Vanuatu (Republic of Vanuatu)

Languages: Bislama, English, French

Currencies: VUV · Vanuatu vatu (Vt)

Capitol: Port Vila

Continents: Oceania

More useful information

Area: 12,189km2

Population: 307,150

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +678

Timezones: UTC+11:00

Last updated on May 10, 2024

Vanuatu is considered one of the top remote and inaccessible destinations in the world. The country is located in the minddle of a Pacific Ocean across 83 islands, some still inhabited and some living traditional way far from modern civilization. The list of great outdoor activities, cultural tours and fascinating facts about Vanuatu is endless.

Aside from Vanuatu natural wonders, overwhelming rainforest and timeless traditions, it is also home to one of the most unique tribes in the world. They have a rich history and culture that is unlike anything you have ever experienced before. 

7 fascinating facts about Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is among my top 3 most unique and adventurous remote countries I have traveled across the world. There are so many fascinating facts about Vanuatu that will leave you breathelss – exploring the tribal culture, incredible jungle treks, coral reefs and witnessing spectacular eruptions and lava displays while hiking world’s most accessible active volcano Mount Yasur.

Who are Vanuatu tribes – one of the world’s most remote bush people - Etapo tribe Tanna Island.

Over 2000 seismic events a year.

There are over 2000 seismic events registered each year! Vanuatu is one of the most vulnerable countries when it comes to nature, with cyclones, tsunami, volcano earthquakes & eruptions!

On the first day upon landing in Port Vila, I felt the ground shaking twice while resting on a bed. 

Are earthquakes common in Vanuatu?

Vanuatu belongs to Ring of Fire, where earthquakes with strengths of more than 7.0 occur commonly.

However, they are often not destructive and seismic activity is strictly monitored – You can check on the official governmental meteorology website:

7 top fascinating things about Vanuatu and bush tribes you probably didn’t know. Imayo Tribe in Tanna Island

Canibalism in Vanuatu.

In the past cannibalism was practiced across the whole country. Cannibalism was still present in Vanuatu in late 1969 across northern parts of the archipelago (mostly Malekula village tribes). 

Newcomers, who came to the island and wanted to fight Vanuatu bush tribes or take their women were cought and eaten. To see how they hunted newcomers you need to visit Tanna Island and take a Cannibal Tour, showcasing the whole hunting process. 

You got to do the Cannibal Village Tour – it’s a thrilling experience, where you are in the middle of the action in a dense rainforest. It’s a beautiful realistic performance showcasing human hunting along with some details about human cooking 😉

7 top fascinating things about Vanuatu and bush tribes you probably didn’t know.

They would cut the man into pieces and bake (or steam) in hot stones, placed in the ground hole and covered by bananna leaves. Similar way to preserving the food by bush tribes, they dig a hole in the ground and wrap the food in banna leaves.

Food accessibility and clothes came along with first visitirs after Vanuatu gained its independance.

7 top fascinating things about Vanuatu and bush tribes you probably didn’t know.

Vanuatu was founded in 1980.

After years of remaining dependant on British and French , the nation of Vanuatu finally gained its independence only in 1980. July 30 is recognized as the nation’s independence day. 

Vanuatu is a developing country, you need to know the touristic infrastructure is very basic and on some islands you are totally dependednt on your host, since there are no roads, shops or even electricity. 

7 top fascinating things about Vanuatu and bush tribes you probably didn’t know.

World's most accessible active volcano.

One of the most fascinating facts about Vanuatu is the fact it is home to world’s most accessible active volcano in the world – Mount Yasur. First of all – it is one of the most amazing phenomenons I’ve seen across the world. From your tiny bamboo bungallow situated in the middle of a dense jungle you can watch red sky aura and overwhelming sound of volcano explosions. 

One thing you cannot miss in Tanna Island is Hiking Mount Yasur – the most accessible active volcano in the world.

This is only possible from Mike’s Castle Tree House And Bungalow – the rest of the stays are located closer to Mount Yasur entrance and will not showcase the view of the volcano crater. 

7 top fascinating things about Vanuatu and bush tribes you probably didn’t know - Mount Yasur Volcano

Mount Yasur is an active volcano located on the island of Tanna, reachable with a short 45 minute flight from Port Vila (the main island). The volcano erupts almost every day, and the sight of the fiery explosions is just mind-blowing. You need to get a tour to get close to the action, it is not possible to hike the volcano on your own. 

Here you can book Mount Yasur Guided afternoon tour – truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

7 top fascinating things about Vanuatu and bush tribes you probably didn’t know.

Diving sites.

The waters around Vanuatu are home to an incredible array of marine life, including colorful coral reefs, tropical fish and even sharks. Scuba diving is a must-do activity and there are plenty of dive operators that can take you out to the best spots.

7 top fascinating things about Vanuatu and bush tribes you probably didn’t know.

Bush tribes in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is home to many different tribes, each with their own unique customs, traditions and even language. Booking a tour to tribe villages is a must-do on the island and is a great way to learn about the local way of life and gain a deeper understanding of the island’s history. 

Most popular tribes in Tanna Island are: Yakel, Latapu and Imaio.

Who are Vanuatu tribes – one of the world’s most remote bush people. Pepeyo tribe Efate island

They will tell you about their daily customs, hunting traditions, you will also have the chance to see traditional dances and taste local food. Don’t miss drinking KAVA – ceremonial strong drink normally made from root of kava plant. Normally it is drank only by men, by since outosders came to the explore the islands, they  made it accessible for us as well. 

One of the most fascinating facts about Vanuatu people is how they preserve food from being destroyed by nature destasters. Food placed in a ground hole can last up to 5 years!!

The greatest bush tribes experience you will find on Malekula island, Efate (the main island) and Tanna (I’ve visited 4 villages). 

Vanuatu - the 2nd happiest country in the world.

Few facts about Vanuatu actually surprised me, but it’s great to hear they are second happiest country in the world (right behind Costa Rica)! I presume this is because the Archipelago and its village tribes are located far all the problems of modern civilzation, with over 3000 kilometres from any high-developed country like Australia or New Zealand. The economic and environmental footprint is much lower than in the advanced ecomonies. 

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Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!