Vanuatu is a tropical paradise located in the South Pacific Ocean, made up of over 80 islands. This remote destination is an adventurer’s dream, with a wide range of outdoor activities and experiences to be had. From hiking through lush rainforests to exploring underwater caves, Vanuatu has something for every type of adventurer. In this beginner’s guide to adventure travel in Vanuatu, we will explore five different subtopics to help you plan your trip.
Getting to Vanuatu is relatively easy, as there are several airlines that fly to the main airport on the island of Efate. Some of the airlines that offer flights to Vanuatu include Air Vanuatu, Qantas, Air New Zealand, and Fiji Airways. These airlines fly from major cities in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, with flights typically taking around three to four hours from Australia or New Zealand. Once you arrive in Port Vila, the capital city of Vanuatu, there are several options for getting around the island. Taxis are readily available and are a good option if you want to get somewhere quickly. Alternatively, you can take the local buses, which are known as “bush taxis.” These buses are usually minivans that operate on set routes and are a great way to meet locals and experience Vanuatu’s culture. Another option is to rent a car, which gives you the freedom to explore the island at your own pace. However, be aware that driving in Vanuatu can be challenging, as the roads can be narrow and winding, and there are few streetlights outside of the main towns. (Vanuatu travel guide)
Hiking and Trekking
Vanuatu is home to a number of stunning hiking trails and treks, which take you through some of the most beautiful scenery on the islands. One of the most popular hikes is the Mele Cascades, which is located just outside of Port Vila. The trail takes you through tropical vegetation and past a series of cascading waterfalls, with swimming spots along the way. The walk takes around 45 minutes each way and is suitable for all fitness levels. Another popular hike is the Millennium Cave, which is located on the island of Espiritu Santo. This trek takes you through dense jungle, across rivers, and into a cave system with underground rivers and waterfalls. The hike is challenging and takes around six hours, but the views and experience are well worth the effort.
For those who prefer a more leisurely stroll, there are several walks that take you through the rainforest and along the coastline. The Bouffa to Erakor Coastal Walk is a 7-kilometer trail that follows the coast from the Bouffa lagoon to Erakor Point. The walk takes around three hours and offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding islands. (Vanuatu travel guide)
Vanuatu’s crystal clear waters make it the perfect destination for water sports enthusiasts. Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities, with a number of dive sites around the islands. The SS President Coolidge, a World War II wreck, is one of the most popular dive sites in Vanuatu. The ship sank in 1942 and now rests in 20-70 meters of water, making it accessible to divers of all levels. Another popular dive site is the Million Dollar Point, which is located off the coast of Santo. This site is home to a large number of military vehicles and equipment that was dumped into the sea by the US military after World War II.
For those who prefer to stay above water, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are great options for exploring the coastline. There are several kayak and SUP rental companies in Port Vila and other major towns, and many offer guided tours. Kitesurfing and windsurfing are also popular activities, with some of the best spots located on the island of Efate. The beaches at Pango and Erakor are popular with kite surfers, while the bay at Mele is a great spot for windsurfing. (Vanuatu travel guide)
Vanuatu has a rich cultural history, with a unique blend of Melanesian, Polynesian, and European influences. There are several cultural experiences that visitors can partake in to learn more about Vanuatu’s history and traditions. One of the most popular cultural experiences is visiting a “kastom” village. Kastom villages are traditional villages that have been preserved to showcase Vanuatu’s cultural heritage. Visitors can learn about traditional customs, try local food, and watch cultural performances. Some of the most popular kastom villages to visit include Ekasup Cultural Village and Roi Mata’s Domain on Efate, and the Big Nambas and Small Nambas villages on Malekula Island.
Another cultural experience not to be missed is attending a “nakamal.” Nakamals are traditional meeting places where men gather to drink kava, a traditional Vanuatu drink made from the root of the kava plant. Visitors can watch the preparation of kava, learn about its cultural significance, and join in the drinking ceremony. Kava drinking is an important part of Vanuatu’s culture and is a great way to connect with locals and learn more about their way of life. (Vanuatu travel guide)
For thrill-seekers, Vanuatu offers a range of adventure activities that will get your heart racing. One of the most popular activities is ziplining, with several zipline tours available on Efate. Ziplining through the jungle canopy offers a unique perspective on the island’s natural beauty and is a great way to experience the thrill of flying.
Another adventure activity is abseiling. Abseiling involves descending down a rock face or waterfall using a rope and harness. The abseil at Mele Cascades is one of the most popular in Vanuatu, with a 50-meter descent down the side of the waterfall. It’s a challenging activity, but the sense of accomplishment and the stunning views make it well worth the effort.
For those who prefer water-based activities, canyoning is a great option. Canyoning involves navigating a river canyon by jumping, sliding, and abseiling down waterfalls and rapids. The canyoning tour on the island of Santo is one of the best in Vanuatu, taking you through the stunning Riri River Canyon.
Vanuatu is a paradise for adventure travelers, with a range of activities to suit all interests and abilities. From hiking and trekking to water sports, cultural experiences, and adventure activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an adrenaline-packed adventure, Vanuatu is a destination not to be missed. So pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime! Book Far and Away Adventure’s latest packages and follow this Vanuatu travel guide!
Our Top FAQ's
Getting to Vanuatu is relatively easy with several airlines like Air Vanuatu, Qantas, Air New Zealand, and Fiji Airways offering flights from major cities in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
Once in Port Vila, the capital city of Vanuatu, you can use taxis for quick transport, take “bush taxis” (local buses) to experience local culture, or rent a car for more freedom, but be cautious of the challenging roads.
Vanuatu offers stunning hiking trails like the Mele Cascades, a 45-minute walk to cascading waterfalls, and the Millennium Cave, a challenging 6-hour trek through a cave system and dense jungle.
Vanuatu’s clear waters are perfect for snorkeling, scuba diving (try the SS President Coolidge wreck), kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, kitesurfing, and windsurfing.
Experience Vanuatu’s cultural heritage by visiting traditional “kastom” villages, watching cultural performances, and attending a “nakamal” to learn about kava drinking, an essential part of local culture.
For thrill-seekers, Vanuatu offers ziplining, abseiling down waterfalls like Mele Cascades, and canyoning in the Riri River Canyon.
Ekasup Cultural Village and Roi Mata’s Domain on Efate, and the Big Nambas and Small Nambas villages on Malekula Island are popular options.
Vanuatu offers diverse activities like hiking, water sports, cultural experiences, and thrilling adventures, making it a paradise for all types of adventure travelers.