Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

"First of all: it’s expensive – Sydney prices – which is rather surprising, considering that the services are far behind those of Australia or Europe (1 AUD = approx. 88 vatus). It is not spending more than half an hour in Port Vila... :), and the locals speak both English and French. Instead of a taxi, you should use the ‘buses’, which are actually minibusses, if you don't rent a car. They have a red letter B on the number plate. From Warwick to the ‘city’ :) costs 150 vatus per person.

If you’re going to the volcano, it’s worth making sure your camera is in some sort of case. We took the waterproof case with us, but since we had to open it for a moment or two, that time was enough for the dust to get into the camera zoom mechanism. When we got it looked at back home, the technician said that those few moments were enough for so much ash/dust to get into the machine that it broke. Bus drivers can be pushy, but less so than in Thailand. By the way, we ran into a funny situation: on the way home from the store, we suddenly heard the driver say ‘Uh-oh, problem’. He asked us to get out and then told us that we didn’t have to pay, but that he had to turn around now. After getting out, we realized that a few hundred meters away, the police were checking the drivers. I guess he didn't have a license or the car's papers weren't in order or something like that. :))

It's a good idea to bring shoes you can wear into the water – in some places the beach is not sandy, but a mixture of dead coral and pebbles. I think it's worth renting a car if you want to get to the Blue Lagoon or go around the island – but it's not cheap. The roads outside the capital are good. Everyone recommends 4WD, but we don't think it's necessary if you stay on the highway. We went on two paid tours (on different days), but if we had planned better, we could have done more by renting a car.” (2015)

South Pacific Ocean - Vanuatu - traditional wooden canoe - Elter photo

South Pacific Ocean - Vanuatu - tourist show combined with jogging - Elter photo

South Pacific Ocean - Vanuatu - girl - Elter photo

Practicals

Transport

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Accomodation

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Vanuatu - Tanna Island - m.o. photo

Food

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South Pacific Ocean - Vanuatu - appetizer - Elter photo

Fun

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South Pacific - Vanuatu - dance&bottom show - Elter photo

Vanuatu - welcome drink - l.e. photo

Public safety

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South Pacific Ocean - Vanuatu - Master of camouflage - Elter photo

Vanuatu - security - a.r. photo

Others

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South Pacific Ocean - Vanuatu - making fire Stone Age-way - Elter photo

Background

Vanuatu - national flag

Destination in brief

Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean country made up about 80 islands that strech 1,300 kilometers (807 miles).

Size: 12,199 km² (4,710 mi²)

Capital city: Port Vila

Population (in 2020): 306,000

Languages: a native language, the Bislama, English and French are the three official languages - Bislama is the most spoken followed by English. Vanuatu is northeast of Australia. Closest other island countries are: New Caledonia (southwest), Fiji (east), 

Religions: 93% Christians

Currency: Vanuatu vatu (VUV)

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 860 USD

Most common surname: Tari


Geography

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South Pacific Ocean - Vanuatu - Mount Yasur, a volcano on Tanna Island - Elter photo

South Pacific - Vanuatu - action - Elter photo

Vanuatu - Port Vila - endangered giant coconut crab - d.l. photo

History

Vanuatu has never been at war, but before its formation, the land that now makes up its internal borders was the scene of many conflicts.

Nowadays

Village people live in huts without running water and electricity. Locals say they have everything they need — delicious and ample fruit/food, warm weather, and sunshine. Each village has its a chief and its own church. The position of chief is hereditary. 

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“We visited a ‘kastom’ village, Yakel, where we saw how people have been living on this island for 4,000 years – in small, palm-leaf-roofed huts, some of which are built high up in the crowns of the trees. Pigs and chickens run freely in the village, and the children play with them, taking care of them so they don't get lost. We looked into a hut where the women spend most of their day cooking and talking. They had no outer clothing, only grass skirts. They showed which plants can be used to make face paint and how to use it, and then the men performed some dances, in which the children also participated. During our trip, it was interesting to see how people really live, and how the island is slowly adopting a ‘Western’ culture.

While walking in the village, we turned down a small ‘street’, but our guide told us that we should not go there. We thought we were approaching some holy place, but it turned out that a white family lived there. They supposedly live in a house equipped with everything, so they don't want other ‘whites’ to see it, because it's like living in a modern house in the middle of the jungle in the Third World, while the natives live in huts made of mud and palm leaves.” (2015)

South Pacific Ocean - Vanuatu - hut - Elter photo

People

“The initiation ceremony for young boys (ages 10-12) takes place in a designated hut (where they are circumcised with a bamboo knife). After the circumcision, the adolescent returns to his community as part of the big celebration, but from then on he lives with the men, and his mother can no longer scold him because his rank has become higher than hers. After that, the initiated boys celebrate their new rank by initiating a feast (the nimankit), which involves killing a pig and feasting on it, and giving gifts to the participants, thus gaining the respect of the living and the dead. If someone is sick, they don't call a doctor – instead, a sorcerer makes incisions on the patient's back so that the evil spirits can get out, and then puts healing herbs on the wounds.”

South pacific Ocean - Vanuatu - local heartthrob - Elter photo

South Pacific Ocean - Vanuatu - local belle - Elter photo

Vanuatu - kid - g.b. photo

Attractions

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