Land Diving on Pentecost Vanuatu - 6 Facts

Land Diving on Pentecost Vanuatu - 6 Facts

Vanuatu
Vanuatu

When Is the Best Time

Land Diving, where the New Zealander AJ Hackett got inspired for Bungee Jumping. It’s a custom that takes part from the first Saturday in April until the last Saturday in June, usually13 times in 2021 2022. All of us were nervous on that morning that everything works well from the flight in the morning from Port Vila to the private transport to the heart of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu.

A land diver on the top of the high tower
The last jump is the most spectacular one.

There is very limited space only, and flights fill up quickly for this event each Saturday. Advanced booking is recommended. Only very few airlines offer this trip. Some cruises offer this spectacle, too, but just for their guests.

A young boy starting on a lower level of the tower
Young boys age seven have already started the custom.

We made our booking six months in advance. Regarding the weather, Pentecost experiences much precipitation until late April. May gets drier, and June is the best choice if you like to watch these breathtaking jumps.

Weather 

Four young kids playing in the emerald sea

The islands of Vanuatu have a tropical climate. It’s warm throughout the year and gets hot and humid during the rainy season with temperatures above 30°C. The season lasts from November to March officially, but the wettest months are January to April. The western side of Pentecost experiences more rain. Cyclones are more likely to happen between January and March. The category 5 monster, Cyclone Pam, hit Vanuatu in March 2015. It was the worst natural disaster ever. 

One of the crystal emerald blue beaches in Vanuatu

The best time to visit Vanuatu is the dry season from May to October. Occasional rain occurs. Day temps are pleasant below 30°C and nights slightly below 20°C.

Crowds 

People sitting on a trunk watching the land diving
Our small group during our land diving tour with people from around the world.

Usually, Land Diving is held for 30-40 people, but the audiences increase if it’s presented for a cruise ship. There is much space for everybody to sit and stand around the diving tower. Due to the limited number of seats and flights available, you will always sit in the first row to attend this cultural spectacle from an ancient time.

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Tags

Location and Tips

Vanuatu, Pentecost, Lonorore
Vanuatu
Vanuatu

Vanuatu is famous for the land diving in Pentecost. It is a group of 83 islands, mostly undeveloped. Although Santo and Efate have a tourist infrastructure, paved roads, and electricity you may end up in a region without these common amenities. If you like to watch this awesome once in a lifetime spectacle, you have to arrive at one of the two main tourist hubs; either in Port Vila, Efate south of Pentecost or in Luganville, Espiritu Santo north of Pentecost.

View from the plane down to Port Vila
The small airport of Port Vila.

Only limited days and flights between the islands are available. Proper planning is essential.

Available Trips for Land Diving in Pentecost

One of the many colourful reefs during the flight to Pentecost.
The famous Cook Reef is already beautiful from the plan.

You get a pick up from your hotel between 7.30 and 8 am. The flight to Pentecost takes roughly 1 hour from Port Vila. It’s a scenic flight over Cook’s Reef and the active volcanos on Ambrym Island, weather depending. 

A floral wreath the welcome at Lonorore airport
A warm welcome in Pentecost.

The flight goes to Lonorore Airfield in the southwest of Pentecost Island. It is a basic airport without any amenities. The guides wait at the airport until all planes and guests arrived.

Lonorore aiport with people and guides waiting for shuttle departure.
Our group is waiting for the last plane to arrive.

There is a toilet available but if I could choose I would prefer the bush.

A jeep on a rough muddy road with people standing in the trunk.
The island shuttle to the land diving custom.

The shuttle in the open jeep takes roughly 20 minutes on a muddy, bumpy jungle track.

The jeep had to pass a flooded muddy road
Already the ride is an adventure.
  • The shortest trip is just the traditional Land Diving on Pentecost and back to your airport of departure. The price is roughly 49.000 VT / 390 € / 600 AUD
  • Another tour includes a stop on Epi Island for lunch at Lamen Bay. You can snorkel in the bay afterwards, which is famous for turtle and manatee spotting. We didn't spot any of them. The price is slightly higher for another stop on one of the more remote islands. The price is roughly 53.000 VT / 415 € / 650 AUD
    For booking with Air Taxi Vanuatu

    Epi Island view from the boat
  • Two nights package offered by Air Vanuatu for Saturdays and Wednesdays. This sounds fantastic with a two-night stay on Pentecost Island. The problem is to get it confirmed, and it may happen that even a week before, you still don’t know if you are booked on the flight or not. This happened to other travellers we met on Tanna Island.
6 Facts and History About Naghol - Land Diving
Land diving jump from the upper part of the tower
The forelast jump
  1. Naghol, Nagol, or N'gol is a Bislama word. The language is spoken on the Vanuatu Islands by the local Ni-Van, the indigenous people. Each tribe has a different local dialect, and some tribes can’t understand others.

    The elderlies of the tribe are singing and dancing
  2. Land diving is the most unique custom of Melanesia, which takes place from April to June only. It’s celebrated by the Sa tribe and associated with the annual yam harvest on the southern part of Pentecost.

    The last land diving jump from a well trained man
  3. Young boys aged seven starts to practice land diving to allow their bodies and back to get used to it. They dive from the lowest rung and men from the higher levels between 20 and 30 meters. They land on soft soil free of stones.

    Preparation at the bottom of the tower.
  4. The preparation already starts in February/March. Building the tower (tarbegol) with local timber takes roughly five weeks. Important is that the most elastic tree vines are chosen carefully. The vines' length must fit the divers' weight and is wisely chosen by the most experienced members of the tribe without any scales or measurements. This works only at the end of the rainy season.

    The last jump of the land diving from the top of the tower
  5. In February 1974, Queen Elizabeth II visited the Islands of Vanuatu. She should get the best program on her visit, and land diving was held in February for the queen. It was the wrong time of the year for using the tree vines; they broke, and the diver had a fatal accident.
    The last so called diver of the tribe on the top of the tower in Pentecost
    The highlight is the last land diver on the top of the tower.
  6. Nowadays, it’s more commercial and held more often (weekly) than in the past but always only between April and June. 
All planes for the Pentecost custom at the runway
These were all planes for the Land Diving on Saturday.


Packing List for the Day Trip (limit 5 kg bag)

A small group watching the land diving.
Light clothes are enough.
  • Toilet paper (It's not the kind of restroom you are used to)
  • Bottle of water and snacks; you can't buy anything on the tour
  • Umbrella (April wet season; May/June drier)
  • Sunscreen and sun hat; there isn't any shade.
  • Insect repellent; mossies can be an issue
  • Wear trainers for the short walk on the dirt part

All pictures were taken by me. I have the copyright for all of them. If you wish to use one please, get in contact with me.

Nearby Places
500 Eruptions daily on Mount Yasur - Tanna Island
429 km
500 Eruptions daily on Mount Yasur - Tanna Island
The main tourist attraction of Vanuatu is Mount Yasur volcano 361 m high and…
Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I am always open, curious about new…