Highlights of Vanuatu

By Astral Sligo

You know that picture-perfect tropical island holiday that occupies your daydreams? You know the one; secluded white-sand beaches with crystal-clear sea, blue swimming holes, fantastic snorkelling, tropical flowers, cascading waterfalls to swim under or abseil down, wild horses, world-class game fishing, friendly locals who happily share their culture with you, gourmet food, and active volcanoes you can climb up and stare down into the lava.

Well, Vanuatu is not just a day-dream, but the real-deal. Vanuatu is that place. Its beauty is forged in the landscape, the people and the attractions that will captivate you. 

In Port Villa, on Vanuatu's main island of Efate, it's easy to just relax by the poolside and enjoy life a thousand miles from your reality with gourmet restaurants, local markets, captivating locals all just a whisper away, not to mention the full-on adventure just a helicopter ride away

One of Port Vila's exquisite landmarks is The Summit Gardens. In the ten hectares of gardens you will enjoy the largest tropical garden in the South Pacific. At 200 metres above sea level, the gardens delight with outstanding views over Mele Bay and Port Vila not to mention the thousands of different flora species originating from all over the world that will delight you. The Summit Gardens remain colourful year round. Sandalwood, frangipani, vanilla, exuberant displays of bush orchids, cultivated orchids, water plants, succulents, bromeliads, heliconias, palms and cycads, vines, creepers, nut and fruit trees. The gardens are a sanctuary for your senses and on the premises is The Distillery where health and beauty products are crafted from essential oils. Watch the video here
Tips: Bring your sunscreen and insect repellent. Make use of the a guided tour (at no extra cost) to find out more of the history of the garden and the local uses of the plants. All the islands in Vanuatu have different customs and plant uses differ from island to island. Don't miss the café! 

The island of Tanna is Vanuatu’s most popular adventure destination, mostly due to the fiery and always active Mount Yasur, which must be the most easily accessible volcano in the world. Only an hour from the airport across the black ash plains by 4WD truck, it’s just a short 10-minute walk to the crater rim, where you can check out exciting displays coming from the three vents. Read more about the spirit of adventure in Tanna.

Volcanoes also flank the west coast of Espiritu Santo, and it's on the eastern shore of Vanuatu's largest island that you can dive the USS President Coolidge, the world’s largest, dive-accessible WWII wreck. The former luxury liner was converted into a US troop carrier and sunk by mines during World War II and is now a magnet for divers the world over.

Watch videos of other attractions in Vanuatu.