Located about 1,500 kilometres east of northern Australia, on the same latitude as Cairns, Vanuatu is a tropical haven for travellers and adventurers alike.
The archipelago has a total land mass of 12,189 square kilometres made up mostly of 82 volcanic islands. Its surface area makes it the 161st biggest country out of the 249 listed.
The estimated population of Vanuatu as of 2011 is 221,417 people. The island nation was initially inhabited by the Melanesian people who eventually became the ancestors of the Ni-Vanuatu—the nationals and citizens of Vanuatu. The Ni-Vanuatu make up about 98.5% of the country’s population, with the rest being made up of Australians, Asians, Kiwis, French and other nationalities.
Out of the 113 different languages and many more dialects spoken in Vanuatu, there are only 3 official languages: English, French, and Bislama.
The Ni-Vanuatu are known to be a musical people. Their musical instruments such as the tamtam (slit-drum or slit-gong), panpipes, flutes, and conch shells are common sights (not to mention sounds) all around the islands.
The local currency is the Vatu (VT). Each Vatu is approximately worth 0.01 Australian Dollar. Still, transactions are made simple by the fact that most establishments accept foreign currencies as well as travellers’ cheques and credit cards.
Vanuatu Custom prohibits the practice of tipping and bargaining.
It is quite easy to gain entry to Vanuatu as the country doesn’t require visas from citizens of most countries. As long as you have a valid ticket which indicates the return date to your country of origin, and a passport that is valid up to 6 months after your intended date of departure, you will be issued a visa upon arrival.
A complete list of countries exempted from being required visas upon entry can be found here (PDF).
Things to do in Vanuatu
Tourism in Vanuatu is a healthy industry owing to the popularity of its beaches, live volcanoes, dive spots, wildlife, and scenery. All of which give rise to tourist attractions like landsurfing, golfing, canoeing, surfing, snorkelling, off-road riding, hiking, tours, and cruises.
Tourism accounts for about 40% of Vanuatu’s GDP. Estimates say in 2007-2008, the country received 196,134 tourists—around 90% of the entire population of the country itself.
The scuba diving industry is Vanuatu’s biggest draw to date. The island nation is home to some of the world’s most fascinating dive spots. The wreckage of the SS Coolidge, the vast underwater cavern known as The Cathedral, and the Million Dollar Point are just some of Vanuatu’s dive draws. This is not to mention of the wide variety of coral reefs, and underwater wildlife found all throughout the archipelago.
Find out more about Vanuatu and its beautiful islands.
Vanuatu – At a Glance
- Where? – In the South Pacific. About 1,500 kilometres east of northern Australia.
- Population – Estimated at 221,417 people in 2011
- Transport – Vanuatu can be reached via air and water from nearby ports in Australia and New Zealand. Air Vanuatu, the country’s flagship carrier is the most trusted way to travel to and from the island nation.
The cheapest accommodation can be found using our Best Hotel Deals page. Simply click here to check out the best accommodation prices in Vanuatu.
There's few places in the world like Vanuatu. If you are yet to visit this tropical oasis and paradise in the sea, make sure you book your travel right away!
- Things to do
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