April 21st, 2010
We had a good flight and an even better landing at the airport where a local band welcomed us and the other visitors to the island. We decided to stay for three days in Port Vila and booked at a guesthouse in town.
The next day we visited the beautiful falls of Mele Cascades, north of Port Vila. To get here you can hop on a local minibus, just make sure the target has a letter B sign. The ride is about 10 km from town and will cost you around 5 dollars.
Whenever you feel like getting off just ask the driver to stop. We got off the bus in the middle of this beautiful tropical jungle and simply followed the path to the falls.
The water at the Mele Cascades is crystal clear and you can see all the fish swimming around, beautiful! On our way back the bus arrives after two minutes and we head back to Port Vila.
Our plan was to visit different islands of the Vanuatu Archipelago and after our three days in Port Vila we decided to leave the island of Efate for a trip to the Island of Tanna.
We were able to book our flights at a local travel agency in Port Vila and were lucky enough to get the last seats on the plane! Before heading to Tanna we made sure we had enough cash as there would be a good chance we wouldn't find any ATM's on the island.
After a last stroll through the market to pick up some banana snacks we head to the airport where a tiny aircraft awaits us. The flight goes well and after a quick stop on the Erromango Island to drop off two passengers, we arrive on Tanna Island.
The driver who is waiting for us at the airport accompanies us to Lénakel, on the western coast of the island, where we will be staying. There are several tours you can do in Lénakel like a visit to the Yasur Vulcano or a snorkel safari aroun the island's coral reefs.
Our visit to the Yasur Vulcano was really impressive. We parked the car at about 150 meters from the vulcano and while we climbed up the vulcano you could see the smoke coming out of the vulcano. The eruptions are beautiful but our guide explains us that taking a closer look can be dangerous so we observe the eruption from a distance.
We also did a guided hike to Port Résolution Hot Springs on the west coast of the Tanna island. Here you will find some of the most stunning beaches and the landscapes are beautiful. We ate our lunch on the beach and things look great: rice, banana, sweet potatoes, chicken, pumpkin served on banana leaves.
After a week on Tanna Island we fly back to Port Vila where we prepare ourselves for our next destination; Pentecost Island.
After a turbulent flight in an even smaller airplane we arrive on Lonorore Airport. Our guesthouse is very basic and the hygienic standards put us to the ultimate survival test, but at least everybody is friendly and welcoming.
The guesthouse is close to the beach so the next day is all about relaxation and exploring the reefs for some local marine life. In the afternoon we go to the nearby Diamond Waterfall by 4WD, a great adventure through the Jungle of Pentecost and some beautiful waterpools on the way.
The next day we are finally going to witness the local men practising the famous Pentecost Island Land Diving. The description sounds terrifying and I don't know what to think of it.
This annual ritual of the Nangol, or land diving, is held to secure the yam harvest and brings prosperity to the best land jumpers. It's quite a happening and when we arrive to the site where the Nangol is held I can see the wooden platforms constructed for the land dives. It kind of looked like an amateuristic bungy jump site where a safe landing is not included in the price but still they had done a great job constructing it.
After a long speech of the Nagol starts and the younger boys climb in the tower. After a three meter dive the first kid hits bottom, literally. A little bit shaky he stands up and joins the group of men.
The ritual ends with a land dive from the highest paltform, at least 20 meters high. And again, the man jumps like it's nothing and celebrates his dive with te rest of the group by performing a ritual dance. What a day and a great way to end our adventure on the Pentceost Island!
Did you enjoy The Islands of Efate,Tanna and Pentecost and have you been on a holiday in Port Vila, Vanuatu?
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