Just a half-hour drive from Luganville is Velit Bay, a property set on 1600 acres in a horseshoe-shaped bay.
From the town of Luganville you drive along the coast road for around half an hour and when you see the sign, turn off and in front of you will be one of the best views in Santo. There’s turquoise water, white sand, coconut palms and lush green vegetation. Winding down the dirt road you just know you are heading towards something very special.
Unlike most other places we visited in Santo, Valit Bay isn’t owned by a local village but is owned by an Englishman who spends a few months of the year at the property. He is very interested in aviation and so it’s no surprise to find he keeps a small plane on the property.
Situated 15-degrees south of the equator, Velit Bay has a restaurant and bar centred right in front of the turquoise waters and it’s aptly named, 15-Degrees South.
Stepping into the restaurant is like stepping inside everything you imagined of a tropical paradise. The restaurant has been built sympathetically to the traditional style of Vanuatu and has rustic wooden tables and chairs, open walls to capture the view and the sea-breeze, a thatched roof and a white-sand floor.
The restaurant had come highly recommended. Shane from the Barrier Beach House told us we absolutely must spend a day at Velit Bay and enjoy the restaurant. He loves the restaurant so much that last year he booked it for his staff Christmas party and on occasion he and his wife have beetled around to the bay in their boat to enjoy a leisurely lunch.
Reportedly it is one of the best restaurants in Santo and when the owner is in residence he heads out in his boat and goes deep-sea fishing. He’ll bring back Wahoo, Mahi Mahi and tuna to turn into sashimi and other dishes.
I loved the presentation of the menu as it’s a wooden clipboard with burnt-edge pages held together with rope making you feel like you’ve been shipwrecked and with the then good fortune of being washed up on a deserted island. The menu contains a mixture of everyone’s favourites like BLT’s, sashimi, pastas, curries and Thai spring rolls. The prices are also very reasonable compared with other places we visited in Vanuatu. Like a nicoise salad for $17.00, beef sisig (a sizzling Filipino dish) for $20 or teriyaki noodles for $18.00. Not bad prices for Vanuatu and a more interesting menu too.
Unfortunately we were not able to be there for lunch but we did order a drink from the bar and then strolled down to the beach where we sat on the deck chairs and admired the view and took in the tranquil and serene scene.
If you visit Velit Bay for the day, there’s plenty to do besides wining and dining. Velit Bay has day activities including deep sea fishing, kite surfing, kayaking, beach volleyball, paddle boards, mountain hiking and snorkelling. You’re completely free to do as much or as little as you would like. We just rested and took in the view.
While a visit to Velit Bay is a genuine Vanuatu experience, it does have some Western touches. There is an amenities block that is refreshingly modern and clean with flushing toilets instead of the truly-genuine experience of a hole in the ground.
Want to stay for longer than a day? I know a lot of you are wondering what to do with that four million dollars you have lying around and so here’s your opportunity. Velit Bay is now on the market and comes with 1600 acres, a white-sand beach, several homes, a blue hole, a hanger for your plane, established vegetable gardens, a coconut plantation, cattle, the restaurant and bar and all that is tranquil and serene in an almost deserted tropical paradise.
But even if you can’t fly there in your private jet and complete the sale, you can, for just a few dollars, enjoy a day in paradise.
Velit Bay Plantation: Off the East Coast Road about half an hour from Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu.