It’s difficult to refrain from falling head over sandy-heels in love with this quaint and often underrated island.
Less populated than its Fijian counterpart, yet rich with lush vegetation and spectacular natural attractions, Vanuatu is one humble nation that is well worth a visit.
We take a look at some of the must-do Vanuatu experiences when holidaying in the island archipelago.
1. Sample the (Often Questionable Looking) Local Fare.
Okay, so not everyone will jump at the chance to wrap his or her taste buds around nautou (ground pigeon) and rousette (fruit bat), but there’s loads of other tasty treats that can be picked up at the produce market in Port Vila.
Don’t go past the juicy raspberries at only 100 VUV a punnet, the local lap lap (a root vegetable cake) or the dried fish (tasty, but not so attractive).
Take note: local NiVans do carbs really well so leave your diet at the airport.
2. Float on Your Back in the Blue Lagoon, Port Vila.
Rope swinging from the banks may not be your thing (well, it wasn’t mine. Hello, fear of heights) but the sheer beauty of the Blue Lagoon is sure to take your breath away.
For a small fee, you’ll be given access to what could easily be mistaken for the Garden of Eden, where you’ll have the opportunity to frolic, picnic, or simply relax while your driver patiently waits for you to come back down to earth.
3. Spend a Day With the Locals.
The only thing brighter than the azure waters of the Blue Lagoon is the smiles of the native children.
Unlike the affable residents of popular tourist hotspots such as Thailand and Bali, the NiVans will not pester you to buy goods; in fact, quite the opposite. Expect generous offerings and heart-warming gestures when visiting the locals in their own homes.
Plus, a day spent laughing with the kids under a palm tree is sure to feed anyone’s soul.
4. Climb the Mele Cascades and Sit Under a Waterfall.
If your dreams of waterfalls are restricted to that image you’ve had set as your Desktop background for the last four years, then get ready to step into reality.
After a short drive from Port Vila and a pleasant hike through the lush vegetation, you’ll reach the pinnacle 35-metre falls and translucent rock pools.
Marvel at the sheer magnitude of the flowing water and enjoy the magnificent example of nature at its best. Just hold on to your bikini top for dear life.
5. Catch an Exhilarating Fire Show.
What could be better than foot-tapping Top 40 beats combined with attractive shirtless men skillfully performing fire tricks? Nothing, that’s what.
The talented team of guys (and a couple of gifted girls) who make up the Wan Smolbag Theatre do the hotel rounds performing stunts with fire sticks, fire hula-hoops and fire skipping ropes.
At the very least, you should be impressed with their ability to hold kerosene in their mouths. Not to be missed.
Featured image by David Kirkland/Vanuatu Tourism Office