Landing in Vanuatu – First Thoughts
We have now been in Vanuatu three days, two of them spent in the capitol city of Port Vila and today is the beginning of our stay with a village on the island of Ambrym (a nerve-wracking 45 minute flight away from Port Vila). Here are our first thoughts on this country:
– Of all the beach/island type destination we’ve been to in our travels, this is the least touristy and least crowded. When we arrived at the airport and saw we were the only arriving plane, we knew right away this destination would not be filled with beach chairs and margaritas.
– The people of Vanuatu are some of the nicest we’ve ever met. Usually we need to get out of a city’s airport and out to the rural areas to meet friendly locals, but this country doesn’t seem to have one person who is having a bad day. The friendliness was apparent right away when the host family greeted us at the airport with fresh leis that had been picked by them that morning. It’s apparent why this country had the nickname of “the happiest place on earth”.
– Vanuatu is made up of many islands, and our hosts have filled us in on how diverse and different each island is. Port Vila is the country’s metropolis and is the only island that features the conveniences of home; clean running water, nice hotels, ATMs, numerous restaurants, supermarkets, and even a 24-hour farmer’s market selling all kinds of produce. Our visit to Ambrym will be the exact opposite. They have no running water or reliable electricity, no restaurants, and definitely no hotels.
– Arriving in Ambrym today was a little out of our comfort zone. We were only ones on the plane, and we are told we are probably the only tourists on the island right now since it’s the off-season. Our last day in Sydney took us on a crowded ferry ride filled with more tourists than I ever care to be around. It was a zoo of impatient crowds, crying babies, and crabby parents. Somehow we’ve managed to travel from one of the most popular tourist destinations to a destination where we are the only tourists.
We’ll post all about our time in Ambrym tomorrow. Stay tuned!