About Vanuatu

Beautiful beaches, volcanoes and amazing people

Vanuatu Map

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Whether you are looking for a Vanuatu Honeymoon, a Vanuatu Wedding, or just a vacation to relax, explore and experience these amazing islands, Journey Pacific is here to help. There are many Vanuatu Resorts scattered amongst the main island of Efate, popular Espiritu Santo or the more remote Tanna offering it all, from simple Vanuatu Family properties to 5 Star Vanuatu Luxury, and plenty of Vanuatu Adventure in between. Simply let us know what you are looking for and tell us what your budget is and we will help you plan a trip to remember. Click on our Vanuatu Map for regions to explore or contact Colette, our in house Vanuatu specialist

Vanuatu is a colorful land of many cultures, full of fascinating surprises. A rich and colorful history gives this archipelago a unique mix of English, French and Melanesian cultures. Make discoveries yourself by asking one of the incredibly friendly Ni-Vanuatu about the nearest cave, waterfall, swimming hole, hot spring, blowhole or clifftop.

The general beauty and relaxed way of life are Vanuatu’s biggest attractions. You’ll be moved by the friendliness of the Ni-Vanuatu – it was named one of the happiest place on earth in 2007, and in 2011 was one of Lonely Planet’s top ten destinations.

No other South Pacific country harbors as many local variations. The glamorous duty-free shops, casinos, hotels, resorts and gourmet restaurants of the cosmopolitan capital, Port Vila on Efate Island, contrast with unchanging, traditional villages just over the horizon.

The Land

The 83 Islands of Vanuatu (the name means “Land Eternal”) stretch north-south 815 miles, from the Torres Islands near Santa Cruz in the Solomon Islands to minuscule Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia. Vanuatu sits on the west edge of the Pacific Plate next to the 8,000-meter-deep New Hebrides Trench. Port Vila is a simple 3-hour flight from Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand, and under 2-hours from Nadi, Fiji!

Weather in Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a year-round destination. October – March offers slightly hotter and wetter weather but still very pleasant. April – September is drier and cooler, but sudden tropical showers can occur anytime. The islands are tropical in the north and sub tropical in the south. May to August are the optimum months for outdoors activities like hiking.

Flora and Fauna

A principal botanical curiosity of Vanuatu is giant banyan trees (nabangas), which often dominate village meeting or dancing places (nasaras), especially on Tanna Island. The multi-rooted banyan begins by growing around another tree, which it ultimately strangles out of existence. These massive twisting mazes of trunks and vines are among the earth’s largest living organisms.

Vanuatu’s colorful reefs hold its greatest store of life, including tiger sharks. In Vanuatu sharks are associated with a particular type of magic that involves certain individuals who can either become sharks or control sharks.

Though introduced by man, the pig is now considered indigenous to these islands. Ni-Vanuatu in the central and northern islands knock out the male animal’s upper canine teeth so it’s lower tusks have nothing to grind against, and in six or seven years the tusks grow into a full circle. The pigs are highly valued by their owners, and the meat and tusks are prized at initiation rites and feasts.

Vanuatu Highlights

The islands of Efate, Espriritu Santo and Tanna are the three main tourist-ready islands in the archipelago. Largely because they are the most developed, with an infrastructure including the country’s only towns, Port Vila in Efate, and Luganville in Espiritu Santo.

Tanna Island is acclaimed for the world’s most accessible active volcano – Mt. Yasur, the Jon Frum Cult, and boasts truly authentic custom villages. Additionally, swim in underwater caves, visit beautiful Port resolution and of course enjoy snorkeling amongst the coral of the South Pacific.

Efate is not only home to the capital city of Port Vila – an interesting road follows the rugged coastline, allowing visitors to explore Eton beach & Crystal Blue Lagoon beach along with the Mele Cascades waterfall.

Espriritu Santo boats one of the South Pacific’s finest beaches, named Champagne beach because its shape resembles a Champagne glass, along with a rich WW2 history including the wreck of the US. President Coolidge, and Million Dollar Point.

Beyond the main islands of Efate, Espiritu Santo and Tanna, are other islands like Malekula and Pentecost both rich in breathtaking landscapes, activities and friendly people – but more wild and rustic than the main centers. These are relatively untouched islands, ideal for exploring and adventuring and immersion in authentic, local culture. Pentecost is famous for its land diving ritual (N’gol) – the original bungy jump! Explore culturally diverse Malekula for vibrant dancing, bird watching and old cannibal sites hidden in the bush.

Vanuatu Activities

Scuba diving is well developed with several active dive shops in Port Vila and a couple more at Santo. Game fishing is available out of both Port Vila & Luganville. Other active sports to pursue are windsurfing in Vila’s Erakor lagoon, horseback riding at one of the two ranches on opposite sides of Port Vila, and yachting on a charter vessel based at Port Vila. Hiking is probably the most commonly practiced activity, with well-used trails existing on all the outer islands, with Tanna being the most accessible. Mountain climbers also enjoy the active volcano climbs of Ambrym, Benbow and Marum in the south and Vetlam in the north.

Practicalities

Everyone needs a passport valid at least three months beyond their planned date of departure. Passports may be obtained from your local County Clerk/Recorders Office. If you need more information, please ask your Journey Pacific Travel Specialist. This process can take up to 8 weeks so do not delay. Journey Pacific LLC, is not responsible for any cancellation costs incurred if proper documentation is not presented. Most nationalities do not require a visa for a stay of one month or less, although onward tickets are required.

Both Port Vila and Luganville are ports of entry for yachts. The vatu is the unit of currency in Vanuatu; US$1 = approx VT 90

Getting Hitched

In general, marriages which are legally performed and valid abroad are also legally valid in the United States. Inquiries regarding the validity of a marriage abroad should be directed to the attorney general of the state in the United States where the parties to the marriage live.

In order to marry in Vanuatu, the parties must do the following no less than 21 days before the ceremony: fill out and submit a form to the Municipality of Port Vila (P.O. Box 99, Port Vila, Vanuatu; phone: (678) 22113; fax: (678) 25002; submit copies of their passports (if expatriates), provide proof of dissolution of previous marriages (if applicable); give their places of birth, current addresses, names of parents, and the particulars of two persons who will witness the ceremony. This information will be posted at the Town Hall for 21 days. The Mayor of Port Vila will then conduct the ceremony on the Friday following the expiration of the waiting period (marriages are performed only on Fridays) at the Town Hall or at a location of the parties’ choosing within Port Vila. If performed at Town Hall, the fee for the ceremony is Vatu 1,500 (USD 13.65). If performed elsewhere, the fee is Vatu 5,500 (USD 50.00).

Parties desiring a religious ceremony must make arrangements with a minister who is authorized to perform marriages. The minister is required to announce in Church the couple’s intention to marry 21 days prior to the ceremony, or to post the banns at the Church 21 days prior to the ceremony. After the ceremony the Minister will lodge the necessary documents with the Town Hall.

Special Considerations

Please let your Journey Pacific travel specialists know if you are having a birthday or anniversary while on the trip. We would also like to know of any medical or special dietary requirements, or food allergies that may be considered in planning your trip.

Getting There

The most direct flights from North America is on Air pacific’s nonstop Los-Angeles to Nadi (Fiji) service, connecting in Fiji for Vanuatu. A departure tax of VT 2,500 in local currency is payable on international flights.

Getting Around

Air Vanuatu offer more than 150 weekly services to 21 island airstrips throughout the archipelago. See the outer Islands of Vanuatu with the Air Vanuatu domestic airpass. Flights to Santo, Tanna and Noumea (New Caledonia) are operated by brand new ATR-72 aircraft, with 69 seats and offers improved levels of comfort, complemented by the friendliest smiles in the Pacific. All other domestic routes are operated by new Harbin Y-12 planes in conjuction with Twin Otter and Islander aircraft.

Interisland boat travel is far less common and far more laborious.

Minors

Minors traveling with one parent or a guardian MUST have a notarized letter of consent from other/both parents to take the minor out of the country.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you protect yourself, your belongings and your vacation through the purchase of travel insurance. A trip cancellation policy covers your non-refundable payments in most cases, should you have to cancel your trip at the last minute due to illness or injury. Click here for a free quote.