Do you love crystal clear water and white sandy beaches? What about snorkeling or diving with exotic fish? Well, Vanuatu’s 82 or so islands have all of the above and so much more. One of our favorite activities there was the underwater post office. Yes, you read that correctly! Vanuatu is home to the worlds first underwater post office!
Just off the capital of Port Vila is a tiny island called Hideaway Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary. It is easy to flag down a “bus” to take you there. The buses are unmarked vans that ferry people around the island. Because this spot is 10 km north of Port Villa we had to pay a bit more than the usual fee of 150 VUV pp for a “bus” ride. It is important to negotiate the fee up front and usually the driver will ask for 500 VUV pp.
Cost of Entry
Once there, a free boat ferries visitors back and forth all day. During low tide you can walk across the sand to the lovely beach. Unless you are staying with the resort the price of entry to the island (when we visited) was 1250 VUV pp (approximately $11 USD). Postcards are 400 VUV each which includes the waterproof postmark stamp.
What to Bring and Consider
- Snorkeling mask and fins (the fins are not as important as the mask)
- Instead of fins consider bringing water socks for the pebbly water.
- An underwater camera – if you have one.
- Lunch (the resort prices are quite high). Recommendation is to have lunch at the Beach Bar. It is located at the “bus” drop off point on the beach of the mainland. Food is delicious and at very reasonable prices. I enjoyed the vegan burger.
- Permanent sharpie for the postcards. They do have pencils, but they are difficult to write with.
- There is a fresh water shower as well as plastic loungers.
Underwater Post Office
The underwater post office is located a short swim from shore. It is 2-4 meters below the water, depending on the tide level. A couple of floating platforms are nearby in case you need a break from the snorkeling.
An actual postman picks up the mail regularly at 3 pm. Sometimes the dive master from the island shop pitches in on the postman’s behalf and mans the Underwater Post Office. In the video below, the dive master is picking up the mail from the underwater post office. You can see him at the end of the video below.
Diving In Mele Bay
The Hideaway provides many options for diving. Whether you are just learning and want to get certified or are a seasoned diver. There are many dive sites in Mele Bay as well as all around Vanuatu. Within 15 minutes of the Bay there are 15 dive sites as well as 2 wrecks.
The Hideaway’s Marine Sanctuary component works on restoring the coral reef. There are numerous cages set up preserving and regrowing the reef. Here is an article about what we can do to help coral reefs. And one about conservation efforts around the world.
Snorkeling at Hideaway Island was one of our favorite days in Vanuatu. The bright colorful fish, conservation efforts and most of all the Underwater Post Office made the day fun and unique. Some of our other underwater adventures include swimming with turtles in Koh Tao and Samoa and with Whales on Eua Island.
Have you mailed a postcard at the Underwater Post Office in Vanuatu? Tell us about your experience. We would love to hear about it.