Luganville, Vanuatu

Photo: Barrier Beach House
Photo: Barrier Beach House

You shouldn’t be standing—or even be awake—right now. You just completed three, make that four, flights. You spent more than 20 hours in the air and nearly doubled that with the addition of layovers. You were incredibly busy, working late nights and weekends, before that. Hopefully your mind isn’t paying tricks on you at this point.

The breathtaking view in front you is indeed real. You’re standing on a long, white-sand beach. White foam, the remnants of small waves, curls around your toes. The leaves of a bent tree graze the clear water. A stingray glides under it just steps from the shore. While bright blue water and small islands fill in the rest of the perfect scenery.

Behind you, the Barrier Beach House has thatched fares with louvered windows, spacious decks, and ocean views. Garden fares, hidden among the lush greenery, also have private plunge pools. The loungy restaurant is just three steps from the beach, as well. Plus a tire swing, sun decks, and paddleboards are spread out on the sand. Vanuatu is just what you needed right now.

Photo: Barrier Beach House
Photo: Barrier Beach House

Vanuatu is the ideal place to decompress. The island nation is part of Melanesia in the South Pacific. Its 83 islands were, amazingly, jointly ruled by Britain and France until only 25 years ago. Some islands, especially Efate where the capital of Port Vila is located, still have a European feel—with an island vibe, of course. Espiritu Santo, the largest island, is known for its limestone swimming holes, caves hidden in the jungle, and off-shore dive sites. It also has the best beaches in the country.

You must be standing on one of them at the Barrier Beach House. Soon you’ll move to the restaurant’s terrace and order a Tusker beer during happy hour. You’ll eat a crayfish platter or grass-fed Santo beef for dinner and watch the moonlight brighten the now-dark water again as you walk to your fare. Then you’ll finally let yourself sleep. Don’t worry, the scenery will look even better in the morning. Plus you’ll have no worries—or phone calls or emails—the whole time you’re in Vanuatu.

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