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About Turtle Reef Vanuatu
Our air conditioned buses allow you to "get out of Port Vila" to spend time in one of the most beautiful, protected and safe harbours in Vanuatu. Board Vanuatu's largest Glass Bottom Boat for our "Discover Havannah Harbour Cruise." Sea turtles lay their eggs on surrounding beaches and the local islands of Lelepa and Moso are homes to traditional villages. Havannah Harbour's coral reefs are pristine for snorkeling and non-swimmers love the comfort of the boat and the windows to the sea. Cruise past stunning scenery, snorkel over amazing coral and enjoy a visit to a deserted beach. Our lunch time stopover at the popular Wahoo Bar provides a peaceful place to enjoy a lazy lunch after cruising before reboarding our bus back to town.
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Turtle Reef Vanuatu
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jbar434 wrote a review Feb 2020
Salt Lake City289 contributions173 helpful votes
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Please give a helpful vote if you find this helpful so other can find the information more easily. Thank you. Summary - We booked this from Carnival Cruise line. If you are going for friendliness, the view and snorkeling site, you will be happy. You might want to bring your own mask. If you are on a tight time frame or budget, make sure you understand what is included and when things will occur. Pros - colorful coral, friendly and informative crew / staff, beautiful views Cons - really expensive.. like $4.75 for a can of soda (see pics for menu and pricing) Other - this takes 6 hours - there is only an hour of snorkeling. The rest is travel (bus/boat), 30 min on a "beach" and the rest at a pricey restaurant. Details - We were picked up on time at the cruise terminal. The bus may or may not have had actual AC, but the windows on the bus were more than sufficient and added to the atmosphere. Hills in the bus were a bit nerve wracking, but the bus and the driver were great. The staff was friendly, nice and informative. We reached the Wahoo restaurant and were given a chance to pick up some drinks. Water was free, sodas and beers you had to buy and they were really expensive. We headed out on a cool glass bottom boat. The water is absolutely lovely. We got to our snorkeling spot and hopped in. There were quite a few complaints about their masks leaking. Statistically, the people who have their own would be more experienced in making sure they fit properly, however, there were larger than normal numbers complaining about the provided masks, both standard and full face. The area was lovely with plenty of fish. We did not see any turtles or dugongs. One of the staff said someone saw a dugong on our trip, but when I asked around, that didn't seem to be the case. There were lovely portions of the reef that had not been bleached with colorful corals. We were given about an hour or so to snorkel around. I would have preferred longer, particularly given the rest of the tour that seemed to be all about getting you to buy stuff. We then went to the "coconut fringed beach, where the crew will delight you" according to our tour description. The spot was magnificent for pictures (see below), but I didn't care for it otherwise. There was a steep incline of loose coral and shells that lead to a small area where a few ladies had their wares laid out for you to buy, and a couple of picnic tables where you could sit if you don't mind mosquitoes. I heard there was a stream.. maybe that was nice. I didn't stay up there that long. There was no "crew delighting"... I don't know if that meant dancing, or gathering coconuts or what.. but there was nothing like that. The kids of the ladies selling things were playing in the water having a grand time and were a joy to watch. Lastly we headed back to the restaurant. We had about 6.5 hours in port. This tour was sold as 4.5 hours and there was nothing about lunch mentioned. When it was communicated that the plan was to spend 1.5 hours at the restaurant for lunch, making this a 6 hour tour, it was unanimously decided to go back to the ship sooner. They kept us at the restaurant much longer than agreed and we missed out on the small amount of time we could have spent in Port Vila. No one person felt like they had the time to get off in the main part of town as we had originally planned. I think if someone had thrown a fit we would have been taken back sooner and everyone would have been happier. They were just so nice it was hard to be pissy about it, even when you are missing out. Still, it felt like we were being pushed to buy food there even after we relayed the requirement to on board by 2:30, and unanimously agreed we wanted to keep the the time table for the tour posted by the cruise. Basically they cost the 24 people on the tour the precious little time we had to explore Port Vila. It was very disappointing even though parts of the tour were lovely.
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Date of experience: February 2020
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c t wrote a review Jan 2020
1 contribution
I went on this tour as part of a shore excursion on a cruise. It was because of this tour that Port Villa was by far my favorite stop. The staff were kind and knowledgeable, especially Mahlon. Snorkeling there was beautiful. With colorful coral and many fish. If I ever find myself in Port Villa again I will make sure to stop by Havannah Bay. Also the entertainment and food at the restaurant were great!
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Date of experience: January 2020
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samsaidi wrote a review Jan 2020
Sydney, Australia23 contributions25 helpful votes
Although we were staying at Iririki Island which has free snorkelling we took the chance to go on this tour to see the other side of the Island. As a family of four who have snorkelled in New Caledonia, Great Barrier Reef, Fiji and different sites in Vanuatu this is definitely the best snorkelling site of all of them. The reef here is full of colour, teeming with life and myriads of fish swimming around you. We finished with a short stay on the beach with some coconut crafting lessons from Mahlon the chief. All good fun. What sets this tour apart from anything else on the Island is the high standard. The boat is clearly well maintained, all the equipment is in good condition and the 3 crew members are highly experienced. Add to that a calm bay and I don't think you could find a safer snorkel tour in Vanuatu. Thanks guys for a great day!
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Date of experience: January 2020
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Response from turtlereefvanuatu, Owner at Turtle Reef Vanuatu
Responded Jan 19, 2020
Thank you for taking the time to write to us and I am so very pleased your family loved our tour and our beautiful coral reef! Our staff are all very appreciative of your very kind words. Thank you again. Chrissy
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r0gue-rev1ewer wrote a review Jan 2020
Canberra, Australia84 contributions27 helpful votes
I spent a week in Vanuatu and overall was sorely disappointed. Prices are high, I couldn't find a place that did NOT serve burgers, curry, pizza and pasta and I was targeted by a local driver who was a little too familiar and inappropriate with his texts, tried to get me drunk on kava and ended up ripping me off. But this is NO FAULT of the tour company in question, however their tour was average at best, which further added to my disappointment of Vanuatu in general. Only one person spotted turtles in the full boat tour we were on, only because she followed the skipper out in the deep water. I know turtles can be very skittish and disguise well underwater so there was a chance no turtles would be seen. It's just that the crew and brochure talk up the turtles, hence expectations were raised that they would be around. The coral reef was OK. Just OK. There was only one location we visited that was out in the water. There was a small amount of snorkel time by a beach but there was nothing to see. there were not many fish or a great variety of fish seen as well. Again, the tour company cannot control Mother Nature. For the price paid, currency conversion, tour inclusions and time spent on the tour was not good value. On top of that, lunch was not included and was very pricey. The Burger I had at wahoo bar was OK but not the best. This place was talked up as well only to have expectations not met. I've snorkelled in Fiji, Samoa, lombok, barrier reef, Morton bay island (queensland), Sydney and Thailand and have had cheaper all day packages with more inclusions than I have in Vanuatu. Although I'm glad I took the time out to explore, staff were friendly and payment and communication had no issues, I wouldn't highly recommend this tour.
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Date of experience: January 2020
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Response from turtlereefvanuatu, Owner at Turtle Reef Vanuatu
Responded Jan 19, 2020
I have to agree with you that Vanuatu can be quite expensive. Unfortunately island living means that everything from fuel to all the food not purchased at the local market (which is a lot) alcohol, cleaning products, construction materials - just about everything - is brought in from overseas and the additional shipping costs and import duties are very high for a little port like Port Vila. I am surprised you did not think our reef was exceptional. We are regularly complimented by well travelled tourists about our precious reef and personally I have never seen water as clear as the South Pacific - certainly not anywhere in Asia. Its a shame Vanuatu did not live up to your expectations. It is not for everyone. Thank you for mentioning that our staff were friendly and that our skipper did go out of his way to snorkel with tourists looking for turtles. They are swimming about in their natural environment here in Havannah Harbour. We make it clear on our brochures that we do not keep turtles in captivity. I do hope you took home some good pics and some good memories. Chrissy
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Jill S wrote a review Dec 2019
Wollongong, Australia10 contributions4 helpful votes
A nice day. Didn't see any turtles and I would have liked to have swum as I do not snorkel. My husband snorkelled and enjoyed it. The trip to the beach was interesting. The information about life for the People of Vanuatu was good. Bought some pretty souvenirs. Lunch at the Wahoo Bar was tasty.
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Date of experience: December 2019
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Response from turtlereefvanuatu, Owner at Turtle Reef Vanuatu
Responded Jan 3, 2020
Thankyou for taking the time to respond. Our tour is all about Havannah Harbour and the surrounding scenery and stories. This is one of the prettiest places in Efate. It is a bonus when we see turtles swimming about doing their thing (which we do frequently) but this is "Mother Nature" and we do not keep turtles in captivity. It is always a shame when people take our tour and don't get in the water. We have noodles and life rings for people who are unsure in the water and our boys are always on hand to assist everyone. Our Glass Bottom Boat has some amazing windows to the sea but the water is so very warm and the snorkeling is so very crystal clear and our reef is totally protected by high cliffs that this is the perfect place for first time snorkellers to 'have a go'. Enjoy the rest of your holiday!
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