The Republic of Vanuatu, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, offers sun, sand and ample adventure. Trek through dense jungles, descend into caves, climb up steaming magma-filled volcanoes and ride a ferry out to a preserved marine park to swim with colorful tropical fish.
Don’t be surprised if you overhear local conversations in French here as France, along with several other European nations, once claimed ownership over part of the islands. After an independence movement gained traction during the 1970s, the Republic of Vanuatu was founded in 1980. Today, the nation blends its traditional customs with past foreign influences, making for a rich cultural identity.
In the capital of Port Vila, head to the National Museum of Vanuatu to inspect ancient canoes, jewelry and headdresses. To enjoy the crystal-clear waters, spend time at Mele Cascades, a popular waterfall and swimming spot surrounded by lush greenery. Get a feel for the town’s spirited atmosphere while shopping for souvenirs at a busy local market.
About 330 feet (100 meters) off Port Vila’s coast is Hideaway Island. Take a free ferry out to the area to go on a dive tour or to snorkel in the marine sanctuary. Have lunch at the resort’s restaurant to sample local island cuisine.
For the ultimate adventure, take a guided tour up Mount Yasur. The journey starts in dense jungle and continues up to the ash plains near the crater’s rim. Visit at night for stunning views of the red hot lava bursting up into the sky.
Travel to Luganville, a coastal city that looks out to Aore Island. While in Luganville, visit the Millenium Cave to marvel at bat-filled chambers, powerful waterfalls and rocky pools.
Vanuatu is a popular cruise ship destination. If you’re not arriving by boat, fly into Bauerfield International Airport in Port Vila or Santo-Pekoa International Airport near Luganville. If you plan on venturing away from tourist hot spots, speak to a local guide who can advise on safety and accessibility.
Come to Vanuatu to discover a tropical paradise that provides thrilling adventures as well as all-but-empty beaches to relax on.