Welcome to South Penetecost Island
Home of Nanggol or what is more commonly known as Land Diving.
Land Diving is a growing traveller and tourist attraction that brings in thousands of visitors a year to Pentecost.
While Day Trips from Port Vila are quite common during the Land Diving Season, one can also view the Land Diving by coming in on a cruise ship.
However, for more adventurous travelersstaying in a village at one of the five guest houses that are located on Pentecost Island is a more attractive option.
The Land Divers jump annualy from April to June.
It is said that the Land Divers Jump for a good Yam Harvest or to Celebrate the First Yam Crop of the year.
Although that may possibly be a lot of tourist fluff.
The Land Divers really jump to show that they are coming of age and becoming a man. In laymans terms, Land Divers jump to show how macho and brave they really are.
The Three Towers
Unknown to many, there are actually 3 Land Diving Towers on South Pentecost Island. Two of the towers are accessible by coming to shore via a cruise ship and the other is very close to Lonorore Airport. Its only about a 10 minute hike to one of the Land Diving Towers from Lonorore Airport.
The Land Diving Tradition has been going on for so long that not even the island locals or chiefs can tell you exactly how long for. Land Diving has been a tradition for many, many centuries is all we know.
Land Diving is the Original Bungee Jump. Land Divers jump with only vines, there is no safety equipment begin used. The ends of the vines are shredded and tied around the jumpers ankles. The soil beneath the tower is softened and tilled to make the impact less severe when the Land Diver hits the ground.
The vines must be used during a certain time of the year to ensure that there is enough sap in them to keep them flexible, to prevent them from breaking and to save the Land Divers life.
Royalties for Land Diving?
In 1995 the People of Pentecost Island with the Attorney General of Vanuatu backing them up, made an effort to get royalties from commercial Bungee Jumping companies. The Land Divers believe that their tradition was stolen.
While unclear it could possibly be AJ Hackett as he is the world leader in the commercial bungee jumping industry. In the past, AJ Hackett has used Land Diving Footage in his Bungee Jumping promotional videos.
Pentecost Island is Very Green
Pentecost Island is a very green and lush island with a dense, mountain jungle interior. There is cell/mobile phone coverage on the island but as one might suspect, it is not very good.
There are many cows and chickens roaming freely throughout the island. Many times you will see cows, chickens or both at the same time on the beaches.
Most of the beaches on Pentecost are rough and rocky limestone beaches. Some of the other Pentecost Beaches have flat round rocks and couple with course sand when touched by the foot when walking in the water.
Small Villages throughout Pentecost Island
Towns or cities do not exist on Pentecost Island. There are only small villages where the people of Pentecost live.
There is also a small, somewhat more modern community located in the hills that have electricty and a small hosipital. Though it is still very minimal but it still fulfills it’s needs.
As with most of Vanuatu and other Pacific Islands, including Fiji, Kava is consumed nightly just before or slightly after sunset.
On Pentecost Island Kava is not consumed by females. Alhtough some of the ladies do sneak a drink or two.
Unlike Kava, though permitted, alcohol is not common on Pentecost Island. Alcohol is hard to obtain and must be brought in from Port Vila. Some of the Chiefs on Pentecost Island do not like the Ni-Vanuatu who inhabit Pentecost to consume alcohol as it “creates problems”.
Magic on Pentecost Island
It is also said that Pentecost Island is a very “Magical” island meaning Magic is used and prevalent on the island.
Catholicism on Pentecost
The Catholic Religion is also common and quite prominent on Pentecost Island.
Before having dinner Grace is said and the meal is blessed. There may even be a song or two before and during dinner.
There is also a small university on Pentecost Island. Although most of the students who want to continue their education in Port Vila cannot as it is very expensive.
The Languages of Pentecost
There are five languages spoken on Pentecost Island including Bislama (Pidgin English). If the people of Pentecost do not speak the same language they speak to eachother in Bislama.
How to Travel to Pentecost Island
Port Vila to South Pentecost via Air Vanuatu
One must first travel to Port Vila which is the capital of Vanuatu and is located on the island of Efate.
You must fly out of Port Vila’s Bauerfiled International Airport on a small airplane which is most likely a Twin Otter which seats 19 passengers and 2 pilots or a Harbin Y-12 II which can seat 17 passengers and 1 or 2 pilots.
The flight to South Pentecost Island from Port Vila is just about an hour.
Flying into South Pentecost Island, where the Land Divers jump you will be arriving at Loronore Airport. You will be arriving during the day time as there are no lights on the Runway.
Flights in and out of Loronore Airport are extremely limited so it is very important that you do not miss your flight and to confirm the time of departure, if you can, as well.
Your Pentecost guest family will most likely have a cell phone that you can use if you do not have a cell phone, or cell phone coverage.
Driving Around Pentecost
Rugged Dirt Roads
There are no paved roads on Pentecost, with the exception of the small community mission. Traveling by truck is very bumpy and must be done with a 4×4, as you drive through rivers, streams and several large rutts and holes to get to your hosting village.
Most of the time you will be sitting in the back of the truck as the front of the truck is small and fills up very fast.
Be prepared to rough it a little as there are no 5 Star Resorts on Pentecost Island. Which is great as you get to experience what Vanuatu Life is really like. Not Boss White man Life like at the resorts.
The guest houses are basic but more then enough for what any traveler needs.
The People of Pentecost Island are very happy, very friendly and are extremely hospitable.
Where to Stay on Pentecost Island?
- Noda Guest House in the Waterfall Village
- Banggaware Bungalows
- Langgo Guesthouse
- Laone Guesthouse
- Rushing River Lodge
More Pentecost Island Photography
A Very Personal Thank You
Thank you to Chief Isaiah of Waterfall Village and the more then Beautiful People of Pentecost Island. Thank you to the very brave Land Divers for putting on a terrific show and not getting injured.
I hope that if or when you travel to Pentecost Island that your experience will be as magical as mine.