Vanuatu is your archetypal paradisiacal tropical island that is not too overrun by tourists. While some cruise ships make fleeting stops on one side of the main island, the reality is that the islands that make up Vanuatu are largely not on people’s radar as Fiji and New Caledonia are. This is one of its greatest assets coupled with the friendliest of people and the sheer beauty of the islands; we think that Vanuatu hits it out of the ballpark.
The main island is named Efate and is where the capital Port Vila is located. This is a cruisy little capital city where the pace is slow and the people are lovely. The island of Tanna is well known for its active volcano, while the island of Espiritu Santo is known as the island of hidden treasure. As Vanuatu’s largest islands it has some of the most beautiful white sand beaches, amazing blue holes, caves, world renowned diving and snorkeling. It also has in my opinion a great name.
Malekula is known as the island of custom. It is here that you will hear the stories of cannibalism but also get a real feel for the culture of this country. Here you will meet the tribes of the Small Nambas and Big Nambas where the nambas is the name of the woven penis sheath worn by the men. Pentecost Island is famous for its remoteness but also as the home of bungee jumping.
The people of Vanuatu are of Melanesian descent. The island is a very typically Pacific Island – swaying palm trees, blue waters, long beaches and a very laid back approach to life.
Vanuatu is a hidden gem that oozes charm and yet abounds in opportunities.
10 compelling reasons to visit Vanuatu
1. The people
– the people of Vanuatu are just plain nice. They take the time of day to have a chat and to chat amongst themselves at the markets in the Port Vila centre. Whilst Port Vila is a capital city, it really appears as a very pretty and simple little town set on the harbour. The island of Malekula gives a really good insight into the culture and traditions of Vanuatu.
2. Diving and snorkelling
– the clear waters off all of the islands makes diving and snorkellig a draw card for many people. Gordon got his PADI licence there and was able to explore underwater. There are also the many shipwrecks to be explored in this very clear water not to mention to abundance of marine life. For snorkelers it is clear vision all the way in idyllic conditions. Sailing is another option and I did take a big shine to my catamaran.
– I don’t know about you but we like our food and Vanuatu has some of the freshest produce to be imagined. The hinterland of the main island is actually lush cattle country, which probably accounts for the fact that they have the best Ribs we have ever tasted.
4. Cultural ceremonies
– It is worth seeing some of the traditions and cultural activities of tribal Vanuatu. The fire walking is pretty amazing. This is where you will find out about how villagers hunt, fish, use plants for medicine and how they store food.
5. Hire a car and drive around the island
-We got a fabulous flat Tyre when we did this and got to meet some local farmers who helped us out. Besides this, what a voyage of discovery. The main island is stunning and changes from a vibrant harbour to lush rainforests to verdant pasture land. There are ridiculously good restaurants in the middle of nowhere.