Settled west of Fiji and east of Australia, the 13 islands that make up the country of Vanuatu sit in the heart of the South Pacific. The Y-shaped chain of islands gained its independence in 1980, and its name “Vanuatu” aptly means “Our Land Forever” in the native language. Like many other South Pacific countries, Vanuatu has rich history and beautiful lands, making it a perfect travel destination.
History of Vanuatu
Experts agree that the islands of Vanuatu have been inhabited since 550 BC. As recent as 1606, European explorers traveled to the lands, giving the island chains different names. In 1774, British explorer Captain Cook charted the islands on a map and named them New Hebrides. In 1906, Britain and France made the country a Condominium, after having established a joint naval base in 1887. Under the agreement, both countries would protect the native people in addition to protecting their respective citizens.
Between 1906 and 1977, New Hebrides experienced a cult movement and political movements that advocated for the return of the land to the native people. In 1977, Britain and France worked with island representatives to create an independence plan for the islands. On July 30, 1980, the island chain finally gained its independence.
The island chain is 4,707 square miles (12,190 kilometers). Over this area, there are mountainous peaks, coastal terraces, coral reefs and rolling hills. A vast majority of the island chain is dense rain forest. Additionally, several islands have active volcanoes and those islands experience frequent earthquakes.
As far as weather goes, the islands experience two general seasons: a hot, wet season (November-April) and a cooler, dry season (May-October). Over the course of a year, the island chains accumulate between 80-160 inches (2,000-4,000 mm) of precipitation.
Approximately 286,000 people inhabit the island chain. The overwhelming majority of the population is Melanesian, but there are minorities of Chinese, Vietnamese, Micronesians and European people as well. The diversity of the island chains make it understandable that there are many different languages spoken on the islands. From the national language of Bislama, which is an English-based Melanesian dialect, to English, to French, there are many different languages recognized and spoken.
The list of things to do while in Vanuatu is endless. From nature expeditions to snorkeling off the coast of the islands, there is fun for everyone who visits the lands. You can experience the white sands and aqua waters, tour historical museums and explore the rain forests. As far as cuisine goes, you can expect to enjoy a lot of fresh seafood, but you can also find other proteins. The island is strong in agriculture, so there is an abundance of local produce as well.
If you’re looking for a vacation to a historically rich land that offers a countless amount of activities, Vanuatu may be the place for you. If you’re someone who wants to dive into the clear waters of the South Pacific one day and explore the native rain forests the next, don’t wait any longer to book your ticket to the islands of Vanuatu.