The republic of Vanuatu is in the Pacific Ocean spanning across 83 islands of the New Hebrides archipelago. The pristine nature has been preserved there such as volcanoes, mountains, waterfalls, rare species of plants and animals.
Vanuatu’s main income comes from subsistence agriculture, tourism and citizenship by investment programs. Investors receive a Vanuatu passport to travel visa-free to 135 countries around the world, including the UK and the Schengen states.
Where is Vanuatu
The Republic of Vanuatu is located in the New Hebrides archipelago. The archipelago is part of Melanesia, an island group in the Pacific Ocean. The territory of Vanuatu includes 83 islands, 18 of which no one inhabits. The area of all islands is 12,190 km².
The capital of Vanuatu is the city of Port Vila on the island of Efate. It is the largest city and the economic center of the country. The second largest city, Luganville, is located on the island of Espiritu Santo. Famous landmarks such as Champagne Beach and the Nanda Blue Hole are located nearby.
Vanuatu’s closest neighbors are Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Australia. The distance from Sydney to Port Vila is 2,476 km.
Vanuatu on the world map
How to come to Vanuatu
There is no direct flight between Vanuatu and most of the countries. You can fly to Vanuatu with a transfer in Australia or New Zealand. Also, planes fly to the country from Fiji, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.
International flights arrive at Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila. There are other airports on the islands, but most of them only serve regional flights.
One-way flights from Australia or New Zealand cost around $200 if booked in advance. If you buy tickets right before departure, the cost of the flight will rise to $500.
Flights from Australia to Vanuatu are operated by Air Vanuatu, Qantas Airways and Pacific Blue. You can also buy tickets to Vanuatu on Fiji Airways and Air Caledonie International flights departing from New Caledonia or Fiji.
History of Vanuatu
Vanuatu’s early history is poorly known. Presumably, the islands were inhabited about four thousand years ago. Some archaeological finds, such as clay shards, date back to 1,300-1,100 BC.
The Europeans discovered Vanuatu in the early 17th century. The Spanish navigator Pedro Fernandez Quiros discovered the island of Espiritu Santo in 1606. He took it for a part of the South Land – the continent around the South Pole, the existence of which was assumed in the 15-18th centuries. After Pedro Fernandez Quiros, Europeans did not visit Vanuatu for over a century.
the Europeans first visited Vanuatu
In 1768, the islands were rediscovered by Louis Antoine de Bougainville, a navigator from France. Then in 1774 the English captain James Cook sailed to the islands. He gave the archipelago and the country the name – the New Hebrides.
In the 19th century, the inhabitants of the islands were taken to plantations in Fiji, Samoa, Australia and New Caledonia as slaves. At the same time, Protestant and Catholic missionaries appeared in the country. Immigrants, mostly British and French, came from Europe.
France and Great Britain colonized the New Hebrides. In 1887, the countries created the Anglo-French Naval Commission on the islands, which was responsible for the safety of the British and French population of the archipelago. In 1906, the New Hebrides became a joint possession of Great Britain and France.
In the 1970s, the first political party appeared in the country – the National Party of the New Hebrides, which fought for the country’s independence. The country gained sovereignty on the 30th of July, 1980. From that moment on, the state is called the Republic of Vanuatu. In many Melanesian languages, Vanuatu means “our land forever”.
Vanuatu gained independence
Facts about Vanuatu: climate and nature
Climate in Vanuatu is humid and tropical. Some of the islands have mountainous terrain, and there the weather differs depending on the side of the island, altitude and the influence of southeastern winds referred to as trade winds.
The rainy season lasts from December to April. The wettest regions are at an altitude of 500-600 m above sea level in the south of the archipelago and at an altitude of 200-300 m in the north. Up to 5000 mm of precipitation falls there every year. The driest zones are in the north-west of the mountainous islands and about 2000 mm of precipitation falls there per year.
The average annual temperature in Vanuatu is around +27°C. It is hottest during the rainy season. Better weather is set between May and October, with sunny days and cool nights. This is due to the breeze from the east.
average annual temperature in Vanuatu
The relief of most of the islands is mountainous. The highest point is Mount Tabwemasana. Its height is 1,879 m above sea level. Mountains with a height of more than 1,000 m are also located on the islands of Tanna, Ambrim and Aoba.
The New Hebrides archipelago is located in the volcanic belt of the Pacific Ocean. There are often weak tremors and volcanic eruptions.
The active volcano Yasur is located on the island of Tanna. The last eruptions were in 2006 and 2008. On the island of Aoba, there is a volcano of the same name, 1,500 meters above sea level. It is no longer active, and thermal lakes have formed in its craters.
In Vanuatu, you can see blue holes otherwise known as underwater caves. One of the most famous is the Nanda Blue Hole on Espiritu Santo island. Its depth reaches 13 meters.
Plants and animals. 870 plant species grow in the New Hebrides archipelago. Mangroves grow in the coastal zone, and other exotic plants can be seen in the forests of haritaki, casuarina and pandanas.
Poisonous snakes and spiders are not found on the territory of Vanuatu. The country is home to 57 species of land birds, 17 species of reptiles, 12 species of termites, and 76 species of snails. The only mammals other than domesticated animals are several species of bats and flying foxes.
Many plants were brought to the islands by settlers. They brought yams, bananas, sugarcane, cycads, and breadfruit. Domestic animals such as pigs, cows, horses, dogs, and poultry coexist on the islands along with settlers from neighboring territories.
Sea turtles lay their eggs on some islands and sharks are found near the islands of Pentecost, Paama, Malekula, Ambae and Ambrim. Coastal waters are safe and surrounded by coral reefs.
The country has preserved its pristine nature. Tourists can admire it in the Big Bay National Park and in another 106 nature reserves and protected areas.
Yasur, an active volcano of Tanna island. Natives believe it is a sacred place where spirits live
The Nanda Blue Hole on Espiritu Santo island
Multicolor lorikeets are found in Vanuatu, New Guinea, Australia and some neighboring island states
Holidays in Vanuatu
Holiday season. The best time to travel to Vanuatu is July, August or September. At this time, the islands are sunny during the day, but not too hot, and cool at night. The average air temperature during the day is about +25°C. It is also the driest time of the year. About 300 mm of precipitation falls per month, almost two times less than in November.
Housing. Tourists stay in hotels or rent accommodation like apartments or villas. The cost a week in a hotel for two people starts at $400. The most popular cities for tourists are Port Vila and Luganville.
Food. According to numbeo.com, a three-course dinner for two at an average restaurant costs about $60. A cappuccino costs $3 and a bottle of water costs 80 cents per 0.33 liters.
The cost of food and other consumer goods in Port Vila is on average 76% higher than in Moscow. Average prices in Vanuatu:
- liter of milk – $2.11,
- a head of lettuce – $2.40,
- a kilogram of apples – $3.67,
- a kilogram of rice – $2.03,
- a dozen eggs – $4.05.
Shops in Vanuatu typically operate from 07:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, and on weekends and holidays from 07:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. In hot weather, they close for a break from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Therefore, it is better to go shopping in the morning, before 11 a.m.
Transport. A public transport pass for a month costs $54. One kilometer by taxi is $1.3. A car rental costs around $80 per day and a liter of gasoline costs $1.45.
Connection. Mobile communication is available on all major islands in Vanuatu. Here you can buy a local SIM card. It is advisable to check it on the spot: local operators do not support all GSM standards, so the card may not work in some phones.
Public telephones are located at airports, shopping centers and post offices. You can call them from abroad. Cards for calling from a machine are sold in hotels, shops and post offices.
Internet access is available at the resorts of Port Vila, Luganville and Tanna Island.
Sight. The main attractions of Vanuatu are natural objects such as mountains, volcanoes, beaches, caves and waterfalls. Some tourists come here to see rare species of birds and plants.
A significant part of the attractions are located on the island of Espiritu Santo as there is the Big Bay National Park, Champagne Beach and underwater caves. A popular destination for divers is the Million Dollar Point, where the US military dropped millions of dollars in cargo after World War II.
The National Museum is located in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Here are the monuments of culture and art from the tribes inhabiting Vanuatu.
Excursion tours to Vanuatu cost from €2,500 per person. Usually, the price does not include a flight as tourists plan and pay for it themselves.
The Champagne Beach is a famous beach on Espiritu Santo island with soft clean sand and clear water
Mele Maat cascade waterfalls on the Efate island near Port Vila
A sunken ship near the Million Dollar Point
How to obtain Vanuatu citizenship and what the passport of this country provides
The Citizenship by Investment Program operates in Vanuatu. Investors contribute to the country’s economy and receive a passport in one or two months, which is faster than any other program in the world. Together with the investor, citizenship is acquired by a spouse, children under 25 and parents over 50.
The investor contributes at least $130,000 to the National Development Fund. The amount depends on the composition of the family: the more people there are, the larger the amount of investment and additional expenses. So, a family of four will contribute $180,000 to the fund.
To obtain citizenship, you do not need to live in Vanuatu or go to the country at all. All procedures are carried out remotely. Before obtaining a passport, investors take an oath – you can do this in Vanuatu or invite the swearing-in commissioner and the immigration officer to a place convenient for investors.
Our clients do not need to fly to Vanuatu or Hong Kong to take the oath – everything can be done in Russia.
Immigrant Invest clients can take the oath hosted by Elena Rudaya, the Chief Development Officer of Immigrant Invest and Honorary Consul of Vanuatu.
Vanuatu citizenship is obtained in order to travel without visas to 135 countries. Among them are the UK, the countries of the Schengen zone and Singapore.
Investors who are citizens of Vanuatu receive a tourist visa to the United States valid for up to ten years.
Vanuatu citizenship allows you to open an international company in the country and optimize taxes for business. Within 20 years from the date of registration, the company and its shareholders are exempt from income and capital gains tax. Owners only pay a $300 annual fee.
Real estate in Vanuatu
Under the Vanuatu Constitution, land belongs to the people. Therefore, it cannot be bought or inherited, it can only be rented for a long time. Usually, land is rented for 50–70 years.
The cost of real estate in the country fluctuates depending on the location and type of construction. The average cost of 1 m² in Port Vila is $1,480. Apartments in new earthquake-resistant houses are more expensive: from $6,000 to $8,000 per 1 m². A villa on the coast starts from $250,000.
The small islands of the New Hebrides archipelago can also be rented for a long time. The rental price for the island starts at $2 million. Often the islands have buildings, furniture and all the necessary equipment.
long term island rental in Vanuatu
Population of Vanuatu
The population of the country is about 300 thousand people. Most of the population is indigenous people, they are called “ni-Vanuatu”. They make up about 99% of all residents. The rest are immigrants from Europe, Asia and other Pacific islands.
Officially in Vanuatu, English, French and Bislama, a Creole language derived from English, are spoken. Local residents communicate in more than a hundred dialects.
Christianity is professed by 83% of Vanuatu residents. At the same time, different confessions are represented on the islands: for example, 28% of the inhabitants consider themselves Presbyterians, 15% are Anglicans and 12% are Catholics.
Politics and economics of Vanuatu
The political structure of the country. Vanuatu is a parliamentary republic. The country’s parliament is the National Assembly. It has 52 members, who are elected by universal suffrage every four years. Parliament is responsible for drafting and passing laws.
The Prime Minister is in charge of the executive authorities. He is elected by parliament. The Prime Minister appoints ministers from among the members of parliament.
The Vanuatu president is the head of state. He is elected by an electoral college, which consists of members of parliament and chairmen of regional councils. The term of office is five years. The president makes sure that laws passed by parliament do not contradict the constitution.
term of office of the President of Vanuatu
The judicial system is represented by the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Magistrate Court. Most cases are dealt with in magistrates’ courts.
Administrative division. Vanuatu has six provinces. The name of each province is a set of the first syllables of the names of the main islands in its composition.
Provinces of Vanuatu
|Provinces||Major islands||Administrative center|
|Malampa||Malakula, Ambrim, Paama||Lakatoro|
|Penama||Pentecost, Aoba, Maewo||Saratamata|
|Sanma||Espíritu Santo, Malo||Luganville|
|Tafea||Tanna, Aniva, Futuna, Erromango, Aneityum||Isangel|
|Chef||Shepherd, Efe, Efate||Port Vila|
International relationships. Vanuatu is a member of several international associations:
- The United Nations (UN).
- The World Trade Organization (WTO).
- The British Commonwealth of Nations.
- The Pacific Community.
- The Pacific Islands Forum.
- The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.
When Vanuatu gained independence, the country’s government established relations with the major capitalist countries, like the USSR and China. Ties have been preserved with the UK and France. Thanks to this policy, citizens of Vanuatu received a number of advantages: for example, the opportunity to obtain a visa to the United States immediately for 10 years or to come to the UK and Russia without a visa.
Economics. Vanuatu’s main sources of income are agriculture, tourism and the citizenship by investment program. The country’s GDP is $4,200 per capita.
Coconuts, coffee, cocoa, and corn are grown in Vanuatu. The main export commodities are copra, beef, timber and cocoa. Most of the exports go to Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand.
Tourism brings up to 48% of the country’s GDP. Travelers are attracted by nature: clean beaches, jungles, mountains and volcanoes.
The Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment Program was created to support the country’s economy. The investment amount is $130,000, around the same as in the Caribbean. In addition, Vanuatu’s program is the fastest in the world. It takes one month or more to obtain a passport.
The popularity of Vanuatu citizenship by investment has not declined even during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, the program brought the country $106 million.
The national currency of Vanuatu is vatu (VUV). Exchange rates in relation to the Vanuatu currency:
- $1 = 110.12 vatu,
- €1 = 129.27 vatu.
The country’s central bank is the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu. Locals and foreigners are served by Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, Bank South Pacific, National Bank of Vanuatu, Vantu Bank and Pacific Private Bank.
The black color on the Vanuatu flag symbolizes the local population. Green, the wealth of the islands. Red, human and pig blood. The yellow lines represent the Gospel Book. The boar tusk symbolizes well-being and the fern leaves represent peace
The national emblem depicts a warrior. Behind him, there is a volcano, sago palm leaves and a boar’s tusk. The motto is written in Bislama and means «Behind God we stand»
Vatu, the national currency of Vanuatu. One vatu costs $0.009
The passport of Vanuatu allows entry to the UK and the Schengen countries visa-free. The passport can be obtained by investment starting from $130,000
The island of Tanna belongs to the Tafea province. Tanna is one of the most densely populated islands in Vanuatu: it is inhabited by more than 30,000 people
A coconut plantation on the island of Espiritu Santo
Frequently Asked Questions
Vanuatu occupies the entire territory of the New Hebrides archipelago. The islands are located in the Pacific Ocean and washed by the waters of the Coral Sea. There are 83 islands in the archipelago, some of which are uninhabited.
Vanuatu's closest neighbors are Fiji, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and Australia.
Natural attractions like mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls, blue holes e.g. the active volcano Yasur on Tanna Island or the Nanda Blue Hole on Espiritu Santo.
You can admire the pristine nature in the Big Bay National Park. Divers are attracted by the Million Dollar Point on Espiritu Santo: next to it, the US military dropped millions of dollars worth of cargo into the ocean. At the bottom are ships, jeeps, tanks and guns.
The best time to travel is from July to August. At this time, the islands have pleasant conditions: sunny days, but not too hot followed by cool nights. It rains on average 13 to 15 days a month.
Vanuatu citizenship can be obtained by investment. An adult investor with a legal income and no criminal record or serious illness can apply. The minimum account balance is $250,000.
Together with the investor, citizenship is acquired by a spouse, children under 25 and parents over 50.
The cost of participating in the Vanuatu Citizenship Program consists of investments and additional costs.
To obtain citizenship of Vanuatu, you need to make a contribution to the National Development Fund. The minimum investment amount is $130,000. The costs depend on the number of family members. For example, a family of four will contribute $180,000 to the fund. The contribution is non-refundable.
Additional costs are government fees and legal services. The largest government fee is paid for Due Diligence. It is $5,000 per family. The cost of legal services depends on the specific situation. On the Immigrant Invest website, you can order a calculation of the full cost of participation in the program.