About Pele Island
Pele Island is located about 18 kms (11 mi) north of the island of Efate in Vanuatu. It's a very picturesque volcanic island with sandy beaches and turquoise waters. It's a favoured place for snorkelling and scuba diving within and near the Nguna-Pele Marine Protected Area. There are only around 200 Ni-Vanuatuans living on the island in four villages. It's possible to stay on the island or it's easily reached for a day trip.
Getting to Pele Island
Pele Island can be reached relatively easily due to its close proximity to Efate Island. It may be possible to book a tour if you speak to your accomodation provider, but it will cost you around 10,000 VT per person. This should include transfers to and from your accommodation, the boat ride to and back from Pele Island, activities on the island and possibly lunch.
The other option is to find a local willing to take you by boat from Emua Wharf, which is about a one-hour drive from Port Vila. Pele island is located about ten minutes away from Emua Wharf by boat. We unfortunately timed our visit on a Sunday. Few locals normally operate their boats on Sundays or public holidays. However, we managed to find someone who was able to take us for 2,000 VT per person return. If your timing is better than ours, you'll likely find someone already going across to Pele Island and therefore you can jump in and pay a far lower rate.
Enjoying a day trip to Pele Island
The boat ride across is pleasant as the water is calm and the various islands provide beautiful scenery. As you approach the island, you start to appreciate the steep jungle-covered ranges that form an impressive backdrop to the sand and water below. Our boat came to a stop and we jumped out into the crystal clear water. We took a few steps onto the stunning sand beach.
We'd been advised by our host (where we were staying in Emua Village) that Charlie's Bungalows is a great place to stop for lunch. We'd asked our driver to drop us off at his place. It ended up being a great choice. Charlie and his family were very hospitable and prepared us a delicious lunch full of rice and veggies. The lunch only cost us 1,000 VT per person.
The location of his bungalows was perfect. The beach in front is called Turtle Beach and was picture-perfect. A true tropical paradise.
Make sure to bring your own snorkel gear as the reefs around Pele Island are outstanding. There were many colourful coral and fish to see. We were also offered the use of SUP boards free of charge. You can paddle up the coast to the next beach or even onto Nguna Island in one direction, or the local village in the opposite direction.
Staying at Pele Island
The bungalows were booked out while we were there, otherwise we probably would have stayed at least one night there! They have basic beach bungalows located metres from the water with shared bathroom facilities. You can find them on Airbnb here.
Other things to do near Pele Island
If you haven't already, check out our article on hiking an extinct volcano on nearby Nguna Island.
Travel itinerary for Vanuatu
Read this article to discover our recommended 14-day travel itinerary of Vanuatu. (With 21-day and 7-day options also included!)