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
South Pacific travel guide
The South Pacific isn't just a homogenous spread of palm trees and warm ocean - escape your resort and you'll find cultures and experiences as rich as coconut cream.
The best places to learn to dive
Dreaming of getting your dive ticket? Looking for a combination of idyllic conditions and reputable dive outfits, we’ve narrowed down the top spots to get certified. Because life’s too short to miss out. Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia Tallow Beach, Byron Bay. Image from Wikimedia Commons. The diving: just 2.
Vanuatu & New Caledonia travel guide
Tropical weather brings light and life to sandy beaches and azure waters. Throughout the islands, strong communities show off their country’s attributes to a soundtrack of drumming and dance.
Naghol: how to witness Vanuatu's land diving festival
'The Tower' by PaulSteinJC.
South Pacific - Vanuatu (Chapter)
There's no doubting the natural beauty of Tonga. Travellers choose the pace of their adventure here, mixing sun-and-sand holidays with unique and intrepid experiences. Throw away any preconceived ideas, slow down to the pace of local life, and you'll love the place. Marvel at the imposing Ha'amonga Trilithon 'a Maui, the 'Stonehenge of the South Pacific' Taste the suckling pig and enjoy the fire dance at the Oholei Beach Feast & Show.
How to choose a South Pacific island
The South Pacific confounds even the savviest map buffs with its splatter of dots spread across the world's biggest ocean. What you can't tell from a map, or even most tourist brochures is that these palm-laden pinpricks are as diverse as the region is vast.
Vanuatu & New Caledonia - Vanuatu (Chapter)
Your journey to Vanuatu and New Caledonia starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus indepth info on selecting an island paradise and what kind of resort to choose when you get there.