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The geologically active archipelago is a natural playground of colourful reefs, bubbling volcanoes and lush jungle. Visitors can drive up to the crater of Yasur, cited as the most accessible active volcano in the world, sea kayak round the islands’ shorelines, explore underwater WWII relics, or hike and bike through coconut plantations and tropical rainforest. Those less inclined to exert themselves can relax on the many beautiful beaches, sample the multicultural cuisine in the capital, Port-Vila, or charter a boat from one island to the next. Tourism is centred on the islands of Efaté, Tanna and Espiritu Santo. International visitors arrive in Port-Vila, on Efaté, and from here can travel by boat or plane to explore the rest of the country.

Practical Information

Area: 12 190 km² (4 707 miles²)

Capital: Port-Vila. Population: 34 000

Population: 222,000

Currency: Vatu (VUV) = 100 centimes

Government: Republic. Gained independence from the UK/France in 1980.

Tipping: Not expected or encouraged, as it goes against local tradition.

Time zone: GMT + 11

Languages: English and French

Additional descriptions

Vanuatu: Social customs

Informal wear is suitable for most occasions. Some establishments appreciate men wearing long trousers in the evenings. Life goes at its own pace and while modern influences can be seen in the main centres,Read more in the hill villages and outlying islands, age-old customs continue. Those hiking or exploring must be aware that Vanuatu has strict and sensitive land ownership regulations.

Vanuatu: Food and local specialties

There are many restaurants in the main tourist areas. Seafood features strongly on hotel and restaurant menus in Port-Vila and the main towns. The numerous ethnic backgrounds of the inhabitants of VanuatuRead more are reflected in different styles of cooking. Chinese and French influences are the strongest. Food is generally excellent everywhere. French cheese, pâtés, bread, cognac and wine are available in Port-Vila’s two major shops. Local fruit is excellent. The national specialties are: Lap Lap (grated yam, banana or manioc smothered in coconut cream and cooked in an earth oven). Coconut crab. Kava (a soporific drink made from the root of a plant related to the pepper tree. Vanuatu kava is the strongest in the world. It is non-alcoholic but is intoxicating. )

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