Top 5 Reasons to Visit Vanuatu in 2014
Vanuatu’s natural beauty as shown through its pristine beaches, active volcanoes, and secluded swimming spots provide ample reason to visit all year round. Apart from the locations, Vanuatu also has some of the most interesting and exciting events to sweeten the deal for anybody planning on visiting this island paradise in 2014.
MUSIC: Fest Napuan, Fest Nalenga & Zion Fest (September)
Arguably, Vanuatu’s biggest annual music event (not to mention one of the more important cultural events in the Pacific Islands) is the Fest Napuan. It, along with Fest Nalenga, and Fest Zion combine yearly to make a week-long musical event which features all the best music from all over the world. Last year, the free musical event attracts a total of 40,000 people over its 5 night duration.
The three events have their own distinct flavours with each attracting different kinds of music lovers.
Fest Napuan (also known as Fest’Napuan) features the best of all popular and contemporary music from all over the region, including top acts from Japan, Australia and New Zealand. With almost 30 musical acts appearing each year, Fest Napuan is easily the highlight of the week long musical event.
Fest Nalenga focuses on the Vanuatu sound and mostly features Vanuatu String Band music.
Zion Fest celebrates gospel and religious music.
The musical festivals are usually held in Efate Island yearly. At the time of this writing, the exact date has yet to be determined, but feel free to check out the festival website for the latest announcements.
CULTURE: Port Sandwich Art & Culture Festival (August 16-17, 2013)
To be held on Malekula Island, the Port Sandwich Art & Culture is a chance for the Community of Lamap to celebrate their culture and to share it with outsiders during a two-day festival.
Tourists will be charged 4,000 VT per person to give them a chance to access to such cultural events as the Pig Exchange Ceremony, Traditional Dance Display, Sand Drawing, Rope Drawings, String band, etc. Lunch is included in the fee.
For a more personal cultural experience, you can opt to stay in the village overnight for an additional 1,000 VT. You will be hosted by a local family from whom you will learn to live life Vanuatu style.
All proceeds of the festival go directly to the Lamap community. Interested parties may make their reservations should contact Air Vanuatu Tours in Port Vila firstname.lastname@example.org
NATURE: Mount Yasur (All year round)
See first-hand Mother Nature’s potent power by visiting what is known the most accessible active volcano in the world: Mount Yasur in Tanna Island.
The volcano’s regular eruptions for the past 800 years have only made it one of the more popular destinations on the island. Lucky travellers might also witness the amazing light show at night.
Just be mindful of the safety warnings issued by local official daily to know if it’s safe to go.
DIVING: SS President Coolidge
The SS President Coolidge is a famous dive spot off the port of Espiritu Santo. Explore the wreckage of this World War II vessel which was sunk by a mine on October 26, 1942 while being pursued by a Japanese submarine.
Divers from all over the world are drawn to this wondrous dive site to marvel at the various antiquities like guns, cannons, Jeeps, paintings, and other historical artefacts found mostly intact in this storied vessel.
LAND DIVING: Pentecost Island
Pentecost Island is home to what CNN called “one of the most bizarre traditions in the world: the nagol or land-diving.”
The ritual, which influenced the invention of bungee jumping by Kiwi AJ Hackett, sees local men and boys as young as seven jump from a 20 -30 metre high manmade tower with only a vine attached to their legs. The tower itself takes locals five weeks to build using materials from the forest. The vines are carefully selected by jumpers who know that just 10 centimetres may be the difference between life and death.
These are only some of the top destinations and events worth checking out in Vanuatu. If the amazing beaches and picturesque scenery won’t convince you to plan your next trip to Vanuatu, then we hope that the said events and locations will.