The Complete Guide to a Blissful Vanuatu Honeymoon
A Vanuatu honeymoon sounds far-flung… because it is. The South Pacific island nation 1,100 miles east of Australia is ideal for active honeymooners in search of a faraway tropical paradise. The archipelago of 13 main islands offers a range of landscapes–from rugged mountains to perched coastlines, complemented by coral reefs and active volcanoes, Vanuatu is a rare paradise only discovered by those couples willing to make the trek. Upon arrival, you'll be grateful for this emerging destination as it's affordable and tailored to romance.
Is Vanuatu Good for a Honeymoon?
The island nation is Edenic, featuring dense rain forest, fresh-water swimming holes, active volcanoes, ocean, and coral reefs. Surrounded by pristine scenery, adventurous couples can swim, snorkel, scuba dive, hike, and kayak. It's also relatively affordable compared to other popular choices across the region as it's an emerging tourism destination.
The Pros of a Vanuatu Honeymoon
Vanuatu is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, says Kristin Winkaffe, founder of Winkaffe Global Travel. Polynesian, Micronesian, Chinese, Vietnamese, European, and more than 100 other distinct cultures have created a beautiful melting pot of customs and practices. With changes from island to island, travelers are offered different experiences wherever they venture through the archipelago. Although islanders speak more than 100 local Melanesian languages and dialects, English is one of the three official languages (along with French and an English-based Melanesian pidgin).
The Cons of a Vanuatu Honeymoon
This one is the most obvious: expect a long trip, even if you're flying from the West Coast. Fiji Airways offers a direct flight from LAX to NAN (Fiji's main airport). From there, take a two-and-a-half-hour flight to Bauerfield International Airport on Vanuatu's main island of Éfaté.
The Best Times of Year to Go on a Vanuatu Honeymoon for Good Weather
If you've traveled the distance, you'll especially want to book dates for the best possible honeymoon weather. Winkaffe recommends visiting in the shoulder season months of April or November. By arriving then, couples can avoid the prime tourist season, which falls between May through October.
Things to Do During a Vanuatu Honeymoon
Charter a Day Cruise or Yacht
It is well-recommended in Oceania to charter a yacht for a day cruise (at the very least). For a more economical option, couples can join a group sail from Éfaté island, such as this Coongoola Full Day Cruise. Stops include Moso Island and snorkeling in Vanuatu.
Kayak and Swim in Cascades
On Éfaté, Vanuatu Ecotours offers a Full Day River Kayaking and Cascades Tour, says Winkaffe. Along with kayaking the local rivers, couples can swim in the cascades.
Explore a Volcano
On Tanna Island, Winkaffe suggests a trip to Mount Yasur Volcano, such as this private tour with a stop at nearby hot springs.
Scuba Dive and Snorkel
Couples can explore coral reefs, underwater caverns, and wrecks, including the World War II-era troopship, SS President Coolidge. The coral reef around Nguna and Pele is part of a protected marine reserve, ideal for snorkeling. Off the coast of Moso Island, newlyweds can dive the Moso Drift to spot eagle rays and gray whaler sharks or snorkel to see dolphins.
Soak up Local Culture
On Saturdays between April and June on the island of Pentecost, the yam harvest takes place, with a months-long festival including nagol, or land-diving (like bungee jumping), explains Winkaffe. For more insight into the local Melanesian culture, couples can visit the Vanuatu National Museum in Port-Vila (the capital and largest city) on the island of Éfaté. They can also visit the indigenous cargo cult communities on the island of Tanna and spend the night in a homestay hosted by members of a Ni-Vanuatu community, a Melanesian ethnic group.
Where to Stay for a Vanuatu Honeymoon
The Moso Vanuatu, Emotu Bay
On Éfaté, this well-recommended boutique resort also has a bistro and day spa for when you want to relax.
Tamanu on the Beach Resort & Spa, Port-Vila
This five-star resort and spa on the island of Éfaté includes a day spa and restaurant known for having the largest wine list in Vanuatu, says Winkaffe.
Barrier Beach Resort, Luganville
On Espiritu Santo, this four-star hotel offers suites with private plunge pools.
Santo Seaside Villas, Luganville
Also on Espiritu Santo, this spot features sustainable villas right on the beach.
Rockwater Resort, Ipak Bay
This eco-conscious Tanna resort, surrounded by fruit orchards, includes a restaurant and hiking trails.
White Grass Ocean Resort & Spa, Lenakel
This hotel on Tanna offers tropical gardens, a day spa, diving excursions and ocean views.
Ranwas Guest House, Ranwas Village
For an authentic, rustic and cultural experience, Winkaffe recommends this homestay on the island of Pentecost, where lodging options are limited.
Stay on a Cruise or Yacht, South Pacific
For an easy way to soak up multiple islands and sites, Winkaffe suggests a South Pacific excursion. Not only are these treks all-inclusive, but they also provide multiple stops. Consider this 11-day option from Ponant (which goes to the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia) or an eight-day trip entirely through Vanuatu. Couples may also be interested in booking a multi-day Pelorus yachting experience in Vanuatu, including a hike on the edge of an active volcano, scuba diving, and participating in local traditions with islanders.
What to Pack for a Vanuatu Honeymoon
As with any tropical destination, you'll want to pack swimsuits and beachwear for days spent at sea. Since the weather can fluctuate quite a bit, Winkaffe suggests bringing a jacket along with swimsuits and hiking boots.