And now for something completely different… Vanuatu
When a friend said they were heading for Vanuatu, I did wonder what on earth had got in to them. When they returned saying they had the best holiday ever, I decided to investigate. And I was pleasantly surprised.
For those of you who thought Vanuatu was a place in Bedknobs and Broomsticks – join the club. Apparently it is actually called the Republic of Vanuatu and lies in the South Pacific Ocean. It has 82 islands of which 65 are inhabited. The islands are all of volcanic origin which has created a terrific landscape for exploring.
There are several active volcanoes and Mount Yasur is a great place to visit. Located on Tanna Island, Mount Yasur is known as the world’s most accessible volcano. Tanna Island has lush vegetation due to the volcanic ash, and everything is grown organically. The coral reefs and bays are also perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving.
The Island of Malekula allows you to immerse yourself in their cultural dances and experience their heritage.
Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, is more cosmopolitan than you would think, with lovely cafes and restaurants that give you a glimpse of their French influences. There is a cave of stalactites you can explore as well as the chance to go abseiling down a waterfall.
However the most amazing reason to go to Vanuatu is the chance to go diving in the shipwrecked cruise liner SS President Coolidge. The cruise liner was a luxury vessel built in Virginia, USA. In its history it was used for passenger and commercial purposes, evacuating Americans in the war from Asia during the war and eventually went into service as a troop ship, carrying over 5,000 troops. However in 1942 the boat was hit by two mines and sank in Vanuatu, sinking on its side only 20 metres under sea level. Diving here is an astonishing experience as you can explore both a luxury cruise liner and army ship at the same time. Along with cannons and jeeps, you will see chandeliers and a mosaic tiled fountain. Due to the depth of the wreck and the clear waters, it has become known as one of the most accessible shipwrecks. In fact for some parts you do not need scuba diving equipment to explore the wreck.
Reviews say that Vanuatu is one of the last places on Earth where people are truly happy. It feels safe and friendly and the people of Vanuatu are unique in their healthy approach to living. Vanuatu is definitely a place you have to experience.