Vanuatu: A Hidden Paradise with Surprising Facts

Iririki Vanuatu

Vanuatu a tropical paradise with 80 islands gives breathtaking experiences, from viewing the flames of volcanoes to diving into the ocean to see the wrecks of the ship used in WW2.

Has this island country caught your attention yet?

Hold on and scroll to know more fun facts about Vanuatu.

1. The Tanna Island Tribes Worship Prince Philip

For the tribes of Yaohnanen and Yakel on Tanna Island, Prince Philip isn’t just someone but a revered personality. They believed that the Duke of Edinburgh was a divine spirit from the mountains who would return to the island one day.

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Yaohnanen people in 2012, showing pictures of the 2007 visit by Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited New Hebrides, now Vanuatu, during the Anglo-French colonization that gave way to this belief. The Prince Philip Movement was started by the villagers of southern Tanna Island who accepted the prophecy of the white man, Prince Philip.

2. Vanuatu Is Where Bungee Jumping Started

New Zealand commercialized bungee jumping as an adventure sport, but it all started with a customary tradition on Pentecost island in Vanuatu.

During the months when yam is cultivated, local men tie their ankles with vines and jump off wooden towers as long as 30 meters. Nangol is a ritual to prove manhood and ensure a good harvest of yam.

It is a sacred tradition followed to date, and you can witness this if you pre-book your trip during those months.

3. The World’s Most Accessible Active Volcano Is On Tanna Island

Mount Yasur is the world’s most accessible active volcano on Tanna island, a site to look out for in your expedition to Vanuatu.

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This volcano has been active and eruptive for hundreds of years, and the bright radiance from this spot enticed Captain James Cook towards this island nation.

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Mount Yasur

You can see smoke and steam from the summit in the day while red flames ooze at night. A sight not to be missed for sure!

4. Cannibalism Is Not An Old Incident In Vanuatu

Cannibalism was practiced in many tribes around the world in the erstwhile, but it happened in the near past in Vanuatu. Many anthropologists claim to record the last cannibal activity in the late 1960s.

Malekula, near the Walarano village, has indigenous traditions intact, where you can visit the ruins of the old cannibal oven.

5. Vanuatu Has A World Famous Diving Site

A 650 feet shipwreck diving site lined off the Espiritu Santo island in Vanuatu is a fascinating wreck dive in the world. SS President Coolidge once served as a troopship during WW2, which sank when it was hit by two mines of America close to Luganville.

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SS President Coolidge

You can explore the relics of this majestic cruise by diving in, where you can see trucks, chandeliers, a swimming pool, and much more.

6. The Republic Of Vanuatu Is The 2nd Happiest Nation In The World

Vanuatu might not be known to the world for its GDP, but it has definitely made its place in measuring smiles. The Happy Planet Index reports Vanuatu is the 2nd Happiest Nation after Costa Rica.

The nation has earned this title by offering its citizens a sustainable environment for long and happy lives.

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It might have a GDP per capita 20 times less than its neighbor Australia, but it ranks higher in the well-being of the people.

7. The Ring Of Fire Makes It Susceptible To Natural Calamities

Vanuatu lies on a sheer tectonic clutter making it prone to natural calamities. Moreover, its location over the Ring of Fire makes it one of the most dangerous countries, where earthquakes or cyclones are not rare.

But in these years, they have learned to emerge and recover from these devastating occurrences.

8. Vanuatu Restricts Food From The West 

Vanuatu aims to thrive on organic vegetation and hence impose restrictions on imports of food from western countries. They have initiated this to encourage a healthy lifestyle by consuming homegrown fruits and crops.

Steamed or fire-cooked delicacies are widely popular in Vanuatu, and Lap-lap is one such cuisine. Lap-lap is made from taro or yam baked in banana leaves, also Vanuatu’s national dish.


No wonder why they rank highly for long and happy lives! Enjoy the natural and local food in Vanuatu for the detox your body might need!

9. Vanuatu- A Small Country With Many Languages

Vanuatu is culturally and linguistically one of the most diverse nations in the world. Vanuatu, a country with a population of 0.3 million, speaks about 130 native Oceanic languages.

It is quite diverse, but does it difficult for others to communicate in Vanuatu?

It’s not the case mostly, as the masses speak English, one of the official languages apart from French and Pidgin English- Bislama.

10. Vanuatu Has An Underwater Post Office

The world underwater has always intrigued us all. However, this island nation has something even more interesting, an underwater post office.

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World’s First Underwater Post Office

Established in 2003, a post office 3 meters underwater in the Hideaway Island marine sanctuary sends waterproof mail. Scuba divers and snorkelers can visit the post office to send postcards to their loved ones from under the sea.

11. When In The Islands Of Vanuatu, Dip In The Blue Holes!

Matevulu Blue Hole is one of the most beautiful natural swimming pools you can enjoy on your vacation to Vanuatu. It will relax and calm your soul, whether you dip or dive deep in these freshwater azure pools.

In addition, you will have a perfect Instagram picture swinging on the banyan trees over these pools!

12. Swim With The Sea Cows In The Vanuatu Islands

Dugongs are rare worldwide, but you can enjoy swimming alongside the sea cows on Masklyn Island. Dugongs are gentle water creatures you can find playfully chasing their young ones when diving into the ocean.

If you are lucky to spot them, it will surely be a worthwhile experience!

13. Say Yes To Kava And Befriend a Ni-Vanuatu

Yes, it is that simple! If any Ni-Vanuatu offers you to drink Kava, accept it to establish a friendship in the foreign country.

Kava is a traditional drink with narcotic essence, consumed on occasion to celebrate and relax.


Marko is a world traveler and adventurer, with a passion for discovering new cultures and landscapes. He has visited numerous countries across multiple continents, immersing himself in local customs and traditions along the way. Marko is always seeking out new and unique experiences, from hiking remote mountain trails to trying exotic foods and drinks.

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