Vanuatu

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Port-Olry - Espiritu Santo

Located in the Pacific Ocean, 540 km northeast of New Caledonia and on the east coast of Australia, Vanuatu is composed of more than 86 islands and islets, mostly of volcanic origin, totaling an area of 12,189 km2 and draw a Y inclined to the left. Almost 900 km separate the fabulous Torres Islands in the north from the small island of Anatom in the south. Since 1994, these islands have been grouped in six provinces: Torba, Sanma, Penama, Malampa, Shefa and Tafea. The population of Vanuatu is estimated to be nearly 260,000 and is predominantly Melanesian and 84% Catholic. 2/3 of the population are located in the four main islands: Efate, Espiritu Santo, Mallicolo and Tanna. A very young population, with 45% of the population under 15 years old. Come and discover Port Vila, a nice and charming capital, located on the westside of the island of Efate. Adventure yourself on the top of the incredible Mt Yasur, one of the volcanoes still in activity on the archipelago and one of the most accessible in the world! Visit the sublime island of Espiritu Santo with its white sandy beaches and some paradisiacs blue lagoons. Or lose yourself on the Banks or the Torres Islands, for a stopover time in the deep Vanuatu. Without forgetting Pentecost Island and its Gol jump ancestor of the bungee jump, which is as impressive as majestic. But also Ambrym, Tongoa, Epi, Malekula and many others! More than a trip, Vanuatu is an adventure to live at 200%, an experience of the most authentic and magical!

 



Visits

Here our Top10 :


Mt Yasur

Tanna Island

Mt Yasur

"Toka"

TOP 1 : Tanna

Tanna remains the most mysterious island of the archipelago. Its volcano, the powerful "Yasur", offers a spectacle to take your breath away. Peaking at 360 meters above the sea level, it dominates the area and is completely enveloped in a broad range of volcanic ash. Both molten rock and ash are permanently ejected from the crater. After few kilometers in 4x4 in the forest covered mostly by a thin film of black ash that will take you to the foot of the summit. There will be a few meters of climb before you see this amazing crater. This lunar landscape, almost chaotic out of an end-of-the-world  movie, will give you an indescribable feeling, something scary and exciting at the same time. The resonance of the volcano mixed with the eruption of the magma, the earthquake and the large column of smoke and ash flying in the air without interrupting you, will make you shudder, tremble and vibrate with extraordinary strength to become amazing and magical at the same time. Every moment this nature seizes you. The local have an assiduous belief in the spiritual where it is related that the spirit of the dead occupies Mt Yasur. The habitants of Tanna are very attached to their customs and, according to them, must evolve with the traditions. The "Nekowiar" or "Toka" dance, testifies to this desire to preserve these customs. Recognized as one of the most spectacular festivals in the archipelago, this ceremony illustrious tribal wars, today is a sign of alliance, unity and friendship among the various ethnic groups. The "JohnFrum" in Sulfur Bay, or the "cargo cult", is celebrated in February. Each year, numbers of its followers gathered around a cross painted in red. To the sound of songs and dances, each one hopes one day to finally know the arrival of the "white cargo" loaded with products of values and other signs of wealth. For the pleasure of the divers, the wreck of the "Fidjian", which sank in 1916, rests at 20 meters depth. The wild horses of the "White Grass" trays capture the attention of the visitors. Beaches, hot springs and waterfalls await you. On the east coast of the island, the small town of Port-Résolution offers some accommodation on the edge of its magnificent Lagoon. Beyond its many natural attractions such as its most accessible volcano in the world or the traditional and ancestral life remain one of the unavoidable for all travelers traveling through Vanuatu and Oceania.



TOP 2  : Espiritu Santo

The island called "Santo" in the northwest of Vanuatu is the largest land in the archipelago and also the most diverse. Known to have been a American military base during the second World War, Espiritu Santo keep many traces of this such as roads, buildings or airports. The Americans have also left many wrecks on the coast of the island which make the delight of the divers. The wreck of President Coolidge where those million dollar point and USS Tucker are high places of diving, and submerged carcass lovers come from the four corners of the globe to see this fascinating places. Luganville is the capital situated in the south-east of the island and the second largest city in the country. With its wide avenues, its colorful market, its small cars and the sympathy of the locals will give you a pleasant first note of the island. A road runs along the east coast of the island to Port-Olry passing through many Blue holes, natural paradises pleasant for swimming as well as some of the most beautiful beaches of the archipelago like Champagne beach, and its fine sand licked by the Turquoise waters or Oyster Island, a hidden paradise. But the real marvel of Santo is Port Olry with its fine white sand bathed in a delicious turquoise water lagoon. A true paradise! Take a bungalow on the beautiful beach of Port Olry Harbor Beach or contemplate a sublime sunset and try a coconut crab prepared by their care. An unforgettable moment. Many activities are possible arround Port-Olry such as hiking or canoeing. A true Eden Garden! More in the south of the island by entering the land is the incredible Millennium Cave. After few kilometers in 4x4 before joining a remote village then 30 minute walk through the forest to reach a second village, access point of the Millennium cave. A real ride is offered to you. Accompanied by guides and a flashlight, you will cross a beautiful forest before to arrive at this cave where a little river winds its way. Entering in the cave and following the river, a new world opens up to you where nightbirds and firefly follow you. Leaving the cave on the other side a wonderful world is offered to you. One of the most beautiful canyoning in the Pacific. You will swim in a gorge where waterfalls tumbling from the sky shower you with a multitude of fish trying  to play with you.

A memorable moment that the island of Espiritu Santo offers. The western part of the island is inaccessible by car and preserved from tourists. It is therefore almost impossible to access it.

The first nature park "Vathee" counts 85% of the fauna and Flora of Vanuatu. Espiritu Santo is a true Top in the Top, one of its magical and fantastic places that is sublimated by the sun and its warm habitants.

Port Olry

Millenium Cave Village

Port-Olry

Blue Lagoon



Market of Port-Vila

Falls in Efaté

Blue Lagoon

TOP 3  : Efate

Located in the center of the archipelago, Efate is the most populated island of the archipelago and holds the capital of the country: Port Vila. A true beating heart of the island, it seduces thanks to its lively and historic center, its welcoming bars, cafe and restaurants, its friendly galleries, its surprising Chinatown and its eternal local and colorful market. The market is open days and nights and exposes you fruits, vegetables, flowers, seafood, all from the island on the stands and on the floor. Port-Vila is a cosmopolitan center where French refinement, English and Asian flavor and are blends with the Melanesian culture. In the back of the market there are few small kitchens preparing great meals! Its small port ingrained in its sublime bay makes of the most beautiful and pleasant capital of the pacific. You can go around the island by bus, rental car or quad to discover all the splendor that Efate has to offer. Many gorgeous blue holes or splendide waterfalls are way and located on the island and unfortunately the majority are pay fee. The Mele Waterfalls are the most famous across the island and many tourists come to see them during the day. Stop at Eton beach and its cute small lagoon of turquoise water protected by some beautiful rocks formation. You will find lot of small islands, some of them are accessible for the day such as the little Eratoka in the form of a floating hat, Lelepa with its 500 inhabitants and the famous Fels cave decorated with ancient engraving and which has been designated Unesco world heritage. The Island of Nguna and its summit at 593m is really nice as well. Contact Sebastien who will be able to inform you in details and offer you an accommodation of choice with a really good quality in the heart of Port-Vila. Obligatory passage for the islands of Vanuatu, Efate is a fantastic and welcoming place of Vanuatu!



TOP 4  : Torres Islands

The Torres Islands are the forgotten islands of Vanuatu. At the northern tip of Vanuatu and 170 km south of the Solomon Islands lies this marvelous set of 6 islands with fine sandy beaches and dreamy scenery. Stretching 50 km long, the islands of Hiu, Metoma, Tegua, Linua, Toga and the main island of Loh are renowned for their coconut crabs for the kindness and generosity of the locals, the white sandy beaches, and the beautiful Yeyenwu caves on the island of Hiu (with stalagmites, stalactites and extraordinary mural paintings). Few visitors dare to venture to this islands. However the kindness of the locals and the natural beauty of the landscapes are incredible and make it one of the great places of Vanuatu!
You will not find any bank or police and no telephone and internet before the year 2015. The island of Loh in the center is the main island with the small village of Lunghariki, which serves as administrative capital of the region. So travelers who love places at the end of the world, the sublime Torres Islands are for you!

Snake Dance - Torres Island
mitchellkphotos.com



Marum & Benbow

Local life close to Endu

TOP 5 : Ambrym

This volcanic island also known as "the black island". Located north of the island of Epi in the province of Malampa, Ambrym is renowned for its two active volcanoes and for its black magic. Its volcanoes with its two craters named "Marum" and "Benbow", is accessible after a long trek from the West or the North, from the village of Ranvetlam. The majority of travelers come here to discover this amazing show. Less spectacular than his older sister of Tanna, but equally beautiful, Ambrym remains no less mysterious with its large plain of ash between its two monsters giving the strangeness of a lunar landscape in over 12km long in the center of the island. Mt Marum and Mt Benbow are in permanent eruption. When you are going in the interior of the island, you are struck by the greenish vegetation (kind of moss) that covers the old lava flows. Ambrym is renowned for its monumental drums of carved wood. These are the most spectacular pieces of art in Vanuatu. The dance places of the traditional villages are decorated with these wooden drums dug, planted in the land, and which can reach several meters of height. Ambrym is one of those islands of the Pacific and of Vanuatu where the local beliefs are still very strong and where the local dance and singing rhythms the daily life of the black island. Ambrym offers you an adventure for intrepid travelers who want to experience authentic custom, make cultural excursions or just cross this mysterious island between black magic and witchcraft legend.

 



TOP 6 : Pentecost

 Located in the northeastern of Vanuatu, Pentecost is a lush, mountainous island stretching 60 km long from the North to the South, but is mostly famous for its "Naghol" (leap of the Gol), which is one of the most spectacular rituals in the Pacific. A mountain range delineates the moist, rainy east coast of the more temperate west coast. The island of Pentecost is renowned for a special and spectacular ceremony: the N 'gol, or Nagol, or the Gol jump. The N'gol is the ancestor of bungee jumping. It draws its roots from a legendary millennium. One day a man was angry against his wife (Tamalie). He pursues her, and she takes refuge in a tree. The man hesitates to go and seek her and promises to forgive her and to beat her less if she descends of the tree. When she refuses, the man decides to go up. The woman jumps from the tree; The man follows her and kills himself, without realizing that she had rolled to her knees a creeper! Since each year during the period from April to June, when the creepers are the most solid and flexible, the mens and the young boys after a beautiful ceremony jump together with their feet joined and to pass at the adulthood under the gaze of women and travelers dumbfounded!

intrepidtravel.com



picture : mitchellkphotos.com

Gaua Island

TOP 7 : Les Banks

Banks Islands is a small archipelago composed of 12 islands and islets of volcanic origin which are inhabited by 8 533 inhabitants. The largest island is Vanua LavaGaua, the second largest in size, is home to the Lake Letas, the largest lake in Vanuatu. These islands are relatively small and most of the attractions are easy walking distance. You will find many activities that include white sand beaches, coral reefs with multiple colors around the west of Mota Lava and Ra Island. Some hikes are not to be set aside climbing the rocks on Ra or climbing the mountain of Mota Lava despite a steep climb it offers you a most astounding landscape. Mota Lava is also the ideal place to organize an expedition to the uninhabited island of Reef Island. The center of the island of Gaua remains a great place for hiking where you will see this giant active volcano of Mount Garret and the "Siri Waterfall", surely the most impressive waterfall of Vanuatu. In these virgin islands, the fauna is quite varied, you can see some crustaceans, wild pigs, Pacific boas, giant tortoises, and even alligators! Despite an expensive fly the Banks are part of the inevitable islands of this beautiful archipelago!

 



TOP 8  : Malekula

Malekula or "Mallicolo" is the second island of the country. It extends over 94 km in length and 44 km in its widest part. Norsup Airport is the main entrance to the island. The Art and rituals of Malekula have their place among the various festivities of the world. There is a great diversity of dialects and people who make the charm of the island. The two main clans of the island are the "Big Nambas" and the "Smol Nambas" known for their ancestral cannibalism. The southern part of the island is inhospitable and mountainous. Discover Malekulala the cannibal, one of the wildest and unspoilt island of Vanuatu!

Numbas dance



local life

TOP 9 : Epi

 Epi is a volcanic island situated north of Efate. Main island of the Sheperds groups it is among the most beautiful islands of the archipelago. Epi offers you an incredible asset palette, lush vegetation, a white or black sand beachs, lakes, coconut groves, mountains two submarine volcanoes and a famous dugong named "Bondas" that accompanies you swim in the bay of De Lamen. Superb surf spots on the northeast coast of the island and unreal sunsets are offered to you. Epi is easily reachable by air link from Efate and by boat from Ambrym. If you have time and the adventure does not scare you, Epi is the island that you need to visit!

 

 



TOP 10 : Tongoa

Tongoa is the largest and northernmost island of the Shepherd Islands, an archipelago of Vanuatu. With an area of 42.0 km² populated by just over 2000 inhabitants, Tongoa, also known as Kuwae and hold 13 villages. Serviced by an airfield, Tongoa Island will be a test for you, by its custom, its gastronomy and its warmheart inhabitants who will make you explore this island with its mountainous and tropical decoration. Attractive for multiple aspects the island is well known for its many ancient volcanic craters and black sand beaches. Located above an underwater caldera, is one of the most active submarine volcanoes of the archipelago. The legendary fall of Tongoa which is home to a particularly abundant and colorful fauna and flora, all uncrowded and perfectly preserved enough to delight the most experienced divers. In search of escape, join the land of Tongao to explore this remote island to extract all the savings of this jewel lost in the middle of the Pacific.

Picture: famouswonders.com


Bonus :


Picture: vanuatuislandtravel.com

Erromango

Erromango is the largest island of Tafea, the most southerly province of Vanuatu inhabited by its 1960 inhabitants. Its largest villages are Port Narvin and Dillon Bay (Upongkor). There is a basic store, a water supply and a drinking water dispenser. The island is an ancient submarine volcano consisting of two aerial volcanoes, the Melkoum (758 m) and the Nompoum-Oumpan (802 m). One of the biggest attractions of the island is at Bay Dillon one of the largest settlements of Erromango where you will find a blue hole that is actually a basin of crystal clear water formed by the Williams River turning towards the sea. A little more inland you will certainly fall on Santol growing in its lush tropical forest and well as in a reserve of Kauri reaching a height of more than 40 meters. Erromango remains an excellent place for trekking and hiking, it is besides advisers to take a guide to go to Dillon's Bay. There is also an excursion through the jungle on a three-day walk through Ipota. To relax you will find Suvu Beach, a beautiful stretch of white sand awaits you where you can explore caves with hand-made drawings on the walls and other historical ruins.  Note that this area is only accessible with a guide and in Canoe or boat. Erromango, a wild and unspoilt island, remains a secret isolated from the Pacific.



Maewo

Maewo is located on the north of the island of Pentecost, easy to reach, with more than 3,500 habitants, mostly on the west coast of the island. It is home to many waterfalls, such as the "Big Falls" located in the north, classified as one of the 8 wonders of the world according to the locals, or the marvelous "Lavoa Cascades" near Asanvari. In this Eden, one finds there sumptuous natural swimming pools bordered by a most enchanting aquatic flora. Maewo is also a wild, long and narrow island with many streams and rivers. It's pleasant to walk around the Mt Tagutgara (811 m) offering spectacular views as well as mysterious natural plants covering the path. Go discover its cultural spectacle celebrated by traditional dances as well as magic by skilled wizards. It is important to note that visitors to Maewo Island will have to observe and respect these dances and restrictions. End your stay to admire its incredible sunset on the coast while listening to the famous melodious songs of the inhabitants of Maewo, a source of pleasure to savor the time of an evening.

Canoe around Maewo



Local dance

Doug Clegg's photography

Ambae

Located in the northern part of the archipelago and on the west coast of Maewo Island, this small volcanic island, 40 km long by 20 km wide, is the product of a three-craters volcano 1496m above the sea. The three craters are immersed in lakes all surrounded by tropical forests hidden in the clouds most of the time. Two paths are possible to reach the summit. One from the West and the village of Ndui Ndui passing through Nangweangwea and the second from the North from Lolopuepue crossing the Duviara conservation area. Come visit the island considered as the most beautiful in the world for some of us for its site, its active volcano, its jungle, its population, and its culture. An extraordinary journey deep into Vanuatu.



Anatom

The last island in the south of the Archipelago is mountainous with many unspoiled beaches lined with magnificent reefs. Located 70 km south-southeast of Tanna this island is a paradise for lovers of scuba diving. Formerly covered with vast forests of Kauris and Sandalwood, it was completely deforested. It also inherits the largest church built in the 19th century whose ruins today bear witness to the wealth of the past.

Local life






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