Matevulu Blue Hole, Santo, Vanuatu

I just love swimming in the blue holes of Vanuatu and Matevulu is one of the best.

Even on a dull day, the water is stunning

Even on a dull day, the water is stunning

Matevulu Blue Hole is about a 20-minute drive from Luganville.  There is a turn-off to the left off the coast road and you travel for another 5-10 minutes along part of what was in WWII, a USA airstrip, and then you arrive at the blue hole.

Entrance

Entrance

That’s the route we took last year but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous and energetic you can kayak to Matevulu from Oyster Island.

Heading up the river

Heading up the river

After our lunch had digested and the squall had died down, we settled ourselves into three kayaks with Archie in the front of one and his father at the back and Archie complaining all the time that it was like towing an anvil because Drew still has his frozen shoulder and couldn’t do much paddling.  Arabella and Alfie teamed up to be in another kayak and I kayaked as a single.

Archie towing an anvil

Archie towing the ‘anvil’

It’s not a difficult kayak but it does take around 40-minutes or up to an hour depending on your level of fitness and how many times you need to stop.  The hardest part is crossing the strip of water between Oyster Island and Santo but once you start heading up the river, you’re not dealing with wind and currents and it’s an easier paddle.

The further up the river you go, the more blue the water

The further up the river you go, the more blue the water

The water instantly changes too and becomes completely transparent and a lot more shallow and you can see all the way to the bottom.  There are many twists and turns and every time you come around the bend you will be stunned by the beauty of the pristine rainforest bending down to meet the river.

Approaching the blue hole

Approaching the blue hole

At times you have to duck-down to avoid losing your head to an overhanging branch but that’s all part of the extremely scenic experience.  Once again there are no crowds and we had the river almost completely to ourselves so it was very peaceful and all we could hear were fish jumping in the water and bird calls.

So pristine and beautiful

So pristine and beautiful

Turning the corner that revealed the blue hole is like coming across an oasis.  The water then becomes absolutely iridescent blue and the shallow water of the river turns to water of around 20mtrs deep in the blue hole.

So beautiful

So beautiful

We were there on a day when it was overcast and sprinkling with rain yet the water apparently doesn’t need any help from the sun to emit its brilliant colour.

Water is about 25C

Water is about 25C

We left our kayaks on the side of the bank and because the people of Vanuatu are so incredibly honest, there’s no need to worry about them.  We then went to pay the entry fee which is 500 vt per person, (around $6.00).

Climbing the ladder to the platform

Climbing the ladder to the platform

The Matevulu Blue Hole is one of the largest and deepest in Santo.  It also has the most scary rope swing.  I have been off it once before and was determined to give it another go so I climbed the make-shift ladder that is nailed into a tree and made it to the platform.  The platform is on a lean and the handrail is on the move.  Trust me now, it is a lot scarier than it looks and you’re very high up off the ground.

Bring your Go-Pro

Bring your Go-Pro

You need to put your arm around one of the branches while you get yourself organised with the rope that’s very heavy and pulling you forward.  What you don’t need at this point in time is someone down in the water with a Go-Pro yelling, ‘Hurry up, video’s running’.  That’s not helpful.  Neither is laughing.

Crystal clear water

Crystal clear water

Before you launch yourself into the water, you want to make sure that there’s no way you can become tangled in the rope as you let go because then you’ll be swung back into the trunk of the tree and that could be painful so gather all the rope in a tidy fashion so that you can easily let go of it and separate yourself from it.

Exploring the blue hole

Exploring the blue hole

Then place your hands above two knots in the rope.  You might want to shut your eyes but don’t – keep them open so you know when to let go.  Then with the crowd watching on, launch yourself into the water and if you need to scream, feel free.

Let go of the rope.  It will be tempting to hold on to it like a security blanket but do let go.  And when you do you’ll feel victorious.  You’ll drop a long way down into the water which is cool and refreshing and crystal clear and when you surface, you’ll say you want to do it all over again.

When you’re done with the rope swing, it’s lovely to just swim around the blue hole and explore the surroundings.  You’ll see a lot more with goggles but even if you don’t have any, the water is so clear you’ll see a lot more underwater than you normally would.

We spent a couple of hours at Matevulu before climbing back into the kayaks and heading back up the river to the sea.  We were told the journey back would be easier because of the currents but honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference and it took us 40-minutes both ways.

If visiting Matevulu I would definitely recommend arriving by kayak as the trip up the river is stunning.

So beautiful

So beautiful

Matevulu Blue Hole:  Sanma Province, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

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Comments

  1. So jealous of your trip! But loving all the reviews! Such a nice holiday you had with your family.

  2. See you have mastered the art of uploading the go pro onto your blog. Very impressive. I am a bit of a scaredy cat when jumping into natural water holes but this looks cool.

  3. Wow!! So stunningly beautiful! 🙂 You girls look like the most beautiful mermaids. 🙂

  4. Awesome! Love the shot of the four of you diving underwater…pure water babies!

  5. Your go pro shots are amazing. Gorgeous Arabella looks like a mermaid! 🙂

  6. OK, you have convinced me: I need to visit!! This truly sounds like a dream location and dream holiday.

  7. We would completely enjoy such a trip with the kayak and the beautiful serene water hole. I think the more people the more exciting it is no? Just day before yesterday we did took a day off went to the other end of Goa and did some kayaking for about 2 hours in the sea. It was tiring but if you go with the current it’s easier. I know how it can pull in the arms. ^.^

  8. Oh Charlie, what a fabulous time you guys had. Pete and I would never want to leave!
    Have an awesome day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  9. wow wow wow – that water is incredible and I love the photos of the family swimming in the water – looks amazing and perhaps better without harsh sunlight – but am not sure I fancy that rope ladder

  10. It certainly doesn’t look like the weather dampened your adventures at all! We have a rope jump at the cottage, I haven’t jumped from it in 20 years, perhaps this will be the year! It’s not quite as high as the one in your video, but it’s scary non-the-less. Did your accommodateion pack a lunch for you?

  11. What an adventure. And that clear water. Unbelievable.

  12. The views on y’alls kayak trip are simply breathtaking – that water – those trees – and that rope swing – so much fun! So nice to see the videos – and that rope swing in use!

  13. The underwater photos are just fantastic–really wonderful. What a wonderful holiday.

  14. Charlie, you’re making me want to move to Vanuatu! What an amazing place. Love all of your pictures and the videos were fun to watch!

  15. As you say – Charlie – so beautiful – so enjoying being part of your holiday.

  16. What a cool place to go swimming, it is almost mystical in a way 😀

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  17. The blue water is amazing! So pretty. Thanks for sharing this. Looks like a wonderful time.

  18. Wow!! What an incredible day. The kayaking looks like fun but those underwater shots are amazing!

  19. The blue is really amazing. I’d never have the guts to make that jump so kudos. 🙂

  20. Love the mermaid photos Charlie, very graceful indeed! I’d be afraid someone would think I was a dugong, so I would leave the go pro at home 🙂 What glorious water and I’m glad you had enough fine weather to enjoy your adventure xo

  21. That blue swimming pool looks heavenly! what a fabulous holiday you are having.

  22. Love the GoPro movies! What fun.

  23. Charlie, I’m completely jealous right now seeing your pictures! GoPro is so fun!!! What a beautiful underwater color. I love that you’re sharing your family trip with us. I feel like we’re part of your family (like a post card from you!). 🙂 I’ve been having stresseful week but now reading your travel posts made me feel a bit more relaxed – as I lived through your experience. Haha! I wish I could join you! =P

  24. Dang, the last few times I visited Luganville, it was bucketing with rain so didn’t get to visit Blue Hole. It looks freakin amaze, so good you got great weather, and beautiful pictures too. I really should crack out my GoPro, yours make me feel like I am right there with you.

  25. Living in the high desert where there are no places to swim other than public swimming pools, I am SO jealous of all of these beautiful places you have to enjoy the water. I can certainly see why you and your family choose these places for vacations! Thanks for sharing all of your vacation posts!

  26. Love love love the underwater shots. Great advice on bringing the gopro.

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