Vanuatu is a small, independant
Republic of just 250,000 inhabitants, comprising of approximately
82 small volcanic islands, only 65 of which are inhabited.
The islands are spread out in a chain running north-west to
south-east, lying roughly 1600 miles north-east of Sydney,
Australia, 440 miles north of New Caledonia and 1500 miles north of
New Zealand, 700 miles north west of Fiji and 900 miles south east
of the Solomon Islands.
The islands, spread out over
4,700 sq miles of Pacific Ocean, are mainly high islands, with a
high mountain core, and there are a few active volcanoes, though
some are underwater. Most island have tropical rainforests,
although logging and farming is reducing the density of the forest.
The main towns are quite busy and built up, but the
rest of the islands are very rural, with small villages and local
houses dotted around. Many families have their own small
holdings and crop gardens, and grow banana, cabbage, garlic,
peppers, pineapples, cucumber, watermelon, taro, yams, carrots and
many more for their own food, to trade with neighbours and sell at
the local markets.
There are 2 main islands where the
majority of the tourist hotels and facilities are available.
Espiritu Santo in the north, with the airport in Luganville on its
southern coast, and is the largest island in the chain. Efate
Island, further south down the chain, is the 3rd largest island but
tends to be the most popular island for visitors, due to the
international airport here in Port Vila.
The first recorded visit of a
European was in 1606 when the Spanish explorer, Ferdinand De
Queiros landed on Santo Island and thought that he had discovered
the Great South Land. He named the land Terra Australis del
Espiritu Santo, after the Holy Ghost. He claimed possession of it
and everything to the south as far as the South Pole in the name of
the King of Spain and the Catholic Church. In the 1880's
France and United Kingdom claimed parts of the country, and grated
against each other for a number of years until in 1906 they agreed
to manage the 'New Hebrides' as a joint British-French territory.
The local population started an independence movement in the
1970's and in 1980, they became the independent Republic of
Tourism is a big advantage to
Vanuatu's economy, and many visitors come to dive the widespread
coral reefs and shipwrecks, (including the WWII troop ship SS
President Coolidge), spend time on the beautiful beaches or immerse
themselves in the local culture. They have over 200,000
visitors each year, mostly from Australia and New Zealand, with
which they have a close financial and cultural relationship.
Please note: We are
constantly updating the prices shown on this website, but due to
volatility of the currency exchange markets at the moment with the
UK Sterling rates, prices may vary from those shown. If you
wish to confirm any prices shown here, please contact us