Captain Mike French is a well respected and seasoned Yacht Captain. Currently he is aboard the large commercially operated 171’ BELLE AIMEE on a global voyage. His insights of the South Pacific were presented at the Newport Yacht Charter Show. All his comments and descriptions have been shortened for this itinerary overview.
Cruise the islands of Vanuatu aboard the luxury yacht Belle Aimée for a 10-day experience in South Seas paradise. There are countless opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, beachcombing, hiking and diving, as well as tours that showcase the local culture.
A SUGGESTED ITINERARY
Day 1: Efate
Board Belle Aimée in Port Vila where your crew greets you with a refreshing welcome cocktail. You have the day free to explore duty-free Port Vila, Vanuatu’s capital and a shopper’s paradise. After lunch, cruise to remote Havannah Harbor for an afternoon of snorkeling, swimming or kayaking. Later, enjoy an al fresco gourmet meal on deck.
Days 2-3: Efate / Tanna
Spend the day exploring the underwater world, where you may see relics of Efate’s days as a World War II U.S. naval base. Swim; dive; fish; relax; and explore Hideaway Marine Sanctuary, the world’s only underwater post office. The next morning, Belle Aimée departs for Tanna, a Melanesian island known for its banyon trees, hot pools, flying foxes and traditional villages. Horseback ride on the beach or meet the locals on a cultural tour. Enjoy Mt. Yasur Volcano’s nighttime fireworks on a guided hike to the crater’s edge.
Day 4: Epi
Cruise to Epi Island, where you go atop the ridge of a bubbling undersea volcano. It is also one of Vanuatu’s top wall dive sites. Then, head to Lamen Bay for an afternoon of swimming with the dugong and sea turtles, or hiking inland. Sunsets on Epi are spectacular; enjoy it as you dine on another of your chef’s fabulous gourmet meals.
Day 5: Ambrym
Get an early start for your cruise to Ranon on Ambrym, the “Black Magic Island.” This is the best place to buy wooden carvings and tam tams. Visit a traditional village and enjoy a cave tour, or hike to Marum and Benbow Mountains.
Day 6: Pentecost
Cruise to lush, mountainous Pentecost, for a village tour and visits to picturesque waterfalls. After dinner on board, continue to Asanvari, off the island of Maewo, to anchor for the evening.
Day 7: Maewo
Besides being a lush haven for birdwatchers, Maewo has a mysterious side, as it’s famous for its magic sorcerers. Spend time on the black sand beach and set out on a cultural tour. Have a lunch of lap lap, the national dish, which is made of grated root vegetables steeped in coconut milk with chicken or beef and wrapped in banana leaves. After lunch, visit the large waterfall at Naone before cruising to Espiritu Santo, where you anchor for the evening.
Days 8-10: Espiritu Santo
Spend your final three days aboard Belle Aimée exploring Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu’s largest island. Enjoy deep sea fishing, snorkeling, swimming or surfing at charming Champagne Beach, or just relax on the sun deck. Divers have a chance to dive to the site of the SS President Coolidge, the world’s largest accessible shipwreck, or to Million Dollar Point, an undersea site of trucks, bulldozers and equipment dumped after World War II. Non-divers can hike to Millennium Cave or go horseback riding. On your final morning, early risers may have time for a fishing excursion before flying from Luganville to Porto Vila and your flight home.