Vanuatu or officially the Republic of Vanuatu is an island state and it is a part of the New Hebrides Archipelago in the Melanesia region. Vanuatu is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. It shares its water borders with Fiji, New Caledonia, and the Solomon Islands. The capital city is Port Vila.
The climate in Vanuatu is tropical close to equatorial. The wet season lasts from January to March. The best time for visiting Vanuatu is from April to October when the weather is sunny.
The official languages are Bislama, English, and French. People can also speak the local dialects. The majority of the population are the Christians and followers of pagan cults.
The tourists choose Vanuatu to relax on one of its numerous beaches. However, the resorts in Vanuatu can offer many more activities. The fans of extreme tourism can go diving and snorkelling on the Epi Island, the Efate Island, and Luganville Island. The lovers of speleology can go to the caves on the Torres Islands and the Maewo Islands.
If you want to escape noise visit the Tanna Island, which is known for its developed touristic infrastructure. The thermal springs on the Gaua Island and the Pentecost Island attract to Vanuatu those who prefer wellness tourism. There are trekking and hiking routes on the Aneityum Island and the Erromanga Island.
In Vanuatu, there is the National Park on the Espiritu Santo Island and the tropical forests in Port Vila. Take a trip to the authentic settlements on the Malakula Island and Ambrym Island.
Excursions to the cultural and historic sights in Vanuatu are arranged for the tourists.
There are no direct flights to Vanuatu from EU and CIS countries. The tourists will have to take a transit flight with, at least, two transfers.
Air New Zealand, JAL, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Air India offer transit flights with a transfer in Seoul, Tokyo, Auckland, Singapore, Istanbul, Dubai, and Sydney.
IUA, Singapore Airlines, and Transaero offer transit flights from Kiev to Port Vila.
The tourists from Russia can take a flight by Air India, China Southern, Singapore Airlines, and Air Vanuatu.
Belavia, Etihad Airways, and Qantas offer the flights from Minsk with a transfer in Abu Dhabi and Brisbane.
One can get to Vanuatu by cruise ship.
The citizens of the European Union countries, the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Ukraine can travel to Vanuatu visa-free. The EU citizens can stay in the country for 90 days and all the rest for 30 days. The stamp in the passport is placed on arrival.
The travellers from other countries must obtain a visa at the Embassy or the Consulate. Before submitting the documents, it is necessary to fill in an online form. The tourists will get a visa within 15 working days and it will be valid for a month.
The import and export of foreign and national currency are not restricted.
The tourists are allowed to bring in the following goods duty-free:
- some alcohol and tobacco;
- a limited amount of perfume;
- clothes, shoes, accessories, and photographic film for personal use;
- gifts and other goods (the total cost should not exceed 20.000 vatu).
It is prohibited to import:
- psychopharmacological agents;
- pets (without a special permission which must be obtained beforehand);
- food, plants and seeds.
The tourists are not allowed to export souvenirs made of turtles’ shell and coral without a permission issued by the Vanuatu Fisheries Department.
The cuisine of Vanuatu is a mix of the Melanesian cuisine and cooking traditions of the island. The British and French cuisine had a great impact on the traditional cuisine of Vanuatu during the colonial period. The staple food in Vanuatu is yams, manioc, vegetables, fruits, and seafood. The locals prefer steamed food or they make it on the red-hot stones.
The national dish is Natu or a roasted pigeon. The tourists will be offered dishes from poultry, beef, and pork.
If you have guts try escargots and frog legs. The ocean provides the people in Vanuatu with fresh seafood rich in microelements. That is why the cuisine here is especially good for people who care about their health. A coconut crab deserves a special attention.
The vegetarians should love Lap-lap with spinach, bananas, manioc, and coconut and a salad Nalot with taro root, bananas, and breadfruit. Try a potato pie Manioc.
For a dessert, you will be offered stewed, air-dried, sugared or roasted bananas.
Traditional beverage served with every meal and used in religious ceremonies is herbal-based Kawa. Green tea and juices are also very popular.
The official currency is the Vatu (VUV) which is made up of 100 centimes. The Reserve Bank of Vanuatu issues 1 to 100 vatu coins and 200 to 5.000 vatu bank notes. In many places in Vanuatu, Australian dollars are accepted.
The tourists can exchange the money at banks and in exchange offices at the airport in the capital city. It is difficult to exchange the currency outside large cities.
Hotels, restaurants and sports equipment renting services accept VISA, AMEX, and MasterCard. There are ATMs in Port Vila, on the Espiritu Santo and Tanna Islands and in Luganville.
You can cash traveller’s checks only in world-class banks.
To avoid robbery, be careful and do not carry large sums of money and valuable things in public places.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Vanuatu
In Vanuatu, there is a UNESCO cultural site.
The tourists who came to Vanuatu have a unique opportunity to see the Chief Roi Mata’s Domain. It includes the Efate Island, the Lelepa island, and the Artok Island. This sight was named so after the latest chief of the central part of the Republic. This territory contains the signs of social reforms carried out by him. You will also learn about the political methods he used which are still relevant today.
In Vanuatu, there are also five UNESCO candidate sites.
- The lovers of ecological tourism should visit the crater Letas Lake, the largest in the country. The lake is situated in the center of the volcanic island Gaua. The waters of the lake surround the Gharat Mount. Here the tourists can watch swimming birds and enjoy the nature.
- Take a trip to the Vatthe Conservation Area on the northern coast of the Espiritu Santo Island. This national park covers the territory of 2.700 Ha. There are forests, rivers, bays, and a limestone rock.
- Everyone who is interested in the legends of Vanuatu should visit the Yalo, Apialo and the sacred geography of Northwest Malakula. The locals believe that this is here where the spirits of the dead live.
- You can take an excursion to the Nowon and Votwos of Ureparapara. The architecture here demonstrates the mixture of the European and local cultures.
- A sunken ship President Coolidge attracts the divers. This ship is the largest available for exploration. The divers can see the remnants of the luxurious interior.
- The tourists can also visit the Anavamet Reservem the National Museum of Vanuatu, and the Custom Village.
Souvenirs in Vanuatu
The tourists can buy the following gifts and souvenirs in Vanuatu:
- wooden figurines decorated with seashells and gems;
- ritual masks and national hunting guns;
- handmade beads and bracelets;
- Kawa beverage.