Travel Guide to Vanuatu
I dare you to grab a map and confidently point Vanuatu in less than a minute. If you were successful then you’re a better geographer than most. The paradise island state drifting in the Pacific Ocean has a lot to offer intrepid travellers and is all the more appealing for its obscurity. But first things first, before travelling to a certain country better make sure of the do’s & dont’s, rules & regulations and culture & beliefs.
In this article we’ll give you the Travel Guide to Vanuatu! Sink your teeth into more learnings today.
Vanua means “land” in many of Vanuatu’s one hundred five languages (principal language: Bislama, English, French), and translations of the new name include “Our Land” and “Abiding Land.”
What’s in It for Me?
Isn’t it that obvious? Well, that large body of water and isolated location. Of course, the geologically active archipelago is a natural playground of colourful coral reefs, bubbling volcanoes, bountiful beaches and lush rainforest. Plus a dollar is converted into 108.83 Vatu (Vanuatu currency)
They are largely Melanesian and the people are called Ni-Vanuatu. These indigenous ni-Vanuatu people greet visitors as friends and are keen to share stories about their country, which was declared the happiest nation on the planet in 2006. Some 80% of people live in rural areas, mostly in small clan-based villages of less than 50 people and headed by a chief. But beware of their Village Protocol:
- Stick to the road when passing through a village. If you want to enter, wait at the outskirts until approached.
- Most land is owned by islanders or their families. If you leave the road and walk on a bush path, ask permission from the first person you meet.
- Do not pick fruit from the roadside, as it usually belongs to someone under customary law.
- Bathing suits, shorts and skimpy clothes are considered disrespectful in villages. Visitors to villages should be fully dressed.
- Outside of Port Vila, kava is generally drunk only by men. Often, it is acceptable for women travellers to try, although it can cause offense to local women.
Vanuatu has all the tropical variances possible. From hot and humid in the north, to mild and dry in the south. The Capital Port Vila on Efate can expect 27°C in July to 30°C in January. Nights can drop to 12°C. Humidity from December to February is around 82% and 70% around July.
Coconut milk and cream are used to flavor many dishes. Most food is cooked using hot stones or through boiling and steaming; little food is fried. Since Vanuatu is one of the few South Pacific regions influenced by the outside world, Vanuatu’s food has a multicultural nature.
The multicultural nature of Port Vila is reflected in the cuisine一there’s French, Mediterranean, Chinese, Italian, Thai, Asian Fusion, tapas and seafood. There are about 40 cafes and restaurants in and around Port Vila, many of them are excellent and worth trying for.
Lap Lap (grated yam, banana or manioc smothered in coconut cream and cooked in an earth oven) can be sampled at the markets.
Coconut crab is a Vanuatu specialty but many restaurants have put a moratorium on serving it as the species is becoming endangered.
Places to Visit and Activities
There are a lot of tourist attractions in Vanuatu. Those less disposed to physical exertion can always while away lazy days on Vanuatu’s beaches or charter a boat and hop from one island to the next. Diving, kayaking, snorkelling in the abundant and colourful marine life of Vanuatu are also one of the best-few things to do in Vanuatu. Here are the places you need to see while at Vanuatu:
Tourism in Vanuatu is largely centred on the islands of Tanna, Espiritu Santo and Efaté, with most international visitors arriving on the latter. From here it is easy to travel by boat or plane to the rest of the country, which caters for travellers of all stripes. Sure, it’s skewered to the well heeled, but amongst the high-end beach resorts are a smattering of wallet friendly options. Proof that paradise needn’t break the bank.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning to visit the nation called “Vanuatu”, make sure to do your research first; also try looking to book your flights using online travel agencies as they tend to, on average, reduce airfare costs by about 43%, a few good ones being Flighthub.com, Travelocity.com, JustFly.com or Expedia.com.