Vanuatu Islands

Catamaran Yacht Charter - Pacific Ocean - Vanuatu Islands

Overview

Vanuatu was formerly called the New Hebrides. Vanuatu is a group of 80 islands in the Western Pacific. It is a country of contrasts in the Pacific with exclusive hotels, casinos, gourmet restaurants but also unchanging traditional villages The 83 islands of Vanuatu stretch 1300 km North to South and with 12 000 sq km of land. 180 000 people live in Vanuatu. It is an independent country.

Vanuatu has more active volcanoes than any other country in the South Pacific because the country sits on the edge of the Pacific plate next to the 8 000 meter deep New Hebride Trench. The islands are therefore composed of volcanic ash and coral sand.

The windward sides of the islands have thick rainforests; the lee side have tropical woodlands or savannas.

Climate

Vanuatu has a hot and humid climate. The rainy season is from November to April. The best time is May to September when it is somewhat drier and cooler. Year round the South East trade wind is blowing and during the rainy season wind from North and West can occur. Vanuatu lies in the hurricane belt and is often struck by severe hurricanes.

Tourism

There is some tourism, but this is still focused on the resort near Port Vila. Port Vila is also frequently called by cruise ships. The infrastructure for tourism is well developed. But outside Port Vila there are not much tourists to be seen.

People

Most of the 180 000 people of Vanuatu live on 16 main islands. The national language is Bislama but there are more than 100 different languages spoken. English and French are also official languages.

Customs

Vanuatu leapt into the modern age very quickly, but the rich Melanesian culture is kept very much alive. It is the fascinating culture together with the good sailing conditions and infrastructure that brings many sailing yachts to this area on their way around the world.

Economy

Most people live from agriculture. Yams, manioc, taro, cacao, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, coconuts are grown. Copra is the largest export followed by timber, canned beef and cacao. There are also some cattle farming.

Transportation

There are nearly daily flights to Nadi, Sydney, Noumea, Brisbane and Auckland to Port Vila.

Sailing in Vanuatu

Provisioning is good in Port Vila. There are some shops and there is a market on the waterfront. Gas bottles and diesel is available and also repair facilities. Beside Port Vila good provisioning and repair facilities you will also find in Santo. And also slipways are available. Even on the outer islands you will find well-stocked shops and you will find that most resorts are very helpful to yachts.

Sailing with Neverland in Vanuatu

The islands of Vanuatu are an ideal cruising ground for yachts with some good anchorages, wonderful lagoons and an intact social life, with good infrastructure and good international transportation. Therefore Neverland will stay here for several weeks in 2006.

Efate

With 900 sq km and 45 000 people Efate with the capital Port Vila is seen as the centre of Vanuatu and Port Vila is named the most beautiful city in the South Pacific. A round trip on the 130 km long highway with encircles the island brings you to lonely coastlines, small villages and wonderful landscapes. The inner of the island consists of thick rainforest.

Port Vila has about 35 000 people and is the administrative, touristic and economic heart of Vanuatu. It is an attractive town and many foreign yachts anchor in the bay, which is well protected. And this town is one of the view places where you can enjoy dining and wining in good restaurants.

Tanna

This is Vanuatu’s second most visited island and renowned for its active volcano, for custom villages, cargo cultists and kava culture. Every village has its nasara which is an open area surrounded by big banyan trees where the village men meet nightly to drink kava at the men’s house.

The Yasur Volcano one of the most accessible volcanoes in the world is the chief attraction of Tanna. The views down into the crater are very spectacular.

Just northeast of the volcano is Sulphur Bay village the centre of the Jon Frum movement (Cargo Cult)

Malekula

This 2000 sq km big island has 24 000 people speaking 30 different languages. Malekula rugged interior is inhabited by some of the most traditional clans. This part is still riddled with taboos and you must tread very carefully.

Espiritu Santo

It is Vanuatus largest island with 4000 sq km. From the 30 000 people 12 000 live in the main town of Luganville which has a very sheltered anchorage. And here are also good repair facilities for yachts and the only slipway.


The Eastern Chain

The remote islands of the eastern chain do not see very often visitors. They are beautiful islands and famous for their traditional culture and for their active volcanoes. Here you can find also high quality woodcarvings