You are likely wondering, is Vanuatu a good holiday destination? Whether you are traveling with friends, family, a partner, or riding solo, this post is going to break down why Vanuatu is a good holiday destination for you.
I traveled solo to Vanuatu over the Easter period and what really drew me to this South Pacific Island paradise was the incredible untouched natural attractions that can’t be found anywhere else. In particular, the blue holes, blue cave, and gorgeous white sandy beaches. The rich and unique culture that is been preserved for thousands of years was the icing on the cake, allowing me to escape to what felt like a different world.
A Vanuatu holiday offers a rich combination of adventure, relaxation, and culture. There is truly something on offer for everyone, from scuba diving, spearfishing, and kayaking to relaxing by the beach or at a beautiful resort.
Let’s get into unpacking: Is Vanuatu a good holiday destination?
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✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours
Is Vanuatu a Good Holiday Destination
So, is Vanuatu a good holiday destination?
Vanuatu is an incredible destination for anyone looking for a unique and unspoiled holiday experience. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, Vanuatu’s natural beauty, including pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and active volcanoes, won’t disappoint.
Immerse yourself in the rich culture and traditions of Vanuatu, and experience the unique customs and ceremonies that make this destination truly special. A holiday in Vanuatu is a chance to reset your perspective and reflect on all you have to be thankful for.
For those who love adventure as much as I do, Vanuatu offers a range of activities, such as snorkeling, diving, hiking, and ziplining, all set in stunning natural surroundings.
Importantly, Vanuatu is committed to sustainable tourism, with many operators and accommodations implementing eco-friendly practices. The locals take great pride in maintaining the land and preserving nature for years to come, and this commitment shows in the immaculate condition of the reefs, rainforests, and beaches.
Vanuatu has also managed to maintain its authenticity and charm, with locals welcoming visitors with open arms and genuine warmth.
It’s truly a great destination for families, couples, and solo travelers alike.
Top 10 Things To Do In Vanuatu
Vanuatu is a popular destination for tourists due to its stunning beaches, coral reefs, and tropical climate. There are plenty of activities to do and places to visit in Vanuatu, so here are the top 10 best things to do in Vanuatu!
1. Stand on the edge of Yasur Volcano
The Yasur Volcano, located on the island of Tanna, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. You can hike to the top and witness the spectacular display of molten lava shooting into the air. The best time to take a tour is in the afternoon so that when the sunsets you can clearly see the lava beaming against the night sky.
I will be honest, I did chicken out of this tour after watching the Netflix documentary about the tragedy on White Island in New Zealand. Plus there was a volcanic eruption the day before at a neighboring island that I was able to witness (under a full moon I may add).
I would have been on edge the whole time, plus I read a few mixed reviews about how safe it really is, lava bombs can be fatal! If you are keen to do this tour make sure to do your own research.
2. Go snorkeling or scuba diving
Vanuatu is home to some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving sites in the world.
The clear blue waters surrounding the islands are teeming with colorful fish, coral reefs, and even shipwrecks.
Find the best snorkeling spots and uncover what to expect in my detailed Vanuatu snorkeling guide!
3. Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon on Efate Island is a natural swimming hole with crystal clear waters that are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing.
It’s a stunning place that will take your breath away.
Most natural attractions in Vanuatu charge an entry fee. This includes the blue Holes and Champagne Beach. The land is owned by the locals and the fee is going towards the work they do to maintain the sites.
4. Visit the Nanda Blue Hole
The Nanda Blue Hole on Espiritu Santo Island is another beautiful swimming hole with crystal clear blue water that is perfect for a refreshing swim on a hot day. The water is surprisingly a lot cooler than the beaches!
This was one of the highlights of my trip to Vanuatu, it was seriously so spectacular. There are loads of fish in the blue hole so make sure to take your snorkel! And of course, your camera!
5. Explore the Mele Cascades
The Mele Cascades are a series of waterfalls located on Efate Island.
Take a guided tour to hike to the top and take a refreshing swim in the natural pools.
6. Attend the Naghol Land Diving Festival
The Naghol Land Diving Festival is a traditional event held on Pentecost Island.
It involves men jumping from tall wooden towers with vines tied to their ankles. The event is held annually in April and May and is a great way to experience local traditions.
7. Take a cultural tour
Speaking of cultural traditions, Vanuatu has a rich cultural heritage to explore.,
On your trip take a tour to learn about the local customs and traditions of the Ni-Vanuatu people. Visit local villages, try local food, or watch cultural performances.
✔️Book Now! Vanuatu Full-Day Culture Tour
8. Visit the Port Vila Market
The Port Vila Market is a vibrant local market selling fresh produce, handicrafts, and souvenirs.
Sample local fruits and vegetables and purchase unique souvenirs, this is a great way to support local families.
9. Relax on Santo beaches
Vanuatu is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Santo island, in particular, boasts bright blue waters and white sandy beaches. The most spectacular beaches are without a doubt Port Orly and Champagne Beach.
Enjoy the warm waters, soak in the sun on the beach and take plenty of photos of the gorgeous scenery.
10. Duck dive into a blue cave
One of my absolute favorite experiences in Vanuatu was the blue cave tour on Tanna Island.
Take a 40-minute boat ride to a hidden cave where you enter via swimming through an underwater entrance. When you pop up on the other side you will be amazed to see the sun pouring through the top of the cave and shining over the blue waters.
Whitegrass Resort organized the tour and from what I hear that is one of the cheapest ways to do it.
A once in a lifetime experience that you will remember forever.
✔️ Book Now: Mt. Yasur Volcano Full Day Tour including Blue Cave
Know Before You Go: Vanuatu Holiday
Now that we’ve covered is Vanuatu a good holiday destination and the top 10 best things to do in Vanuatu, let’s dive into a few things you may want to know before you head off on your Vanuatu holiday.
Best Time to Visit Vanuatu
The best time to visit Vanuatu depends on your preferences and what you want to do. A safe bet is to visit Vanuatu during the dry season, which runs from April to October.
During this time, you can expect sunny and warm weather, with little rainfall and lower humidity. This makes it an ideal time to explore Vanuatu’s beautiful beaches, go snorkeling or diving in the clear waters, and go kayaking or hiking.
The peak tourist season is from June to August, so expect prices to be higher during this time.
I visited over Easter in April and it was a lot more humid and hot than I had anticipated. Let’s just say it was pretty sweaty and frequent swims and cold beers were essential. If I were to go again I would wait until end of May or September.
If you’re interested in cultural events and festivals, plan your visit around one of the many festivals that take place throughout the year. The most significant festival is the Naghol Land Diving Festival, which takes place on Pentecost Island between April and June.
The wet season in Vanuatu runs from November to March which brings high humidity and heavy rainfall, with occasional tropical storms or cyclones.
While this isn’t ideal the lush tropical vegetation is the most vibrant during this time, and you may be able to find lower prices and fewer crowds.
Is Vanuatu Expensive
The short answer is that it depends on your travel style and budget.
Vanuatu can be expensive, but it can also be relatively affordable if you plan ahead.
I found Vanuatu to have similar pricing to Australia and New Zealand.
Although the quality of products and services are rarely on par with that of Australia and New Zealand so you don’t really get value for money.
Vanuatu also tends to be quite expensive in touristy areas, in particular at resorts and restaurants/cafes near attractions. You won’t see many locals there, that’s for sure.
For a full breakdown of how much I spent on my trip to Vanuatu, check out my detailed Vanuatu expense guide.
Enjoy the local cuisine in Vanuatu on your trip by dining at local restaurants, sampling food at the local markets, or sharing a meal with a local on a homestay or tour.
Vanuatu food typically consists of fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and traditional dishes.
Food was not really a highlight of my trip to Vanuatu. Where I stayed there weren’t any restaurants nearby so dining at the resort was the only option.
I found most of the resort restaurants had an Italian and French influence combined with typical Western favorites such as burgers.
The food was good quality but pretty expensive. This is likely due to the fact that Vanuatu has to import a lot of its produce.
If you’re looking for a foodie experience, a Vanuatu holiday may not be the best pick.
Home to a beautifully rich culture that has been preserved for thousands of years. The culture of Vanuatu is diverse, with more than 110 distinct languages and numerous traditional practices and customs that vary between the islands.
One of the most significant aspects of Vanuatu culture is the concept of kastom, which refers to traditional practices, customs, and beliefs that have been passed down from generation to generation. Kastom encompasses traditional dances, music, and ceremonies, as well as beliefs about ancestor worship and the importance of the land and sea.
Another essential element of Vanuatu culture that really shines through is the importance of community and family. Extended families often live together and there are plenty of communal spaces for socializing. You’ll notice extended families gather at the airport to say goodbye to loved ones.
Houses are typically constructed from local materials, such as bamboo, palm leaves, and wood, and feature intricate carvings and decorations. You will also notice that traditional dress is an essential part of Vanuatu culture. Women wear patterned flowy dresses, which interestingly the pattern and shape of the dress change from island to island or tribe to tribe.
The land and sea are considered sacred, so sustainable living and the protection of natural resources is vital in Vanuatu. Spearfishing, hunting, and gardening are carried out in harmony with nature and are designed to minimize environmental impact.
Overall, I found the locals to be very kind, helpful, and happy people that are very family-oriented. As a solo traveler, I never felt unsafe, and often times locals would notice I was alone and would offer their assistance.
Getting to Vanuatu
Moving onto how to get to and from and where to stay on your holiday to Vanuatu!
When I was planning my holiday to Vanuatu, I struggled to find decent information on the logistics of traveling to Vanuatu. This didn’t give me the greatest confidence. Firstly, because I love to be prepared and organized, and secondly because I am a solo female traveler so safety is my top priority.
✈️ Flights to Vanuatu
Starting off with the flights to Vanuatu from your home country.
There are several airlines that offer flights to Vanuatu’s main airport, Bauerfield International Airport (VLI), in Port Vila.
Some of the airlines that fly to Vanuatu include:
- Air Vanuatu – the national carrier of Vanuatu, offering flights from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Solomon Islands.
- Qantas – offering flights from Australia.
- Fiji Airways – offering flights from Fiji.
- Aircalin – offering flights from New Caledonia.
- Solomon Airlines – offering flights from Solomon Islands.
- Virgin Australia – offering flights from Australia.
- Air New Zealand – offering flights from New Zealand.
The frequency and availability of flights to Vanuatu can vary depending on the season, so it’s always a good idea to check with the airlines or a travel agent for the latest information and to book your flights in advance.
Just a word on the airports. Airports in Vanuatu are extremely basic. No Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and limited food options. Waiting at a Vanuatu airport is not the most enjoyable experience so make sure to bring a book, snacks, water, and even a handheld fan.
Getting Around Vanuatu
Getting around Vanuatu can be a bit challenging as there are no railways or efficient public transport options on the islands.
However, there are several ways to get around the country.
To island hop in Vanuatu you have to fly via Port Vila. Air Vanuatu offers the only flights to and from the Islands unless you take a private Air Taxi. Flying to the islands can add up, particularly when you can’t go direct!
When you arrive, Taxis are available on the main islands of Efate, Santo, and Tanna. But they are not metered, so it’s important to negotiate the price before getting in and be wary of scammers. Hiring a taxi driver for the day for an arranged price is a common way for travelers to get around. I recommend asking your accommodation to help you book this to ensure you choose a reputable company and negotiate a fair price. Or they may even arrange a private tour driver instead.
You can also take buses for generally cheap, but they can be crowded, uncomfortable, and poorly scheduled. It can also be tricky to tell a bus from a regular van.
Lastly, you can rent a car on the main islands, but they can be expensive ($100-$180 per day) and driving can be challenging due to the poor condition of the roads and the lack of signage. Plus they drive on the right-hand side of the day.
I rented a car for the day in Santo and it cost me $180 and came with an empty tank of petrol which only further added to the cost! But it gave me the freedom to explore at my own pace. Just remember to drive carefully and slowly as the roads are in bad shape.
It’s always a good idea to plan ahead and be flexible with your travel plans. And of course, travel insurance is an absolute must!
Where to Stay in Vanuatu
Booking accommodation in Vanuatu can be tricky as there aren’t loads of options, especially budget-friendly options. Plus getting around the islands can be difficult, so picking a good location to stay is essential!
I traveled to Port Vila, Espiritu Santo, and Tanna Island so I have popped my accommodation recommendations below to help you book your stay.
BREAKAS BEACH RESORT
I loved my stay at Breakas Beach Resort, it was a beautiful beachfront resort with wonderful bungalows.
Breakas is located just south of Port Vila on a 500m private beach. It’s a short drive to shops and restaurants although you won’t really need to leave the resort as it has it all.
Free breaky is included plus there is a range of delicious Italian options for lunch and dinner.
The resort also offers daily activities including cooking classes, live music, fire dancing, and more.
You don’t need to go far to access some great snorkeling at Breakas. I spent the day exploring the reef located on the private beach and it was magical.
Garden View Bungalow: $262 AUD (free breakfast included)
TURTLE BAY LODGE
Turtle Bay Lodge was my favorite stay in Vanuatu.
The owners were so lovely and accommodating, even when my flight was delayed and I didn’t arrive until midnight they still greeted me with a welcome drink!
It is a prime location for snorkeling in Turtle Bay, plus you can borrow their Kayak and head up to the blue holes.
During my stay, I was surprised by a free fire dance performance one evening which just added to my stay.
The food is wonderful, with a range of Italian and hearty pub meals.
Double Room, Ocean View, Oceanfront: $204 AUD (free breakfast included)
I was even upgraded for free to the Deluxe Double Room which is priced at $308 AUD per night.
WHITEGRASS OCEAN RESORT
On my visit to Tanna Island, I stayed at Whitegrass Ocean Resort due to the fantastic range of tours they had on offer including the Yasur Volcano tour and Blue Cave tour.
The resort was very expensive but due to the remoteness of the island, there aren’t many options.
The resort is a short walk to Blue Holes 1 & 2 which are some of the best snorkeling spots on Tanna. Or you can even snorkel right off the beach of the resort, just follow advice from the dive team as it can be dangerous.
Overall, I loved my stay at Whitegrass Ocean Resort, the staff were lovely, the food was divine (although very expensive) and the rooms were clean and comfortable.
Bungalow with Seaview: $362 AUD (free breakfast included)
This last resort is extra pricey as it is on a pretty remote island, however, I managed to grab a great deal at work and only paid $278 AUD per night (I work for a travel company).
Vanuatu Holiday FAQ’s
If you’re headed off on a Vanuatu holiday you may have a few unanswered questions.
Below are my answers to some common questions travelers have!
Is Vanuatu good for a holiday?
Absolutely, Vanuatu is an excellent destination for a holiday!
It is a beautiful Pacific island with stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, rich culture, and lush tropical forests. Vanuatu has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday or an adventure-filled trip.
One of the main attractions of Vanuatu is its stunning natural beauty. Home to some of the most beautiful beaches and bluest water holes in the world, not to mention the underwater world is also a wonderland, with an abundance of marine life, coral reefs, and shipwrecks to explore.
Vanuatu is also known for its unique cultural experiences. The local people have a deep connection to their traditional practices and customs, and visitors can witness and participate in a range of cultural activities, such as traditional dances, music, and ceremonies.
For those seeking adventure, Vanuatu has plenty to offer. Hike through lush rainforests, zip-line through canopies, and go horse riding along the beach. The islands are also popular destinations for diving and snorkeling, with many dive sites and marine reserves to explore.
Vanuatu has something for everyone, if you’re on the fence about going, I hope this post has swayed you to take the plunge!
Which is better Fiji or Vanuatu?
It’s difficult to say which is better between Fiji and Vanuatu as they are quite different and it depends on what you are looking for in a destination.
Fiji is known for its stunning beaches and luxurious resorts. It’s a popular spot for honeymooners and those seeking a relaxing holiday in paradise. Fiji also has a rich culture and history, with traditional villages and ceremonies that can be explored.
Vanuatu, on the other hand, is known for its rugged natural beauty, including active volcanoes, lush rainforests, and pristine coral reefs. It’s a popular destination for adventure seekers. Vanuatu also has a unique culture, with over 100 indigenous languages spoken and traditional ceremonies still practised.
Ultimately, whether Fiji or Vanuatu is better for you depends on your personal preferences. If you’re looking for a luxurious and relaxing beach vacation, Fiji may be the better choice. If you’re interested in adventure and exploring a unique culture, Vanuatu may be more of your style.
Why is Vanuatu a good place to visit?
Is Vanuatu a good holiday destination? Vanuatu is a great place for a holiday due to its natural beauty, unique culture, outdoor activities, friendly people, relaxation, and sustainable tourism practices.
And if you’re from Australia, it’s a short 2-3 hour flight away! Who knew tropical paradise was so close?
Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Vanuatu has something for everyone.
What is the safest island in the Pacific?
It is hard to say what the safest island in the Pacific is as safety can vary depending on the specific location and circumstances. However, in general, many islands in the Pacific are considered relatively safe for travelers.
New Zealand is often considered one of the safest countries in the world, with low crime rates and a stable political climate. The Cook Islands, a New Zealand territory, is also considered very safe for tourists, with low levels of crime and a friendly local population.
Vanuatu comes in at a close second in terms of safety. The people of Vanuatu are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, and crime rates are relatively low.
The main concerns in Vanuatu and neighboring Pacific nations are health concerns such as dengue fever, Malaria and Zika virus. Make sure to bring plenty of insect repellant and for extra precaution, visit your Dr for some preventative medications and vaccinations.
However, as with any destination, it is important to take necessary precautions and be aware of your surroundings. I suggest you read travel advisories and safety information before traveling to any destination and don’t forget travel insurance!
A 25-year-old Australian traveler visiting Vanuatu for 7 days can purchase travel insurance from World Nomads for only $70 AUD!
The Wrap-Up: Is Vanuatu a Good Holiday Destination
And there you have it, the answer to your question: Is Vanuatu a good holiday destination?
Vanuatu is a good holiday destination for those seeking adventure, relaxation and unique cultural experiences. In particular, it is an excellent place to discover untouched natural beauty that you simply can’t find in many other places.
Leave me a comment if you’ve been on a holiday to Vanuatu. What was your highlight of the trip? Or let me know if you are planning a trip soon!