10 things I wish I knew before going to Vanuatu

Anar Mammadov 10 February 2021 0 views 7 min. read

All those who like to conduct total intelligence work, before you visit any country, rejoice! Today we will talk about this, and the subject of discussion this time will be Vanuatu. Do you know where is Vanuatu?  Vanuatu appears on the world map in the south-west of the Pacific Basin, it consists of a chain of 13 main islands, which are located about 780 kilometers west of Fiji and 1760 kilometers east of Australia. The Republic of Vanuatu, formerly under the joint management of an Anglo-French condominium in the New Hebrides, became independent in 1980. The name of the republic translates as "Our land forever". The capital of Vanuatu is the largest city in the country — Port Vila. Although Vanuatu is not so popular among tourists and information about it is not so widespread, our favorite TV program still went to the shooting of "Heads and Tails of Vanuatu". Thereby revealing the country's potential for the whole world in more detail. Well, we will analyze as many as 10 facts that you need to know before traveling to Vanuatu. Let's go!

Best time to visit Vanuatu

vanuatu children

Choosing the best time to visit Vanuatu is actually a personal preference, however, there are a few things to consider when making this decision. It really depends on where you are staying and what you hope to get out of your vacation in Vanuatu. Thanks to the excellent tropical climate, the weather is generally good all year round, but the best conditions are observed from April to October when the temperature is between 18°C and 28°C. November to March is the rainy season, and while the rains are usually short-lived and do not affect most tours and events, they can also create warm and humid conditions. The water temperature all year round is from 22°C to 28°C, so swimming is always a pleasure, at any time of the year. Peak seasons are also an important factor. The peak season is often the most expensive, as well as the busiest time of the year. February and the earlier wet months of the year are less busy with people wanting to see the sights of Vanuatu, so recreate the conditions without the crowds of tourists.

Currency of Vanuatu

money

The official currency is "vatu". This is a single monetary unit that does not have a subgroup, while the smaller denomination is 1 cotton wool. It was introduced in 1982 and managed to replace the Hebridean franc, thus ending the economic influence of foreign currency in the republic. These days, 109 cotton wool costs about $ 1.02, which is similar to the conversion and value of the New Zealand currency. Vatu is issued in coins in denominations of 1 vatu, 2 vatu, 5 vatu, 10 vatu, 20 vatu, 50 vatu and 100 vatu. Many merchants in Vanuatu accept coins and bills in dollars instead of the currency of Vanuatu, regardless of the issuing country. Paper money was introduced by the Central Bank of Vanuatu also in 1982. And in 1988, the 100 vatu banknote was replaced by a similar coin, and the following year, the 5000 denomination was introduced. In 2010, to mark the 30th anniversary of Vanuatu's independence, polymer banknotes of 10,000 vatu began to be issued.

Never go hungry

vanuatu cuisine

Every time you go out to eat while on vacation in Vanuatu, you will be served a piece of Vanuatu culture and history. The local food is a kind of Vanuatu attraction that reflects the many cultural influences of the islands. Local restaurants serve a variety of culinary styles that reflect millennial immigration and combine influences from Europe, Asia, and Melanesia. The diversity of multicultural tastes means that you will be spoilt for the choice of dishes that have made Vanuatu on the world map popular for foodies. In essence, Vanuatu's cuisine is simple and healthy, with plenty of fresh produce and organic meat. International influences are tempered by an island lifestyle, so you can count on plenty of coconut cream, rice, and tropical fruits. Speaking of fruits, they're literally everywhere. As noted in the above-mentioned series "Heads and Tails of Vanuatu", thanks to this factor, many local residents do not even need to spend money on food.

Transport in Vanuatu

boats

Transport here is quite simple due to the undeveloped road network on the island. Although it offers an authentic island experience, there are less than 160 km of paved roads, and the road systems consist mostly of dirt. Thus, four-wheel-drive cars, vans and mini-buses are the most common mode of transport in Vanuatu. Each island has one to two small runways where light aircraft serving the islands can land, as well as small marinas or ports where boats and small ships can dock, with the main harbors located in the capital of VanuatuPort Vila, Espiritu Santo and Forari. There are no railways in the country, but bicycles are becoming quite a popular mode of transport, and taxis and transit vans are also very common. The Republic of Vanuatu is not rich in public transport, several private mini-buses provide transportation around the islands and can be identified by a sign with the letter "B" attached to their license plates. Taxis also provide transport services, but they do not have counters and it is better to negotiate initially.

What is the official language of Vanuatu?

bookThe people of Vanuatu

are called ni-Vanuatu (abbreviated ni-wan), and although there are more than 100 local languages in the archipelago, the Republic of Vanuatu has three official languages. They are: Bislama, English and French. Bislama is a type of Pidgin English spoken by sea cucumber traders throughout the Pacific Ocean. It is the most widely spoken second language in Vanuatu and is the native language of many residents of Luganville and Port Vila, known as ni-Vanuatu. Beginning as a simplified phonetic form of English and incorporating colloquial expressions in French and Spanish, it began to evolve. Grammatically, it is simpler than English, it is spoken with a broad accent, and its simplicity means that new or complex concepts must be described functionally, making expressions much longer than in English. On all the other islands, more than a hundred indigenous languages of Vanuatu are spoken, some of which are endangered, and there are virtually no native speakers left.

What kind of accommodation can I find in Vanuatu?

island

You might imagine that Vanuatu is a luxury vacation destination in the South Pacific, but in reality, when it comes to housing, the country caters to a wide variety of budgets and requests. Indeed, the capital of Vanuatu has several stunning coastal resorts and boutique hotels with matching price tags. But there are also the usual hotels, self-catering holiday homes, hostels and simple beach huts. You can also experience the local life and Vanuatu culture by staying in the traditional village of Ni Wan. It is also very likely to meet a person who will travel with his tent, setting up camp where it is convenient for him.

Place of residence of different tribes

vanuatu man

Vanuatu is recognized on the world map as one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. In addition to Vanuatu and other Pacific Islanders, there are many other small tribes. It is estimated that the Vanuatu population of all the islands in 2019 is 290 thousand Vanuatu people. All this is more interesting when you learn that among these tribes there are also descendants of the most real cannibals. Thanks to the same series "Heads and Tails of Vanuatu", we learn about the "Luineo" tribe, to whose place of residence, not everyone can reach. The brave presenter still went to meet the natives, but it turns out that there was nothing to be afraid of. The tribe has not eaten human flesh for a long time and has already adapted to the usual food diet. But they are not going to leave the Stone Age, go without clothes and hunt (well, at least not for people) - for them as the meaning of life.

What to do in Vanuatu?

resortThe attractions of Vanuatu

will not make you bored, they include: palm islands, rainforests, remote villages and thundering volcanoes. It is an ideal place for swimming on beautiful beaches and exploring the ancient traditions. You can also go diving in the clear, calm water. To do this, the region has natural coral reefs, a temperate sea, and many shipwrecks waiting to be explored. Sailing in Vanuatu on a luxury boat, yacht or one-day cruise is an opportunity to experience the beauty of the islands from a beautiful sea point. Discover remote beaches, hidden coves, and uninhabited islands. Visit the Vanuatu Cultural Center, founded in 1955 and documenting the traditions, history and lifestyle of the Ni - Vanuatu people. The center provides a fascinating insight into the village life and tribal Vanuatu culture of the regions with artefacts, hands-on exhibits, and images. The National Museum of Vanuatu is located on the territory of the Cultural Center in the city. The museum features ancient objects that were used by people who arrived in the region 3,000 years ago, as well as a more modern history of Vanuatu.

What to grab from the clothes?

vanuatu music group

As with all trips to Vanuatu, you need to take clothes that are suitable for the weather. The climate on the islands is often hot and humid all year round, so your packing list should include clothing made of light fabrics such as cotton or silk. Sportswear or quick-drying fabrics are great for when you're drenched in sweat, rain, or on the beach. Loose clothing is usually the most comfortable, you can also experience the island atmosphere and choose bright colors instead of dark blacks and grays. Before you set off, make sure that the following items are hidden in your suitcase: a pair of long trousers and a long-sleeved jacket. Even if the Republic of Vanuatu is never cold, out of respect you may need to cover your shoulders and legs if you are going to visit traditional villages.

Where and what to buy?

market in vanuatu

Markets are a great place to shop for food and souvenirs. The capital of Vanuatu is famous for the largest markets in the country, but you will find them smaller in all the islands, selling fresh local produce, shells and World War II memorabilia. Markets should be your first stop for local traditional accessories. While shopping in Vanuatu, you can find everything from carvings to jewelry and colorful, hand-painted island clothing. Almost all transactions in the markets of Vanuatu are carried out in cash. It's not customary to trade-in purchase prices here and asking for a discount is considered rude, so if you think something is expensive, just smile and move on. It is forbidden to buy alcohol in stores from noon on Saturday and all day on Sunday, so stock up from Friday if you have a fun weekend planned.

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