Vanuatu Resorts | Vanuatu Islands | Vanuatu Holiday Accommodation
Page: Vanuatu Story - History, Life, Culture, Food and Activities of Vanuatu People

Vanuatu Story

“Our land for ever”
That’s the true meaning of the word ‘Vanuatu’ in the local language, which freed itself from colonialism and became an independent republic in 1980. Discover this exotic South Pacific destination, its origins, culture and native people.

The Story of Vanuatu

Vanuatu is an Y-shaped archipelago of 83 islands, stretching over 1,000 km from just south of the Solomon Islands to just north of New Caledonia.

The main islands are Efate (political capital), Santo (the largest), Malekula and Tanna. Other larger islands are Erromango, Ambrym, Pentecost (the home of “land diving” – predecessor of “bungy jumping”), Maewo, Gaua, Aneityum and Ambae. Click here for more info about Vanuatu islands.

Vanuatu was formerly known as New Hebrides. It was an Anglo-French Condominium (which became locally known as ‘Pandemonium’), from 1906 until independence in 1980, when it became a self-governing republic and a member of the Commonwealth.

Around 200,000 Ni-Vanuatu people (a Melanesian race) live on the islands and speak over 110 local languages, the highest number of languages per head of population in the world. English and French are widely spoken, although Bislama (a “pidgeon English”) is the lingua franca and national language.


The building housing Vanuatu Government offices in Port Vila,
with the national flag at the entrance.

Vanuatu history

Vanuatu has been inhabited for around 5,000 years. The first people to settle the 80+ islands, were the Melanesians from South East Asia. The European contact was made by the Portuguese in May 1606. At that time, Pedro Ferdinand de Quiros “discovered” the largest island in Vanuatu group. He thought it was ‘Terra Australis’ so he christened it, “Terra Australis del Espiritu Santo”. The last part of the name is still used today.

In the ensuing years, other European navigators also visited the islands. Captain James Cook from England, during his journey in 1774, up the east coast of Australia and into the Coral Seas, gave the name “New Hebrides” to the Vanuatu island group. European settlement came in the form of Sandalwood Traders in 1825. They established trade with China for the valuable Sandalwood, which lasted for many decades.

Later in the 19th century, both English and French settlers began setting up colonies within the islands of Vanuatu. That lead to the unique establishment of the Anglo-French Condominium of 1906. Certain islands of Vanuatu played a strategic role in the Allied forces battle against Japanese invaders during World War II. The people of Vanuatu finally regained their independence from European Colonists in 1980 on the 30th of July.

Culture, Food and Activities

The culture of the people of Vanuatu is one of the few in the South Pacific that has successfully resisted total change from outside influences. The more remote islands have maintained much of their thousands of years customs and culture. This of course makes such islands very interesting to visit as part of a discovery holiday.

A visit to what is often described as the ‘Untouched Paradise’ of Vanuatu, has certainly become popular with modern Europeans. For the last few decades the majority of visitors to these islands have come from Australia and New Zealand. In recent years though, an increasing number of Northern Europeans are making the extra discovery trip from Australia to Vanuatu for a short but memorable cultural experience!


The local customs are an important part of Vanuatu culture,
shown here in Vanuatu story
play at the Melanesian Feast Night presentation.

Some of what can be easily experienced on Efate island are Melanesian Feast Nights, Kastom Villages, String Band Music and Kastom Dancers. Efate island is the country’s main island. Both Port Vila (the Capital) and Seat of the central government, are located there. Along with the Bauerfield International Airport, Efate has the best infrastructure of all the islands in the Vanuatu group. Espiritu Santo being second most set up with a modern infrastructure. Of course in both cases, the infrastructure is only in and around the main towns. The rest of the villages on Efate and Santo and especially the other islands, are still very traditional or partially modernized.

One thing that is very unique to Vanuatu, is the many different choices of international cuisine. Diners can choose from Australian, American or British styles, traditional Melanesian Ground Oven cooking, French, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian cuisine. Restaurants, Bistros and Cafes are dotted all throughout Port Vila and surrounds. Many hotels and resorts also have one or more restaurants or bistros to choose from.

The Port Vila downtown ‘Markets’ operate now 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The choice of fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables at very affordable prices fills the markets daily. Many traditional root crops, such as Taro, Sweet Potato and Yams are found in abundance at the Markets. Also a selection of hand-crafts, such as wood carvings and shell necklaces etc. make ideal gifts or souvenirs.

As for activities, Vanuatu has much to offer. Golfing, swimming in crystal clear waters, scuba-diving, sailing, Deep Sea / Coral Reef fishing, horse-riding, kayaking, day and night crusing, etc. Or visiting the outer islands, such as Tanna with its active volcano Mt Yasur, or Pentecost island in May during the “land diving” season. Or, relaxing and soaking up the sun one of the many secluded, pristine white and volcanic sand beaches, strewn around Efate, Santo and other islands. Or, just come and experience the unique culture of the South Pacific.


Vanuatu's Reserve Bank building is located on one of surrounding hills
overlooking Port Vila town.

Offshore Financial Centre

Vanuatu also has another aspect besides tourism and various export industries. It was set up as a Financial Centre with Tax Haven status as far back as the early 1970’s by the British. This important industry contributes a sizeable percentage of Vanuatu’s Gross National Product! Most of the offices of the well established and recognized financial industry representatives can be found in Port Vila.

With no exchange controls, and the long established Financial Centre industry, many companies have been established in Vanuatu to take advantage of its Tax Haven status. Likewise, many Australian and New Zealand expats have acquired Vanuatu citizenship and hold Vanuatu passport as their second passport.

Although Vanuatu was blacklisted for a few years by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – the rich countries cartel), it has been now removed from the blacklist by the OECD and continues to enjoy its Offshore Financial Centre status. Vanuatu citizenship is often sought by Australian and New Zealand expats.

Finally, Vanuatu has been popular with Honeymooners and people wishing to get married on a South Pacific island, for many years. Many resorts offer special services for weddings and honeymoon couples, all year round. Likewise, South Pacific cruise ships often visit Vanuatu and stop over at Port Vila for an overnight stay. Christmas and New Year holidays are also popular with Vanuatu visitors, in particular those who like spending a tropical Christmas.

So for many reasons, Vanuatu is the destination of choice for an ever growing number of yearly visitors.

Mi lukim yu!


  Holiday Information and Guides to Vanuatu

Vanuatu Facts

Vanuatu Holiday
Vanuatu Location

Vanuatu Story

Vanuatu Activities

Vanuatu Attractions

Vanuatu Christmas
Vanuatu Flights Info
Culture of Vanuatu
Holiday on Efate Island
Kid Friendly Vanuatu Fun
Long Stay Vacations in Vanuatu
Pet Friendly Vanuatu Holiday
Perfect Family Getaway
Plan a Trip to Vanuatu
Reasons to Visit Vanuatu
Short History of Vanuatu
South Pacific Region
Things to Do in Vanuatu
Things to Know About Vanuatu
Winter Holidays in Vanuatu

   Benjor Beach Club
   Bethel Village Bungalows
   Blue Pango Motel
   Breakas Beach Resort
   Chantillys On the Bay
   Coral Motel Apartments
   Deco Stop Lodge
   Erakor Island Resort
   Hideaway Island Resort
   Iririki Island Resort
   Le Lagon Resort
   Le Meridien Resort
   Mangoes Resort
   The Melanesian
   Nguna Beach Resort
   Sunrise Bungalows
   Toa Palms Bungalows
   White Grass Ocean Resort
ATV Tours
   All Inclusive Packages
   Best Family Resorts in Vanuatu
   Pango Green Motel Planned
   Places to Stay in Vanuatu
   Resorts for Different Travelers
   Tanna Island Bungalows
   Vanuatu Family Resorts
   Vanuatu Resorts Serenity
   Vanuatu Wellness Centres
   Backpacking in Vanuatu
   Best Diving Spots Vanuatu
   Car Rentals Vanuatu
   Cruises in Vanuatu
   Diving Adventures in Vanuatu
   Duty-Free Shops in Port Vila
   Exercise While Traveling
   Exploring Vanuatu on Foot
   Fish Species in Vanuatu
   Fishing and Cruises Vanuatu
   Golf Courses in Vanuatu
   Hiking Trails in Vanuatu
   Honeymoon in Vanuatu
   Horseback Riding Vanuatu
   Outdoor Activities for Families
   Pamper Yourself in Vanuatu
   Snorkeling in Vanuatu
   Surfing in Vanuatu
   Vanuatu Diving Spots
   Vanuatu Fishing Guide
   Vanuatu Sailing Adventure
   Vanuatu Scuba Diving
   Wedding in Vanuatu
   Annual Swims in Vanuatu
   Bluewater Island Aquarium
   Cascades Waterfall
   Ekasup Village in Vanuatu
   Eton Beach on Efate
   Land Dive on Pentecost
   Most Unique Attractions
   Outer Islands Vanuatu
   Port Vila Golf and Country Club
   Underwater Post Office
   Vanuatu Islands Volcanos
   Wildlife Experience in Vanuatu
   Casinos in Vanuatu
   Christmas Holidays in Vanuatu
   Mothers Day in Vanuatu
   Resort Restaurants in Port Vila
   The Nightlife of Vanuatu
   Vanuatu Festivals and Events
   Wedding in Vanuatu
Port Vila
   Port Vila About
   Port Vila Attractions
   Port Vila Cafes
   Port Vila Duty Free
   Port Vila Markets
   Port Vila Restaurants
   Port Vila Snorkeling
   Port Vila Town
   Port Vila Vacation
   Vanuatu Facts
   Vanuatu Holiday
   Vanuatu Location
   Vanuatu Story
   Vanuatu Activities
   Vanuatu Attractions
   Vanuatu Christmas
   Vanuatu Flights Info
   Culture of Vanuatu
   Holiday on Efate Island
   Kid Friendly Vanuatu Fun
   Long Stay Vacations in Vanuatu
   Pet Friendly Vanuatu Holiday
   Perfect Family Getaway
   Plan a Trip to Vanuatu
   Reasons to Visit Vanuatu
   Short History of Vanuatu
   South Pacific Region
   Things To Do in Vanuatu
   Things to Know About Vanuatu
   Winter Holidays in Vanuatu
Vanuatu Guide
Vanuatu Islands
   Island Hopping
   Popular Islands
   Ambae Island
   Ambrym Island
   Aneityum Island
   Bokissa Island
   Efate Island
   Emae Island
   Epi Island
   Erromango Island
   Espiritu Santo
   Inyeug Island
   Lelepa Island
   Malekula Island
   Moso Island
   Nguna Island
   Pentecost Island
   Tanna Island
Vanuatu Nightlife
   Kava Tasting in Vanuatu
   Melanesian Feast Night
   Vanuatu Drink Bars
   Vanuatu Nightclubs
   Vanuatu Restaurants
   Vanuatu Main Casinos
   Australia Top Casinos
   South Pacific Casinos
Vanuatu Tours
   Efate Island Popular Tours
   Fishing Charters in Vanuatu
   Pele Island Day Tour
   Vanuatu ATV Adventures
   Vanuatu Day Tours
   Vanuatu Diving Excursions
Vanuatu Banking
   Banks and ATMs in Vanuatu
   Guide to Banking in Vanuatu
   Currency Exchange Tips
Expat Living
   Buying a Property in Vanuatu
   Find Job Before Moving to Vanuatu
   Guide to Moving to Vanuatu
   Living in Vanuatu as an Expat
   Moving to Vanuatu During Covid 19
   Relocating to Vanuatu
   Things to Leave Behind
Travel Tips
   Best Travel Site Bookaweb
   How to Plan a Budget Trip
   International Packing Hacks
   Is Vanuatu Affected by Pandemic
   Prepare Home for Long Vacation
   Tips for Perfect Travel With Baby
   Ultimate Travel Safety Checklist
   USA User Friendly Travel Tips
Photo Galleries
   Cascades Waterfall Photos
   Melanesian Feast Night gallery
   Port Vila City photos
   Vanuatu Holiday photos
   Worawia Resort gallery
   Worawia Floorplans
   Christmas Greetings
   Family Bungalow
   Bungalow 2
   Bungalow 3
   Bungalow 4
Guest Posts
   The Travel Bug
   Newsletters Map
   Newsletter Downloads
   ESTA Report
   2005 Archive
   Travel Bug 1
   Travel Bug 2
   Travel Bug 3
   Travel Bug 4
   Travel Bug 5
   Travel Bug 6
   Travel Bug 7
   Travel Bug 8
   Travel Bug 9
   2006 Archive
   Travel Bug 10
   Travel Bug 11
   Travel Bug 12
   Travel Bug 13
   Travel Bug 14
   Travel Bug 15
   Travel Bug 16
   Travel Bug 17
   Travel Bug 18
   Travel Bug 19
   Travel Bug 20
   Travel Bug 21
   Travel Bug 22
   2007 Archive
   Travel Bug 23
   Travel Bug 24
   Travel Bug 25
   Travel Bug 26
   Travel Bug 27
   Travel Bug 28
   Travel Bug 29
   Travel Bug 30
   Travel Bug 31
   Travel Bug 32
   Travel Bug 33
   Travel Bug 34
   2008 Archive
   Travel Bug 35
   Travel Bug 36
   Travel Bug 37
   Travel Bug 38
   Travel Bug 39
   Travel Bug 40
   Travel Bug 41
   Travel Bug 42
   Travel Bug 43
   Travel Bug 44
   Travel Bug 45
   Travel Bug 46
   2009 Archive
   Travel Bug 47
   Travel Bug 48
   Travel Bug 49
   Travel Bug 50
   Travel Bug 51
   Travel Bug 52
   Travel Bug 53
   Travel Bug 54
   Travel Bug 55
   Travel Bug 56
   Travel Bug 57
   Travel Bug 58
   2010 Archive
   Travel Bug 59
   Travel Bug 60
   Travel Bug 61
   Travel Bug 62
   Travel Bug 63
   Travel Bug 64
   Travel Bug 65
   Travel Bug 66
   Travel Bug 67
   Travel Bug 68
   Travel Bug 69
   Travel Bug 70
   2011 Archive
   Travel Bug 71
   Travel Bug 72
   Travel Bug 73
   Travel Bug 74
   Travel Bug 75
   Travel Bug 76
   Travel Bug 77
   Travel Bug 78
   Travel Bug 79
   Travel Bug 80
   Travel Bug 81
   Travel Bug 82
   2012 Archive
   Travel Bug 83
Travel links
Other links

ATV Tours
Port Vila
Vanuatu Guide
Vanuatu Islands
Vanuatu Nightlife
Vanuatu Tours
Vanuatu Banking
Expat Living
Travel Tips
Photo Galleries
Guest Posts
Travel links
Other links
Link to us
Privacy Policy