Expat Life In Vanuatu

It’s lunchtime. Head for a stroll up the cascades, visit the summit gardens or wander to the other side of Efate for a leisurely meal.

Taking a break in Vanuatu means taking a break. In Manhattan it means getting a cup of coffee at the chain-store coffeehouse, being jostled by crowds on Fifth Avenue  and scarfing down Pumpkin Spice Latte and an Apple Fritter Muffin.

Even breakfast is different. On Wall Street, the first meal of the day is too-hot coffee and a bagel which was frozen as recently as  two-minutes ago.

Vanuatu? Laplap, the national dish. Laplap, a plantain pudding mixed with coconut milk and baked in an earthen oven, draws the villagers together as they discuss the work ahead.

At night, on Vanuatu, pour some coconut cream into your cocktail du jour.

When the sun goes down, which sounds better. Another crowded bar in the Upper East Side, or the Beach Bar with fire dancers, a laid-back environment, a game of pool and a Tusker?

After three months, you know what to recommend for visitors. Cascade Waterfalls, next to Mele Village has a walking track to the mountaintop with natural pools along the way. Eat at Francesca’s in Lelepa, right on the water with incredible sunsets. Go to the Blue Lagoon swimming hole, pack a picnic and watch the locals do backflips into the clear water.

Country of Contrasts

The wilderness and intrigue of Vanuatu’s outer islands shimmer in stark relief to the tourist-focused metroplex of Port Vila. The multi-hued cultural threads all come together to weave a tapestry.

Those contrasts attract.

Port Vila is scenic and a tourist center. With lots of cruise ships, resorts and 5-star facilities are found which can’t be found elsewhere in the Pacific.

Lots of Americans visit, especially during the winter. Also preferred by the semi-retired — or retired — the comfort level is perfect for anyone wanting to get in some down time, relax and enjoy life.

What’s Daily Life Like In Vanuatu?

A warm tropical bush, nourished by rain in the summer, stays green and dense while standing in contrast to black sand and white sand beaches encircle the islands. Swimming, snorkeling, and diving are popular among the coral reefs.

Vanuatu’s culture is important to islanders and is alive among the Melanesian people. Life isn’t about the island traditions and rituals, it is a way of life, and the customs have been around for centuries.

The Takeaway

“The South Pacific was once the playground for ship-sick European sailors. Then it became the roistering barricade of the last great pirates. Next, it was the longed-for escape from the canyons of New York. Then the unwilling theater for an American military triumph. But now it has become the meeting ground for America.”  — James A. Michener