Things to do in Vanuatu
Be in the moment in Vanuatu
Vanuatu is one of the happiest places in the world. From the moment you see the smiling faces waiting to greet you at the airport, you’ll feel instantly relaxed! A holiday in Vanuatu is the perfect opportunity to take a step back from reality. Relax, unwind and immerse yourself in the island time of Vanuatu.
Vanuatu is the ideal holiday destination for couples, families and solo travellers alike. There are plenty of opportunities for everyone to soak up authentic culture and enjoy the surrounding crystal-clear waters, lush rainforests and roaring volcanoes. Our My Vanuatu Holiday Experts have researched all there is to do across this tropical archipelago. Take a look at their top picks below or contact them now to find out more!
Vanuatu’s magical underwater wonderland is noticeable from the moment you fly into Efate Island. The turquoise waters that surround the country are home to rare, colour species and the vibrant marine playground offers some of the best snorkelling and diving experiences in the world! Swim over untouched reefs with tropical fish, explore sunken WWII wrecks or head inland to discover Vanuatu’s gorgeous blue holes. In Vanuatu, anything is possible—you can even send a unique postcard from the world-famous underwater post office!
Immersing yourself in Vanuatu’s water adventures is easy, no matter when you visit! The climate is consistently tropical and water temperatures stay warm all year round. Kick on some flippers, put your snorkel mask on or gear up scuba-style to explore the country’s phenomenal underwater life! There are snorkelling and diving spots all around the islands, including the protected lagoon in Port Vila that’s perfect for beginners and children. For the best snorkelling experiences, join a snorkelling tour or jump aboard a boat that’s heading to a remote island. Ultimate enthusiasts can even opt to stay where they play. Hideaway Island Resort & Marine Sanctuary is a great place to do this!
While on Hideaway, take a look out to sea and try to spot a flag floating near the beach. The flag marks the Underwater Post Office—a unique site that was open in 2003. The post office is the only one of its kind in the world and sits about 3 metres under the flag on the surface. Dive into the ocean and post a one-of-a-kind message home. The postcards and waterproof and a definite must-do!
If you’re looking for the up-close experience you get from scuba diving, then look no further than Port Vila or Santo. There are countless professional diving instructors all over the islands and they can take everyone, from beginners to seasoned divers out for a plunge! The SS President Coolidge is a site not to be missed by diving enthusiasts. Explore the luxury liner that sunk beneath the surface over 70 years ago and observe the fascinating marine life that now call it home!
The water wonderland in Santo doesn’t just exist off the coastline. This Vanuatu island is famous for stunning blue holes that are scattered throughout the interior rainforest land. These natural phenomena didn’t just appear out of nowhere—when it rains on the island, the water from the volcanic mountain ranges flows underground into limestone streams and caves. The limestone purifies the rain water, making it as fresh as possible. The purification combined with the depth of the hole create the luminous blue colour. Photographs do not do these beautiful wonders of nature justice; they truly have to be seen to be believed!
Nature lovers will adore Vanuatu just as much as a water enthusiast. The mountain ranges formed by towering volcano peaks will leave you awestruck, plus the lush green rainforests will provide a cool escape from the warm tropical days! While it’s easy to spend your days relaxing on a sun lounger on the beachfront or at your resort, there are some incredible sites and outdoor adventures that simply must be a part of your next Vanuatu holiday!
Vanuatu is a haven for adrenaline-junkies. There is a huge range of heart-pumping experiences on offer, including Port Vila’s newest attraction, ziplining, which is a must for a unique sightseeing experience! Glide sky-high through the tree tops, over canyons and around waterfalls, balance across suspension bridges and take in the incredible birds-eye views as you go. Once you’ve caught your breathe, plan a day trip over the the island of Tanna. Spend an unforgettable 2-hours hiking through lush jungles and ash plains. This hike will take you to the peak of the active volcano, Mt Yasur, where you can peer over the edge of the crater’s rim to witness the rumbling pit of lava that spurts red hot magma into the air!
Horse lovers can find their niche in Vanuatu too! Saddle up and explore green rainforests, cascading waterfalls, beaches, plantations and cultural villages by horseback. Those who prefer to sit back and watch the action can make a trip to Pentecost Island and witness where the idea of bungee jumping came from. Known in Vanuatu as “land diving”, this incredible ancient ritual is routed in legend and sees islanders launch off the giant towers with just vines tied around their feet! Check out My Vanuatu’s tour options for a more laid-back approach to exploring the islands.
Vanuatu’s culture is rich, authentic and unforgettable! Many tourists travel to the country just to experience and witness the unique, laid-back village life that’s common there and there are so many ways to do it! The Vanuatu Cultural Centre & National Museum is a great place to start. Amongst the displays in the museum you will find traditional artefacts, like masks, gongs and canoes, plus prehistoric fossils, shells and pottery from up to 3000 years ago when the islands were first settled! Witness traditional cultural performances and events there too, although if you do want to see a true cultural performance or ceremony, organise a village tour!
All the village tours are operated by local ni-Vanuatu and they are a great way to learn and experience the traditional Vanuatu way of life. Learn how the people in the villages grow food, cook and use plants for medicine. See unique house building techniques and enjoy thrilling local customs like dances, kava ceremonies and rituals. These customs still form an extremely important part of the lives of ni-Vanuatu villagers. This is particularly evident through the annual festivals and cultural events that are held throughout the islands.
Food and feasting
Dining in Vanuatu allows you to eat the way that nature intended. There seems to be a never-ending array of fresh, organic produce, including local fruit, fresh seafood and arguably the best beef in the world! Vanuatu cuisine combines the flavours of the South Pacific with French, Chinese, Italian, Thai and Mediterranean flourishes and the result is a unique, refreshing taste-range that will have you coming back for more!
The villagers in Vanuatu generally have to make do with the ingredients they can get their hands on so restaurants and cafés outside of Port Vila are rare. If you do find somewhere to eat around a village, the menu options will depend solely on what’s available in that area. Port Vila however, is the paradise for eating out in Vanuatu! There are about 40 different cafés and restaurants and these are spread throughout the streets and in the resorts. Sink your teeth into a fresh lobster, take a bite of a mouth-watering piece of Vanuatu beef or try the famous coconut crab.
Vanuatu food is not all about formal dining though. Take advantage of the markets in Port Vila, from Monday to Saturday, and marvel at the fresh produce that is piled high. Depending which season you visit in, everything from basics like pineapple, peanuts, beans and bananas, to staples such as yam, taro and pawpaw are available to purchase at the markets. There’s food stalls located amongst the markets too where you can find local delicacies for reasonable prices. Grab a serving of Vanuatu’s national dish, Lap Lap. This pudding-like dish is made from grated yam mixed with coconut cream and wrapped in cabbage or a banana leaf before being cooked in an oven.
If all this has you salivating and you can’t wait to get your Vanuatu holiday started, contact our My Vanuatu Holiday Experts to kick things off!