Capital City: Port-Vila
Currency: Vanuatu Vatu
Official Language: English, French and Bislama (Pidgin English) are the three official languages of Vanuatu
Welcome to the floating island nation of Vanuatu!
Probably best known for its obscurity, Vanuatu seems to drift like flotsam in the Pacific Ocean and has heaps and bounds on offer for travelers from all walks of life.The island nation consists of roughly 83 small islands and is a geologically active archipelago, which makes it a very intriguing destination with colorful ocean reefs, active volcanoes and lush rainforests. Vanuatu is home to the most accessible active volcano in the world, the Yasur crater, but it also has stunning sandy shores, underwater WWII relics to be discovered and hiking trails that are set to take your breath away. It seems like Vanuatu is a destination filled with mystery and magical opportunities just waiting to be uncovered. On offer here is a feast for the senses and the taste buds. From the fabulous cuisine to the warm hearted ni-Vanuatu people, you’ll soon discover why Vanuatu was rated the happiest nation in the world in 2006. If there ever was real-life proof that paradise doesn’t always mean you’ll have to break the bank, Vanuatu would be it, catering for all budgets and tastes. Step inside and indulge in the island views, lush landscapes, excellent diving opportunities, an abundance of fresh fish and very warm Pacific hospitality found only in the nation that is Vanuatu.
Must see places in Vanuatu
The capital city of Vanuatu is the best place to gaze upon the colonial influences that France and Britain had on this island nation. The streets of Port-Vila are lined with duty-free shops and craft stalls and the restaurants offer authentic French cuisine.
Hideaway Island Marine Reserve
Close to Port-Vila, the marine reserve that makes up Hideaway Island is a great spot for snorkeling and lounging on the stunning beach. The underwater post office in the area is a great attraction where travelers can send waterproof postcards.
For the adrenalin junkies, nothing beats the thrill of gazing over the lava of the world’s most accessible active volcano. Yasur, located on Tanna Island is a great spot for sightseeing and the mass of bubbling lava is sure to take your breath away.
Ekasup Cultural Village
Just 10 minutes away from Port-Vila, the Ekasup Cultural Village is a great destination to get a better understanding of Vanuatu’s traditional village life.
Mystery Island is located just off the coast of Tanna and is mostly uninhabited. On offer here are the golden beaches, jungles and excellent snorkeling opportunities, all tucked away in a secluded island paradise.
Mele Cascade Waterfall
Located just 15 minutes outside of Port-Vila, the waterfalls at Mele Cascade are a sight not to be missed. You can cool dow I the plunge pools and enjoy the breathtaking views here.
One of the highlights of Mele is The Secret Garden. On offer here is the opportunity to explore the local fauna and flora, see what the local village huts look like, and view the indigenous iguanas, pythons and flying foxes. It’s the best place to get a real look at Vanuatu’s history, with tales depicting missionaries, cannibalism and traditional customs.
Things to do in Vanuatu
Vanuatu offers some amazing scuba diving opportunities with sights such as underwater tunnels, caves and grottoes. It’s also home to the largest wreck diving site in the world, the site of the SS President Coolidge troop ship that sank during WWII.
See Chief Roi Mata’s Domain
Rated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this area is located about half an hour’s drive away from Prt-Vila and represents the Chief’s area of influence. The Roi Mata Cultural Tour offers you some great insight and also supports the local people. Here you can visit the National Museum, the Cultural Center and the stunning natural landscapes.
Relax in the hot springs
Run by a local family, the thermal hot springs (with a rather strong sulfur smell) is a great spot to go for some well-deserved island style destressing in the northeast if Efate.
Sail the day away
Catch a ride onboard the Coongoola timber ketch that departs from Havannah Harbor daily. You’ll be taken out to the turtle sanctuary on Tranquility Island (Moso) for a good old Vanuatu beach barbeque and then you can enjoy some amazing snorkeling opportunities.
Best time to visit Vanuatu
Tourists visit Vanuatu from November through to March
The subtropical climate of Vanuatu makes it a good travel destination year round. The “summer” time runs from November through to March with average temperatures of around 28°C, peaking at 32°C. Summer time is hot, wet and humid. The winter runs from April through to October and sees an average temperature of around 23°C.
Did you know?
Vanuatu is best known for the fact that it offers travelers the opportunity to go diving with exotic fish AND watch the bubbling lava of an active volcano all in one day.
- Always obtain permission before entering private property, as Vanuatu is very strict on the issue of land ownership regulations
- Make sure you’ve packed a pair of good quality reef shoes for snorkeling purposes to avoid coral cuts
- It’s always considered safer to stick to sealed bottled water for drinking purposes, although the water on the main island has been deemed safe for consumption.
- Lap Lap is a dish that consists of grated yam, banana or manioc that is smothered in coconut cream and cooked in an earth oven
- Coconut Crab used to be a Vanatu specialty, but you’ll be lucky to find it as most restaurants have put a moratorium on the dish with the risk of the species becoming endangered