Vanuatu is one of the most extraordinary island groups in the Pacific Ocean, which is often referred to as 'the untouched paradise of Oceania.' It is a pretty young country in terms of tourism. Vanuatu has managed to acquire a reputation of one of the best resort areas of Melanesia, being widely known for its nature, the identity of the people, traditions and the incredible underwater world.

The island of Efate is the third largest island of Vanuatu and the most popular tourist area of the country. The first settlers of the island were the representatives of Melanesian culture, who arrived at Efate from Papua New Guinea through the Solomon Islands. The first European who saw the coast of Efate, was the famous Captain Cook, who named the island Sandwich. The first European settlements appeared in the Gulf of Havanna on the north side of the island just 50 years after Cook's visit. The sailors from whaling ships, traders and missionaries formed the basis for settlement, which developed into the present-day 40,000 people. A lot of the local residents inhabit small villages stretching along the coast, and few live in the interior of Efate.

Efate has a fairly rugged coastline, with many fast flowing rivers and cascading waterfalls, a large number of isolated bays and lagoons with sandy beaches. Mele Bay, which lies just 4 miles northwest of Port Vila, is one of the most beautiful places on the island. Efate is famous for an extensive coral reef, abundant traces of shipwrecks, and bizarre underwater landscape, framed by the bay. Black Sands reef is one of the most popular sites for diving on the island. In the body of the reef, there are more than a hundred of caves and tunnels, which are home to some 300 species of fish. The transparency of the water ranges from 30 to 50 meters and allows seeing much of the underwater world without diving. Nearby is the colorful Gotham City reef, also considered to be a great place for diving. A lot of underwater tunnels and caves can be found in the area of Tukey-Tukey, where besides reefs one can see sunken ships.

The island's capital, Port Vila, is whimsically curved around the shore of the bay. Its quarters are located on the steep slopes of the surrounding mountains. This charming town bears the imprint of several cultures and is traditionally considered the most picturesque city in the country. However, the capital is the only city in the islands, so it is virtually incomparable to anything else. The compact central commercial area forms a small downtown area. Kumuli Highway is the main transport artery of the city, running along the shoreline past the main landmarks of the capital, such as the magnificent Cultural Center with the collections of fine arts, archaeological and ethnographic collections. Some of the most notable places in the capital include Independence Park, the Anglican Church, Parliament, Old Court House, and Post Office. French Quarter lies north of the center and can boast a handful of buildings in the colonial style. Chinatown, or Hong Kong Street as the locals call it, is located around Rue Carnot and is widely known for its restaurants and cafes. Ask your Vanuatu tour operator to advise on a hotel which would best expose you to the local vibrant life.

Visiting the islands one can make an excursion to the nearby islands Pele, Moso, Lelepa and the Kakule insular group, see the extinct volcano on the island or the birthplace of the magnificent rain forests, rare birds and butterflies.

The southern island of Tanna is considered the most mysterious island of the archipelago and the most populated island of Vanuatu. The economy of Tanna is based primarily on agriculture and tourism. The number of bungalows in the island is truly impressive. Tanna is a colorful mix of savannah, ancient forests, green valleys and rugged mountains. The northwestern part of Tanna, adjacent to the mid-ocean ridges, is covered with fields and bushes. And in the center of the island, there is agricultural area with very fertile volcanic soils. The main attraction of Tanna is a constantly active volcano Yasur, the largest volcano in Vanuatu and the most easily accessible active volcano in the world.

Contact a travel agent in Vanuatu to prepare a memorable trip or get a quote for specific travel needs such as hotel rooms, flights, visas and more.
Leisure Paradise in Vanuatu