Don’t be surprised when you receive either one of the following reactions after telling friends, family and co-workers your next family vacation spot is Vanuatu. The majority of your loved ones will probably stare at you with shocked disbelief, as their only knowledge of this island chain came from watching season nine of the popular reality show “Survivor.” The others will simply look bewildered and ask “Where is Vanuatu?” Take this opportunity to school your uniformed acquaintances about the thrills, adventures and beauty that await you in the South Pacific Ocean. Here’s a sampling of what to expect while enjoying your first of many Vanuatu holidays.
Ask any former visitor to the Republic of Vanuatu, and most will happily share their experience at Yasur Volcano. Located on Tanna Island, the Yasur Volcano is constantly active, a sight to behold up close and personally or from the air. The less intrepid travelers in your group might opt for witnessing the volcano and the surrounding lush vegetation from the comfort of an airplane. If you’re feeling a tad more adventurous, feel free to explore the volcano on foot. Several institutions offer tours to Mt. Yasur on a daily basis, which are rarely cancelled due to an unpredictable, massive volcano eruption. For the most part, your adventure across the layers of rock and magma is completely safe, but it’s important to pay attention to your tour guide and stay on the well-worn path. For a real treat, visit Mt. Yasur during the evening to witness an unparalleled light show.
One of Vanuatu’s many unsuspecting, quaint villages—Mele—is home to one of the island’s most glorious tourist attractions: the Cascades waterfall. Once again, do yourself a favor and travel to the falls, and the nearby Secret Garden, with one of the area’s many tour groups. Many of the groups begin with a short tour of Mele village, which provides you with a first-hand look at how the locals really live on Vanuatu. Your next stop will more than likely be the Secret Garden, which features a wide variety of flora and fauna native to the island. After handling a few indigenous snakes, your final stop is the Cascade Waterfall. Don’t shy away from jumping into the crystal blue, warm waters before hitting up your tour guide for that free meal included in the package.
No trip to Vanuatu would be complete without spending at least half of your time falling asleep on the beach with a trashy novel. Fortunately for you and your group, the beaches in Vanuatu are plentiful, and many are immaculately kempt by the local resorts. Amongst the most popular is Champagne beach on the northeast side of Vanuatu’s largest island, Espiritu Santo. The palm trees are plentiful, the sand is white, the local vendors offer delicious snacks and a lack of resort traffic makes Champagne beach a clear front runner. While booking a resort, consider those found along the shores of the eponymous Bokissa Beach. The plentiful resorts offer a wide variety of comforts, cuisine and water sports to make your time at the beach more than just an opportunity to create a base tan.
Lounging by the beach or exploring the indigenous flora of Vanuatu is a main reason for many to visit this island chain. For adventure lovers, the islands are all about seeking out that next adrenaline rush. Luckily for these intense individuals, Vanuatu has several distractions, attractions and plain crazy adventures to experience. Sport fishing, quad biking, diving, snorkeling, mud bogging, zip lining and horse trekking are just a few of the many adventure sports waiting for you during your visit.
Traveling to Vanuatu
Before paying any deposits, or booking your flight, learn about the ins and outs of your next Vanuatu vacation.
- The weather in Vanuatu is unpredictable, so pack accordingly. You might require shorts and sandals on a northern island and a parka and hiking boots during your visit to the southern islands.
- Consider traveling from January to June. The deals are plentiful, the tourists are scarce and although the temperatures are more humid, a quick afternoon shower will generally keep the temperatures bearable.
- Watch the weather reports closely. Vanuatu has suffered devastating tornadoes, tsunamis and tropical storms in the past.
Before traveling to Vanuatu, do your homework and obtain the proper documents required for entrance into the country. For instance, all visitors to the island chain must have a passport valid for at least four months after their intended stay, and you’re only legally allowed to stay on the island for one month at a time.
Photo courtesy of shanin from 123rf.com