The island of Maewo in Vanuatu is home to the stunning Moon Cave. Steeped with cultural significance, it’s a gorgeous place to take a dip.


  • The kastom story of how the cave was formed
  • The deep blue water
  • Three canals of water and the current that pushes you through
  • The 45 minute boat ride along a mountainous coastline (count how many waterfalls you can see – they don’t call this Waterfall Island for nothing!)
  • Shafts of light striking crystal waters

Hidden inside an inconspicuous headland on the towering west coastline of Maewo Island lies a cave, rich in cultural stories and beauty. As you drift in by boat and don your flippers and snorkel, you’ll find yourself gasping at the sheer wonder of it all. How do rocks form like this? When did this happen?

With the boat rocking gently in the aqua pools, your guide will tell the story of the god of the sea, Tagaro and ‘the cave of the hole of the moon’, or Moon Cave as it’s commonly known.


A long time ago, the moon lived in this cave, and the light did not shine beyond the walls. Tagaro saw that this was not good, so he threw it out to the south. Then he realised that only the people in the south had light, and the people in the north were in darkness.

So he took the moon and threw it to the north. But then the people in the south didn’t have light. Tagaro took the moon back to the cave and threw it out to the west. Its light shone on all people in Maewo and Tagaro saw that it was good.


The three canals of water, one of which you will enter through, another which you will leave from, are the places where the moon passed when it was thrown. You’ll notice the water runs deepest here.

Essential Gear

  • Snorkel and flippers (if you’re a keen snorkeller, bring these from home)
  • Swimmers
  • A hat for the boat
  • Camera
  • Some money to pay your entrance fee to the owner of the cave

How To Get There

The Maewo Moon Cave is closest to the village of Nasawa, and from here you can catch a boat up the west coast. Of course, no matter where you stay on the island, your hosts will be able to arrange your guides and boats to get you there. It’s about a 30-45 minute boat ride to the cave, and you’ll be thankful for every minute.

Skill Level

You don’t need to be able to swim to get to this cave, as the boat can enter and exit the canals quite easily. However, you will have the opportunity to dive off the boat and explore the reef below and I couldn’t recommend the experience more! The current will start to pull you back to sea, so if you’re not a strong swimmer, let your boat driver know and he’ll make sure to pick you up before the current carries you too far.


You can stay in the Moon Cave for as long as you like. Depending on where you’re coming from, the boat ride could be anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes.

Handy Hints

– There are no ATMs on Maewo and many of the outer islands, so don’t forget to grab enough cash before you go. You’ll find plenty of ATMs in Port Vila town or at the international terminal just a minute walk from the domestic terminal at the airport.

– Maewo Island is one of the true ‘off the beaten track’ destinations, and therefore the tourism infrastructure is not highly developed. For this reason, it may be tricky to book things in advance from overseas. We suggest you use the friendly staff at the nearby Santo Travel Centre or even phone them on +678 36616 or +678 7104029 and they’ll help get everything you need organised.

– Air Vanuatu flies into Maewo from both Port Vila and Santo and usually 2-3 times a week. If your travel plans are a little flexible, it’s worth booking the domestic flights in person at the Air Vanuatu office to get the 20% discount (you’ll need to show your return Air Vanuatu international flight ticket) or if you prefer to have it locked in early you can book online through Air Vanuatu.


Where to next? Vanuatu’s outer islands are waiting for you…

10 Things You Need to Know When Travelling Vanuatu’s Outer Islands


Photos by @ainraadik and @ben.savage