I can barely open my eyes without squinting as hours passed as I lay in almost a complete daze of whiteness. A rhythmic crashing keeps lulling me in and out of consciousness as life on Champagne Beach in Vanuatu passes me by.
“What country is that in?”
“Oh, it’s a country?”
“Where is that?”
Those are the typical responses when we’ve told people we spent six weeks in the Pacific Island country of Vanuatu. Prior to living in Australia I had not heard of Vanuatu either, but what a country to know about! An island archipelago of about 82 small islands, Port Villa is the national capital and the main entry and exit point for travelers. If you have never been, grab your bags and prepare for some sun and culture, here is a brief glance on life in Vanuatu.
Welcome to Vanuatu.
Considered to be one of the mot beautiful beaches in the world, Champagne Beach is on the island of Espirito Santo. Unbelievably, we often had Champagne Beach all to ourselves.
We camped much of the time we island hopped around the country – which made accommodations much more budget friendly.
The islands have rich soil making Vanuatu a heavy agricultural society.
On the island of Tanna, volcanic ash in the soil creates a great environment for farming. A must for visitors is to try the organic Tanna coffee.
Speaking of volcanoes, Mount Yasur is one of the most accessible and active volcanoes in the world.
We were able to walk up to the rim and look right in.
Walking the steep trek to the top we stayed late into the night to see all the different phases of lighting with spewing hot lava.
Vanuatu is packed full of various natural wonders like these Blue Holes, which are natural springs showcasing different aquatic life. Bring your snorkel to see lots of fish in the crystal blue waters.
With an excitement and welcoming, Vanuatuans will openly share their culture with you. They know that visitors have traveled a long way to their country and they want to share their lifestyle with guests. Here a guide is painting Chris’s face before entering Millennium Cave to grant us safe passage through the cave.
Every four years on the island of Tanna they have a Toka Festival. Uniting the villages for a three day celebration, all the chiefs talk and forgive any wrong doings. It’s nearly impossible to pin down an exact date, but the next celebration should be in October 2016. It is a festival worth going out of your way to experience.
Hundreds of people participated non-stop for three days celebrating their culture. It was one of the best and unique festivals I have ever been to.
If you have never been to an island Pacific country and want to have a true cultural experience, I would jump at the chance to go to Vanuatu. If you want to go some place that’s not full of resorts, shopping malls and paved roads, Vanuatu should fill your quest for adventure. We felt safe and at ease traveling around the islands. It’s a county that’s ready to share itself with travelers who don’t mind getting a little dirty to experience their way of life.