Absolute waterfront, at totally affordable prices.

 

WELCOME TO TURTLE BAY LODGE SANTO
ABSOLUTE WATERFRONT, TOTALLY AFFORDABLE

Set in a beautiful waterfront location on the idyllic east coast, Turtle Bay Lodge is a 20-minute drive from Luganville, half way to the famous Champagne Beach and a leisurely kayak from both the Riri and Matevulu Blue Holes.
It is the ideal place to experience Santo.

GALLERY

 


Snorkel the coral reef on one side of the property or laze in the calm waters of the bay on the other, relax by the outdoor pool or enjoy a range of watersport activities such as SUP boarding or kayaking across to Turtle Island or one of the Blue Holes. The tour desk can organise a full range of Santo activities for you or you may choose to rent one of the on site cars to see the Island at your own…

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EXPLORE THE ROOMS

Ocean Front Family Room

The Ocean Front Family Room offers two separate rooms, ceiling fans, en suite bathroom, fridge, private veranda and the ocean 20 metres away from your verandah Perfect for families. Continental breakfast is included.

 

Approx $160 AUD

Ocean View Double

The Ocean View room offers a kitchenette, en suite bathroom, ceiling fan & your private verandah with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. Sit back, relax and unwind after your day in tropical paradise. Continental breakfast is included.

 

Approx $135 AUD

Poolside Double

The Poolside room is great for those on a budget. Your room includes an en suite bathroom, ceiling fan and a private verandah. Continental breakfast is included.

 

Approx $100 AUD

Backpacker Room (Great For Budgets!)

The Backpacker room includes an en suite bathroom and ceiling fan. There’s a set of bunk beds and 3 singles. As is the case with all backpacker style accommodation, you may be sharing with somebody you haven’t met before in this room. Price is VUV4000 per person, per night including continental breakfast.

 

Approx $50 AUD

EXPLORE THE ISLAND

Car Hire

Explore the sites of Santo at your own leisurely pace.

Car Hire is available onsite at the lodge.

Turtle Bay Lodge is ideally situated just 20 minutes from Luganville, near to the Matevulu Blue Hole, on the road to the beautiful beaches of Port Olry and Champagne Beach.

8,000 VUV PER DAY and discount for longer rental periods.

Blue Holes

There are 3 delightful blue holes within a short distance of Turtle Bay Lodge.

Matevulu Blue Hole is nearest to Turtle Bay Lodge and has a spectacular rope swing accessed by a ladder up an enormous banyan tree. Kayak to this blue hole from Turtle Bay Lodge. Hire a single kayak for 1500VT (double 2000VT) and allow half a day to get there and back and enjoy the blue hole itself. First cross Peterson Bay, then make your way up the stunning Matevulu River, where the water is so clear you can see right to the bottom. Feel yourself suspended as if by magic as fish swim below.You can also walk to the Matevulu Blue Hole from Turtle Bay Lodge.

RiRi Blue Hole is a little further south of Matevulu Blue Hole. You can also kayak to this one but you’ll spend more time on Peterson Bay and less time in the river as it’s a much shorter river. Some days the bay is glassy but on other days the wind can make it a little tougher! The RiRi Blue Hole has a nice selection of wooden decks and seats. The owners also offer a custom experience where you can travel up the river in a dugout canoe . You can see the canoes stored near the bridge as you pass on your way to Turtle Bay Lodge.

The Nanda Blue Hole, also known as Jackie’s Blue Hole, is about 6km north of Turtle Bay Lodge. It features a delightful deck built over the water and there are usually quite a lot of fish swimming underneath. All the blue holes are lovely and well worth visiting. Take your goggles and snorkles as there are freshwater fish in each of them.

Note that all Blue Holes require entry fees, though your entry fee to Matevulu is covered by Turtle Bay Lodge as part of your kayak hire. Most days you’ll have the blue holes to yourself but if you arrive on cruise ship day you’ll share it with numerous tourists!

Fishing

There are plenty of opportunities for the keen fisherman to wet a line. A variety of local charters will take you out to local hotspots where you might be lucky enough to catch a wahoo, mahimahi or dogtooth tuna, amongst other pelagic species.

You can also bring your own equipment and try your luck from one of many landbased locations. For the especially keen (and fit) there’s also the option to fish from one of our kayaks. Turtle Bay’s 2013 manager, Cam, managed to hook a 19kg wahoo whilst trolling from a kayak!

Please note that reef fish may be contaminated with ciguatera so we do advise you not to eat any of these. The pelagic fish are generally considered safe to eat. You might want to read up on ciguatera before you arrive so you can make your own assessment.

Port Olry

The beach at Port Olry is absolutely stunning and is considered the best of the beaches by many. The locals are friendly and there are two small restaurants located on the beach – order with plenty of time to spare then have a swim and talk with the local children while you wait.

Champagne Beach

One of the most popular destinations on Espiritu Santo, Champagne Beach features stunning white sand and crystal blue water.

It’s a beautiful place to visit, relax and swim. You will notice the framework of many stalls set up along the grass; these are transformed into brightly decorated market stalls on cruise ship day.

There is good snorkelling to the sides of Champagne Beach or make your way around to the jetty to see the delightful little blue fish swimming all around that area. Note that there’s an entry fee of 2000VT per vehicle to Champagne Beach. This can come as quite a surprise to visitors from places such as Australia but in Vanuatu the employment opportunities are limited and landowners need to make the most of their assets.

Millenium Cave Tour

The Millenium Cave tour is an amazing experience that you will remember forever. Not for the fainthearted, the tour starts with a drive into the jungle where you meet your guides at the village. A long walk to the mouth of the cave is made interesting by the stories you hear along the way. There’s a steep climb down to the cave which is filled to about waist deep with water (after heavy rain the cave gets too full for the tour to be run safely).

The cave itself is enormous, spectacular and dark. Once you emerge from the cave there’s a stop for a picnic lunch, then a scramble across rocks before floating down the river, climbing out and walking back to the waiting vehicle. It’s a long day but the guides are excellent in helping people of all levels to safely negotiate the tour.

This is a must do whilst on Santo!

A day in the village

Exclusive to Turtle Bay Lodge guests is the opportunity to step into the life of some local villagers, Mary and her family. This is not a big touristy event, it’s just a chance to see how the locals live on a day to day basis. Visit their garden and harvest the things you’ll need for your meal. Learn to make simboro, a delicious island specialty involving coconut which you’ll harvest, break open and grate yourself. Be a part of whatever else is going on that day. It might be weaving a basket or shelling out coconuts for copra production. Perhaps you’ll feed the freshwater fish and have a swim. You might learn about the local plants and their uses, and maybe you’ll make and drink kava. Mary has 7 children; (the youngest, born in May 2014, is named Steve Austin), so you’ll see them if they’re home from school. Mary uses the income from this tour to pay for their children’s school fees. The first guests that did ‘A Day in the Village’ said, “It was so wonderful, we really felt like we were part of the family!”

Dive the Coolidge

Named in the top ten wreck diving sites in the world, the SS President Coolidge attracts divers of all levels from all over the world. It is an accessible dive site with easy beach access; divers follow a rope down to the ship. The bow rests at 21 metres and the stern is at 73 metres.

Many divers complete multiple dives here, exploring a different part of the ship each time. The Coolidge was originally a luxury ocean liner, but served as a troop ship in the second world war. On 26 October 1942 she entered the harbour at Espiritu Santo with the Captain unaware that it was protected by mines. This had been inexplicably left off the information he had been given. Two mines struck the ship and the Captain could immediately see they were in trouble and that he was going to lose the ship. He ran the ship aground and ordered his troops to evacuate. 5340 men calmly left the ship, some even waving to the cameras. Only two men were lost one was working in the engine room and was killed when the first mine hit, the second had safely left the ship then went back to rescue men from the infirmary. He succeeded, but went down with the ship as it listed to the side, sank, then slid down into the channel.

Kayaks and SUP Boards

Turtle Bay Lodge is ideally situated to spend hours kayaking up the rivers to the blue holes or just paddling the bay. For the more adventurous you can even kayak out to Turtle Island.

Turtle Island is the little island you can see when you look out to sea from Turtle Bay Lodge. It is unoccupied and features a delightful sandy beach with sheltered swimming on the side closest to land, and stunning snorkelling and free-diving off to the side. It’s a great place to spend a few hours and if you’re lucky you might even find the ‘butterfly tree’ (you’ll know it when you see it, at certain times of the year it is absolutely covered in butterflies). In any case you’ll see plenty of hermit crabs including some quite large ones up on the island itself.

A Wildlife Experience in Santo

Espiritu Santo is the nature island of Vanuatu. The low population levels compared to more populous island such as Efate and the existence of much of the natural vegetation means that Espiritu Santo is the best place to see the native fauna of the islands. The island has one paved road along the east coast, a central mountainous area where one of the rarest birds in the world (Mountain Starling) can be found and a west coast series of villages connected by road but completely isolated from the east except by a short flight. As an example of just how special Espiritu Santo is for wildlife, there are 9 species of birds endemic to Vanuatu (ie found only on the Vanuatu islands) and all of these can be seen on Espiritu Santo. None of the other islands have all these species. Turtle Bay Lodge has the following tours on offer:

Vanuatu birds and Vatthu Village:

This day trip takes you north to Big Bay to a remote native village. The Vatthu conservation area is one of the best places to see some of the endemic species of the island including the Vanuatu Imperial Pigeon, Yellow bellied White-eye, Buff bellied Monarch and the spectacular Chestnut bellied Kingfisher. The trip includes lunch in the village and an explanation of life in the remote villages.

Vanuatu birds and wildlife:

This half day trip takes you into the forests of the Loru conservation area. Here there is a good chance of seeing the strange mound building Vanuatu Megapode as well as other endemic species to the islands such as the Tanna Fruit Dove, New Hebrides Honeyeater and some of the same species as in Vatthu.

Snorkel the Reef

All the photos above have been taken on the reef just at the front of Turtle Bay Lodge!

Vanuatu is filled with spectacular snorkelling opportunities and the reef right outside Turtle Bay Lodge is one of the best of them. Many a guest has climbed out of the water astonished by the variety of coral and fish they’ve just seen. The corals come in every shape, size and colour – bright purple, fluorescent green, orange. Sometimes you’ll happen upon a community of tiny fish that live around a coral. When you go near they all dart into the coral, then gradually come out again as you move away. It can be a lot of fun discovering the world that lives beneath the waves.

Conditions vary, of course. In Vanuatu we experience a thermocline where the cold fresh water on the surface interacts with the warm salt water underneath, resulting in a hazy effect that often makes people think their goggles are fogged up. Sometimes you need to dive below the thermocline to achieve good visibility but at other times you can see perfectly from the surface.

Remember to occasionally look ‘up and out’ when you’re snorkelling, not just down at the many incredibly brightly coloured fish right below you. That way you’ll also see some bigger fish, turtles and maybe even a dugong if you’re really lucky.

Relax by the Pool

You don’t have to go out and about!

Sometimes the thing you need most is to just spend a day relaxing ‘at home’. Often all the other guests go out and you have the resort to yourself. Make the most of it by relaxing near the pool, where our restaurant staff are more than happy to deliver your meals and drinks.

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