Isles of adventure: The best of Vanuatu
Isles of adventure: The best of Vanuatu
So, where to begin on your Vanuatu adventure? The largest island, Espiritu Santo, is known for fabulous food, swimming holes and stunning snorkelling.
It also has no shortage of adventure activities to enjoy. On Efate you’ll find beauty around every corner, with its breathtaking coastline and spectacular waterfalls. Lelepa Island is a family-friendly destination and a wonderful place to unplug and unwind – there’s no electricity or cars, just 64 hectares of unspoilt rainforest. Or, for the more adventurous traveller, you can encounter the world’s most accessible active volcano on Tanna Island, climb two active volcanoes on Ambrym, or embark on a three-day hike on Mount Garet in Gaua. Get to know Vanuatu traditions on the tropical island of Pentecost where you can witness nangol (land diving), in which local men leap from a wooden tower with just a vine tied around their ankles.
Although Vanuatu is a wonderful destination for families, or to travel with friends, it’s truly the perfect place to visit for an unforgettable couple’s retreat. Whether you’re after a honeymoon location, a place to spend time away from the kids, or looking to make the most of retirement together, Vanuatu is the ideal holiday spot for couples young and old, especially if you love to explore and enjoy immersing yourself in a new culture during your travels.
Vanuatu is home to many bright aqua swimming holes. At the Blue Lagoon on Efate you can fling yourself into the clear water from a rope swing. Or on Tanna you’ll find the Blue Cave, a grotto only accessible by swimming through a short underwater tunnel.
MEET THE LOCALS
The Ni-Vanuatu people are known for their genuine friendliness and welcoming nature. Get to know the locals by catching a ride on a mini-bus, chatting at the markets or even staying with Ni-Vanuatu in local bungalows for a truly authentic experience.
Support the local economy by shopping at the markets. Each island has its own central marketplace where you can buy fresh local produce, or you can find beautiful handmade keepsakes from Mama’s Market in Port Vila.
5 THINGS TO DO IN VANUATU
Vanuatu is a wonderful destination for adventure activities. If you hop around the country’s islands, we can guarantee you’ll never run out of enticing things to see and do.
1. Scuba diving comes with a dose of history off Espiritu Santo. See the largest accessible wreck in the world, the SS President Coolidge, or dumped WWII inventory at Million Dollar Point.
2. No trip to Vanuatu would be complete without a day spent on Champagne Beach. The world-renowned beach is famous for its crystal -clear waters and powdery white sands.
3. On Efate you’ll find the Mele Cascades, with stunning waterfalls and naturally formed pools surrounded by jungle. Climb to the top of the cascades and then cool off with a dip.
4. Don’t miss observing Vanuatu’s cultural rituals such as nangol (land diving) on Pentecost Island. This predecessor to bungee jumping needs to be seen to be believed.
5. On Espiritu Santo and Gaua you can see Ni-Vanuatu ladies perform their ‘water music’, in which they stand waist-deep in the ocean and create music using their hands.
There are a few adults-only resorts in Vanuatu that are perfect for honeymooners, or parents craving a child-free beak. Boutique resort The Havannah is a truly romantic, relaxing option.
For the ultimate in luxury, enjoy a private island getaway at the Ratua Island Resort & Spa. This not-for-profit eco-resort was founded to support local communities and to promote sustainability.
Rockwater Resort is for those seeking something a little different, with its rooms crafted out of a limestone cliff. As an eco-resort, it’s great for environmentally conscious travellers.
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K2 Café takes traditional Vanuatu flavours and adds a modern Kiwi twist. Co-owner and chef Kandy Tamagushiku is Vanuatu-born and Christchurch- trained, while co-owner and front-of-house Kelly Phillips is from Greymouth.
To taste authentic local cuisine, be sure to try the traditional dishes at Mama’s Market. They come complete with laughter and chats with the local ladies.
Special occasions call for dining at Tamanu on the Beach. The resort’s beachfront restaurant boasts panoramic ocean views and vibrant dishes using local organic produce.
MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN
Some of Vanuatu’s most memorable activities are best enjoyed by couples. Here’s what we suggest if you’re heading to Vanuatu for a romantic getaway.
DINE BENEATH THE STARS
What could be more romantic than dining beneath a vast expanse of twinkling stars in clear skies? Vanuatu has no shortage of open-air dining where visitors can star-gaze. Eat free from the distractions of little ones at an adults-only resort. Breakas Beach Resort and Eratap Beach Resort both allow you to dine smack-bang in the middle of the beach.
You needn’t wait for your honeymoon to escape to this tropical paradise. With an abundance of service providers ready and waiting to help you plan the perfect big day, Vanuatu is the ideal wedding location. You don’t need to have a conventional beach wedding – you can make a volcano your backdrop, read your vows aboard a yacht, or say ‘I do’ beside a beautiful waterfall.
See Vanuatu’s active volcanoes, coral reefs and tropical rainforests from the air. Vanuatu Helicopters offers a range of romantic experiences, such as the opportunity to fly in to a secluded island for a champagne lunch. Or, make your way to Pentecost Island by seaplane with Air Taxi Vanuatu to see the nangol ritual.
CELEBRATE WITH A LONG LUNCH
Spend an afternoon sipping champagne and sampling local seafood on the shore. Francesca’s Beach Club is a great location for a long lunch where you can celebrate with your significant other. And with live music scheduled every Sunday afternoon, your lunch can turn into a party to enjoy into the evening.
A DAY OF PAMPERING
Vanuatu’s adventure activities are fabulous, but after all that exploring, you may be craving some relaxation. The best way to wind down is with a pamper package at a day spa. Many resorts have their own day spas, so check whether your accommodation has spa experiences on offer. Plus, plenty of service providers have packages tailored to both men and women.
TAKE A CRUISE
Forty minutes from Port Vila you’ll find the perfect sailing spot in Havannah Harbour. Take a day cruise on a trimaran with Sailaway Cruises, where you’ll visit some of Vanuatu’s top snorkel and dive sites. Or a Coongoola Day Cruise on a ketch will take you to secluded coves and white sandy beaches. It’s also a great way to get to know other couples and make new friends during your getaway.