|As with many other South Pacific destinations, Vanuatu is primarily visited for a relaxing holiday and the sub-tropical weather, some beautiful landscapes, beaches and diving are what makes it what it is.
The islands of Vanuatu are grouped into 6 provinces, each containing two or more islands, and if you want to travel around between the islands there are flights with the local carriers or boats offering various routes. For ease, this guide has been split into the 6 provinces:
Malampa consists of the main islands of Malakula, Ambrym and Paama and is centrally located in the Vanuatu archipelago. The main features are the two mountains of Penot and Maroum.
Penama contains the main islands of Pentecost, Ambae and Maewo and is situated to the north east of Malampa, and central-east within the archipelago.
The islands of Santo and Malo are in the province of Sanma. Santo is the largest island in Vanuatu and the province is in the central west part of the chain. Being a larger island there’s a bit more to see and do here, for example, the capital city of the Sanma province, Luganville, offers a number of attractions nearby – diving the WWII wreck of the SS President Coolidge is very popular. Other attractions on the island include the Millennium Caves, for which you will need a guide and good footwear, and the 24 hour open-air market.
Shefa province is south of Malampa and consists of the Shepherd group of islands and he island of Efate. You’ll find the capital and largest city of Vanuatu here, Port Vila. This is also the economic and commercial centre of Vanuatu and has an important harbour, and of course the international airport. Tourism is becoming more popular here, as with the rest of Vanuatu. Particular draws for tourists include the plethora of underwater diving opportunities. Accommodation for tourists is becoming easier to find and there’s quite a variety of accommodation types – backpacking is one market on the up!
Tafea is the furthest south of the Vanuatu provinces and consists of the islands of Tanna, Aniwa, Futuna, Erromango and Aneityum. The biggest attraction here is the world’s most accessible volcano on Tanna!
From Tafea in the furthest south to Torba in the furthest north, Torba is the northernmost province of Vanuatu and consists of the Torres Islands and the Banks Islands.