Vanuatu Island is the friendly face of the Pacific – a place where visitors will receive a warm welcome and can enjoy a relaxed holiday in beautiful tropical surroundings. Set out in a “Y” shape, Vanuatu’s chain of 83 islands cover a total land area of 12,189 km sq. Vanuatu (meaning “Land Eternal”) is the essence of timeless tranquility.
The Vanuatu islands offer a diversity of scenic attractions ranging from towering volcanic cones to dense rainforests to raised coral islands with wide beaches and deep natural harbors. Vanuatu has lush growth — giant trees, brilliant foliage, and multicolored flowers and is inhabited by innumerable species of magnificently feathered birds
The shy and friendly indigenous people of Vanuatu Island are predominantly Melanesian. The Ni Vanuatu have populated the islands for centuries and with more than 115 distinctly different cultures and languages still thriving, Vanuatu is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world.
There are also small communities of French, British, Australian, New Zealand, Vietnamese, Chinese, and other Pacific Islands people. Formerly known as the New Hebrides, Vanuatu Island was jointly administered by France and Great Britain as a ‘Condominium’ until 1980 when it became independent. Consequently, most of the 180,000 inhabitants speak either French or English as well as the national language Bislama – a form of Pidgin English.
Just over three hours from Sydney and two hours from Brisbane, Port Vila is a sleepy township on the edge of one of the South Pacific’s most magnificent lagoons, and the gateway to one of the world’s last great wilderness regions. It offers a superb selection of environmentally friendly resorts and quality boutique hotels, and a charm created by its stylish restaurants, art galleries, museum, and wonderful craft shops housing the spiritual and mystical treasures of ancient Melanesia. The two most frequently visited Vanuatu islands, Espiritu Santo and Tanna, are home to unique and ancient cultures. Even more remote are islands such as Melacoula and Pentecost, home of the Land Dive, the first bungee jump. The Outer Islands have much to offer the visitor seeking to explore the wilderness. Vanuatu is a divers paradise with marine sanctuaries protecting underwater creatures and corals, ensuring dives that are renowned as some of the best in the South Pacific.
Traveler Info for Vanuatu Island
- Entry/Exit Requirements: Advance visas are not required for visitors from USA, Canada, EU countries, Australia, New Zealand or Japan. Visitors from other countries should check with a Pacific Islands Travel agent for visa requirements. Visas are issued upon arrival. Passport valid for 6 months, sufficient funds, and onward or return tickets required. Visitors are usually allowed stays of up to 3 months. Departure tax VT 2,500
- Climate: Average temperatures in Vanuatu Island is 28C. Winter average 23C. Hottest months November-March. Occasional heavy rain January-April.
- Clothing: Casual. Swim should be covered away from the beach.
- Currency: Local currency is the Vatu (VT).
- Health: Anti-malarial precautions recommended for visits to outer islands.
- Time: GMT + 11.
- Area: 12,190 sq km (4707 sq miles).
- Population: 193,219 (1999).
- Capital: Port-Vila (Island of Efaté). Population: 33,700 (1997)
- Geography: Vanuatu Island, formerly called the New Hebrides, forms a “Y” of islands stretching north to southeast for some 900km (560 miles). They are situated approximately 2250km (1407 miles) northeast of Sydney, Australia, and 800km (500 miles) west of Fiji. Together with the Banks and Torres islands, the group comprises about 40 mountainous islands and 40 islets and rocks. The islands are volcanic in origin and there are five active volcanoes. The Ambrym and Lopevi volcanoes are permanently active and highly dangerous. Lopevi was extinct for many years but became active 50 years ago. Further to the south, on the island of Tanna, is Yasur, cited as the most accessible active volcano in the world and a major tourist attraction. Most of the islands are densely forested and mountainous with narrow bands of cultivated land along the coasts.
- Government: Republic. Gained independence from the UK/France in 1980.
- Head of State: President John Bani since 1999.
- Head of Government: Prime Minister Edward Natapei since 2001.
- Language: Bislama (Pidgin English), English and French are the official languages. This most widely used day-to-day language is a Melanesian mixture of French and English. French and English are widely spoken and both English and French names exist for all towns. There are more than 115 local dialects.
- Religion: Mostly Christian, including Presbyterian, Anglican, Roman Catholic and several other denominations.
- Electricity: 220/280 volts AC. Australian three-pin plugs are in use.
- Telephone: IDD is available. Country code: 678. Outgoing international calls must go through the international operator. There are public telephones at airports and post offices. Phone cards can be purchased from the post office.
- Mobile telephone: GSM 900. Operator is Telecom Vanuatu Ltd (TVL) (website: www.tvl.net.vu). TVL also operates an analogue cellular network compliable with AMPs. Coverage is nationwide.
- Fax: Most hotels have facilities.
- Internet: Vanuatu.Com (website: www.vanuatu.com.vu).
Things To Do in Vanuatu Island
Vanuatu Island Exploratory Scuba Adventures with NAI’A
Vanuatu’s President Coolidge shipwreck, raw Melanesian culture and active volcanoes have lured the luxury live-abord dive vessel, NAI’A, back for two special voyages in June 2004. From the best experiences of NAI’A’s six investigative weeks there in 2000, they have designed the ideal Vanuatu diving itinerary: from steep soft coral walls to deep wrecks and bizarre cryptic sand critters.
SANTO Scuba Dive the SS President Coolidge with Aquamarine Vanuatu
Dive the world famous “President Coolidge”, the largest most accessible ship wreck dive in the world 201m x 25m of sunken WW2 history. You can swim through the many holds and decks viewing the numerous remainders of both her luxury liner days as well as her war history. Aquamarine’s experienced professional dive guides have logged thousand of dives on the Coolidge since 1988. Safe, friendly and personalised service is assured at all times.
Aquamarine offers shore dives to the Coolidge and Million Dollar Point. Aquamarine also offer boat dives to USS Tucker, pristine coral reefs and of course the Coolidge by one of their 7 meter boats with twin engines. New dive rental equipment available for light travellers. SSI Instructor Training Facility. TDI /SDI Training Facility offering NITROX, PADI certification. Waterfront dive shop with entertaining room for divers and range of Coolidge souvenirs.
Man Bush Tours Vanuatu
Manbush Eco Tour is not to be missed, considered by most to be the best eco tour in Vanuatu Island. These tours are conducted by four wheel drive. The four hour tour to Mount Hope cattle station where the guide has discovered in the tropical jungle of inland Santo fresh water caves, waterfalls and the unique duck dive.