Looking to send your loved ones a postcard? Well, if you happen to be visiting Vanuatu, you’ll need to grab a snorkel first!
Just off Hideaway Island, in the South Pacific Ocean nation of Vanuatu, lies Vanuatu Post’s underwater post office.
Submerged some three metres underwater, the postal station was installed in 2003 after the local postmaster and a resort owner met up for drinks and did some brainstorming on how to attract more tourists.
And what they came up with did just that.
“Every week hundreds of postcards are dropped off at the underwater post office,” postmaster Vira Timbaci has said.
“The number goes up when cruise ships come into port.”
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Here’s how it works…
Every day, visitors can buy waterproof postcards on dry land. They can then drop off their snail mail (or should we say, whale mail) when a flag is flown on the water’s surface, signaling that the post office is open for business.
Due to the obvious issue of using ink underwater, Vanuatu Post emboss cards delivered to The Underwater Post Office during opening hours.
For those visitors who are snorkelling and can’t duck-dive to the level of the post office, friendly Hideaway Island staff are around to give them a hand. In fact, a number of post office staff even completed their Open Water dive training at Hideaway Island. Visitors can undertake their Open Water certification on Hideaway Island, too.
At around 3PM, Timbaci either collects the mail himself or asks a local dive master to help out. According to him, it’s a job that never gets old.
“Swimming to the post office is a great way to see the local sea life,” he said. “It really is beautiful here.”
With over 83 islands, Vanuatu is a haven for marine life. Protection laws and warm ocean temperatures of up to 30 degrees make visiting the beautiful coral reef top of most tourists to-do lists.
Ocean life and snorkelling are so ingrained in the Vanuatu experience and way of life that Vanuatu Post issued a stamp and mini-sheet which actually feature snorkelling.
For those who can’t swim, there’s a mailbox found at a nearby resort, too.
Or better yet, you can also drop your postcards on an active volcano on Mount Yasur, which is on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu.
Intrigued? Book your next holiday in Vanuatu. Lost At E Minor recommends staying at Tamanu on the Beach Resort and Spa, located on its own private white sand beach just 20 minutes from downtown Port Vila. Find out more at Vanuatu Travel