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Vanuatu, Bild: Mark and Anna Photography / shutterstock

Vanuatu – wild volcano adventure in the South Pacific

The exotic names of the dream islands in the South Pacific such as Fiji, Samoa or Tonga are no longer unknown in the memory of the German holidaymaker. The situation is different with the island island of Vanuatu, which is currently still comparatively undeveloped for tourism – even though Vanuatu has so much to offer.

Spread over 83 islands, visitors will find everything an adventurer’s heart desires, from active volcanoes, beautiful sandy beaches and dense jungle to originally living peoples. Vanuatu, or as it is called, Ripablik Blong Vanuatu, has been an independent state since 1906 and home to around 293,000 inhabitants (as of 2018).

According to studies, these are among the happiest in the world. The capital and political and cultural center is Port-Vila on the island of Efate. A fifth of the inhabitants of the island state live here and Vanuatu’s only international airport is located here, which can be reached from Germany in about 22 hours with a change. In Vanuatu, payment is made with the Vatu, for one euro you get about 130 Vatu. The time zone in Vanuatu is 10 hours ahead of ours and the best time to visit is from June to September. German citizens do not need a visa to enter the country for a stay of a maximum of 90 days and a confirmed return ticket.

Sights and highlights in Vanuatu

Efate – The island of the capital Port-Vila of Vanuatu

The island of Efate is also called “Port-Vila” by the inhabitants of Vanuatu, after the capital of the country located on it. It is the most densely populated island of all and in the vast majority of cases the starting point for onward travel to the more remote islands. Efate has by far the best infrastructure in all of Vanuatu and a wide selection of hotels. For visitors, it is always worthwhile to spend a night in Port-Vila.

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Here you can get in the mood for Vanuatu and buy fruit, art and souvenirs from all parts of the country while walking through the Port-Vila Markets. By the way, Port-Vila is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world – its inhabitants are made up of over one hundred Melanesian language and cultural groups.

Efate is also home to the only surfing beach in Vanuatu. Pango Beach promises high waves and great surfing, while the waters on other beaches and islands are generally very calm. Snorkeling enthusiasts will find Hideaway Island not far from Port Vila, a true underwater paradise.

Malecula – melting pot of Melanesia

Malekula is the second largest island in the country. However, it is home to by far the greatest cultural diversity in Vanuatu and is therefore a popular destination. The island can be reached by regular flights or ferries from Santo and Port-Vila. Guided hikes on the island are particularly popular, which, among other things, visit original villages and let their guests participate in customs and rituals. There are also a variety of beautiful waterfalls on Malekula, including the Botko Waterfall and the Losinwei Waterfall. Many visitors also come to see the manatees or dugongs living off the coast of the island, although they are very shy and rare.

Ambrym – the volcanic island

Ambrym, Vanuatu
Ambrym on Vanuatu, Image: Nina Janesikova / shutterstock

The island of Ambrym is home to two active volcanoes. Both have a lava lake in their center, an extremely rare phenomenon. There are only 5 places in the world where you can see one. However, if you want to see the lava lake, you have to take an arduous path, because both can only be reached in 2 to 3 day hikes. Hikes can be arranged from Craig’s Cove, either with a return to Craig’s Cove or with a further hike to Olal in the north or Ulei in the east of Ambrym.

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Santo Espiritu – the largest of the islands

Santo Espiritu
Santo Espiritu, Image: Martin Valigursky / shutterstock

Santo Espiritu, or Santo for short by the locals, is the largest of the 83 islands of Vanuatu. The east coast of Santo Espiritus is well developed and has paved roads. The interior of the island as well as the north and west coasts can only be reached via dirt roads. The biggest attraction of this island is undoubtedly the famous blue lagoons of Vanuatu. These hidden lagoons deliver what they promise and enchant their visitors with turquoise blue and crystal clear waters, surrounded by a dreamlike jungle landscape. The lagoons on Santo are called Nanda Blue Hole, Riri Blue Hole and Matevulu Blue Hole. Other highlights of the island are the Millennium Cave and the dream beaches of Lonnoc Beach, Champagne Beach and Port Olry. Divers discover a colorful and vibrant underwater world with the SS Coolridge or visit war estates at Million Dollar Point.

Pentecost – an island for adventurers

The island of Pentecost is one of the easternmost islands in the country. There is high rainfall here almost all year round. Pentecost is famous for its liana jumpers. Every year between April and June, high diving towers are built for them, from which they plunge into the depths, secured only with lianas. The liana jumping heralds the yam harvest season and is supposed to ensure a rich harvest. Otherwise, Pentecost is difficult to travel to – there is an off-road road on the west coast and the east coast is de facto only accessible by boat.

Things worth knowing about Vanuatu

What continent is Vanuatu on?

Vanuatu belongs to Melanesia in Oceania.

What is the population of Vanuatu?

Vanuatu has 293,000 inhabitants (as of 2018)

What currency do you use to pay in Vanuatu?

The currency in Vanuatu is called Vatu. One euro is equivalent to (as of 2/2021) about 130 Vatu.

What language is spoken in Vanuatu?

Bislama, also known as Bichelamar, Bêche-de-mer, or Beach-la-Mar, is one of the official languages of the Republic of Vanuatu, along with English and French.