In a country that stretches over 1,300 kilometres through the Pacific, it's hard to know where to start your trip in Vanuatu. To help you get your bearings on adventure, check our map of Vanuatu from the north to the south.
The north is dominated by Espiritu Santo, the largest island in the archipelago and one of the most interesting to visit. Luganville is the main town on the island and Vanuatu's second largest city, with a population of just over 13,000. The nearby airport is the easiest way to access the island. On Santo you can experience the French ambiance of Port Olry, swim or paddle in deep water limestone rock pools called the deep blue holes, and sink your toes into the white sand of Champagne Beach.
A little to the south of Santo is Ambrym. This island is sometimes referred to as the Black Island because of the volcanic soil, but it is also famous for black magic. Ambrym has remained largely untouched by Western influences, so cultural events and villages on the island are of particular interest to visitors. The twin volcanoes of Mount Benbow and Mount Marum are the main attractions on the island.
Pentecost Island, southeast of Santo, is most famous for the Land Diving festival that takes place on Saturdays during April and May. As well as the land diving festival, Pentecost is a great place to witness traditional life. For example, local men still wear nambas, or penis sheaths, and women traditional grass skirts. Most people visit Pentecost on day trips, which lets you take in the best of the local culture and natural beauty before heading back to islands with a little more infrastructure!
Efate is central to Vanuatu geographically, but also economically and politically. This is the most populated island, largely because of Port Vila. As the capital city and international transport hub, this is where most visitors arrive and depart. There are plenty of accommodation options in and around Port Vila, with ample land and water experiences to be had nearby. One of the few sealed roads in the country runs around Efate. You can drive the ring road in a few hours, so it makes for a great day trip.
On a small atoll in Efate's Mele Bay you can find Hideaway Island, an exclusive resort and marine sanctuary. This is a prime snorkelling area and also the spot where you can send a waterproof postcard in the world's only underwater post office.
The most popular island to visit in the south of Vanuatu is Tanna. This island is only 40 minutes from Port Vila and flights arrive near Lenakel in western Tanna. Most resorts are nearby, so this area is a good base. From here you can take day trips to Mount Yasur or more mysterious locations, such as the Blue Cave, the Giant Banyan Tree, or Yakel Village. You might even get a glimpse of a cargo cult!
Mystery Island is a tiny, uninhabited islet off the coast of Aneitym, the southernmost island in the whole country. The little slice of sand and pristine water is a popular stop off for cruise ships. Despite its small size, there is plenty to do on Mystery Island. As a marine sanctuary, snorkelling here is out of this underwater world. When swimming gets too much, there are beach massages or an easy 20-minute walk around the sandy shore.
Let us map out a fantastic holiday in Vanuatu for you. To get a sense for the direction you want your holiday to go, reach out to our friendly team today!