Where to Go in Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s unspoilt landscape and rich cultural heritage make it an attractive destination for adventurous visitors. Tourism is centered on the islands of Efate, Tanna and Espiritu Santo, but there are plans to develop facilities on more of the islands. The capital, Port-Vila, is on Efate Island; its Cultural Center has one of the most extensive Pacific artifact collections in the world. There are also plenty of opportunities for active visitors, especially those interested in watersports.
Tanna Island has the world’s most accessible active volcano, Yasur. Visitors can drive to the summit and peer into the crater at a seething mass of bubbling lava. The village of the John Frum cargo cult can also be visited; it began with the arrival of an American soldier in World War II and believers wait for him to return with great riches. Espiritu Santo Island inspired James A Michener to write South Pacific. Here, scuba divers can see where the liner President Coolidge and the destroyer USS Tucker rest on the seabed.
On Pentecost Island during April and May visitors can, for a fee, see men performing the Naghol (a ritual leap) to ensure a bountiful yam harvest; they tie vines to their ankles and leap from a 30m (100ft) tower, falling head first. Only the vine saves them from death. Only recently, this ceremony was opened to the public and the fee goes towards local projects. Visitors who are interested should contact the National Tourism Office of Vanuatu well in advance. There are a number of tours available in Vanuatu, including trips to see volcanoes (by air), harbor cruises, sailing trips, fishing trips, cultural tours and visits to World War II relics.


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