:: A short happy visit to Vanuatu ::
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Except to Australians looking for a quick island vacation Vanuatu is largely off the radar of most western tourists. It had ample advantage to become a prime South Pacific destination for North Americans and Europeans - Vanuatu was a major US military staging ground during WWII and jointly administered by the UK and France until its independence in 1980. The US though granted statehood to the much closer tropical island chain of Hawaii, France had its eponymous collectivity in Polynesia and a de facto département d'outre-mer in New Caledonia, and the second half of the 20th century saw the UK divest itself of colonies and territories like a hot air balloon with an embarrassment of ballast. The vacationers went elsewhere.
So Vanuatu sits astride the Tropic of Capricorn, a chain of 82 diverse islands free from the taint of tourism except for a few towns and the eco-adventure mecca of Tanna island. Some of the younger generation have learned to hustle a bit for the foreigners' dollars but in typical Melanesian nature they do so gently.
Vanuatu is not some lost kingdom however. The familiar sounds of T.I. and 80's-era Madonna fill the radio waves, and the infrastructure is there to support any traveler not too finicky about exact timetables or electricity. Of special note is the custom of family-owned beach and village bungalows being rented out to and meals prepared for guests. For around US $30 per day one can get a beach-side hut and three tasty square meals. That's what I did, and I liked it, despite my having to in turn provide hundreds of tasty square meals for mosquitoes.
If you're in the region with time on your hands, check it out. It's one of the most relaxing places I've ever been as evidenced by these pictures.
Posted by morland @ 04:39 PM
:: Comments ::
Looks like there's some weather rolling in in a few of those photos...is it the wet season or just the periodic afternoon squall?
Posted by: Alexander Russ on February 2, 2009 09:27 AM
It's the wet season, and there was certainly a fair share of rain. I noticed it was also raining in that video you linked to - raining men.
Posted by: morland on February 8, 2009 09:36 PM
Love your writing style, and your comments on my adopted home Vanuatu.
Sorry about the mozzies though, you really are super sensitive to them!
I travel extensively throughout the islands in godforsaken jungles and ironicaly get less bites there than in my garden in Port Vila. Actually the missionaries you eluded to in your great Atutaki piece, outnumber the mozzies.... (not in my garden, the islands).
You did not go to Tanna? Great place, my wife and lived there for 3 years - loved it!
Check out our pics in www.vanuatu-hotels.vu in "Photo library".
Next time you make it down my way call me and if you are interested, write a real life travel report for our clients to read (I am naturally biased towards Vanuatu, so no editing from me).
For a good story on great couple doing the right in Vanuatu see:
Posted by: John on February 9, 2009 07:38 PM
Didn't see this comment until now, sorry. Awesome pictures, and I actually booked my first couple nights in Port Vila with your site (@City Lodge)!
I'd definitely like to go back someday and see more, Tanna included. Epi Guesthouse looks fantastic too. Hopefully it won't be too long.
Posted by: morland on February 19, 2009 07:20 PM
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