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backpacking in Vanuatu.

chikpea
3 posts
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backpacking in Vanuatu.

We will be arriving in Vanuatu on the 15th of December and staying for 2 weeks. Apart from Booking our first night in Vanuatu (We are arriving around 11:30pm) we haven't booked anything else.

We were thinking of going there and try to backpack our way around without making any bookings. Is it wise for that time of the year?. Any tips or any suggestions would be great. We are an active couple and we would like to get off the beaten path (we don't like commercial resorts and life style), mingle with the locals e.t.c.

Thank you

Nikos & Maria

Newcastle, Australia
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27 posts
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1. Re: backpacking in Vanuatu.

Hi Guys, The no-book plan will probably work well for most of the islands except Efate and Santo. Efate and Santo will be pretty busy with the Christmas holiday crowd. Sound like you'd probably like the outer island for a more authentic experience anyway - especially if a cruise ship rolls into Port Vila when you're there! Many of the other islands have little local-run bungalows (check out the Vanuatu Hotels website for a pretty comprehensive listing). We also found if they're full (and the owners like you), they'll find you a place to stay at another family members' bungalow / home etc. All part of the friendly, happy ni-Van way of life. It makes it a pretty cool place to travel in. But, as I mentioned, it's probably worth booking in Efate and the eastern side of Santo. Hope u have a great time guys!

chikpea
3 posts
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2. Re: backpacking in Vanuatu.

Thanks Casey,

The info has been very very helpful. if you have any other suggestions for tours and anything that's got to do with Vanuatu we are all ears.

Once again thank you so much you have made our day.

Newcastle, Australia
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27 posts
5 reviews
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3. Re: backpacking in Vanuatu.

Hey Guys! Went to Tanna for five days on our June/July sojourn to Vanuatu and it certainly satisfied our "off the beaten track, non-commercial" travel desires. It retains that wonderful, simple charm that's increasingly hard to find. Amazing scenery, intriguing indigenous culture and incredible hospitality and friendliness. The west side is a bit more developed but Lenakel is still a dusty little offbeat town full of friendly folks. Best described by telling you of a Sunday morning we spent on the town beach - a group of teenage girls welcomed us to Tanna with fresh papaya and stories of island life. A bunch of other kids, who had walked 4 hours to the beach to wash their clothes, skipped their chores to build castles and play tic-tac-toe in the sand with us for an hour (we offered to help with their laundry afterwards but they said we'd be hopeless at it). It's one of those cool little experiences you remember for years and it epitomises Tanna. The east side is wilder. Lots of little village communities, the heart of Jon Frum culture and Mt Yasur. If you're there for Christmas or New Years Eve, the volcano will give you the best fireworks display on earth! We stayed with Kelson & Joyce at the lovely Jungle Oasis and walked up to the crater rim every night. I posted something for mill93 on her forum "vanuatu in 7 days" which will give you some ideas of Tanna tours. The writer Paul Theroux calls it "the oddest island" because of its mysticism, geography and cultural oddities - guys, I reckon you will fall very deeply in love with this part of the world. But then again, I've got Ambae, Erromango, Ambrym and Melakula on my must-go list for the next trip to Vanuatu. But based on my Van-travels so far, Tanna is the focus of my rapturous memories. Romanticism aside, some basic tips for Tanna ... The Vanuatu hotels website I mentioned before has lots of info on the local bungalows if you do want to pre-book some stuff (like the Banya treehouse at JO) but it's still simple to find a place to stay (esp the east side), its pretty easy to get around the island (minibuses, hitching on the back of trucks etc) except on Sundays, your hosts will be able to arrange most tours and activities at whichever accomodation you choose, take a warm jacket when you're climbing Yasur, buy some basic snack supplies in Vila (or bring from home), no ATms on Tanna so bring cash (bargain on about US$70/couple/day all up - depending on accomodation). And beware the most infectious disease on the island: smileyitis. Symptoms are constant grinning, laughing and feelings of euphoria. And they seem to last for months after exposure, particularly when you're writing forum posts about Tanna on TripAdvisor. Go figure, eh?

Perth
3 posts
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4. Re: backpacking in Vanuatu.

Hello,

I went through a little bit of Vanuatu in February and March and thoroughly enjoyed it. I did much the same as you are planning except I booked nothing. I had a hotel for 1 night in Villa and then headed north on the back of a ute and stayed on Bungalows in the north of the island (bamboo beach). I also stayed in bungalows on Tanna, Aneityum, Mystery Island and Pentacost.

In Santo I stayed in a small motel as I was diving. I booked everything normally a week in advance and used the following website to plan it all.

www.positiveearth.org/bungalows/explorer.htm

Just click on the island you want and away you go..

Hope this helps.

5. Re: backpacking in Vanuatu.

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