Vanuatu - The Happiest Place on Earth

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Before I even knew where Vanuatu was on the map, I had heard my of my travel companions say that Vanuatu was the "happiest place on Earth". It wasn't until I hopped on a plane and landed in Port Vila that I finally understood what everyone meant!
The people of Vanuatu seem to exude endless amounts of friendliness and happiness (even Border Security and that's saying something!!). For people who are living in what is technically a third world country, I don't think I've met a group of people who were so genuinely lovely and truly care.


Port Vila was my first stop on my 2 week getaway! Once you leave the city and hit the  natural beauty of the outskirts this is a place that will take your breath away. My resort sat right on the beach front. We stayed in gorgeous little hut with thatched roofs with an outdoor enclosed bathroom. Sipping cocktails by the pool and candlelit dinners on the beach were just a few memorable moments from the Breakas Resort. What truly made this a special place was the people, Frita (our tour expert) suggested amazing places to visit and things to do, and not once were we disappointed!


Port Vila hosts an array of amazing places to visit but some of my favourites were:
  • Mele Cascades - sneak away behind the waterfall and bathe in the incredible spring waters
  • Turtle Sanctuary on Moso Island - get up close and personal with endangered turtles who are raised in captivity and released back into the Vanuatu waters when they are old enough!
  • Tranquillity Island - escape here on a Coongoola Day Cruise and spend your day either lounging around on the white sands of this secluded beach, or snorkelling with the incredible coral and ocean life (we saw a stingray!! oh, and Nemo!!)
  • Hideaway Island - probably one of the most popular tourist spots, known for it's underwater post office where you can send your waterproof postcards back home :D
The tour guides where on the money with their information, and were more than happy to show you around and reveal some hidden treasures if you embraced their culture and did away with what I will call Western ignorance.

Next port of call on my trip to Vanuatu was the island of Espiritu Santos! This to me is truly what Vanuatu is about; completely at one with nature without destroying the beautiful environment they live in! Port Vila is great to start with, but once you visit Santos you won't turn back! This place has true untouched beauty, where the locals will let you join in and feel like part of the community. By far the most important thing to do whilst in Santos is to trek through the Millennium Cave (note: not for those who aren't physically fit or are injured). 

The Millennium Cave tour starts with a trek to a local village, so you can see how the people of Vanuatu live on an everyday basis. Such an eye opener, but incredible at the same time. Be sure to enjoy a game of soccer with the local children (warning, they will kick your ass!!). What you next embark on is something you will never experience in countries like my own (Australia) where health and safety rule out a lot of our adventurous tendencies. The cave itself requires you to climb up boulders and walk through waist deep waters so you can explore just how incredible it is! My guide ended up holding my hand through most of the trek because I'm not the most stable person on my feet at the best of times!! Once you are through the cave you will climb through the remnants of a previous cave which collapsed and now forms an incredible gorge. Finally you'll have a chance to
relax float down stream before trekking back to the village.

One of the more well known locations in Santos is the Matevulu Blue Hole. Vanuatu is renowned for it's blue holes, which are water inlets that are literally bright blue and crystal clear! The colour comes from the limestone under the water and makes for an amazing photo. Matevulu has a rope swing that if you're feeling adventurous you should definitely give it a go! I'm terrified of heights, but once I got over my fear you had to fight me for the rope! Taking a canoe from Oyster Island or biking from your resort is the best way to visit this blue hole as you will see so much more than if you just come in by car. The Nanda and Riri Blue Hole's are also incredible, and are less likely to have so many people around given that Matevulu is the most well known. Be sure to visit them all if you have the time because they all hold something a little different that you will treasure forever.

My final recommendation for Santos is to hire a taxi for the day (trust me, it costs less than a taxi home in our own countries!) and drive up the coast of Santos to Velit Bay and the 15 Degrees South Bar, Port Orly with it huge Coconut Crab's and Champagne Beach which is honestly the best beach I've ever visited in the world!


Til next time! (sipping a wine as a reminsce this photo! haha)

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