Four Day Itinerary for Espiritu Santo

Getting to Santo

Continuing my journey around the South Pacific, I visited another island in Vanuatu, Epiritu Santo (better known as Santo to islanders). I arrived in Santo after taking a connecting flight from Tanna through Port Vila. Once again, the flight left 30 minutes early after the headcount was taken and all expected passengers were on board.

I was now aware of Air Vanuatu’s strict guidelines for electronic devices and didn’t turn on my phone during take off or landing. Additionally, I made sure and every item was substantially under the forward seat for the drill sergeant flight attendants.

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Three Days in Tanna

About Vanuatu

After two weeks of no cell service and one week of no WiFi while in the Solomon Islands, I’m back online to post about my previous adventures in Vanuatu. What a wonderful place! The archipelago, which gained independence from France in 1980, comprises 82 islands, of which 65 are inhabited.

Vanuatu is a very poor South Pacific Nation whose mainstays are agriculture, tourism, offshore financial services, and cattle raising. Citizenship may be purchased for $150,000, and many Chinese have been moving onto the islands.

The National language is Bislama, similar to Pidgin English, and the official languages are French, English and Bislama. It’s amazing these islanders that have so little are at least tri-lingual and maybe more as many have a tribal dialect too. I’d just like to be bilingual which I’m working on with my next trip to Panama in a Spanish submersion school.

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Three Days in Tonga

My island hop adventure has taken me from Hawaii, to American Samoa, to Samoa, and now Tonga. I knew nothing of Tonga prior to making my reservations. After browsing my Pacific Island travel guide, I learned the people are devout Christians and island doesn’t cater much to tourists. Not knowing what to expect, I was a little nervous about visiting, especially via Talofa Airways.

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Upolu’s Southeastern Coast

Where to Stay on Upolu’s Southeastern Coast

Saletoga Sands is a lovely resort on the Southeastern coast of Upolu between Utulaelae and Matatufu. If I had my time to do over in Samoa, I might have stayed all four days here. The resort offers an airport transfer for a fee and has a variety of tours. For anyone who wants more freedom, they also rent both cars and scooters. Having seen the potholed roads, I’d stick to a car.

I spent two days in Apia, the capital of Samoa, and rented a car from Talofa Inn in order to get to the southeastern coast. The rainy weather wasn’t too conducive to beach going so I made a handful of stops along the Cross Island Road which cuts across the middle of the island.

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Around Apia

About Samoa

Samoa, once part of a larger island chain, was given to the Germans during the Tripartite Convention of 1899. At this time it became known as Western Samoa, though “Western” was dropped in 1997.

The archipelago is made up of ten islands though half are uninhabited. Savai’i is the largest island while Upolu is the most populated. The aforementioned are the most visited and four of the uninhabited islands are situated off the east coast of Upolu and comprise the Aleipata Islands which may be visited by boat.

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Three Day Itinerary for American Samoa

History of American Samoa

Before I visited American Samoa the only thing I knew about the Polynesian island chain, was that it is owned by the USA. I learned Polynesians first arrived on the islands some 2,500 years ago.

The USA didn’t get involved with Samoa until 1872 when it signed a friendship treaty with the Samoan government in order to establish a coaling station for the US Navy fleet as the islands are located midway between Hawaii and New Zealand.

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Things To Do Between Volcano Village and Hilo

My first day staying in Volcano Village, I spent exploring west of town on the Ka’u Coast and then ate lots of macadamia nuts at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center before spending a peaceful hour in Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens in the late afternoon. I spent the entire second day in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

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Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Having been on the Big Island for four days now, I finally set foot in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, one of the biggest reasons for me visiting the Big Island. Though I researched the park before coming to make sure it was accessible due to the eruption of Kīlauea Volcano that damaged countless homes, I still wasn’t sure what to expect.

I learned 90% of the park is open, though a few popular places such as the Jagger Museum and the Thurston Lava tube are still closed due to instability. I was also surprised to learn that the lava flow was mostly northeast of the park in Leilani Estates.

In addition, the eruption drained the lava from the collapsed Pu’u ‘O’o Crater, so hiking at night to see the lava glow wasn’t an option. Though slightly disappointed by this, it made the logistics of when and where to go a lot easier!

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Kona and It’s Southern Coast

Kona

For my third day and final day in Kona, not quite long enough, I strolled the downtown and then headed south along the Kona Coast. The downtown is basically one street that travels about a mile along the coast. It is complete with old Royal Palaces, churches, cafes, shops and a few unappealing, tiny beaches.

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