Vanuatu is a small island nation located in the South Pacific, consisting of 83 islands known for their pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a rich cultural heritage. It is a perfect travel destination for those seeking adventure, relaxation, and an immersive cultural experience. Vanuatu is a hidden gem that is yet to be fully discovered by the masses, making it an ideal destination for travelers who are looking for something off the beaten path. In this ultimate travel guide, we will uncover some of the hidden gems of Vanuatu and provide you with all the information you need to plan your dream vacation.
The easiest way to get to Vanuatu is by flying into the capital city, Port Vila, which is served by the Bauerfield International Airport. The airport is well connected to major cities in Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the Pacific. Air Vanuatu is the national carrier, and it operates direct flights from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Auckland. There are also several other airlines that fly to Vanuatu, including Qantas, Fiji Airways, and Air New Zealand.
When to Visit
Vanuatu has a tropical climate, and the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny, with low humidity and little rainfall. The wet season runs from November to April, and while the weather can be unpredictable, it is still a great time to visit Vanuatu as the lush rainforest and waterfalls are at their most beautiful during this time.
Where to Stay
Vanuatu offers a range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses to luxurious resorts and villas. Some of the most popular areas to stay in Vanuatu include Port Vila, which is the capital city and has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, and Espiritu Santo, which is the largest island and is known for its beautiful beaches and world-class diving spots. If you’re looking for a more secluded experience, you might want to consider staying on one of the smaller islands, such as Tanna or Ambrym.
Things to Do
Vanuatu offers a wide range of activities and attractions, from water sports and outdoor adventures to cultural experiences and relaxation.
Visit Mount Yasur
Mount Yasur is an active volcano located on the island of Tanna and is one of Vanuatu’s most popular attractions. Visitors can take a guided tour to the volcano and witness its explosive eruptions from a safe distance.
Explore the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a natural swimming hole located on the island of Efate, just a short drive from Port Vila. The lagoon is fed by underground freshwater springs, which give it its crystal-clear blue color. Visitors can swim, snorkel, or simply relax on the beach and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Dive at the President Coolidge
The President Coolidge is a World War II-era shipwreck located off the coast of Espiritu Santo. It is one of the largest and most accessible shipwrecks in the world and offers a unique diving experience for both novice and experienced divers.
Experience a Kava Ceremony
Kava is a traditional drink made from the root of the kava plant and is an important part of Vanuatu’s culture. Visitors can take part in a traditional kava ceremony, where they will be welcomed into a local village and served kava while learning about the customs and traditions of the people of Vanuatu.
Visit the Cultural Centre
The Vanuatu Cultural Centre is located in Port Vila and is dedicated to preserving and promoting the culture and heritage of the people of Vanuatu. Visitors can learn about the different cultural groups that make up Vanuatu, their traditional customs, and their art and music.
Explore the Millenium Cave
The Millenium Cave is a spectacular underground cave system located on the island of Espiritu Santo. Visitors can take a guided tour through the cave, which involves swimming, climbing, and abseiling through the cave’s chambers and waterfalls.
Relax on the Beaches
Vanuatu is known for its stunning beaches, and there are plenty to choose from, whether you’re looking for a secluded cove or a lively beach with water sports and beach bars. Some of the most popular beaches include Champagne Beach on Espiritu Santo, Port Olry Beach on the island of Malekula, and Hideaway Island Beach near Port Vila.
Take a Sunset Cruise
A sunset cruise is a great way to enjoy the stunning scenery of Vanuatu while sipping on a cocktail and watching the sun go down. There are several operators that offer sunset cruises from Port Vila, and some include dinner and entertainment on board.
Explore the Markets
The markets in Vanuatu are a great place to experience the local culture and pick up some souvenirs. The Port Vila Market is the largest and is open every day, selling everything from fresh produce and handicrafts to clothing and souvenirs.
Vanuatu is a fishing enthusiast’s paradise, with some of the best deep-sea fishing in the world. Visitors can take a fishing charter from Port Vila or Espiritu Santo and try their luck at catching marlin, sailfish, and other game fish.
Food and Drink
Vanuatu has a rich culinary tradition, with a mix of French, British, and Melanesian influences. Some of the must-try dishes include laptop, which is a dish made from grated yam or taro mixed with coconut milk and meat or fish and cooked in banana leaves, and coconut crab, which is a local delicacy that is considered a delicacy throughout the South Pacific.
Kava is the traditional drink of Vanuatu and is made by grinding the root of the kava plant and mixing it with water. Kava has a sedative effect and is often consumed during social gatherings and ceremonies.
Vanuatu is a safe destination for travelers, and the crime rate is relatively low. However, visitors should exercise the same caution they would in any foreign destination, such as avoiding walking alone at night and keeping valuables safe.
It’s also important to take precautions against mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever and malaria, which are present in Vanuatu. Visitors should use mosquito repellent, wear long-sleeved clothing, and sleep under mosquito nets to reduce the risk of being bitten.
In conclusion, Vanuatu is a hidden gem in the South Pacific that offers a unique travel experience for those seeking adventure, relaxation, and an immersive cultural experience. From exploring active volcanoes and underwater caves to relaxing on stunning beaches and trying the local cuisine, Vanuatu has something for everyone. With this ultimate travel guide, you have all the information you need to plan your dream vacation to this beautiful island nation.