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> Vanuatu Facts/Information Kit
introducinlyric
post Aug 23 2009, 01:52 AM
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Facts on Vanuatu

Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands with a unique blend of intact tribal communities, resorts, beaches and geography ranging from accessible volcanoes to pristine underwater environments

Full Name - Republic of Vanuatu

Capital City - Port Vila (on the island of Efate)

Area - 12, 189 km2 , (4,706 sq miles)

Population - 221,417 (2007, National Statistics)

Time Zone - GMT/UTC +11. There is no daylight saving in summer.
Country Dialing Code +678


Languages - There are over 120 distinct languages and many more dialects in Vanuatu but only 3 official languages: English, French and Bislama (pidgin English).

Religion - Christian (84%), Other (16%)

Currency - The Vanuatu currency is the Vatu. Although Australian dollars are accepted by many shops, restaurants and hotels in Vila, and a few in Luganville (Espiritu Santo), they are NOT readily accepted outside of these town centres or on outer islands. All major foreign currencies are exchangeable in Vanuatu for Vatu

Climate - Cooler, drier Season May-Oct, Average daytime temp 26C. Wetter, hotter season Nov – Apr average daytime temp 29C. Light weight casual clothing plus a sweater is usually sufficient, year round.

Visas - Citizens from the following countries do not require a visa before visiting Vanuatu . However you must have a valid, ongoing or return airline ticket and your passport must be valid for six months beyond your intended stay.

Medical - Visitors do not need vaccinations, but anti-malarial medication is recommended if you are travelling to islands outside of Efate. There are several private doctors and hospitals in the 2 town centres, Port Vila and Luganville. There are no dangerous animals and urban water is safe to drink.

Departure Tax - VUV 2,500 per person (over 12 years) at the International Airport which is included in airfares. A separate domestic departure fee of 200v applies for departures from specific domestic terminals and is not included in fares, but paid separately.

Tipping - In accordance with Vanuatu Custom neither tipping nor bargaining are practised in Vanuatu.
Electricity - 230V 50HzHz

Electric Plug Details - Three Pin (Flat)

Location
The Republic of Vanuatu is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago is located some 1,750 km east of Australia, 500 km north-east of New Caledonia, west of Fiji and south of the Solomon Islands. It was named New Hebrides during its colonial period.

Vanuatu is only 2.5 hours flying time North East of Brisbane and 3.5 hours from Sydney, Australia. It's a little over 2 hours from Auckland, New Zealand. There are regular flights from New Zealand, Honiara, Australia, Noumea and Fiji.

History
Many of the islands of Vanuatu have been inhabited for thousands of years, the oldest archaeological evidence found dating to 2000 BC. In 1605, the Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernández de Quirós became the first European to reach the islands, believing it to be part of Terra Australis. Europeans began settling the islands in the late 18th century, after British explorer James Cook visited the islands on his second voyage, and gave them the name New Hebrides.

In 1887, the islands began to be administered by a French-British naval commission. In 1906, the French and British agreed to an Anglo-French Condominium on the New Hebrides.

During World War II, the islands of Efate and Espiritu Santo were used as allied military bases. In the 1960s, the ni-Vanuatu people started to press for self-governance and later independence; full sovereignty was finally granted by both European nations on July 30, 1980. It joined the UN in 1981, and the Non-Aligned Movement in 1983.

Politics
The republic of Vanuatu is an independent parliamentary democracy, for which general elections are held every 4 years.
The parliament of Vanuatu is unicameral, and has 52 members. The leader of the main party in the parliament is usually elected Prime Minister, and heads the government. The head of state, the President, is chosen every five years by the parliament and the presidents of the six provincial governments.

Provinces
Since 1994, Vanuatu has been divided into the six provinces of Malampa, Penama, Sanma, Shefa, Tafea and Torba. The main Islands within these provinces include: Banks and Torres (Torba), Espiritu Santo (Sanma), Maewo and Pentecost (Penama), Malekula, Ambrym (Malampa), Epi, Efate (Shefa), Erromango, Tanna and Aneityum (Tafea)

Geography
Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands, of which two — Matthew and Hunter — are also claimed by the French overseas department of New Caledonia. Of all the 83 islands, 14 have surface areas of more than 100 square kilometers, from largest to smallest: Espiritu Santo (3956 km), Malakula (2041 km), Éfaté (900 km), Erromango (888 km), Ambrym (678 km), Tanna (555 km), Pentecôte (491 km), Épi (445 km), Ambae or Aoba (402 km), Vanua Lava (334 km), Santa Maria (328 km), Maéwo (304 km), Malo (180 km) and Anatom or Aneityum (159 km).

Most of the islands are mountainous and of volcanic origin, and have a tropical or sub-tropical climate. The nation's largest towns are the capital Port Vila, which is situated on Efate, and Luganville, on Espiritu Santo. The highest point in Vanuatu is Mount Tabwemasana, at 1879 m (6158 ft), on the island of Espiritu Santo. There are several active volcanoes in Vanuatu, including Yasur on the island of Tanna, one of the world’s most accesible volcanoes, as well as several underwater ones.

Ecology
Vanuatu is recognized as a distinct terrestrial ecoregion, known as the Vanuatu rain forests. Vanuatu is part of the Australasia ecozone, which also includes neighboring New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands, as well as Australia, New Guinea, and New Zealand. Despite its tropical forests, Vanuatu has a limited number of plant and animal species. There are no indigenous large mammals, poisonous snakes, or spiders. The 19 species of native reptiles include the rare flowerpot snake, found only on Efate. There are 11 species of bat (3 unique to Vanuatu) and 61 species of land and water birds. While the small Polynesian rat is thought to be indigenous, the large species arrived with Europeans, as did domesticated hogs, dogs, and cattle. (The wild pig and fowl appear to be indigenous.) The region is rich in sea life, with more than 4,000 species of marine mollusks. The giant East African snail arrived only in the 1970s but already has spread from the Port-Vila region to Luganville. Source www.nationsencyclopedia.com

Economy
The economy is based primarily on subsistence or small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for 65% of the population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism (with about 60,000 visitors in 2005), are other mainstays of the economy. Mineral deposits are negligible; the country has no known petroleum deposits. A small light industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties and a 12.5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods and services.

Demographics
Most of the inhabitants of Vanuatu (98.5%) are native Melanesian, or Ni-Vanuatu, with the remainder of the population made up of Europeans, Asians and other Pacific islanders. Most of the population is rural, though Port Vila and Luganville have populations in the tens of thousands. A few of the islands are Polynesian outliers. About 2,000 Ni-Vanuatu live and work on New Caledonia

Embassies and Consulates

New Zealand High Commission
PO Box 161, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Phone (678) 22 933 Fax (678) 22 518
Email kiwi@vanuatu.com.vu This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Australian High Commission
PO Box 111, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Phone (678) 22 777 Fax (678) 23 948
Email australia_vanuatu@dfat.gov.au This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

French Embassy
PO Box 60, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Phone (678) 22 353 or (678) 22 816
Fax (678) 22 695
Email ambafra@vanuatu.com.vu This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
PMB 071, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Phone (678) 23 598 Fax (678) 24 877
Email vu@mofcom.gov.cn



Vanuatu Public Holidays

January 1st - New Year's Day
February 21st - Father Lini Day
March 5th - Custom Chief's Day
May 1st - Labour Day
May 24th - Ascension Day
July 24th - Children's Day
July 30th - Independence Day
August 15th - Assumption Day
October 5th - Constitution Day
November 29th - Unity Day
December 25th - Christmas
December 26th - Family Day

*information sourced from Vanuatu
other websites of noteable interest
SouthPacific
Lonelyplanet - Vanuatu

there's a great site with great photos of Vanuatu you can visit here:Vanuatu Photos


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vivavila
post Aug 31 2009, 12:43 AM
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The largest image library that we can find on Vanuatu with fantastic photos of the country is on the site www.vanuatu-hotels.vu. The site has hundreds of photos on Tanna, Espirito Santo, Epi, Malekula, Aneityum, and many others. Also for excelent updated information on the country.

Clever tip we found in the site is:

"...When exploring the outer islands take all the older clothes you can carry, wear them and give them away to the islanders when you are finished wearing them. You and your children will be aptly rewarded in other ways. Instead of dumping your worn clothes in a charity collection bin at your local shopping centre and never knowing who really receives these (if they ever do...), your children will interact with the very people who would be the recipients of those clothes (most NiVanuatu people buy these second hand clothes from shops in Port Vila)...."

and when travelling to the more remote outer islands:

" - Bring combination bottle, can opener/wine corkscrew etc
- Carry WC paper for those trekking excursions (wrapped in a plastic bag for wet weather)
- Solar rechargeable flashlight
- Bring Vatu cash in small denominations not AUD or US$
- Small combination padlock (some island bungalows do not have locking doors, but have latches for locks)
- Adaptor - French/Australian etc especially for recharging your digital gear
- For thanking locals in islands: Buy 1Kg bags of rice, colouring pencils, phone cards, lighters, metal files (for axe and bush knife sharpening). These will be highly appreciated
- Photography: Due to the high glare factor when shooting ocean and landscape photography; a polarizing filter is indispensable, as are extra camera batteries In many areas, there are no shops or no power to recharge batteries.
- Plastic ponchos (raincoat) come in tiny travel packs, are of negligible weight and are useful when caught in a tropical down pour
- Insect repellent: a few small roll-ons are more useful and take up less space than spray cans
- Mosquito coils
- Bring your own snorkel, mask, and fins
- Basic First Aid Kit - See the excellent Lonely Planet advice on this (I always carry Hydrogen Peroxide and Betadine for all those cuts, blisters, etc)
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vivavila
post Jan 31 2010, 06:08 PM
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QUOTE(vivavila @ Aug 31 2009, 12:43 AM) *

The largest image library on Vanuatu with fantastic photos is on the site http://picasaweb.google.com/vanuatutravel followed by: www.vanuatu-hotels.vu. The site has hundreds of photos on Tanna, Espirito Santo, Epi, Malekula, Aneityum, and many others. Also for regular updated information on the country.

Tips to be found in the site are:

"...When exploring the outer islands take all the older clothes you can carry, wear them and give them away to the islanders when you are finished wearing them. You and your children will be aptly rewarded in other ways. Instead of dumping your worn clothes in a charity collection bin at your local shopping centre and never knowing who really receives these (if they ever do...), your children will interact with the very people who would be the recipients of those clothes (most NiVanuatu people buy these second hand clothes from shops in Port Vila)...."

and when travelling to the more remote outer islands:

" - Bring combination bottle, can opener/wine corkscrew etc
- Carry WC paper for those trekking excursions (wrapped in a plastic bag for wet weather)
- Solar rechargeable flashlight
- Bring Vatu cash in small denominations not AUD or US$
- Small combination padlock (some island bungalows do not have locking doors, but have latches for locks)
- Adaptor - French/Australian etc especially for recharging your digital gear
- For thanking locals in islands: Buy 1Kg bags of rice, colouring pencils, phone cards, lighters, metal files (for axe and bush knife sharpening). These will be highly appreciated
- Photography: Due to the high glare factor when shooting ocean and landscape photography; a polarizing filter is indispensable, as are extra camera batteries In many areas, there are no shops or no power to recharge batteries.
- Plastic ponchos (raincoat) come in tiny travel packs, are of negligible weight and are useful when caught in a tropical down pour
- Insect repellent: a few small roll-ons are more useful and take up less space than spray cans
- Mosquito coils
- Bring your own snorkel, mask, and fins
- Basic First Aid Kit - See the excellent Lonely Planet advice on this (I always carry Hydrogen Peroxide and Betadine for all those cuts, blisters, etc)




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