A patchwork of some 80 islands spanning 1,300 km of the South Pacific Ocean, Vanuatu promises an unforgettable island adventure. Bubbling volcanoes, dazzling coral reefs, wild rainforest and deserted beaches – you can find it all here.
The hardest part of any trip is deciding where to start. Laid-back Port Vila, the islands’ capital, is located on Etafe. The restaurants, markets and museums here contrast sharply with the tranquility of other islands, but this city is a hub of different cultures and languages, where Vanuatu’s identity lives and breathes.
Tanna island is home to the active Mount Yasur volcano. Hike or drive to its rocky ridge to peer down into the lava-filled crater, then wedge yourself into a sledge and slide down the ash-covered slopes – volcano boarding is another of Vanuatu's draws. Or, splash out on a helicopter ride for a spectacular view. Meanwhile, Espíritu Santo is a diver’s paradise. There are countless sites and wrecks, including the President Coolidge, known for being one of the world’s largest, and Million Dollar Point, where the US military left all its equipment after WWII. Here you can swim amidst coral-covered tanks, Jeeps and aircraft. If you’d rather keep your head above the water, hire a kayak and paddle through the island’s pristine waterways, watching as the riverbed drops away beneath you into one of Vanuatu’s famous ‘blue holes’. The bulk of hotels, resorts and holiday homes can be found around Port Vila, but there are some private apartments and bungalows available to rent on the other islands.