15 Fun And Interesting Facts About Vanuatu [Explained]

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Vanuatu is a country made up of about 80 islands. While it is not a widely known destination, the republic actually has a very rich history. One of the top facts about Vanuatu is that people settled here around 2,000 BC. 

Here are some incredible and interesting Vanuatu facts to learn more about this often overlooked nation in Oceania. Who knows? You might even want to travel there yourself for a deeper look.

Historical Facts About Vanuatu

The Islands Of Vanuatu Were A Part Of Anglo-French Condominium

Vanuatu came under the administration of Britain and France in 1906. This is called the Anglo-French Condominium. This arrangement happened when European countries started settling in the islands of Vanuatu. It lasted until 1980, after which the nation gained complete independence.  

One Of The Strongest Cyclones Hit Vanuatu In 2015

Cyclone Pam was one of the strongest cyclones that occurred in the South Pacific region. It destroyed the infrastructure of this small nation significantly. However, the people of Vanuatu collectively worked to rebuild their homes and workplaces.

Bungee Jumping Was Invented Here

One of the interesting facts about Vanuatu is that a ritual called Nanggol is believed to have given rise to bungee jumping. Village men used to jump from high towers by attaching vines to their ankles. This ritual, which is practiced on Pentecost Island, was mainly performed before the emergence of the yam crops.

Cultural Facts About Vanuatu

Cannibalism Was Practiced Until 1969

Cannibalism is the act of eating another animal from the same species. People in Vanuatu used to eat other humans by cutting them into pieces and baking them in a hole in the ground. 

The first British emissaries who came to this nation in 1839 were also victims of cannibalism.

Laplap Is Its National Dish

Fortunately, human meat is not representative of Vanuatu cuisine. Instead, there are some really tasty dishes available among traditional Vanuatu food. 

Laplap is a baked pudding that people make by using yam, banana, and taro. It has a creamy coconut taste that many people love. You can find this dish in many places in Vanuatu due to its popularity.

The Tanna Tribe Believes Prince Philip Is Their Ancestor

One of the interesting facts about Vanuatu culture involves a tribe on Tanna Island that holds Prince Philip in high regard. A warrior who passed away in 2009 claimed that the royal Prince was their true Messiah. The Prince Philip Movement also started after the Queen and Duke visited Vanuatu in 1974.

Simple Facts About Vanuatu For Kids

Vanuatu Is One Of The Happiest Country In This World

The Happy Planet Index gave a high rank (4th) to this nation based on the sustainability of the people. People of Vanuatu live longer and happier lives than most other individuals on this globe. This is why it is an excellent place to visit if you want to be surrounded by positivity.  

While these rankings change from time to time and vary across different lists, there is usually some basis for when a country is consistently considered to be one of the happiest.

Mount Tabwemasana Is Its Highest Mountain

This mountain is 1,879 meters above sea level and offers an excellent view of the region. You can explore this site by visiting Espiritu Santo Island in Vanuatu. From certain vista points, you will get a breathtaking view of the Coral Sea located on the east side.

Useful Vanuatu Facts For Travelers

It is important to have information on beaches in Vanuatu and other attractions to plan your itinerary. So here are some useful facts about Vanuatu.

English Is One Of The Official Languages Of Vanuatu

One of the top Vanuatu facts is that you don’t have to worry about conversing with the locals. Most people in this country speak English due to its official status. Other languages that people use in Vanuatu are Bislama and French. 

A Shipwreck Can Be Explored In Vanuatu

SS President Coolidge was an amazing liner that was changed to a troop ship during World War II. The ship sank in 1942, and you can explore its wreckage in Vanuatu.

The wreckage site is an important diving site in the nation. You can see chandeliers, trucks, and jeeps when checking out the shipwreck. 

You Can Spot Dugongs In This Country

A dugong is a sea cow that is found only in specific regions. They look similar to manatees with their chubby bodies. A sighting of this adorable creature makes for an amazing marine life experience. 

However, it is an endangered specie, so you should take caution and make sure not to harm them if you come across one. 

Common Facts About Vanuatu

Mount Yasur Is The World’s Most Easily Accessible Volcano

One of the top facts about Vanuatu is that it is home to various volcanoes. In particular, Mount Yasur offers a unique view that is most prominent at nighttime. You will pass through fields of ash when reaching the volcano. 

Only 9% Of Vanuatu’s Land Is Used For Agriculture

The terrain in Vanuatu is very steep, making it unstable for agriculture and growing crops. Permanent water is also scarce on the nation’s various islands. 7% of this land is used for growing permanent crops, while the rest is used for arable crops.

Other Interesting Facts About Vanuatu

Vanuatu Has A Population Of 300,000 People

Many people do not focus on population size when looking at Vanuatu facts. The nation has a low population, so it is an excellent choice if you want to visit a country that doesn’t feel very crowded. Vanuatu also has one fo the least number of annual visitors; it’s a relatively hidden gem for a peaceful trip. 

The Flag Of Vanuatu Represents Its Rich Islands

The flag of Vanuatu has various colors which represent different things. For example, green is used to describe the diversity of islands. Meanwhile, red highlights men and wild boars. 

Ni-Vanuatu people are represented by the black color. These people belong to Melanesian ethnic groups. Remember, Melanesians were the first to settle on the islands of this country. 

Discovering More Fun Facts About Vanuatu

These are just some of the top facts about Vanuatu, and there is plenty more to discover. The locals are keen to share their culture with visitors. While the country may have a low number of annual visitors, 20% of its GDP is actually accounted for by tourism.

You can visit many beautiful beaches in Vanuatu and enjoy the ideal climate from April to October. It is also not a very expensive destination, which is one of the best things about traveling in Vanuatu.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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