Champagne Bay, Vanuatu
Vanuatu’s Champagne Bay is truly an isolated tropical paradise, boasting some of the most sensational and unspoilt white-sanded beaches in the South Pacific region. Lovers of the great outdoors will rejoice in the plethora of fun things to do and the typically warm, sunny weather.
Champagne Bay is ideal for snorkelling, swimming, fishing, beach volleyball and sunbathing. There’s also local markets and villages to be visited, with plenty of fresh produce and hand-made trinkets. Bushwalk trails are located in either direction of the main beach, so you can explore more of the area’s natural beauty.
Home to less than 200 residents, there is no actual port structure in the bay. Instead, cruise ships anchor offshore and passengers are transferred to the land via tender boats, which operate regularly during the day.
A highly popular destination for cruises, Champagne Bay is a staple for many South Pacific cruise itineraries and companies.
Champagne Bay sits on the north-eastern shore of Vanuatu’s largest island, Espiritu Santo. There are small villages nearby but no large cities, which has helped the area maintain its unique charm and picturesque aesthetics. Neighbouring communities include the small settlement of Lonnoc Beach to the north and the little village of Port Olry further to the north. The island’s largest city of Santo (officially known as Luganville) is about an hour’s drive south.
Given the remoteness of this island paradise and the lack of a structured port, there are limited facilities available and it is advised that you bring essential items such as money, sunscreen, bottled water and towels, with you from your cruise ship. There are no public phone facilities available for use.
- Food and drink offered by locals
- Souvenir shopping.
How to Get Around
The bay’s main attraction, its beach, as well as many of the other main attractions, is easy to access via walking. With so many wonderful things to do in the immediate vicinity, you’ll likely not to want to travel elsewhere during your day here. There are no taxis available in the area. The languages spoken on the island are English, French and Bislama.
- Currency - The currency used in Champagne Bay is the Vanuatu Vatu (vt). Denominations are as follows: 200VT, 500VT, 1,000VT, 5,000VT, and 10,000VT notes, as well as 1VT, 2VT, 5VT, 10VT, 20VT, 50VT, and 100VT coins. The vendors here may accept Australian money, but are not likely to have change available; it is advisable to take only coins or small notes with you for spending. Credit cards will not be accepted.
- Time Zone – Champagne Bay, Vanuatu is 11 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Vanuatu does not use daylight savings time.
- Weather – Being close to the equator, Champagne Bay’s climate is tropical year-round, with high humidity and regular rain showers. During the summer months, the temperature averages around 30 degrees Celsius. For winter, you can expect an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius.
- The Beach – Whether they’re calling it the world’s most beautiful beach or heaven on earth, visitors to Vanuatu are practically unanimous in their admiration and awe when it comes to Champagne Beach. The water is gorgeous, welcoming, and unexpectedly warm, while the sand is soft and stunningly white. The bay’s name is derived from a geological phenomenon that causes the edges of the water to bubble during low tide. Other seaside activities that are endlessly popular here include snorkelling amongst the beautiful coral reefs, working on your tan, or jumping into a game of beach volleyball.
- Bushwalks – If you’re looking to stretch your legs properly or you’re just keen to immerse yourself in the untamed nature of the island, you’re in luck. There are plenty of bushwalking trails that start from Champagne Bay. Just be sure to use insect repellent and try not to lose yourself amongst the luscious green jungle.
- Souvenirs – Locals from the nearby villages frequently sell items at Champagne Bay, including handmade charms, beach clothing, hats, festive shirts, and other goods. Avoid buying anything that will cause trouble with quarantine when returning to Australia, such as anything made of animal by-products. Bargaining is not a custom in Vanuatu.
- The Locals – Get to know the island’s culture better by mingling with the locals as much as possible. Espiritu Santo is home to the Ni-Vanuatu people, who still practise many ancient traditions, which have been passed down from generation to generation. Now is time to find out why the people of Vanuatu are sometimes said to be the happiest people on earth.