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Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

The second-largest city in the Vanuatu archipelago, Luganville is on the large northern island of Espiritu Santo, and has an unusually broad main street, the result of its occupation by some 40,000 Allied troops in World War II. The commander insisted that the road accommodate four trucks abreast. Its protected harbor makes the town one of the island nation’s most important ports, a center for trans-shipping of copra and cacao. The rusting relics of its WWII heritage are everywhere on the island. But today most visitors are drawn to the natural features both on shore and in the surrounding seas. Blue Lagoon is a popular attraction, where a freshwater spring fills a clear, aqua-blue pool surrounded by lush vegetation. Others opt for exploring the island on horseback, a visit to a coconut oil factory or simply relaxing at one of the resorts along the beaches. One unusual alternative is a visit to a village of immigrants from the more remote Banks and Torres Islands, who perform traditional music and dances including an enchanting Water Music dance.