more than it appears to be
is relatively close to Vila with good transport links, a
variety of accommodation options and much to see and do:
- Swim with Bondas the friendly dugong and admire the richly
coloured sunsets at Lamen Bay.
- Surf at northeast Epi.
- Snorkel at Nikaura's Marine
- Walk around the island.
economy is largely dependent on agriculture. Along the west
and northeast coasts of Epi there are extensive coconut
plantations, vestiges of a copra
boom in the early 20th century. Other crops are peanuts (in the hills of
east Epi) and kava.
is close to Efate and airfares from Vila are relatively inexpensive.
Many people visit just for a few days and then return to
Port Vila. If you want to spend more time and see the best
of Epi you can walk around the island. Island hopping by ship between Epi and Ambrym is easy, with reliable weekly services through Lamen Bay.
While Lamen Bay, with good accommodation and a friendly
dugong, has long been a tourist destination the rest of
Epi has little tourism development. We now have three bungalows
Burumba Youth Guesthouse, west Epi
Epi Paradise Sunset Bungalows, Lamen Bay
Nikaura Sunrise Bungalow, east Epi
There are two airports on Epi. Lamen Bay shares flights with
Craig Cove, Ambrym. Valesdir shares flights with Tongoa and
Emae in the Shepherds. It should be possible to fly to Lamen
Bay from either Port Vila or Santo. Valesdir is connected
only to Port Vila. Check the Air
Vanuatu website for more up-to-date information.
Return airfares from Vila are about 15388 Vatu to Valesdir and 18020 Vatu to Lamen Bay. Tourists holding a return Air Vanuatu international ticket
are entitled to a 20% discount on these fares).
When booking flights on the Shepherds loop (Emae, Valesdir,
Tongoa) you may
be told they are fully booked but you arrive at the
airport and the plane is not full (we've been told this is
Brisk sails for Lamen Bay and onward to Ambrym, Pentecost,
Ambae and Santo on Monday nights (January 2009). L/C Tina-1
sails the same route, in reverse, Santo to Vila. These ships
can be found at the main wharf in Vila and at Melcoffee on
Big Sista goes to Santo via Epi, leaving Vila Monday afternoon
and arrivng at Lamen Bay at around 10 in the evening. It returns
to Epi from Santo on Wednesday at lunch time and arrives at
Vila by 7pm. A trip from Epi to Vila cost 5500 Vatu per person
for second class and 6000 Vatu for air conditioned first class.
boats are the M/V Saratoka, servicing Epi, Paama and southeast
Ambrym (Taveak) from Port Vila and the L/C Freedom, servicing
the Shepherds and Epi. A one way fare from Vila to Epi on
the cheapest boats is around 4500 Vatu. Exchange
There are roads on Epi but only about half a dozen trucks
and no regular public transport. If you want to travel
by truck you either have to wait or book a charter. Exchange
to Lamen Bay
to Lamen Bay
Bay to Nikaura
If there's no truck you can walk
or sometimes catch a passing boat (on the west coast) which costs about the
same as shared truck transport.
To Nikaura, it's cheaper to start walking and then catch a ride on the road, locals often pay as little as 100 Vatu this way. However, some trucks only go as far as the hospital, on top of the hill.
Development on Epi is concentrated in the northwest where
there's the island's administrative centre at Rovo Bay and
a hospital at Faimali.
updated: August 2012 by Lili