The ni-Vanuatu people of the land are a Melanesian race speaking Bislama, a unique language mixed with Vanuatu versions of local, French and English languages. Bislama unites the country providng people of 110 different language groups the opportunity to communicate. English and French are widely spoken and are an integral part of not only the history of Vanuatu but also the present.
Whilst the predominant population is ni Vanuatu, the country is peppered with the spices of many races including South Pacific Islanders, French, English, Australian, New Zealanders, Vietnamese and Chinese.
Vanuatu is a land of diversity and huge smiles, boasting Coral seas, tropical islands, fish, volcanoes and rainforest. Snorkeling, Scuba diving, game fishing and soft adventures are all here to enjoy in a country with a colorful history, a rich culture and a warm welcome. Every island has its own history and unique traditions, so visiting one or several will add to your Vanuatu experience.
Tanna is a unique combination of culture, exploration and mystery. Mt. Yasur, one of the most accessible volcanoes in the world is an exciting natural phenomenon providing an outstanding fireworks display on a night visit. 360 metres above sea level and surrounded by an ash plain, Yassur is a fiery cauldron of molten rock spurting every few minutes as nature exhibits an expressive display. A cannonade of booming sound from escaping gases is followed by wild reverberations as eruptions shoot glowing ash and stones into the air. Many local people believe that the spirits of the dead live in Mt. Yasur.
Most Tannese live a traditional lifestyle practicing the ancient customs of their ancestors including Kastom medicine, initiation rites and the colorful Nekowiar, celebrating the successful harvest. Tanna is also home to the John Frum Cargo Cult, made famous for their devotion to a modern deity based on the US servicemen who visited during World War II.
With its raw nature and primitive tribal cultures, Tanna is a step back in time to a unique and untouched South Pacific. Why not become a visitor on your next Vanuatu experience.
Tanna is also a minefield of adventure - the wreck of the Fijian, a sailing ship which sank in 1916 lies in 20 metres of water, wild horses inhabit White Grass Plains, there are white sandy beaches and the black sand of Imlao Beach, waterfalls, hot springs and the spectacular Yapilmai Cascades, Port Resolution, a popular yacht anchorage was named by Captain Cook when he landed in 1774, attracted like most people, by the great glow of Yasur in the night sky.
Port Vila is the capital, a gateway for visitors and an important centre for Vanuatu and the South Pacific. The town of Port Vila is a lively mix of services, offices, banks, duty free shops, restaurants, gift shops, boutiques, handicraft galleries, cafes and the colorful Port Vila market. A great place to meet the locals with their fruit, vegetables, shells, flowers, coconut crabs, artifact and souvenir stalls, the market operates every day except Sunday.
It is a wonderful pot-pourri of cultures, blending elements of Melanesian, English, French and Asian. Set on a natural harbour, the sea-wall is a mecca for visiting cruising yachts and charter boats which provide easy access for reef or game fishing, diving or cruising expeditions.
Port Vila and Efate offer an extensive selection of tours and activities to satisfy the most ardent explorers. From getaways to tropical beaches to exploring eclectic galleries, game fishing to snorkeling, jet boating to sunset cruises, mountain biking to bathing in waterfalls, abseiling to sailing and everything in between, nothing is more than minutes away from Efate's main centre.
Just as abundant are the range of restaurant and cafes, led by the French influence and supported by a wide and diverse range of cuisines. The majority of large and boutique resorts, hotels and bungalows are within minutes of Port Vila, with other boutique resorts and local style accommodation experiences scattered around Efate and the adjacent islands. Traveling only 40 minutes north of the capital places you overlooking the islands of Lelepa, Moso, Nguna, Pele and Emau with a number of tour operators offering day trips to experience the local communities and the fun of even smaller island living.
Beautiful beaches, cultural experiences and insights into Vanuatu's history dot the round island road, making a day tour of self drive rental a fantastic way to enhance your Vanuatu experience.
|ESPIRITU SANTO ISLAND
Touted as Vanuatu's nature and adventure capital, Espiritu Santo offers lots of surprises for all visitors. There is no mistaking you are in Espiritu Santo as the fragrance of frangipani blends with the smells of local copra kilns, filling the air with coconut so strong that it is almost edible. Espiritu Santo is Vanuatu's largest island with a coastline studded with smaller islands and beautiful beaches, most barely inhabited.
To the interior lays pristine jungles, kustom villages and old plantations, many which still operate today along with a cattle industry regarded as producing the best beef in the Pacific.
Luganville was an important operators base during World War II. The American Army left behind airfields and bomber wrecks and sank their military equipment after the war providng the famous dive sight, Million Dollar Point, now inhabited by colorful fish and corals. One of the world's "must do" dives can also be found only five minutes from town. The 200m SS President Coolidge, a 1930's luxury liner, converted into a US troopship, lies in water from 20 - 70 metres deep. President Coolidge with its amazing collecton of jeeps, trucks, cases of rifles and abundant sea life is the largest intact shipwreck accessible to scuba divers in the world. The destroyer USS Tucker lies off Malo Island, with another 20 recognized sites in the area and hundreds yet to be discovered.
Small boutique resorts, hotels and guest houses can be found at the south of the island.
Pentecost is famous for the land diving ritual (Nagol), the original bungy jump. Taking place on Saturdays in April and May, this leap of faith is to give thanks for the yam harvest and to again guarantee a plentiful yam harvest the following year. Jumpers slect their own vines and construct their platform on the jump tower which can reach to 30 metres. Flights and ferries operate day trips to visit the land diving.
Pentecost is also known for its ritual dancing, mat and basket weaving and symbolic sand drawings, dating back to the first inhabitants of Vanuatu.
|70 MORE ISLANDS
There's even more, either just around the corner or off the beaten ocean track. Vanuatu boasts 79 more islands in addition to those featured in our website. Vanuatu offers an incredibly diverse variety of visitor experiences, with accommodation to suit every budget and interest from large and Boutique resorts, hotels and backpacker lodges to community bungalows and home stays. There are tourism operators on more than 20 islands of Vanuatu with welcoming communities on many of the others for those looking for an authentic grass roots travel experience.
Conditions & Cancellations:
Previously known as the New Hebrides, Vanuatu forms an incomplete double chain of islands stretching from the north to the southeast, some 900 kms north of Sydney in Australia and 800 kms west of Fiji. The capital, Port Vila, is located 17 degrees 44 minutes south latitude, 168 degrees 19 minutes east longitude.
Passengers over 15 years of age: 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco or 50g cigars or 100 cigarettes, 1.5 litres alcohol and 2 litres wine, 25cl litre eau de toilette and 10 centilitres perfume. A total of 50,000 vatu (approx. $A600) in unused goods. Visitor personal effects are entered duty free.
Departure tax is VUV 2800 per person over the age of 12 years for international and VUV 400 for domestic for Port Vila, Espiritu Santo and Tanna. VUV 250 on the outer islands.
The local currency is the Vatu. Although Australian dollars are accepted by many shops, restaurants and hotels in Vila and a few in Luganville (Santo), they are not readily accepted outside of town or throughout the islands.
The dry season is May to October with an average temperature of 23 celsius. The green season is from November - April with an average temperatue of 28 celsius.
220 - 280 volts 50 HZ AC
Light and casual but not too brief in public places. Tropical clothes for evening wear - no ties. No vaccinations are required but anti-malarial precautions are recommended for visits to the outer islands. Hospital facilities exist in Port Vila and Luganville, Espiritu Santo. Neither tipping or bargaining is considered as civilized behaviours. If you wish to express gratitude, send a tee shirt from yur own country or a post card.
Driving is on the right and cars and vans are available for hire. Taxis are plentiful and metered. Mini buses offer a frequent but not timetabled service - just flag one down and say where you want to go. The fare is VT100 a trip within Port Vila town limits and VT 200 to villages or areas out of town. Most inter-sland travel is by air. Cruise ships call regularly.
11 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time