Champagne Beach Vanuatu – Is it worth a the visit?

Champagne Beach

When you’re writing a travel blog like ours, you travel and get to experience so many beautiful places all over the world. Seldom do you come across an island with a beach as beautiful as Champagne Beach on the largest Island of Vanuatu, Espiritu Santo.

FREE BEER and a Beautiful Beach - S...

Incredibly, Champagne Beach has quite a reputation as one of the finest beaches in the world and voted as a top beach by several famous websites.

Even if you arrived on the island of Espiritu Santo in the morning without any knowledge, it wouldn’t be long before you heard the hype about the beach. It’s surely only a beach with a bit of sand and clear water right? Or is there more to it and is Champagne Beach really worth a visit? Lets answer a few of your questions below.

What do you mean I have to pay?

Yes, you have to pay. A bit of a shock when the island has so many other non paying beaches!

Many have never paid a beach entrance fee in their life, at a push you may have paid for a sun lounger on a beach along the Costa del Sol but that’s it.

How much does it cost to enter Champagne Beach?

Rates may vary but expect to pay in the region of 2000 VT (Vanuatu Vatu) for a vehicle entry or 500 VT for pedestrian entry fee.

How that equates in other currencies for your reference is as follows:

  • VT to AUD: 2000 VT = AUD $25.50/ 500 VT = AUD $6.40
  • VT to Euro: 2000 VT = €15.00 / 500 VT = €3.80
  • VT to USD: 2000VT = USD $16.50/ 500 VT = USD $4.15

Certainly not extortionate but don’t forget to add on your transportation costs. So, it’s a little pricey but aside from that at least the fee may serve to keep the numbers on the beach to a manageable amount at any one time. I have an aversion to overcrowded beaches with bodies crammed like sardines onto beach towels. Therefore, the fee may be worth it if you prefer a quieter portion of paradise on which to lay out your beach towel.

Where is Espiritu Santo Champagne Beach?

Below is a Google Map to the Island of Espiritu Santo and Champagne Beach. Champagne Beach coordinates 15.1438° S, 167.1204° E

The island is a hugely popular holiday destination, mainly for Australians.

If you’re living in Australia, where else can you go on a skip hop holiday?

Really, Bali or the archipelago of Vanuatu are the main options. The island of Espiritu Santo is located in the South Pacific, west of Fuji. It is more commonly known simply as ‘Santo’. Flying from the east coast of Australia it takes approximately 4 hours to get to the Island. The economy of Vanuatu is hugely reliant on tourism from both Australia and New Zealand.

What’s so special about Champagne Beach?

We’ve all been to beautiful beaches, white sands and clear waters. What sets Champagne beach aside from the rest?

So called Champagne beach, not because of the amount of celebrations with Champagne bottles but more for the natural phenomenon of gas escaping from the volcanic rock below the sands. At low tide the gas bubbles escape through the shallow waters and fizz up just like beautiful champagne would in a flute. Some think the beach shape looks like a champagne flute but that’s a bit of nonsense really.

Snorkel with sea turtles at Champagne Beach Photo by Tanguy Sauvin on Unsplash

What’s in store for you here should you visit the beach are beautiful white powdered sands and picture postcard turquoise waters. No doubt due to the volcanic nature of the island and region, the waters are always warm.

What’s in store for you here should you visit the beach are beautiful white powdered sands and picture postcard turquoise waters. No doubt due to the volcanic nature of the island and region, the waters are always warm.

The waters are a dream for snorkelling and it’s quite common to see turtles and some reef sharks in the vicinity. Make sure to bring your own snorkelling gear as post 2020 you will not be able to hire the gear anymore.

One of the remotest areas of Espiritu Santo Island, the beach is surrounded by stunning plantations of coconut trees. Can you imagine or find more tropical? There are some huts selling merchandise by the beach which aren’t the nicest looking but you can pick up some fresh coconuts and have a few beers if you so wish.

Beaches and Blueholes of Santo

Over the last decade, Champagne beach has ranked as one of the finest in the world on several occasions. It is truly in distinguished company to rank so highly and consistently.

  • In 2019 Forbes gave an honourable mention to the beach as one of the finest in Oceania. While outside the overall Top 10 in their rankings it is well up there.
  • It ranked #9 in CNN’s 2013 list.
  • Voted #31 by a leading Canadian travel website.

Overall, this is quite a small beach, you will walk the length of Champagne Beach within a matter of minutes. If you go early in the morning you will avoid the tourists arriving from Luganville.

In a world where social media and movies popularise beaches around the world, Champagne Beach retains that air of a smaller private beach. We presume it’s due to the entry fee which serves to keep ordinary day visitors away.

In 1999/2000 the movie “The Beach”, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, spotlighted the Thai beach, Maya Bay on the Island of Phi Phi Leh as the idyllic destination beach. Reachable only by boat, it became so polluted and so over overvisited, that in 2018 authorities closed the beach indefinitely to give it a break from tourists. We can only hope that Champagne Beach will learn lessons from Maya Bay and will not fall foul of the same tourist trap.

The neighbouring Lonnoc Beach is equally as beautiful, it just doesn’t fizzle and pop! Be sure to watch the youtube video above to see some of the other beaches and blue hole pool offerings which Santo has to offer.

Champagne Beach Accommodation

There are quite a few accommodation options around Champagne Beach and Lonnoc Beach, just around the corner, all in the Hog Bay vicinity. From hotels, homestays to beach bungalows within a stone’s throw of the beach.

What’s the Best time of year to visit Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu?

  • Best Time to Visit to Visit Vanuatu: May, June, September and October.
  • Best Time to Visit Vanuatu for the Best Weather: May to September.
  • Best Time for Sightseeing on Espiritu Santo: June to September.
  • Best Time for Honeymoons: May, June and September.
  • Peak Season Vanuatu: Mid December to the end of January is peak season period as it coincides with summer school holidays in Australia and New Zealand. Also July-August which are peak holiday times in Europe.

Vanuatu like many islands in Oceania experiences a Cyclone season.

Unfortunately, in April 2020 a category 5 cyclone, so called Cyclone Harold, devastated the islands of Vanuatu. Santo island, was cut off in it’s rebuilding as it happened during the Global COVID 19 Pandemic and so the aid was not able to get through amid all the general shutdown restrictions.

When you do visit Espiritu Santo over the coming years, don’t be afraid to part with some of your money. These people of Vanuatu have been through a lot. Your hard earned bucks will go a long way to rebuilding structures and rebuilding the local tourist centric economy.

Verdict on Champagne Beach

Champagne Beach is certainly a treasure in terms of the natural phenomenon from which it gets it’s name. Whether it’s worth the visit is entirely a personal choice. If you’re on a shoe-string budget, you’ll find a way of getting there without paying the fee, but if you want to check it off your bucket list, then go for it, pay the fee and contribute to the local economy.

While it’s unusual to have to pay a beach entry fee, it’s small money really. When your holiday is over and you’re back working your 9-5 job sitting at your office desk, you won’t remember the entry fee, instead you’ll reminisce on the beautiful beach you saw while holidaying in Vanuatu. A once-in-a lifetime chance to visit one of the world’s top beaches. Carpe Diem!

Did you visit the beach? Please let us know if you thought it was worth it. We’d love to hear from you.

Further reading: Bali Spirit Festival

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