Posted by on 05 Aug 2022
Vanuatu is a South Pacific archipelago boasting balmy and rugged beaches, a rich Melanesian heritage and dreamy sunsets – the perfect backdrop for your slow-mo retreat.
But the country’s different regions have plenty more to offer than world-class beaches. Its 80-odd islands are peppered with quaint villages and coastal towns offering unique experiences. A short drive from the city brings you to a variety of natural attractions, from breathtaking volcanic craters to thundering waterfalls.
We’ve listed ten of the top places to visit in Vanuatu that will leave you speechless and wanting to return for more. Be sure to include these destinations in your itinerary to make the most of your visit.
10 Best Places to Visit in Vanuatu
Matevulu Blue Hole
The Mele Cascades is an incredible natural attraction you must include in your itinerary. It’s found on the main island of Efate, just ten kilometres from Port Vila. The clear aquamarine waters gushing down the rocky hillsides are a sight to behold.
Mt. Benbow and Mt. Marum
National Museum of Vanuatu
If you ask a local what Vanuatu is famous for, they’ll most likely say that Mount Yasur is what put Vanuatu on the map. It’s one of the most open volcanoes in the world and is only a 45-minute flight from Port Vila. Legend has it that the glow of this volcano caught the attention of Captain James Cook, which led him to embark on the first European expedition to the island in 1774.
One of the best things to do in Vanuatu is to drive near the peak of Mount Yasur and trek its ash-covered plains. The experience up the crest is unforgettable. The rumbling and hissing of the gases and the spewing of the bright-red lava are an exhilarating spectacle.
Another one of Vanuatu’s many hidden natural wonders is the Matevulu Blue Hole. This waterscape is an idyllic lagoon of turquoise and deep blue waters surrounded by banyan trees and lush tropical vegetation. A real-life Shangri-La with an ancient, untouched charm.
Pentecost is an island where towering mountains meet calm, azure shores. Quaint villages also dot the coastline. The crystal clear waters are also perfect for scuba diving and snorkelling.
But the island has more to offer beyond its beautiful villages and dive sites. The Melanesian tradition of “naghol” or land diving makes it a popular tourist destination. Include watching this exhilarating ritual on your bucket list of things to do in Vanuatu.
Land diving is not for the faint of heart — it’s an adrenaline-inducing activity where brave land divers jump from monumental towers with nothing but thin ropes made from vines tugging them to safety. It’s said that the closer you get to the ground, the better the harvest will be.
The rope-guided trek up the narrow, slippery trail makes the experience even more rewarding, But visitors should take caution as they make their way to the 35-metre high waterfall.
Other places to go in Vanuatu for volcano adventures are Mt. Benbow and Mt. Marum. These twin volcanoes are mainly covered by a low cloud of volcanic smoke and ash. But on a clear day, you will see an impressive live crater and molten lava display.
Climbing the volcanoes is not an easy feat. You need to be physically fit and comfortable walking on steep terrain. We recommend bringing skin protection and drinking lots of water during your hike. You can take three routes: north from Ranon or Ranvetlam, southwest from Port Vatu or Lalinda and east from Endu.
It only takes a bumpy 45-minute ride to Funaspef village to get to the largest cave in the country. The Millennium Cave requires a challenging 1.5-hour trek through tough obstacles that will test your limits. Travellers will need to pass through the forest, cross bamboo bridges, climb steep boulders, traipse through small waterfalls and wade through a dark, water-filled cave to arrive at their destination.
The journey may be gruelling, but the scenery is one of the best in Vanuatu. It’s an incredible and rewarding experience with a spectacular view of nature.
Known as Vanuatu’s “second city,” Luganville has many fascinating sights and exciting things to do. For instance, the Million Dollar Point used to be a dumping site for hundreds of US military equipment. Today, these coral-encrusted pieces of machinery are a popular attraction for divers and snorkelers.
Satisfy your appetite by dropping by Restaurant 1606 for a delicious serving of tapas, seafood paella and crispy pork belly. There are also Market Meal Booths for a budget local dining experience in Santo. Every chicken, fish or steak order is paired with rice and vegetables. You can also enjoy watching your food cooked through a window.
Located in a lofty conventional edifice opposite the parliament, this gallery is one of the best places to visit in Vanuatu. It exhibits a collection of traditional artefacts like slit gongs, drums, ceremonial headdresses and outrigger canoes. You can also find shell ornaments and pottery with Lapita and Wusi backgrounds on display.
Apart from these ornaments, there is also a fascinating photo display of the unearthing of Chief Roi Mata’s grave site. You can roam around the museum yourself or join a guided tour which includes a sand drawing experience and a demonstration of traditional instruments.
Your itinerary won’t be complete without a visit to Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila. Situated on the island of Efate, this small but energetic city will keep you on your feet. The streets are always bustling with crowds and things to do.
The busy Port Vila offers something for every kind of traveller. You can visit local museums, mingle with the locals and buy souvenirs from the shops and markets. Don’t forget to dine in the waterfront restaurants and try their poulet fish, a Vanuatuan snapper with a unique flavour reminiscent of chicken. Drop by a local bar to try Kava, an intoxicating non-fermented drink often served during ceremonies and special occasions.
Make the most of your trip by taking some time off to relax and unwind. The country has many beaches to choose from, but Champagne Beach deserves the top of the list since it is one of the most popular places to visit in Vanuatu.
Located on the island of Espiritu Santo, this postcard-perfect beach offers stunningly beautiful views of pristine white sands, clear turquoise waters and lush rainforest backgrounds. You can also spot some sea turtles and parrot fish swimming in its beautiful reefs. What sets Champagne Beach from other beaches is the unique volcanic activity that causes its waters to froth and fizz.
Explore Vanuatu’s Beauty
This archipelagic destination is filled with fascinating sights no matter where you go. Since Vanuatu sits directly on top of the Pacific Ring of Fire, it has many active volcanoes that eventually created its unique landscapes. Travellers can also enjoy various activities, relax by the beach, try out delicious local dishes and get lost exploring the cities of this beautiful tropical country.
Choose from our Vanuatu holiday packages and discover the best way to enjoy this destination.