Riri Blue Hole, Santo, Vanuatu

One of the loveliest things about the island of Espiritu Santo is that it is uniquely doted with ‘blue holes’.  The blue holes are naturally occurring and are formed by mineral water that comes up from the ground.  The base of the holes is limestone and it is the limestone that causes the transparent water to be iridescent blue.

Like a postcard

Like a postcard

A lot of the villages have their own blue hole and they use the water as drinking water.  They also fish in the blue holes as they have some aquatic seafood including fresh water prawns.

Riri Blue Hole

Riri Blue Hole

From Barrier Beach House, Riri Blue Hole is very easy to get to.  We cycled around 5kms to get there, traveling along the coast road.  There are two ways to get to the blue hole.  You can cycle all the way there (or go in a car) or you can ride through the two blue dug-out canoes and there you will find a few men from the village that owns Riri Blue Hole, ready to take you there in one of their canoes.

Look out for the dug-out canoes - this is the entrance!

Look out for the dug-out canoes – this is the entrance!

I had never had a ride in a dug-out canoe before so we opted to travel in a canoe that took us up the river until around 15-minutes later we arrived at Riri.  We left our bikes unlocked down by the river and were assured they would absolutely be there on our return.  The people of Vanuatu are incredibly honest and crime is almost non-existent.

Contemplating our travel

Contemplating our travel

Our canoe guide was Alex.  I did have a little trouble understanding his English but he told us the canoes are made from blue water trees that are found near the blue holes.  It takes four men one-week to make a dug-out canoe and they will last for 3-4 years.  Drew helped with the canoeing but I wasn’t given a paddle and was happy to be able to just sit on the plank and enjoy the scenery.

The river that takes you to Riri.

The river that takes you to Riri.

These canoes are used for fishing

These canoes are used for fishing

I would definitely recommend traveling by canoe as the river is incredibly beautiful.  The water is see-through and the vegetation on the sides of the river, stunning.  It was a dull and rainy day when we visited Riri but even in those conditions the scenery was breathtaking.

Traveling up the river

Traveling up the river

The trees bend across the river

The trees bend across the river

Traveling to Riri

Traveling to Riri

As we traveled up the river it was extremely quiet and peaceful except for the sound of a few birds.  I asked Alex what sort of bird it was that was making the noise and he said it was the Nayuiba bird.  The people from his village hunt them and he said the birds taste like ‘young rooster’.

Beautiful scenery

Beautiful scenery

Still waters

Very peaceful

Turning the corner that revealed Riri was amazing.  The water just changes to the prettiest shade of blue I’ve ever seen; it absolutely has to be a colour that’s unique to blue holes.  There are two blue holes that make up Riri; one is 5mtrs in depth and the other, 10mtrs.  At the bottom of both holes, mineral water gushes into blue hole.

We're a great team!

We’re a great team!

Reflection off the water

Reflection off the water

Alex brought the canoe alongside a set of stairs and we awkwardly disembarked and climbed to a handmade platform.  Watch out – the steps are slippery!

The water is even more blue on a sunny day.

The water is even more blue on a sunny day.

On the platform there is a rope swing that you (again, awkwardly) can jump up onto and then launch yourself into the middle of the blue hole.  Don’t forget to let go!  The water is around 24C (75.2F) so not that cold but incredibly refreshing.  We took our goggles with us so we could explore the blue hole and we were just amazed at how clean, fresh and transparent these pools are.  One of the best features of Espiritu Santo is that it’s so unspoilt.

Riri Blue Hole

Riri Blue Hole

It’s not only unspoilt, it seems it’s barely ‘on the map’.  If you don’t like crowds, you’ll love Santo.  At the time Drew and I visited Riri, we had the entire place to ourselves.

Thinking about that rope swing

Thinking about that rope swing

We spent about an hour swimming and exploring the blue holes and then Alex took us back to where the river meets the coast road.  We paid him 2000 vt ($24.00) for the two of us and that included entry into the blue hole.

No tourist crowds

No tourist crowds

And like he said, our bikes were waiting for us and exactly where we left them.

Such pretty water

Such pretty water

Riri Blue Hole:  15 minutes north-west of Luganville along the coast road.  Look for the two blue dug-out canoes on the left-hand side of the road as you travel north.

 

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Comments

  1. I am enjoying being part of your Pacific holiday – Charlie – just beautiful.

  2. Wow, wow, wow! That is all.

  3. This looks so gorgeous Charlie. Oh that water! So clear and clean and beautiful. And I love the notion that you had it to yourselves. Just wonderful!

  4. I have to agree with Lizzy…just wow. Such a beautiful unspoilt paradise, hope it stays that way. Although it might be a little bit more ‘on the map’ now 😉

  5. wow that is amazingly beautiful and sounds like such a peaceful visit

  6. How beautiful!! The colour of that water is breathtaking.

  7. Stunning place! Great activity and just love how clear and beautiful the water is. Living remotely through your fun holiday. Have a blast!

  8. Oh, how stunning. What an amazing place, and I am so glad you took the canoe journey – what an experience! I love the sound of the rope swing too, especially if there’s no one around to watch me testing it out 🙂

  9. Gorgeous!! The blue reminds me of the amazing lakes we saw in southern New Zealand. Sounds like you found the perfect getaway spot!

  10. What a wonderful place, absolutely love the water.

  11. This holiday, which started out great, just gets better and better. That water is beautiful–I love how the water disappears beneath the canoe.

  12. Absolutely gorgeous! I think I would have a very difficult time ending my vacation. 🙂

  13. Oh so stunning indeed Charlie! What a magical place with water so perfect, clear and blue. Thanks for showing us this, I’ve never heard of them before 🙂 xo

  14. What an incredible experience and worth a lot more than you were asked to pay, I think. You’re amazingly adventurous. 🙂

  15. Thank you for introducing the blue gateways to Heaven on Earth, Charlie. Little sad to hear they kill the songbirds but otherwise the Blue Holes of Santo Vanuatu look like paradise =) Love to follow your example and bicycle and canoe when I’m in the neighborhood =)

  16. I think hubby would absolutely love this place. The water is so gorgeously clear too! 😮

  17. What an exquisitely beautiful place! No wonder you chose this for your vacation and anniversary. Thanks for taking us along. I’ve never seen water that color before, simply stunning.

  18. Oh wow! This is awesome! I have much catching up to do with you and your blog!!

  19. Wow – what incredibly clear water! Looks like a great way to spend the afternoon!

  20. All I can say is ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….

  21. I do love Vanuatu, we visited for the first time last year…It was a brief visit and just around Port Vila (they also have these beautiful water holes…) – definitely more to explore so loving your posts.x

  22. Wow what a find.It’s absolutely stunning and as you say s uncrowded. The limestone does that to the water in Nice too……so goegeous.
    Carolyn

  23. inquiry…when you get off the cruise ship….where will we find the guys with the canoes and how much do they charge pp?

    • Hi Sheila, as you walk off the ship you will find many drivers waiting in the hopes of being your taxi driver or tour guide for the day. I would recommend going with one with an air-conditioned car! Then tell the driver where you would like to go. I would definitely recommend spending time at Champagne Bay and a blue hole. I think we paid the driver around AU$100 for the day. You need to negotiate the rate with the driver. Good luck and I hope you fall in love with Santo as much as I did.

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