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“Beautiful Dives, Walk Off the Beach Snorkelling”

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Bokissa Private Island Resort
Ranked #6 of 15 Hotels in Espiritu Santo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 20 January 2014

I must admit, it has been 10 years since we stayed here.

We were living in Vanuatu and went for a holiday, there was a beautiful beach, snorkelling, glass bottom kayaks, diving, as well as walking trails on the island.

We did several dives at Bokissa, I have great photos of lobsters and memories of being beneath a swirling school of fish.

I remember that the food was good, and the meals were communal as they were at many resorts at that time.

I would definitely go back. my husband and I tell people we honeymooned before we were married. While in general we are referring to our two years in Vanuatu, it is Bokissa in particular.

As a Canadian it was my tropical island vacation dream, a fare on the beach where there was snorkelling right off the beach.

Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
2  Thank handmac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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105 - 111 of 205 reviews

Reviewed 10 January 2014

This was our first stop on our first trip to Vanuatu and, boy, did it set the bar high. Being on its own island with rain forest all around and the endless blue of the ocean made us feel as if we were really in the heart of the Pacific. And the diving, oh the diving!! We dove eight out of nine days (more than we had expected) because it was so easy and truly spectacular. The resort restricts access to the surrounding reef to guests only and is working tirelessly to protect the ecosystem, resulting in a pristine environment with an immense range of diversity. Sharks, cuttlefish, eels, rays and a range of fish that left me running to the fish ID posters in the bar after every dive to look up a few new ones. The reef along the neighbouring island of Tutupa provides additional sites and variation - ask to dive the cabbage (coral) patch - a field of it as far the eye could see. We haven't seen reefs this healthy since Cuba! No dragged anchors or large groups of divers breaking the coral - we never dove with more than four other divers (a total of 6 in the group plus 2 DMs) and often dove just the two of us with a DM. We dove Million Dollar Point and the S.S. Coolidge with the Bokissa dive team (great guys!), taking our own boat and ensuring that we were in a small group and could tailor the dives as we liked. As for our time above the water, we ate like kings (lobster mornay twice!) and met very nice people, almost all of which were return guests. The bungalows were spacious with large bathrooms and a private porch looking out over the water, plus a hammock for each in the trees by the sand. The pool is recently redone and quite large with nice, inlet-like benches set into the side to sit in and look out over the water. The resort has a wonderful atmosphere that is relaxed and familiar, which is led by owners David and Jan (and the staff), who are available and approachable, and enjoy the sunset on the veranda of the main building with the guests. After nine days there, we felt like we were leaving our home but are sure we will be back again. Seems to be the trend!

Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank travelbudgie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2014

I must admit, when I am trawling through Trip Advisor I am naturally drawn to reading the negative reviews about a place first. If you are like me, read no further - this review will be disappointing.

Bokissa comprises sixteen well-spaced fares located on a private island. We went there a week before the Xmas rush as the first half of our year-end trip, before staying on Santo for the second half. As 'non-aquatics' - we don't dive and rarely snorkel, we found heaps of terrestrial things to do for the week by wandering the jungle tracks and discovering the hidden coves and beaches. The communal meals, which I must admit I was dreading, turned out to be very entertaining (due to the other guests there at the time), the meals were generous and of high quality and the staff friendly and efficient. The location is fabulous – a 45 minute boat trip from Santo, and its isolation a real bonus. The only real decision we had to make each day was what to have for dinner.

For those naysayers who are still reading, the only negative was that the representative Vanuatu staff volleyball team comprehensively thrashed the Aussie tourist team every day during the afternoon VB games (watch out for Jerry's spike). I'll have to practice a bit before coming here again.

This is a place we would definitely (and plan to) come back to....and we don't say that very often!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Ron L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 December 2013

Just returned from Bokissa. We have travelled the world and this was the most relaxing break we have had. The food was excellent. Accommodation as expected and it wouldn't matter what room you have it is all a few steps from the beach / coral reef. Great pool, fabulous snorkelling and hubby was blown away with the dives. Great wreck and coral dives with profiessional dive masters. Good facilities and options for non divers - reading library, kayaks, snorkelling, swimming, pool table, darts, hammocks. We will be back in 2014.

Room Tip: Any room is good. All are a few steps from the beach and restaurant / bar area.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank JanetCKiama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2013

I couldn't fault this holiday. I like to consider both negative and positive comments via trip advisor before embarking on a holiday. A friend recommended Bokissa to me as her and her husband had been a couple of years ago. If you want to really get away and be away from the hustle and bustle this is the perfect getaway. I found my room comfortable and never needed to use the air con as the breeze that flows through the rooms that have louvered shutters on 3 walls was perfect. Mini bar was well stocked. Drinks from the bar were less expensive than I have found in any café/bar/restaurant from home (Australia). All the staff were wonderful as were the owners. As the island is small you re encouraged to dine with other guests, personally I like that idea however there is seating elsewhere that if you choose to eat at a separate table you can. We found that other guests were keen to share their dive experiences or snorkelling.
Lovely hammocks outside our fare, lounge chairs and a small table and chairs to enjoy a quiet drink or tea /coffee or read.

We are divers and enjoyed 6 dives, we also circumnavigated the island snorkelling. This took us 3 hours and enjoyed every minute. We also enjoyed a day to the Malo river. We were taken by boat to a point where we could kayak to a fresh water hole., then were provided with a barbecue lunch, all supplied by the resort. The on the return boat trip we were able to snorkel again , seeing loads of fish, including lionfish and sea turtles..
The owners are very knowledgeable of the area, and experienced divers. There is an abundance of marine life. Too many to name. As a diver and snorkeler I don't think you could go past this resort. My husband and I enjoyed every minute, we loved everything about it. We will definitely be going back. We are experienced travellers, having travelled to many parts of the world over the last 40 years and thought Bokissa is one of the most relaxing trips we've had.
Thanks Jan and Dave, Allen and LIz and your team

Room Tip: I think it would be hard to get a bad one.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Gardensonthegogirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 October 2013

The best experience my husband and I enjoyed at the Bokissa resort was snorkelling the reef around the island. Staff here are very conscious of keeping it healthy and protected. The reef colours and amount of fish swimming across lime green and purple carpets of coral was amazing. This is the most alluring aspect of the resort, along with the pool which was fantastic in its size and location.
Though we found native Vanuatu folk to be most friendly and helpful, always quick to smile, the Australian native Hosts of Bokissa could best be described as smug, aloof and disinterested. The atmosphere and vibe was cold and unfriendly...one is basically left to one's own devices, which in many ways can be a good thing for those seeking solitude. But certainly one may have solitude in a more cheerful, upbeat atmosphere?
The food was tasty though uninspired.
The individual cottages are a bit tired in decor and appointments considering the amount being charged for a stay here.
The linens and towels were most disappointing in that the towels were thread bare and way past their use-by date. I would have expected far better quality in such a touted upscale resort.
All the above being said, would I return to Bokissa Island in the future? I would say MAYBE... If they ran a special air fare or resort deal. And, this time I would make sure to bring along my own duty free liquor, as drinks and wine are quite pricey...and maybe bring along some snacks such as nuts, chocolate etc.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Susan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
travreps, Owner at Bokissa Private Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 4 November 2013

Hello Susan S., Happy to read that you enjoyed the natural, unique resources of Bokissa Island and our large freshwater pool and our wonderful staff.
Bokissa is not a 5 star resort and has never been promoted as such. The price that you paid which included your return transfers and all meals during your stay is a reflection of this. Our food in unpretentious and plentiful and focuses on fresh local product for the sea and the land and is always complimented on by the majority of our guests..
As for drink prices, Vanuatu have a heavy excise and duty on alcoholic drinks, because we are a remote island we have extra costs, shipping etc., our prices are very competitive, but maybe not with New Zealand. You are most welcome to bring and drink your duty free at your fare’.
So sorry that you felt that we were ‘aloof, smug, disinterested’ etc. and you felt that you needed to post personal comments about your hosts, but we also have a resort to manage with other guests, we do try to give all our guests a peaceful, private experience. Most guests want the privacy and space, but we are always on hand to provide any assistance you may require.
As you say our staff are very good and guests are made to feel welcome by all, the staff provide a more authentic experience and guests love the interaction with them, once again if there are any problems or needs we are always there to assist. But, we can only help fix any problems if they are bought to our attention at the time.
Some guests do find it hard to mix and make themselves at home and can feel left out, hence our communal dining option. All in all most people like to look after themselves with the variety of activities available and management is always here to give any advice or assistance.
It is a shame that you have spent your time on looking for the negative things that have obviously upset you for whatever reason. We do apologise if the towels are not up to your standard but they are renewed at regular intervals and when required. We are definitely not a 5 star resort and really do not want to be. We are a small family owned and managed resort which enjoys and appreciates many return and personally recommended guests. Our repeat clientele is a major part of our business which speaks volumes for the experience Bokissa provides to our guests. We offer absolute beachfront accommodation in a pristine environment.
Maybe Bokissa was not sold to you correctly, or you were looking for more luxurious accommodation and a little more research or a phone call to our Australian Sales Office may have given you the information you required in your decision making process. All in all, we hope you do consider returning to Bokissa one day.

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Reviewed 25 October 2013

We stayed at Bokissa in November 2011 and loved everything about it. The food was excellent, staff friendly, snorkelling and diving fabulous. Accommodation is simple cabins that are clean and airy - love being 2 steps from the sand and water. A great holiday place to relax and unwind.

Now we are heading back on 16th November with another couple and we can't wait! Counting down the sleeps!

Looking forward to sharing sundowners with Jan and Dave and hopefully seeing dugongs again!!!

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Karen B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bokissa Private Island Resort

Address: PO Box 261 | Bokissa Island, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
Region: Vanuatu > Espiritu Santo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Espiritu Santo
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Espiritu Santo
Price Range: £263 - £329 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Bokissa Private Island Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bokissa Private Island Resort is a 30 minute fast boat ride from Luganville which is the main town in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. Bokissa is 16 absolute beachfront bungalows on a beautiful island of 175 acres of pristine beaches and tropical rainforest. Walk out of your bungalow onto the sand and into the water - straight off the beach snorkelling and just 10-20 minutes from world famous wreck and reef diving. Bokissa's tariff includes return airport transfers and all meals during your stay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bokissa Eco Island Hotel Espiritu Santo
Bokissa Eco Island Santo
Bokissa Private Island Resort Vanuatu/Espiritu Santo

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