15 unforgettable Vanuatu moments


Port Olry Beach. Photography: Vanuatu Tourism
Port Olry Beach. Photography: Vanuatu Tourism
The very best holidays should include the perfect balance of activity and rest. With so many wonderful things to see and do, and just as many ways to kick back and relax, Vanuatu is the ultimate place to collect memorable moments.

1. Lunch at Port Olry, Espiritu Santo

One of the best ways to savour the natural beauty of Vanuatu is with a leisurely lunch in a beachside hut at Port Olry. Known for its great food, the village is the perfect place to try local delicacies such as coconut crab.

2. Swing into Blue Holes

Protected by the shade of ancient rainforest trees, Vanuatu’s naturally occurring blue holes are ideal for an afternoon spent swimming. Many of the blue holes have waterside shacks serving cold drinks, and rope swings for an adrenaline rush.

3. Swim at Champagne Beach, Espiritu Santo

What could be more memorable than visiting one of the world’s most beautiful beaches? A swim in the warm, azure waters of Champagne Beach will leave you in awe.

4. Catch a ride on the local buses

Get to know the islands, and the locals, with a ride on a minibus, the best way to get around while making new friends.

5. Come face to face with an active volcano, Tanna

On the island of Tanna you’ll find Mount Yasur, an active volcano where you can watch the lava dance as you stand upon the crater’s edge. Get up close … but only with a local guide.

6.  Explore a World War II shipwreck, Espiritu Santo

Some of Vanuatu’s best dive sites are remnants of the Second World War, such as the SS President Coolidge, the largest accessible wreck in the world. Machinery dumped into the ocean by the American military at the end of the war – cars, tanks and guns – are close enough to the surface to explore with only a snorkel.

7.  Watch land diving, Pentecost Island

Before bungee jumping, there was land diving, or Nangol. This incredible feat involves men leaping from a tower with just a vine around their ankles. This ritual is an important part of the Pentecost culture and one of Vanuatu’s most unique activities.

8. Try local fresh produce from the markets

Make sure you visit the central marketplace on each island and try the fantastic fruit and vegetables, grown and sold by local families. Enjoy the sound of the mamas gossiping and laughing as you browse.

9. Take home a local handicraft, Efate

Be sure to browse Haos Blong Handikraft market – here you’ll find genuine handmade island goods that are perfect for a souvenir or a gift for loved ones back home. There’s a vibrant atmosphere and all money spent goes back to Vanuatu’s villages.

10. Circumnavigate Efate

This spectacular island is a sight to behold, so be sure to set aside a full day to make the most of all the breathtaking attractions. From snorkelling at Havannah Eco Lodge to swimming at Eton Beach, simply follow the sealed ring road and you will see it all.

11. Visit the Mele Cascades, Efate

Cool off and feel at one with nature with a swim at these naturally formed pools which are surrounded by dense jungle.

12. Listen to the water ladies, Santo and Gaua

Another must-see ritual while in Vanuatu is the Water Music, which originated on the Banks Islands and is performed only by Ni-Vanuatu ladies, who stand waist-deep in water and create music with the ocean using their hands.

13. See the Giant Banyan Tree, Tanna

Standing 80m high and more than 100m wide, this tree is an amazing sight. Access the Giant Banyan by joining a 4WD tour from Lenakel to the village of Leitouapam, where you’ll meet the Tannese locals who own the Giant Banyan.

Giant Banyan Tree, Leitouapam, Tanna Island

14. Explore the sea with a snorkel

No matter which island you’re on, make time to explore the ocean with a mask and snorkel and see the stunning marine life. Some of the best spots to snorkel are at the islands off Efate – Lelepa, Tranquillity, Pele and Hideaway Island.

15. Take time out

Vanuatu is the ultimate destination to enjoy a bit of rest and rejuvenation. Whether you choose to relax by the beach, the pool, at a blue hole or at a waterfront restaurant, you’ll do so with beauty before your eyes.

For more Vanuatu moments, visit vanuatu.travel/nz

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