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“Experienced, flexible & great service”

Santo Island Dive and Fishing
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Attraction details
Owner description: Looking for those small extras to make your holiday more enjoyable and memorable?You can experience the thrill of the Coolidge & Million Dollar Point with us but most people don’t realize that Santo also has some spectacular Reef dives.We use boats to access all dive sites which means we can take you to fantastic places not used by other dive operators.Our motto is that you don’t go home with half the memories you should have. Santo is an Island of magic with many more great dives than just the Coolidge.We offer flexible individual, service in order to match the dives to your desires and abilities.We have 3 SSI instructors and fully qualified dive guides/ master’s on each trip so you don’t feel lost in a crowd.Pick-up and drop-off services to your accommodation in the CBD area.Tropical lunch during your surface interval on a amazing white sand beach sounded by the ni-vanuatu locals.Diving with Santo Island Dive is a diving experience not a bumpy bus ride. No walking from the shore carrying heavy gear, no wasted air getting from the shore to the dive site.We can make it happen for you, Diving the way it should be!!
Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Experienced, flexible & great service”
Reviewed July 26, 2012

We recently visited Santo, Vanuatu, with our main focus being the diving opportunities there. As an ex-PADI Instructor plus a Dive Medic I can be a very fussy customer, so wanted to have a look at each operation and meet the people prior to making any commitments. The first day we arrived we went to each of the three main dive shops (all located in the small town of Luganville – basically one straight road of shops) and quickly decided to dive with Santo Island Divers.

Mal Davies, the ex-pat who runs the business, is very experienced and knows all the dive sites (not just the Coolidge, but also other wrecks including a WW2 bomber, plus multiple reef dives) like the back of his hand. He goes out of his way to work around your schedule, so you can dive where/when you want as opposed to trying to fit your dives into a dive shop’s pre-arranged schedule. One of things I most appreciated was that he keeps the groups small and personal and of similar skill levels: it was just my partner and I with our guide, and at most one other person.

Mal has chosen to do the right thing for the Vanuatu community by including and training local people, and as such has a small team of extremely capable dive guides – some of the most comfortable divers I’ve had the pleasure of being underwater with. These guides speak English fluently, are very relaxed and will not stress you out by trying to hurry you; they plan the entire dive around what you want. They do everything they can to help you – I think it’s probably the first time ever I’ve had all my equipment set up for me, tanks changed for me between dives, and my own equipment even washed for me after the dives!

For me as a Dive Medic, safety is the ultimate necessity. Diving The Coolidge can be quite advanced depending on your skill level, with options for deep dives, deco dives, and penetration of the wreck. The dive guides will take you on an easier dive initially to ascertain your competence (let’s face it – you can have an Advanced License with only ever having done 9 dives and be a novice, or just have an Open Water License but be hugely experienced), then plan the following dives on what is safe for you. Most importantly, they have been diving in the area for years and years, and therefore are perhaps the most experienced guides on the island – very important for this type of diving.

Regarding accommodation, when researching options prior to travelling we were initially shocked at the prices! Upon arriving the taxi driver took us to some cheaper accommodation in town (not advertised on-line), however the mattresses were horribly uncomfortable, and the local noise began around 5am... so we decided to move. Mal was able to organise a good deal for us through Dave Cross at The Beachfront Resort a few minutes out of town – we stayed in The Lodge in a large, comfortable double room, and finally felt like we were really on holiday! The deck restaurant and pool overlook the beach and islands, there is no local noise(!), and the staff were some of the most friendly and helpful locals around. Everyone remembered our names and we instantly felt welcomed and at home. For diving we were picked up and dropped off by boat, which just added to the experience! We would definitely stay there again, and recommend it to our friends.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
6 Thank Kylie76_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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57 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
39 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Great Diving but equipment and safety is a concern”
Reviewed July 23, 2012

My first concern about Santo Dive was although we were asked if we had dived before, at no time were we asked to show our certification cards, we were not asked about previous wreck diving experience either. Our dive guide was fantastic but I do have concerns about sport divers being taken on double dives to well over 30m on one day both of which were deco dives. The hire equipment is not good, it all leaks and the inflators on several of the BC's we used did not work properly. The equipment is given to you on the boat just before you go in so you do not have a chance to check it all out properly. My advice if you go to Santo is take your own equipment especially a computer and if you are not an Advanced Diver who is confident, do not do the Coolidge.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank Laspig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
32 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Good value for money”
Reviewed July 7, 2012

We had 2 half day fishing trips (2 adults, 3 kids) with the guys from Santo Dive and Fishing (Matthew and Simmo). The first day was a blast, we caught couta, tuna and trevally, saw some great sights in the Segond Canal and snorkelled at Turtle Island with a complimentary tropical lunch on the beach. The second day was a bit choppy and we didn't have as much luck (1 trevally) but got to visit Tutuba Isalnd and snorkel there too (even better than Turtle). The guys were very friendly and helpful and at 25,000 Vt I think the day out was great value for the 5 of us. Even my wife who doesn't really like fishing had a great time. My kids enjoyed the first day so much they insisted we do another!

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
Thank Fiji_Novice255100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Level Contributor
68 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Good small and professional outfit”
Reviewed June 17, 2012

We didn't book anything before we arrived in Santo and got recommended this operation from our accommodation. It really suited us as they had boats to take you out on reef dives where my wife good snorkel and I could dive - best of both worlds. They didn't even charge anything for my wife's snorkeling but still provided her with lunch and a guide! Even the Coolidge was dived off a boat which meant that you didn't have to do the long swim for shore.

Our dive guide for the four days of diving was Pat Pat (?) (or David if you want his westernised name), and he was just brilliant. When I near emptied my tank on one of the deeper dives on the Coolidge he had a spare bottle I hooked up to for the deco stops. He also kept my gear and cleaned it every day ready for the next.

Mal was the owner I dealt with, and he was really laid back but got everything right at the same time - a perfect balance. At the end of the day he would drop me in town so I could do some shopping, have a drink, etc. Really helpful.

Thanks Santo Island Dive and Fishing you were great!

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank pgblai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockhampton, Australia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Flexible diving”
Reviewed June 7, 2012

Hi all,

Just wanted to let you know that my partner and I had a very relaxing week on Espiritu Santo. The main purpose of our trip was to dive the SS President Coolidge. When researching the holiday we were pointed towards Santo Island Dive and Fishing. We didn't book in advance, merely turned up on the doorstep of their shop / house and asked to go diving. Not a problem.

On the first day we were picked up from our resort and transferred to the harbour to board our small dive boat. At the end of the day the dive boat conveniently dropped us off at our resort (by request). We were able to leave our dive gear with them to break down and transfer back to the shop for storage until we were ready to dive again.

Two days later, when we were ready to dive again, we were picked up at our resort and transferred to the harbour where our dive boat and gear were waiting our arrival.

Apart from the dive guides' knowledge of the Coolidge, what impressed us the most about the operation was the number of dive guides available to dive with us. We always had at least one dive guide between 2-3 divers. It allowed everyone to dive based on their own experience.

In all, we managed to get in seven dives during our 10 day holiday including a night dive into the cargo hold of the SS President Coolidge (don't leave Santo without doing this!) More dives were available if we wanted a hard core dive trip rather than the relaxing holiday we were wanted.

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
Thank Delcan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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