The capital; Port Vila, on the island of Efate, sits high over a lovely harbour, and the French influence shows in its stylish food and old architecture. This contrasts with the hilly town bursting with tropical vines and trees, palms and flowering bushes. There are also local markets full of fresh local produce. And there are the big smiles in a place that never seems hurried, and the gentle, peaceful people who seem to know just how blessed they have been by nature.
A strong Melanesian culture flows through the communities in many villages dotted along with the breathtaking geography, with great ceremonies and dance, food, arts and culture varying from place to place, and island to island. Sailing along these waters is a privilege very few independent recreational boaters get to experience.
Once we leave behind the hustle and bustle of Port Vila, the rest of the island and the anchorages of this spectacular island nation are ours to share with the schools of tropical fish, lush tropical forests and friendly ni-Vanuatu (the term used to refer to the people of Vanuatu). Sailing just 30 nautical miles from Port Vila, one is immediately brought back centuries in time. The rustic scenes of mangroves covering the shorelines fill the view from the calm seas around the islands, while smoke comes out of coastal and hillside villages to indicate where communities live. The ni-Vanuatu have a close attachment to their land and are very proud of their traditions and culture. Each tribe welcome visitors in their own unique ancestral traditions among their beautiful village houses built of local timbers and woven grass mats.
Our cruising passage will take us through the islands further north of Efate, to experience the isolation and peace of remote places and see something of the culture of Vanuatu. One of the great things we’ll enjoy in Vanuatu is taking o the water for a snorkel. Their waters are littered with planes, old sailing ships, destroyers and most famously the SS President Coolidge. There are spectacular coral reefs and clear water drop-offs, including some of the deepest offshore canyons in the world and often with exceptional water clarity and you, can have a lot of fun just day sailing, swimming, snorkelling and beach-combing along deserted coves.
Heading north of the archipelago, around 170 nautical miles from Port Vila, is Espiritu Santo (nicknamed Santo), the largest island with a reputation for being an adventure playground. In Malekula, the second largest island in the Vanuatu archipelago of islands lies the Maskelynes, a set of beautiful islands with a multitude of safe anchorages, beautiful sandy beaches and friendly people.
We’ll island hop our way through the archipelago to standout spots with secret beaches to discover, deserted bays to snorkel and scenic lookouts where you can watch the sun slip into the sea.
Tourism Website Vanuatu