You're heading to Vanuatu? Fantastic. You're going to love it. But it's not just a decadent escape with balmy breezes and gourmet food. It's also home to several best-in-the-world experiences that very few people know about: a luxury liner, like the Titanic, shipwrecked in clear diveable water; the world's most accessible active volcano on the island of Tanna; a giant banyan tree the size of a soccer field; pounding, cascading waterfalls; extraordinary cultural ceremonies and dances on the island of Malekula; primitive villages where you can witness an ancient living culture; and picture-perfect beaches where there's nobody but you and your snorkel gear. It's also a snorkellers' and divers' Mecca.
Port Vila, the national capital on the island of Efate, buzzes at the centre of Vanuatu's tourist trade, all colonial and cool, with a view for every restaurant, and hotel beds that float you out over lagoons. If you've come on a package deal, you're just starting your adventure. Stay on when it ends to discover a few of the unique things that are Vanuatu, and to try out the sporty options, like abseiling down a waterfall, parasailing over the glorious harbour, zapping out of a cave of stalactites through a ravine on a blow-up float-ring, turning nature-child for the night on a tiny offshore island.
The best thing about Vanuatu, though, is that you feel safe and happy here. The people are a delight. They love their country and want you to enjoy its pleasures, but they aren't after the 'tourist dollar'. There's no bargaining, no hawkers, no pressure to buy. It is so refreshing.
Best places to stay in Vanuatu
Vanuatu & New Caledonia travel guide
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