Vanuatu Backpacker & Solo Travel Guide

Vanuatu as a Solo and Backpackers Destination:

Vanuatu is a beautiful country filled with natural wonders, from waterfalls, rainforests and active volcanoes to idyllic beaches and crystal clear waters. The country makes an ideal solo travel destination; you are

nlikely to feel unsafe, or to be pestered as a tourist. Additionally the peoples (mostly Melanesian, as well as some Polynesian heritage) are incredibly friendly and have a real love for their country that they want to share with visitors. It is easy to see why Vanuatu was voted Happiest Country in the World in 2007, and spending time in such a place can only leave you feeling the same way!

Vanuatu is home to a population of just over 200,000 across the islands and has a varying climate of wet tropical and subtropical. Although night temperatures can drop to around 12 degrees in Port Vila, the capital, in June, day temperatures still reach 27 degrees, making Vanuatu a year round destination.

Efate is the most well known island of Vanuatu, and makes a good first port of call., Efate has a beautiful and varied coastline, with numerous bays, beaches and inlets to explore, and from Port VIla (Vila), the capital, you can take ferries to Iririki, Erakor and Hideaway islands, where you can enjoy secluded beach hideaways, watersports, relaxation treatments and fresh seafood. Vila is a beautiful city, filled with restaurants and cafes, as well as colonial relics, museums and parks, and several impressive markets selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to local crafts and artwork. Take a walk around the city to find the Vanuatu Culture Centre, containing traditional artefacts and a history of the nation, the Sacre Coeur Cathedral, French colonial architecture and Independence Park. For the more active visitor, there are a great deal of activities on offer in Vila; horse riding, scuba diving, abseiling, paragliding...

96 different languages are still spoken across the islands, and it is well worth exploring further afield to properly experience all that Vanuatu has to offer. You will be well rewarded for venturing onto other islands; on Tanna you can get within 150m (by 4WD) of the crate rim of the active volcano Mt Yasur, you can visit the Big Nambas cannibal site in the forests of Malekula and dive amongst coral reefs and endorned caves off Luganville.

Accomodation for Solo Travellers:

Accomodation ranges from low budget hostels and lodges to tropical resorts. You can get accomodation from 1800 Vt (Vanuatu vatu), spending a bit more on midrange accomodation will cost from 7000 to 18000 a night for excellent hotels, and anything over 20000 will be paradise.

In Port Vila low cost accomodation can be found at Vila Hibiscus Motel, or Treetops Lodge & Bungalow, which both offer cheap dorm rooms, as well as private rooms. The Hideaway Island Resortis a wonderful place to stay near Vila; bordering a marine sanctuary, the resort has a fantastic restaurant, Melanesian feasts and a range of watersports on offer.

You could also check out Port Vila Hotels website for lots of options.

Budget for Solo Travellers:

It is possible to visit Vanuatu on a budget, as long as you avoid all the top end resorts. Dorms will set you back around 2000Vt a night, while a private room or studio will cost more like 8000Vt. There is only one camping ground in the country, although many lodge owners will let you use their land for a small fee.

It is relatively easy to get around Vanuatu, with minibuses and taxis delivering you to your doorstep. A short taxi ride might be around 400Vt but you can charter a taxi for the day, costing around 10000Vt.

Air Vanuatu's domestic wing has a number of scheduled flights to 28 airfields around the islands, on small planes seating from 9 to 44 people. They offer discounts to certain ticket holders, as well as children and students which can help bring prices down. Alternatively you could take a catamaran between some of the islands, with Fresh Cargo, which will cost 6500Vt from Port Vila to Malekula.

Tips and Activities for Solo Travellers:

Some things to do include:

Stroll around Port Vila, before having dinner by the harbour and enjoy stunning views as the sun sets out to sea.
Celebrate independence day on the 30th July, when every village will have its own celebration.
Make sure to sample kava, the traditional South Pacific beverage containing numerous anaesthetics and analgesics.
Seek out dugongs - now considered vulnerable to extinction, there is a push for greater conservation of the world's only herbivorous marine mammal.
Marvel at Mt Yasur, the world's most accessible volcano.

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