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“Beautiful, Romantic and Relaxing”

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Bokissa Private Island Resort
Ranked #6 of 15 Hotels in Espiritu Santo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 10 April 2014

My husband and I were in Bokissa in March 2014. It was everything we hoped it would be! There was one other couple staying there, which was actually a blast. We became fast friends and spent time together at meals and happy hour, on the Malo River Trip, etc, but during the day my partner and I pretty much kept to ourselves, reading, swimming, snorkeling and playing darts and pool in the bar/restaurant on the one rainy day we had. It feels like your own private beach.

At the beginning of each day you choose lunch and dinner from a menu, the selection is usually a choice of meat or fish. Lunch is at noon, dinner at 7pm, but don’t worry about getting hungry in between because the portions are big and the food is excellent. The bar always seemed to be open, so you can get a cocktail whenever you please, and at about 5:30pm they’d bring a snack out for the guests.

There are a lot of staff members on the island. They always seem to be working at a busy but fun pace, they’re always quick to smile, and friendly and warm when you want to chat.

Dave and Jan the owners were lovely and really treated us like their guests. At my husband's request, they had a fire pit set up for us on the beach (a great evening activity). When we walked back to our fare on the last night, we could see that they already had the fire lit for us. The island walk, Malo River Trip and kava tasting are a must.

Bokissa is not an extravagant island, but a small piece of paradise in a tropical setting with clean, bright and comfortable accommodations and facilities. It's probably the most beautiful place I've ever seen. You have the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want and will come home feeling rested and relaxed. I can not wait to go back.

Room Tip: We stayed in the duplex. While the smaller fares were lovely, the extra room was really nice. I...
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jennifer M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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101 - 107 of 205 reviews

Reviewed 4 March 2014 via mobile

nice place and stuff but 455 Dollar the night is a ripp off,the whole resort looks like from the 80ths
for the same price go better too ratua island Breakas or another resort on efate like warwick lagoon
Resort they have the best kids service on board.

Stayed: February 2014, travelled on business
2  Thank Lekkerschmecker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
travreps, Public Relations Manager at Bokissa Private Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 6 March 2014

So sorry you did not enjoy your stay at Bokissa - its seems you may have been sold the property incorrectly if you were looking for a large resort with kids clubs etc. Bokissa offers a very uncommercialised experience in a pristine environment - our island and beach is one of the best in Vanuatu, you wont find anything like it on Efate. Our rate is all inclusive of all meals for two people, absolute beachfront accommodation - which is not luxurious, but comfortable, clean and well appointed, we have some great deals in the market, and think our price is very competitive for what it includes. I agree, Bokissa is not for everyone - its for those seeking a complete escape from their working day, great snorkelling, world class diving and fresh organic food. Once again, we apologise that you did not enjoy your stay.....
Julie Ingles
Guest Relations - Bokissa Private Island Resort

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2014

We had a short-term opportunity to holiday (with diving) with a couple of friends and wanted to do some diving as well as have activities for the one non-diver in our party. We looked around the western pacific and luckily found Bokissa Island on Espiritu Santo. A great rate and easy flying times clinched the deal.

We spent 10 great days on the island fitting in 12 dives, kayaking around the island, a kayak trip to the blue hole on Malo (a must see) and an excursion along the east coast of Santo to a delightful sand-floored restaurant in Port Olry (recommended by the resort owner Alan) which served fresh lobster and coconut crab right on the beach. Apart from that we swam, snorkelled, ate, drank, had massages by the beach and walked around the island. The resort is so laid back it is almost horizontal, and everything happens at island time. When you adjust to this (as you do after a couple of days) it seems perfectly natural, particularly given the heat and humidity in February.

The staff are terrific. All except the owner, Alan, are local islanders and they seem to approach whatever task they have with a lovely nature, good humour and genuine friendliness - albeit on the aforementioned 'island time'. They can be a little reserved at first, almost shy, but they soon warm up. This is not a 4 Seasons or Intercontinental style resort with acres of staff attending to your every whim. On Bokissa all the staff are islanders first and resort staff second so not everything happens as quickly or in the order that we might think appropriate, but the result is a friendly and extremely relaxing environment very conducive to a very positive and memorable holiday experience - and a hell of a lot cheaper than the big chains!

Logistically Luganville (the main town on Santo - a service and dive stop and not much of a destination itself) is a great venue from Brisbane - just 2.5 hrs by plane. We were met at the airport and driven to the harbour where we boarded our boat for the 45 min trip to Bokissa. At the island we were welcomed, checked-in and were in our rooms in no time at all.

Of course a bucket list stop on Santo for divers is the Coolidge - the 30's liner sunk during WW2. My friends had dived it before and noted that the diving from Bokissa was much easier as most other operators require a beach entry and swim out before descending. We simply tied up above the wreck in the Bokissa dive boat and descended the line to the ship. Others have written copiously on the Coolidge diving but suffice it to say - WOW. Nothing prepares you for the size of the wreck. There are a lifetime of dives on it.

Bokissa has it own wreck, the Henry Bonneaud, sunk as a dive wreck within 500mtrs of the resort and in 30 - 40 mtrs of water. Also a great dive. We dived it 3 times including one night dive to see the flashlight fish. There are lots of other reef and drift dives with many interesting fish and corals and consistently very good visibility - all only short trips from Bokissa making for very relaxed diving. Sadly the long term effects of overfishing are apparent with few big pelagics around though in my experience this is becoming the norm almost everywhere. The resort enforces strict no-take rules around the island so it operates almost as a small marine sanctuary.

Yes the resort is a little tired as some reviewers have noted but the cabins and public areas are scrupulously clean and well maintained. It is a little '90's' in style but I found after a few days that these issues were well compensated for by the whole resort experience. Similarly for the dive gear. My friends brought their own but I hired a B/C and reg and it was modern well and well maintained.

Lastly the food. Lots of it, well presented and of good quality. We had lobster on the menu a couple of times, santo organic beef (which was very good), some excellent local pork and a variety of fish dishes using their favourite fish - poulet fish (yes - chicken fish).

If I had to make a recommendation it would be to expand the wine list a little (the wines are OK and reasonably priced but when you are there for 10 days you would like a little variety) and to install something like a Nespresso machine. The morning coffee was adequate but could be better.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BMJAK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2014

We just spent 5 nights at Bokissa and had a fabulous time! Everything about this place is great. We were greeted after a very long and drawn out flight after being delayed, taken to our rooms to freshen up and then sat down to a mouth watering dinner of fresh fish, roast pork, bread rolls and desert.
Because we didn't get in until dark we couldn't really see the island, so what a wonderful sight to wake up to the next day. The crystal clear waters, the sound of the waves rolling in and the white, white sand of the beaches.

We rested, snorkeled, read a book, played pool and chess, swam in the pool, kayaked, drank kava, hung out with the locals and got to know them better and generally just had a ball the whole time we were there.

I really can't say enough about this place, the food was excellent, the people are wonderful and friendly and our fare was everything that we needed.

Thanks for a lovely stay everyone at Bokissa!! We would love to come back some day and this time bring our children.

Room Tip: Any room would be great, they all have ocean views, the one's up the front eg. 5,7,9 had a bette...
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Jodie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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
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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 On the Beach Hotel in Espiritu Santo
#4 Spa Hotel in Espiritu Santo
Price Range: £262 - £330 (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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