Vanuatu is an archipelago, a y shaped string made up of 83 islands. It is a land of diversity and big smiles, boasting coral seas, tropical islands, colorful fish, volcanoes and rainforest. It is more than just a tropical escape with balmy breezes, it is home to some incredible experiences. Dive through a shipwrecked luxury liner, walk along the world’s most accessible active volcano, and stumble upon pounding waterfalls and picture-perfect beaches.
Each island has its own history and unique traditions, so visiting more than one will add to your total Vanuatu experience.
Vanuatu is the land of so much to see and so much to do, with a reputation for interesting, fun and educational activities to suit any traveler. From treks and abseiling to deserted beach picnics, wreck dive explorations to Cultural villages, Vanuatu always has something to offer for those looking to experience something new.
Vanuatu is one of the most culturally diverse countries on earth due to more than 3,000 years of sporadic immigration from many Pacific countries. More than 80 per cent of people live in rural areas, mostly in small clan-based villages of less than 50 people with a head chief. This chief acts on behalf of the village and his word is accepted as law. Most villages have a traditional nakamal (village clubhouse or clan hut) where men meet to talk, manage village affairs and drink kava. The people of Vanuatu are called Ni-Vanuatu, literally meaning ‘of Vanuatu’.
There are more than 120 distinct languages and many more dialects spoken in Vanuatu. The national language is Bislama (pidgin English) however English and French are also official, and commonly spoken languages
Many of the islands of Vanuatu have been inhabited for thousands of years, the oldest archaeological evidence found dating back to 2000 BC.
In 1605, the Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernndez de Quirs became the first European to reach the islands, Europeans did not begin settling the islands until the late 18th century, after British explorer James Cook visited the islands on his second voyage, and gave them the name New Hebrides. In 1887, the islands began to be administered by a French-British naval commission. In 1906, the French and British agreed to an Anglo-French Condominium on the New Hebrides.
In the 1960s, the Vanuatu people began to press for self-governance and later independence. Full sovereignty was granted by both European nations on July 30, 1980.
The official currency is the Vatu (VUV).
The climate in Vanuatu varies depending on which island you are on but typical temperatures are in the 80’s. The north is wet tropical with average yearly rainfall of 16 inches whereas the south is subtropical with less than 8 inches of yearly rainfall. Dry season runs from May to October and is full of sunny days and cool evenings. November to April marks the wet season with greater rainfall, humidity and temperatures. It is good to be aware that cyclone season is December to March and Vanuatu yearly averages 2.5 cyclones.
No vaccinations are required for travel to Vanuatu however anti-malarial medication is recommended for travel outside of Port Vila and Efate.
Visas are not required for stays up to 30 days. A passport and an onward/return ticket are required.
Tipping & Porterage
There is no tipping or bargaining, it goes against local tradition. A smile and a ‘thank you’ is tip enough.
Major credit cards are widely accepted in Port Vila.
The vatu which has no subdivisions.
Coins: 1VT, 2VT, 5VT, 10VT, 20VT, 50VT, 100VT
Notes: 100VT, 200VT, 500VT, 1,000VT, 2,000VT, 5,000VT, 10,000VT
Voltage is 220 AC/50 cycle. If you are traveling from a part of the world where your appliances are 110v you will need a voltage transformer.
Vanuatu’s town water supply is very safe to drink. Bottled water is suggested for travel to outer islands.
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