Champagne Bay, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
In Partnership With
Champagne Bay, named for the way the water bubbles through volcanic rocks in the seabed, is on the northeast coast of Espiritu Santo, the largest island in Vanuatu. The fascinating blend of Pacific Islands culture and World War II history explains its allure for some visitors; the immaculate white-sand beaches and azure seas attract divers and snorkelers; and the tropical rain forests bring hikers and bird-watchers. The diverse population includes many indigenous Ni-Vanuatu as well as residents of Chinese and European descent.Many physical traces of the American forces that arrived here in 1942 have become compelling attractions, too, such as the distinctive Quonset huts dotted around the town; the 200-meter (654-foot) shipwreck of the ss President Coolidge, which sank when it hit two mines in 1942; and Million Dollar Point, where the U.S. Army deliberately dumped a million dollars' worth of military machinery and goods into the sea, and which divers can still explore today. The nearby town of Luganville is the second-largest town in Vanuatu after Port-Vila, and the town's markets are busy and vibrant, as is the bustling main street.