Pantanas Guest House, Malo Vanuatu Aelan Walkabot rating
Visitor Ratings (13 Votes) Rate it

Landing at Smol Nanuku

Malo Island has white sand beaches, great snorkeling and easy walks. Avunatari Mission is a lovely escape from the larger towns of Luganville and Port Vila and is a typical example of Vanuatu village life. Due to Malo’s relative obscurity, very few tourists visit and it is highly likely you will be the only tourists in the village.

Tankyu tumas Craig Twitt for sharing his discovery of Pantanas Bungalows.

Costs and Booking
Pantanas Guest House is a family business run primarily by the mother, Vomalehi ("Vo–mar–lay–hee"). Pantanas charges 1500 Vatu per person per day for accommodation and meals, payable in Vatu cash. Exchange Rates.

Bookings can be made by Vuro ("Voo–ro"), Vomalehi’s husband on 5483590 (mobile). Vuro works at the co-operative store and its best to call in the evening.

Bookings are not essential as very few tourists make the trip to Malo, but you might like to call a couple of days before you visit so that they can prepare for your arrival and arrange transport if required (see Transport below).

Accommodation and Food
Pantanas Guest House has two bungalows and a dining place built from a mixture of forest materials and concrete. Mosquito nets are provided. Fresh water is provided for bathing (bucket showers). They have a new water-seal toilet. Kerosene and solar powered lamps are used for lighting. Vuro can run his generator in the evenings, if you like.

Breakfast is usually local bread with coffee. Seasonal fruit such as grapefruit and coconut is provided. Lunch and dinner usually involves lap-lap with either fish, chicken, noodles and yam, served with fresh water (rain water) or home made lime cordial. Vomalehi will even show you how to make lap-lap if you are interested! The food is simple and plenty.

Things to do
There is excellent snorkeling along the coast. It's best to bring your own snorkelling gear.
On land, there's a large cave 20 minutes walk from Avunatari which you can visit. You may also visit Vomalehi's garden and a bit further inland is Malo Peak (326 m).

Tropicbirds breed on Malo, apparently year round. You might see them at Nanuku village, about 6 km south of Avunatari. You can walk there along the road in 1.5 hours. Ask for Chief Wara ('Wa-ra').

If you wish to drive around the island, there are transports (four-wheel drive trucks) for hire. Vuro and Vomalehi will be able to arrange anything you might be interested in.

The boat landing to get to Malo is appoximately 15 km drive west of Luganville, just before the Naoneban ('Now-nay-barn') bridge. It costs 200 Vatu per person on a market truck and takes 30 minutes.

Trucks can be found from 1500h in the afternoon, across the road from the market at the bamboo stand, in front of Valiant's store. A taxi to Naoneban costs approximately 1000 Vatu.

Speedboats to Malo take 20 minutes and cost 200 Vatu per person. You can take a boat to either Small Nanuku (30 minutes walk west of Avunatari) or Avunatari. Don't rush, there's a nice little beach restaurant at Small Nanuku. If you charter a whole boat it will cost 2000 Vatu for the trip.

To book a boat you can call Pantanas Guest House and they will make the arrangements for you. Then again, there's plenty of public transport.

First visited: 2008 by Craig Twitt.
Last updated: April 2011 by Stephen.

Visitor Ratings for Pantanas Guest House, Avunatari Rate it
Date Ratings Comments
14/01/2014 Standard


I stay at Pantanus for 7-8 nights between the 8th and 20th of October 2013 while doing renovation work on the roof of the school. this was the 3rd time I have stayed (sept 2012, jan 2013 & oct 2013) and again enjoyed the time on this part of paradise. If you have the chance the blue hole is around the middle of Malo on the Northern side of the island. if you look on google earth you will see it then zoom in and there is 2 pictures of the blue hole and 1 picture of the creek leading in from the bridge. The actual blue hole is the second pictures to the south of the big lake. at just after high tide I walked along the eastern side along the creek for about 30 minutes to the blue hole then snorkled down from the blue hole to the bridge (about 24 minutes). I will be back at Pandanus in April 2014 doing more work on the school. thanks Allan blong Australia
26/10/2013 Standard


A unique and beautiful experience. I called the day before and I was the only tourist there. I was warmly accepted by the children in particular and my hostess, Vomalehi, is a beautiful and exceptional woman. The bungalows are cleverly built on a retaining wall giving them a sense of privacy from the surrounding village and the beautiful landscaped gardens around them demonstrate Vomalehi's extraordinary vision...and hard work! There is lovely and easy snorkeling close by and apparently the other side of the island is gorgeous but a bit far to walk in the heat. If I had tried harder I'm sure I could have chartered a boat to get around there for a reasonable fee. This is the kind of place to go if you really want to just stop. No electricity of phone service... which is wonderful! (bring your own coffee-this applies to all of Vanuatu, even some of the resorts)
14/10/2013 Standard


We stayed four nights with Vomalehi and Vuro in the bungalows. It was a fabulous relaxing time in such a peaceful and beautiful location.
Vomalehi looked after us like family, making sure we were comfortable and had plenty of great food. If you show an interest in the local fruits and nuts she will happily share her wealth of knowledge. A walk with Vomalehi to see her vegetable garden and taste fresh cocao was a highlight of our trip. Vuro was always ready to help us find locals who could take us on a trip to the blue hole and a snorkling trip further around the island.
Everyone we met in the village was very friendly and happy to chat. It is also a great place for kids and our 7-year old spent much of the time playing with the village children. The coral and snorkling is good just offshore from Avunatari and there is a wreck for divers at the edge of the reef, however there are even better areas further around the island.
07/08/2013 Standard


We stayed here 3 nights in July and enjoyed every second! Vomalehi and her family were such great hosts! The weather was also on our side and we managed to ride our bikes around the island, exploring the blue hole etc. etc. We also did a lot of snorkeling at the nearby reef. Vomalehi took us to her plantation and explained everything about the local produce. We spent a month in Vanuatu, in different locations and I must say that the Pantanas was by far the best in terms of value for money. Vomalehi's cooking was superb.
29/07/2013 Standard


Arriving at Avunatari village bathed in a lazily , golden sun, it seemed like we'd arrived in Shangri-La. An air of sleepy peace and contentment comes to meet you off the boat, as you make your way up past tropical flowers bursting from the lush foliage lining carefully laid out little pathways that lead to orderly gardens and huts, with cows and chickens mooching about, and a football match in full swing at the School above. God is in his heaven and all's right with the world... Vomalehi and Vuro gave us a wonderful welcome and a wonderful stay for our two nights at Pantanus Guest House in mid July. Although the weather was very wet over our stay, we thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere, the absolute peace and of course the wonderful food from Vomalehi. Such delicious local dishes and fresh produce bursting with flavour. Gargantuan breakfast, lunch and dinner gave us plenty to occupy ourselves, despite the rain! We can't wait to return and yearn to explore the reef that lies just off
23/06/2013 Standard


Séjour très agréable en pension complète à un prix défiant toute concurrence. Cuisine locale excellente et soignée. Bungalows agréables et très propres (nouveaux sanitaires en projet). Electricité le soir. Activités proposées: visite du jardin, de la grotte, excursion au "blue hole" en bateau. La douceur, la gentillesse, la générosité et la délicatesse de nos hôtes nous ont enveloppé durant tout notre séjour.
07/02/2013 Standard


Two delightful, colourful bungalows set in an immaculate tropical garden. Your gentle hostess Vomalehi has true island elegance, and is most attentive, providing simple plentiful meals.
Spent two serene nights in Avunatari while visiting the clinic as part of my medical elective in Luganville. Theres good digicel phone reception and Edge for slow internet, and the bungalows run a generator for a few hours at dusk to enable charging. Otherwise it's a very quiet village. You can snorkel (high tide is easier to get out of the bay), with good coral north; or walk around the village and main road to meet the locals.
It's easiest to get to Malo from Luganville in an afternoon 3-5pm and return in the mornings 7-8am. Vomalehi can arrange travel back via a passing boat for you. It doesnt see many visitors - but is an amazing peaceful stay and well worth the trip.
01/02/2013 Standard


i have stayed at Pantanas twice now (sept 2012 & Jan 2013), i was there as a part of and was painting the Avunatari school (now blue). if you are going take your snorkle gear as you can swim just out (about 50 metres) through the cove to the reef. beautiful!!! you can go walking along the main track and meet the locals. Very nice for a few days or week. you can arrange a trip a boat trip to the blue hole (around the island a bit towards Aore) for 3000vt and the boat will wait while you snorkle etc. Learn some Bislama before you go but english is mostly spoken. Tangkyu Tumas (thank you very much) Gudfala Allan belong (from) Brisbane
24/01/2013 Standard


We found Pantanas Guest House trough this website. Our stay there was one of the highlights of our Vanuatu trip. We first thought it would be a bit of a hassle to get there but it turned out that there is quite a bit of boat traffic to the offshore islands. We simply asked some people in Luganville and a few minutes later we were in a taxi on the way to the departure point for Malo. We had the guest house to ourselves. The beautifully decorated bamboo houses were simple but clean just like all other facilities that belong to the guesthouse (the garden, the community house for meals, the toilet). Vomalehi is a great host. She provided us with 3 beautiful meals per day prepared with fresh ingredients from the island. The fruit was of a quality that would be hard to find in any NZ supermarket. The village is a good introduction for travellers willing to rub shoulders with a developing country.
28/05/2012 Standard


Transport to Avuntari village was by a copra boat in the rain but once we arrived and got dry we received a beautiful meal. The 3 nights we stayed were relaxing and enjoyable. Our hosts Vomalehi and Vuro were polite and pleasant and looked after us well. The 4 of us had the place to ourselves. We stayed in 2 brightly adorned adjacent bungalows; one with a double and a single bed, and one with two singles. They are located in a beautifully landscaped garden and solar lighting connects to the bungalow with the double bed. Alongside the bungalows was a small open bungalow with table and chairs in which we could take our meals, read and play games. A generator was used for several hours each evening and provided lighting for the open bungalow.
The toilet is a bit of a walk but no problem. A wash/shower can be had with a cup and bucket of water in the shower cubicle. The Guesthouse is located by a beautiful coral filled bay where we had excellent fun snorkelling amongst the fish.
14/08/2011 Standard


We loved our weekend here. We had not been able to book but they welcomed us with smiles. Vomalehi is a very gentle woman who did her best to look after our every need. She is very knowledgeable about everything that goes on and has a lovely outlook on life. She loves to storian but is not intrusive.
The food was simple,excellent local kaikai with lots of fruit.The 3 cabins were basic, colourfully decorated and clean. The snorkelling off the small sandy beach was full of plate coral and plentiful coral fish.
Well recommended.
11/12/2009 Standard


This place was quiet, clean and very friendly. A local business worth supporting. We called 4 hours before we arrived and i think they appreciated the time to set everything up. Lawn newly mowed as well :-) - Recomended if looking for a rural quiet getaway.
15/01/2009 Standard


Food was good and very nice people.

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