The vanadate cofactor in vanadium chloroperoxidase has been studied using UV-VIS absorption spectroscopy. A band is present in the near-UV that is red-shifted as compared to free vanadate and shifts in both position and intensity upon change in pH. Mutation of vanadate binding residues has a clear effect on the spectrum. Substrate-induced spectral effects allow direct measurement of separate kinetics steps for the first time for vanadium haloperoxidases. A peroxo intermediate is formed upon addition of H2O2, which causes a decrease in the absorption spectrum at 315 nm, as well as an increase at 384 nm. This peroxo form is very stable at pH 8.3, whereas it is less stable at pH 5.0, which is the optimal pH for activity. Upon addition of halides to the peroxo form, the native spectrum is re-formed as a result of halide oxidation. Stopped-flow experiments show that H2O2 binding and Cl- oxidation occur on the millisecond to second time scale. These data suggest that the oxidation of Cl- to HOCl occurs in at least two steps. In the presence of H2O2, the affinity for the vanadate cofactor was found to be much higher than previously reported for vanadate in the absence of H2O2. This is attributed to the uptake of pervanadate by the apo-enzyme. Human glucose-6-phosphatase, which is evolutionarily related to vanadium chloroperoxidase, is also likely to have a higher affinity for pervanadate than vanadate. This could explain the enhanced insulin mimetic effect of pervanadate as compared to vanadate.