Womens Health

Tampons and pads can be obtained, but if it looks like they've been on the shelf for ages look for evidence of cockroaches. Vanuatu is not ideal for a pregnant woman. Malaria can cause miscarriage or premature labour and prevention cannot be guaranteed even with antimalarial tablets. The recommended vaccinations (against hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid fever) do not contain live organisms so are not a problem, but the mumps measles rubella vaccine should not be given in pregnancy.

West Tanna

Visible from the aeroplane as you come in are the coral reefs and rock pools of the west coast. Around 1000 people live in Lenakel, which has mains electricity and several stores and markets (see p96). Tanna's kava is potent, probably the strongest in the country. Isangel is the administrative centre for Tafea. It's tidily laid out with colourful poin-cianas, pines, banyans and red coral trees. There's a market on Wednesday villagers set up their stalls Tuesday afternoon. All experiences start...

Environmental Issues

The Environment Unit identifies many challenges facing Vanuatu, including invasive introduced species (eg the Indian mynah bird), degradation of freshwater habitats, and the exploitation of many plant, animal and marine resources. But the greatest problem is the scarcity of fresh water on some islands. Japanese longline nets are strung in Vanuatu's waters, and Korean fishing boats hlep themselves. Owners of the waters and reefs stand helpless on the rocks, waving bush knives - there's no...

In Vanuatu New Caledonia

AVAILABILITY & COST OF HEALTH CARE New Caledonian health care is of a high standard specialists in most disciplines are available, and citizens of the EU have the same eligibility for government medical care as in France. In Port Vila the lack of quality systems may mean the equipment or medication you need is not available, even for simple problems. Outside Vila, diagnostic and treatment facilities aren't available, but volunteer doctors may be present in some hospitals. Private medical...

Hideaway Island Mele

Barely 200m across the water from Mele Beach is Hideaway Island (free ferry entry 500Vt). It's a fun place with a dive centre (p56) and the world's only Underwater Post Office (www.underwaterpost.com). Hire snorkel gear at the sports desk (per day 800Vt), take a ride over the reef in a glass-bottom boat (adult child 1000 500Vt), or hire a kayak catamaran (per hour 1000Vt 1500Vt). The small coral beach gets very crowded some days and you need reef shoes to walk into the water and swim.

Before You Go

Planning before departure, particularly for pre-existing illnesses, will save trouble later. See your dentist, carry a spare pair of contact lenses and glasses, and take your optical prescription. Bring medications in their original labelled containers, and a letter from your doctor describing your medical conditions and medications. If carrying syringes or needles, have a letter saying they're needed or buy a prepared pack from a travel-health clinic. If your health insurance doesn't cover you...

Ambae Manaro

Vatangele South Pentecost

Its upturned-boat shape gave James Michener his vision of Bali Hai in Tales of the South Pacific. Movement and trade along Ambae's coastline are relatively easy, so the culture has become homogeneous. The people are known as intellectuals most of the business directors and managers and 80 of university students in Vila are from Ambae, and the villages look prosperous, although no-one's solved the rutted-road problem. The population lives mainly along the...

Sleeping Eating

Vanilla Guesthouse 37161 Avunatari beds lOOOVt, meals 200Vt A new, pretty bungalow with four rooms and shared facilities has a basic kitchen and solar power. It's in a sheltered spot by the beach and close to the shops. Go snorkelling, or hike up the hill to some interesting caves. The Avunatari Resthouse 36639 beds lOOOVt has two bedrooms and cooking facilities. Nearby, the Presbyterian Mission teleradio YJT326 Avunatari beds lOOOVt also has some rooms. There are regular speedboat crossings...

Dive Sites

ESPIRITU SANTO USS President Coolidge The Coolidge, the Coolidge, the Coolidge. Yes, she's there This underwater behemoth is regarded as one of the most famous wrecks in the world. Be prepared to run out of superlatives. The Coolidge is simply hu-mongous, mind-boggling and gobsmacking. To top it all, she's shrouded with an almost palpable historic aura - much has been written about her history of the ship see below . The USS President Coolidge, a WWII carrier, was entering what the captain...

East Coast

Norsup's commercial activities all revolve around the PRV company, whose coconut plantations border the town. This is Vanuatu's largest copra producer. Just beyond the airport terminal is the sandy flop Beach, whose palms and turquoise water make it a pretty spot to wait for your plane. A long stretch of beautiful coral reef stretches southwards from Aop Beach to Litslits, the main port for this area. Set at the foot of a tall ridge, this attractive place, with many shady trees, is Malampa...

Torres Islands

Flying over this small archipelago, with its gentle, low-lying terrain and dazzling white-sand beaches, is awesome. From the air you can see the fabulous reefs under an ocean so clear that visibility is well over 40m it's a rush to get off the plane to go snorkelling. To the west a huge ocean-floor chasm, the Torres Trench, stretches north into the Solomons - Tikopia is only 215km away. Although contact over time was limited, the locals here have similar eastern-Pacific genetic, linguistic and...

Orientation

The city centre is close to baie de la Moselle, a harbour where cruise liners, fishing boats and private yachts dock. The heart of the city is Place des Cocotiers see p232 . On its south side central Noumea is bordered by avenue de la Victoire Henri Lafleur. The small Quartier Latin Latin Quarter, after the Parisian suburb of the same name - with its many examples of colonial architecture -is south of this road see p237 . The main tourist beaches are at baie...

Transport Around Vanuatu

Malekula Map

Ownership of land, ocean, reefs etc is the basis of Vanuatu society. Ownership has been passed through families, and land disputes are serious all over the islands. For tourists this means you can't wander off the beaten track. Landing on an island is equivalent to walking into somebody's garden. If you're travelling independently, discuss your plans with a tour operator or the VTO. In remote areas - such as the east coasts of Maewo, Pentecost and Ambrym, and the west coasts of Santo and...

Vanuatu Directory

There's an impressive selection of luxury hotels in and around Vila and, to a lesser extent, on Espiritu Santo and Tanna. And all islands have a range of medium-priced bungalows or guesthouses. Budget places in the villages are a bit like camping, and if you need a meal, ring or send a message. Food happens on a daily need basis, so there's never the 'makings' and the root crops take ages to cook. There again, nothing happens in a hurry. Vanuatu Hotels www.vanuatu-hotels.vu The major newspapers...