The second largest town in Vanuatu - the former New Hebrides - Luganville is a child of World War II. When America forces arrived on Espirito Santo in 1942, there were no facilities to unload ships, house troops or land American bombers. Engineers went to work erecting both the town and the BP Wharf. The island was soon home to the largest Pacific military base outside of Hawaii. Today, Luganville remains an important copra shipping port - but more and more seasoned travelers are drawn to Espirito Santo's promise of unspoiled beauty and relaxed island ways. Luganville is handy to superb white-sand beaches, tropical rainforest and some of the finest diving and snorkeling in the Pacific.
Divers consider the wreck of the President Coolidge one of the world's top dive sites. The 654-foot liner was serving as a troop transport when she struck two mines and went down in the Segond Channel in 1942. The ship's holds are still filled with her cargo of military supplies.