My husband and I have just returned from spending 5 nights at Oyster Island and cannot praise it, or the staff, enough.
As stated in other reviews, access to the island is via a tin boat named “Better Boat”, which does have a slight leak and requires bucketing out, but this just added to the whole experience. At no time did we ever feel that the boat was a safety issue. After the very short boat ride to the island, we were welcomed with a tropical drink and our bags were taken to our room.
We stayed in a Bamboo Bungalow which was spacious and airy. The room contained a small bar fridge for us to use, and bathroom cupboard was stocked up with mosquito coils (which we only had to use on 2 occasions). The hot water worked well (compared to our previous stay in Port Villa 3 years ago – where the hot water was very sporadic), and the lighting provided was good enough to enable reading at night. As with all the bungalows, the view from our room was over water, and hearing the water lap at the edge of the bungalow was extremely relaxing.
Breakfast each day consisted of delicious freshly baked bread with jam/peanut butter/butter, along with a plate of fresh fruit and freshly brewed tea/coffee. Whilst this may not be the normal continental breakfast that most of us have become used to, it was extremely tasty and very filling and was made that much better when consumed watching turtles swimming in the water.
I have to compliment the chef at Oyster Island as he truly did an amazing job with meals. Not only did the food taste fantastic, but the way it was presented was comparable to some of the finer restaurants in Brisbane. My favourite meal was definitely the coconut prawns, followed by the flourless chocolate cake. Both the lunch and dinner menu had a variety of meals, and was not focused on steak as commented in a previous review. Having said that, beef production is one of Vanuatu’s major industry, so it is not surprising that steak is on almost every menu where ever you visit.
We met Grant (owner) and Greg (manager) the day after we arrived. Greg was extremely knowledgeable and helpful, and arranged any activity we wished to do – ie horse riding, hiring a jeep, the Riri River Blue Hole tour. Not only did he arrange activities on the main land, but he also took us snorkelling around Oyster Island and stepped me through a try dive, which resulted in an amazing first time dive. Both the coral and fish seen either snorkelling or diving, are extremely colourful and in my opinion, outshone the area of the Great Barrier Reef where reputable snorkel/dive tours are taken.
As mentioned in another review – don’t forget your reef shoes! We basically wore ours the whole time whilst in Santo as you don’t know when you might just stumble across a lovely bit of water to swim/snorkel in.
Blue Hole - We did both the Riri River Blue hole tour and also kayaked by ourselves to the Matevulu Blue hole (it takes about 45 minutes paddle to get to the Matevulu Blue hole). Both holes were amazing, however our favourite was definitely the Riri River as the blue there was more stunning.
Lope Lope Adventure Lodge – This lodge is a 5 – 10 minute drive from Oyster Island, and Greg arranged for us to go horse riding there. Megan personally collected us and dropped us back to Oyster Island after the horse ride. Being an avid horse lover & rider, I was most impressed with the care taken of these horses. They are in excellent condition and you are matched to a horse according to your level of experience. Lope Lope has a range of activities available, and they are currently still in the process of building accommodation for guests. Having said that, they do have a functioning bar and restaurant which has a spectacular view across the sea.
Although we only spent 5 nights at Oyster Island, it felt a lot longer as it was so peaceful there. We were sad to leave there, but left feeling we had made some great friends. We would definitely recommend Oyster Island to anyone visiting Santo and have it on our list to return to.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set on a private 25 hectare island just 2 minutes crossing from the mainland. Oyster Island Resort resides within a Marine Reserve, abundant in marine and wild life. Sandy beaches, tropical rainforest, coral reefs and war plane wrecks make for fantastic snorkelling. Bungalows line the waters edge, each with private decks or patio's, enjoying stunning views out over the calm lagoon waters. Family Vila allow room for parents and children to enjoy the large grounds and gardens and are set off the water for safety. Skilled Chefs serve the very best of local and western cuisine from our waterfront restaurant. Only 20 minutes from the airport and township. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Oyster Island Hotel Luganville
- Oyster Island Resort Vanuatu/Luganville