Vanuatu holiday resorts and visitors guide


Land Dive

Pentecost Island land diving

It's definitely one of the most unique experiences on your Vanuatu holiday, for those into adrenaline experiences. If you plan to visit Vanuatu in April or May, make arrangements in advance to go to south Pentecost island, where you can witness the traditional Naghol ceremony. This ceremony involves famous Vanuatu land dive, or land diving.

This age-old traditional ceremony is probably from where the modern bungy jumping craze comes.

Pentecost Island, Vanuatu video - provides highlights of tourism on Pentecost island, including Tarere cultural show, Lautano custom stories, Asaola custom dance, local handicrafts, sand drawing, cooking in bamboo, Lavatu market, and a whole lot more...

Part of Pentecost island tradition

Anyway, it’s called land dive and the local Pentecost islanders have been doing it for eons. But it’s nothing to do with ‘adrenaline buzz’, although I’m sure the land divers get it – it’s to do with centuries old tale of a woman who ran away from her husband who was beating her.

National Geographic's Land Divers - This video speaks about land diving ritual, with some rare and amazing scenes.

She hid in a tall Banyan tree from husband, but he found her and tried to talk her down – if she came down of her own he won’t beat her… well, not much. If on the other hand he had to climb to get her, she’ll be really sorry, so he said. But she didn’t budge and he climbed up the tree. When he was about to grab her, she jumped off the tree. Feeling either sorry for her apparent death, or maybe sorry that he didn’t get her, he too jumped after her. What he didn’t realize is that while he was climbing up the tree, the woman tied Lianas vines to her ankles before jumping when he was about to reach her. She lived, he didn’t. At least that’s how the ancient tale goes.

Pentecost's 'land dive' wall mural in Port Vila

Vanuatu land diving scene from Pentecost island,
as portrayed on a wall mural in Port Vila town.

Land diving kastom

Hence the ‘land dive’ tradition or ‘kastom’, known locally as Naghol or N’ghol. The land dive celebrates this ancient legend, but is also a fertility ritual, to ensure the following year’s good yam harvest. As well as land divers proving their manhood before their women, who are not allowed to participate in the land dive preparations – only watch the men jump.

And it’s all done ‘au naturel’ – no bungy cords there or safety checks – just the green jungle vines, which each of land divers prepares himself. It’s a sobering, memorable, once in lifetime land dive experience – not to be missed. But you must book a few months in advance – the number of visitors to Pentecost island is strictly limited.

See also some of the other popular Vanuatu outer islands.


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Land Dive Pentecost
Land Dive on Pentecost Island
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Port Vila Golf and Country Club
Port Vila Golf and Country Club
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Wildlife Experience in Vanuatu
Wildlife Experience in Vanuatu
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