagne Bay

A first glimpse of Champagne Bay

As you drive into Champagne Bay from the dirt road, you may need to dodge the free-range cattle that position themselves right in front of you and then sit down.  We had to duck and weave to get to the beach.

Mind the cattle

Mind the cattle

The entire beach is incredible however I believe the best snorkelling is on the righthand side as you look at the water so we walked up to that end of the beach.  The other reason this is such a good spot is because if it’s very hot and sunny, you can be shaded by the trees that overhang the sand.

Stunning

Stunning

Just watch out for the free-range pigs.  There had been a cruise ship in the Bay a few days before we visited and so the pigs were making the most of the opportunity to forage underneath where the food stalls had been.

Mind the free-range, organic pig

Mind the free-range, organic pig

The water is incredibly warm and has terrific visibility.  As luck would have it, we were there on a very cloudy day however, even with the lack of sunshine, the water remained a very pretty shade of turquoise and totally transparent.

Getting ready to see the fish

Getting ready to see the fish

Look at the colour of the water!

Look at the colour of the water!

Besides sunscreen and sunglasses, the other essentials when visiting Champagne Bay are a good-quality snorkel and mask.  Don’t be like us and bring only two sets of quality snorkels and masks and three sets of rubbish.  This will leave three members of your family seething with their foggy, leaky and cloudy goggles and I can guarantee it, fights will break out.

An island paradise

An island paradise

Nemo

Nemo

When visiting Santo, a day at Champagne Bay is essential.  We found the peace and beauty and serenity to be totally therapeutic and certainly, a few hours lying on that beach and snorkelling in that water is far more beneficial than any treatment from a day spa – and less costly too.

It seems we have the beach all to ourselves

It seems we have the beach all to ourselves

If you’re on your honeymoon or travelling as a couple and staying at Barrier Beach House you can ask for a romantic hamper to take with you for your day at the beach.  Or if you’re like us and travelling as a family, a hamper without the romance is perfectly fine.

Turquoise Waters

Turquoise Waters

Verdict:  As pretty as a postcard.

Even on a cloudy day, it's pretty

Even on a cloudy day, it’s pretty

Champagne Bay:  Turn right off the Coast Road, about 40-minutes from Luganville, Santo, Vanuatu.

Shelter under the trees

Shelter under the trees

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Comments

  1. This was mums favourite spot when she went on her cruise!!! Liz xx

  2. With a name like Champagne Bay how could it be anything but glorious? What gorgeous pictures! I’m trying to figure out Alfie’s expression in that second photo. He looks…determined? 🙂

  3. Just another day in paradise…..

  4. It looks stunning, I love a deserted beach and this one has such wonderful coloured water. I can only imagine what its like with a cruise ship in. It really does look like a Robinson Crusoe Island. GG

  5. Oh, my, I would love to bask here right now away from the cold and snow.

  6. Hi Charlie, the color of the water is stunning, looks like a really great time for anyone that visits there.

  7. Always fun to dodge the cattle while you’re driving. 🙂 Fun pictures, really great read. You’re having such a wonderful time! As are we — thanks to your posts, we’re right there with you!

  8. Santo is certainly a very beautiful place and Champagne Bay – the name says it all:)

  9. Oh look at Alfie’s ribs, there is no meat on his bones at all is there Charlie! What a glorious beach, and how lovely to have it all to yourselves.. except for the cows and pigs of course 🙂

  10. Dear Charlie,

    I love Sydney beaches too much to really want a beach holiday elsewhere. The water at Balmoral may not be as turquoise but with a name like Champagne Bay, did you yearn for that chilled glass of bubbly after snorkeling?

  11. Dodging the cattle, ducking around the pigs and even the cloudy day wouldn’t spoil that gorgeous beach. It would be tough not to go there every day.

  12. hi charlie
    this looks like a lot of fun for the whole family. what lovely water. fab that you could take underwater shots too. no probs with toilets? :))

  13. What a fantastic vacation you and your family are having together. Will you be stitching all the posts together in a book form for your kids?

  14. What a shame it would be to visit this beach with 2000 other cruise ship guests. I think you made the better choice! The drive up via cattle had me smiling too…very different to Sydney beaches, that is for sure.

  15. Fabulous! Well, except for the fighting over the good goggles.
    Have a wonderful day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  16. The name itself is so classy, and so fitting 😀

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  17. Oooh waw, what a fantastic Holiday get-away! So rustic looking & not too touristy, I see! Beautiful pictures too, Charlie! x

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