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Vanuatu : Useful infos

Welcome to Vanuatu, country of the smile.

When we wish to go to Vanuatu, we fast realize that there is not much information on the Internet. This data sheet, can help you to prepare more easily your journey in Vanuatu.

Finishes the stress and the last-minute questions, everything is here or almost 😉

Vanuatu in the world

The Republic of Vanuatu is a state of Oceania, situated in Melanesia.

Le Vanuatu : infos utiles

It’s an archipelago of the Southwest Pacific composed of 83 islands, most are originally volcanic, forming an “Y” in the Coral Sea, stretching to the Northeast of New Caledonia.

The main islands are Éfaté (900 km ²) where is situated the capital Port Vila, Espiritu Santo says Santo (3 956 km ²) and Malékula (2 041 km ²). Since Santo you can also go on the archipelago of Banks islands or Torres.

Vanuatu in history

First of all discovered by the Portuguese sailor Queiros in 1606 under the Spanish flag, then by French Bougainville in 1768, it is in 1774, when James Cook (him again and again !) made the complete tour of the archipelago and named these islands the New Hebrides.

The archipelago knew a disrupted and slow colonisation, where from a conflict of interests between France and the United Kingdom which decided on a joint administration in 1904. Vanuatu was so a condominium state (only colony managed jointly by two colonial powers) from 1906 till 1980 when it became an autonomous Republic connected with the Commonwealth and so took the name of Vanuatu.🇻🇺

Vanuatu and its inhabitants

People from Vanuatu so called ni-Vanuatu or ni-van, are Melanesians who represent the dominant population of more than 230 000 inhabitants.

A multi-cultural population where live jointly English people, French people, Australians, New Zealanders, Chinese and other populations from the Pacific.

Ni-Van are very religious, catholic or Protestant, they will not miss a mass or a religious event.

Vanuatu and its languages

Vanuatu is the country which possesses the strongest linguistic diversity in the world, 110 vernacular languages and as many languages as populations immigrated.

Vanuatu account three official languages : the bichlamar, kind of Creole learnt in all the public schools since half of the 20th century, which allows to be included by all (it is also understood in the Solomon Islands or in Papua New Guinea), French and English which are spoken fluently and are learnt in private schools. Except big cities, few of Ni-Van speak French, but almost all speak English who is the only administrative language since 1996.

Some examples of Bichlamar:

Merci beaucoup Thank you very much  Tankyu tumas
S’il vous plait Please Plis
Bonjour Hello Alo
Bonne matinée Good Morning Gud monin
Au revoir Bye Tata
Manger, nourriture Eat, food Kai Kai
Enfants Children Pikinini
Eau  Water  Wota

Vanuatu, habits and customs

The customs or the traditions vary a lot island in island but get lost little by little for the benefit of the useful things such as of the food or the clothes.

Custom rhythm especially to the passages of the life such as the births, the marriages, the deaths, or other ceremonies.

The pig, peace symbol is the national emblem, also recognized for its defenses which Ni-Van makes jewels. It plays a very important role in the traditional economy, the exchanges rites, ceremonies … It is also a sign of wealth, power and prestige.

The nakamal is an essential element of the culture in Vanuatu, formerly reserved for the men and for their business, they are now opened to all. Do not hide yourself, you will not break Kava of “welcome” it would be badly seen! (And it is much better than in New Caledonia!)

Furthermore, finishes topless women’s pictures, only dressed in a loincloth and in necklaces of seeds, religion and the government forbids it from now on, even if you will still find some resistant in the  back villages …

Vanuatu and its landscapes

Vanuatu is a country of charm of a natural diversity.

Between coral reefs, rocky beaches or long white sand beaches, tropical islands, active volcanoes and luxuriant vegetation such the jungle of Indiana Jones, you will never be bored.

Every island get its particularity in its landscapes, its history and its customs, each is worth being discovered, even if it is almost impossible to travel it all.

le Vanuatu infos utiles

Vanuatu : useful information

  • When to come ?  No really ideal period, the weather is really very changeable. Best is to avoid coming during the school periods of New Caledonia and Australia, but also during the big religious feasts, because the inhabitants won’t be very available for you.
  • How to come ? Vanuatu is served by Air Vanuatu and Air Calin since New Caledonia or since Australia. Prefer Air Vanuatu to return on the territory, via an agency or directly on the spot, you will get 20 % of reduction on the internal flights. You can get 20 kg of luggage, but know that you will be  10 kg on the domestics flights … It is possible to take the boat between islands but it is very complicated, long and uncertain, not pip when we have only 15d of holidays.
  • The tourist visa is automatic and valid only 30 days on the territory. Every visitor has to be with a ticket return and of a valid passport at least 6 months after the date of arrival. For a longer stay, you have to contact the immigration department.
  • The local currency is the Vatu almost equivalent to the cfp but very variable according to the aus dollar (1000 vt = 1002 F 8,4 € = 12,5 $). The Australian dollar and the credit cards are accepted in all the urban areas. Plan some cash because there is no distributor except big cities.
  • The time zone is the same than in Nouméa, that is GMT + 11 hours
  • The climate is tropical, the dry period is cool, from May till October, the rainy season, hotter extends from November till April, it is also the season of cyclones especially between March and April. From June till August the season is of the most pleasant with less humidity.
  • Health : the malaria is present on the territory, plan good anti-mosquitoes, especially during wet season, but no need to tire your body with an anti-malaria treatment, especially if you come from New Caledonia and if your skin is already used to mosquitoes, you have as many chance to pitch the dengue in Nouméa than the Malaria in Port Vila. No vaccine is compulsory.
  • The water is drinkable everywhere including on the islands or the off-centered places where you will have access to the filtered rainwater. With the exception of Tanna, close to the volcano when waters are soiled by ashes.
  • Wild animals : just like in New Caledonia, there are no hazardous animals in Vanuatu.
  • Electricity : the grips are Australian type (220-280 volts).
  • The Driving is to the right in all the country, your French licence is enough. You can rent a car at the airport or in town, but it is expensive, prefer to travel by bus (vehicles with a B or PT on the plate) which shall cost you 150 vt by routes a person in Port Vila. It will always be necessary to you to negotiate the prices for the big routes, with possibility of renting a bus for day or half day. Outside cities the routes are expensive because there is no road …

Vanuatu is a “poor” country but which remains very expensive for the tourists, because everything is made for the Australian who often spends no counting the cost … Plan a substantial budget not to frustrate you …

But, in reality, Vanuatu is a very rich country, a friendly country, here everything is made with smile and good mood, and people are wonderful when we take time to go towards them. Do not hesitate to get in touch with them, their modesty will fade rather fast and you will remind wonderful souvenirs, you will have difficulty in leaving this country I tell you ! ☺️

And see you soon for the continuation of our stay in Vanuatu with what this country and its inhabitants has to offer us.

I think of having made the tour of the questions. Any modifications to be made? Do not hesitate to tell us, and to share with us your adventure in Vanuatu as well !

Do not forget to travel flatware and take advantage of 5 % of reduction on your Chapka insurance.

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