TRAVEL TO VANUATU
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WELCOME TO VANUATU
Vanuatu is officially known as the Republic of Vanuatu and is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. Vanuatu achieved independence in 1980 and the name means “Our Land Forever”. The largest city is in Port-Vila, in Éfaté.
It is an archipelago made up of 13 main islands and many smaller islands, 500 miles west of Fiji and 1100 miles east of Australia. The landscape is diverse; the islands being characterized by rugged mountains, high plateaus, rolling hills and lowland plateaus. Coastal terraces and coral reefs surround the islands. Much of the islands are covered by dense rain forest, but in the drier regions you will find savanna grasslands. There are active volcanoes on several islands, and the highest point is Tabwémasana at 6,165 on Espiritu Santo, the largest island. There are two main seasons, May to October is cooler and drier, while November to April is hot and wet.
The population of Vanuatu, as of March 2021, is 311 994 people and is mostly indigenous Melanesian (called ni-Vanuatu) with some outlying islands having Polynesian populations. Most of the population live in the rural areas, but urban centers in Luganville and Port-Villa continue to attract people as employment and other opportunities develop. There are three official languages – Bislama (an English-based Melanesian pidgin), English and French.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN VANUATU
A visit to Vanuatu is the perfect time to immerse yourself in music, cuisine and cultural traditions that are just as vibrant today as they were centuries ago. Head to Port Vila to explore artifacts at the Vanuatu Cultural Center, and Ekasup Cultural Village, a traditional Melanesian village set in the rainforest. Here you can learn about traditional lifestyles, ancient cannibalism practices, cooking, dancing and medicine.
If you visit the northernmost Banks and Torres Islands, you can experience local traditions such as the Snake Dance on Rah Island, or Gua islands Water Music performed by women. On Pentecost Island you can see the famous land divers who leap from high platforms using vines to break the fall.
Vanuatu Waterfalls are not just great places to visit for a spectacular photo, you’ll find rock pools, caves, springs and waterways to explore. You can find impressive waterfalls at Mele Cascades, Lololima, and Lenuanatuaiu waterfall in Tanna’s central highlands.
Vanuatu’s landscape has been shaped by volcanoes, with some still active today. You can safely visit these volcanic locations for a close encounter. Mount Yasur on Tanna is one of the world’s most active volcanoes where you can hike right up to the rim and see into the crater. The molten rock spurts and shaking ground add to the atmosphere. These molten lava sprays are particularly spectacular at night time putting on a natural fireworks display. You can also enjoy ash boarding where you glide down the ash slopes.
Water exploration and activities
Enjoy exploring Vanuatu’s secluded waterways that wind their way through jungles and mangroves. You can find your way to one of the famous blue holes which are deep freshwater springs that have spectacular sapphire hues. Kayaking through the jungle to these often water access only springs is peaceful and serene activity.
Visit Tanna Islands Blue Cave, a five meter wide hole in the roof of a cave which allows sun to filter down into a grotto. You can sea kayak or stand up paddle board in bays, lagoons and coves enabling you to see dolphins, turtles, dugongs and other sea life.
You can find Champagne Beach, one of Vanuatu’s most famous beaches, on Espiritu Santo. Gas escaping from volcanic rocks causes fizz to appear at low tide, giving the beach the name champagne. Besides this fizz, it is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s a picture postcard beach with white sand and year round warm water.
If you love diving, then Vanuatu offers a marine wonderland just waiting to be explored. You’ll find soaring caverns, steep drop offs, historic shipwrecks, colorful coral gardens, underwater caves, blue holes and a host of sea life including white-tip sharks, hawksbill turtles, dolphins, dugong and schools of fish.
Port Vila Harbour has wrecks such as the Star of Russia, and intact 19th century square-rigger built by the designers of the Titanic. You can also explore right inside the Tasman, an old Qantas Sandringham flying boat that sunk in 1951. You’ll find the world’s largest shipwreck, the SS President Coolidge, at Espiritu Santo. Divers come from all over the world to explore the 200m ocean liner.