Vanuatu – So much more than a decadent escape!
Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure! Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.
Meg has recently launched “Mapping Megan”, an up and coming travel blog which aims to give you the best tips and advice on travelling, volunteering, living, working and holidaying abroad. She hasn’t been everywhere, but it’s on her list!
Guest Post: Vanuatu – So much more than a decadent escape!
When people think of Vanuatu they immediately think of a decadent escape; gourmet food, white sand beaches, and luxurious coastal resorts. Don’t get me wrong, Vanuatu oozes decadence and luxury, and is the perfect island escape! But the country has so much more to offer! Scuba divers have access to a shipwrecked luxury liner not dissimilar to the Titanic, adventure seekers can get up close to the world’s most accessible active volcano (on the island of Tana), hikers will find cascading waterfalls, ancient living culture is still very intact on some of the more primitive islands, and you can be privy to amazing cultural ceremonies and dances.
I recently took a girls trip to Vanuatu, and while we didn’t stay overnight on any of the islands, the day trips from our cruise-liner were just as exciting! Catching a cruise is an extremely popular way to experience Vanuatu – with 13 large and 80 small islands, a cruise is often the most practical option for the traveller wanting to island hop through the South West Pacific! While many of the larger islands are very touristy, there are a multitude of smaller, uninhabited islands where there’s no-one but you and your snorkel gear! There was nothing I didn’t love about the time we spent in Vanuatu; however my favourite islands were Malekula and Mystery Island!
A cruise was the best way to experience more than one island!
Malekula is known as the island of cannibalism and custom. Yes, you read correctly – cannibalism! While the coral reefs are excellent for diving and snorkelling, if you can put aside your suntan lotion and beach towels to explore, you’ll discover Malekula is extremely mountainous, and has great walking and hiking trails. Old cannibal sites are hidden in the bush on the north side of the island!
Malekula is also known, however, for its strong traditional customs, and while we were on the island we were lucky enough to witness a tribal celebration, where the Small Namba Tribe performed cultural dancing, dressed in their traditional grass skirts and woven penis sheaths for the men! It was amazing to witness a small portion of a traditional Melanesian lifestyle. While we’ve all seen photos in National Geographic, and watched the discovery channel, it’s something completely different to experience such a rich, ancient culture in living colour!
Tribal performances include cultural dancing, where women are dressed in traditional grass skirts and men in woven penis sheaths. Source Flickr CC Ben Smethers
While Malekula is one of the largest islands in Vanuatu, Mystery Island is one of those remote islands I mentioned where it’s just you and your snorkelling gear! The island is extremely hard to reach which means it has remained practically untouched, without any tourism developments, roads or shops! The island is so small that it only took us 40 minutes to hike the whole area, and as such we spent our day here relaxing on the white sand beaches while locals from neighbouring islands played traditional instruments. It’s completely secluded, and was the absolute best escape from civilization and the stress which reality causes!
Mystery Island is a tropical paradise – white sand beaches and crystal blue waters!
Lonely Planet quoted Vanuatu as one of the world’s happiest places – and not because everyone is on vacation! In their words “the water’s ridiculously blue and teeming with life; the interior’s lush and volcanically rumbling, great for exploring amid the breadfruit trees. But it’s the sense of community that makes this a truly happy place. Extended families congregate regularly for age-old celebrations – in Vanuatu, there’s always a knees-up somewhere.”
Tourism is fast growing in this amazing chain of islands (for good reason) – so make sure to get there while it’s still untouched by Western influence – book a trip today!!
Vanuatu is definitely a decedant escape; but it’s much more! Source Flickr CC Argyle
Enjoy an escape from reality!
Enjoying a coconut beverage on the beaches of Mystery Island. I’m all for the simple life!