Although those who travel to Vanuatu from Britain are in for a long trip, it is certainly worthwhile! Not so far from those who live Down Under, this is a destination steeped in nature, culture and of course, beautiful beaches. Just try not to fall under its spell...
Our Editorial team's advice
Displays of traditional dance are not to be missed in Vanuatu. The music, costumes and ritual that accompany these religious ceremonies are absolutely captivating. It is often difficult to make it to the most important traditional dances as the dates fall in different months each year, and are only announced a few days in advance. However, you can get a good idea of these traditions by going to the Ranhor village on Ambrym, the islanders organise regular dance displays.
+The archipelago has well preserved landscapes and a rich and varied fauna.
+Ni-Vanatu cultural heritage has been preserved.
-It's very far!
-Accommodation options are still quite limited.
Prices are fixed and bargaining is not common practice. That said, the price of local goods does go up significantly when a shuttle boat docks. For this reason, keep yourself informed of the days the liners arrive and organise your shopping accordingly!
Local specialities are based around fish, chicken or pork, baked in an 'umu' oven (hot stones covered in earth). The above are accompanied by rice or taro. Fish is also served raw, marinated in seasoned coconut milk. Tropical fruits are abundant. Kava, a ritual drink served in half a coconut shell, should be tried with caution. This concoction, made from roots, makes eyes very photosensitive and can cause hallucination. Allow yourself several hours of calm to try this drink in the best conditions.
Lovely sculpted wood statues, as well as ceramics and wickerwork (mats, baskets). However, avoid buying items made out of coral and masks decorated with bird feathers so as not to contribute to environmental damage. Businesses are open from 8:00 am to 11:30 am and 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm during the week.