Besides the SMILES, the COLOURS of Vanuatu will make you feel like you have been shaken in a magical kaleidoscope!
Flowers are everywhere - hibiscus, frangipani and bougainvillieas in every single colour going from white through pink, orange and purple to deep bright red and violet!
Green colour is everywhere too! Your eyes will slowly penetrate the green serenity of the rainforest, going further and further from fern and pandanus to banana and paw-paw trees.
There is nothing more authentic, relaxing and romantic than staying in a small bamboo hut surrounded by the jungle and watching the fireworks of an erupting volcano from your small no-glass window before falling asleep cuddled by the fresh air of the night and rocked by the noise of the eruptions!
There is something surreal to walk through the silent mystic jungle at 3am and cross rivers you can bearly measure the deepness of, in order to climb the most accessible, active, constantly erupting (every 1-2 minutes) volcano in the world!
For the locals mount Yasur is like a dangerous dog in their backyard - they have to live with it and have learnt how to survive with this uncontrollable power of nature next to their homes! At the same time they venerate the volcano like a living god! You can definitely trust them with your life to bring you at the safest place on a particular day to watch the volcano and ensure that you leave it unharmed!
The show can be hardly described with words...It takes time to even realise in your mind what you have seen!
You can literally sit on the edge of the volcano, the ground is trembling under your body and you can feel the heat of the eruptions on your face and the dust of the smoke in your eyes!
There are moments when you have the very strong scary impression that the flying, burning red blocks of rock are coming in your direction and are definitely going to hit you this time. Thank God they do not…this time... You realise that you have started praying in your mind for the wind not to change its direction because you feel that this may change your luck the next time!
The volcano eruptions go from scale 1 (not so many eruptions) through 2 (many eruptions but still safe) and 3 (not safe, cannot approach the volcano) to 4 (real danger). It was 2 when we went there and it was perfect! It was magic! It was silence interrupted only by the breathing and coughing of the volcano - it looked like a living creature! It was red and golden fireworks of fire and rocks in the night with the sun slowly rising and covering the volcano with the violet colours of the early morning!
Once you have seen this show, you can perfectly understand why a young German couple recently married there! How more magical a wedding could become?
We also walked next to the volcano while it was throwing its ashes on the Mars-like valley and got covered with the ashes rain!
The path brought us to a river heated by the volcano meeting the black sand beach and the ocean waves. We enjoyed for a while these amazing natural springs soaked in the hot water while looking with some dose of genuine fear to the clouds of smoke constatnly spluttered by the volcano not so far away from the river!
Vanuatu has amazing desert beaches!
Black sand for those formed by the volcanos and white sand for the ones formed by the corals!
The corals are stunningly beautiful and are definitely the biggest we have ever seen!
To the red and golden of the volcano, the green of the rainforest and the black and white of the beaches, you have to add the blue, hundreds of nuances of blue!
The water is so transparent that you can see everywhere plenty of colourful tropical fish, corals and starfish while snorkeling or simply canoeing.
You can also swim in the ocean with turtles aged from 4 weeks to 140 years old in a kind of sanatorium for turtles where locals take care of them before releasing them in their natural habitat!
Another natural wonder in Vanuatu besides the famous volcanos is the Blue Cave on Tanna Island. You can just swim into the cave from the ocean at low tide or dive there at high tide and it feels like you are hiding from the whole world in a magical place. There is a hole in the cave’s ceiling which allows you to see the blue sky and the green forest and lets the light in. The water is of an incredible turquoise colour and you can see the fish swimming at the bottom of the cave!
Add to this the experience of staying at the house of the Blue Cave’s 'owner' Daniel and his wonderful sweet family (Ni-Vanuatu have strange ownership laws which include rivers, beaches and caves!) and watching the sunset on the ocean from your room and you may feel tremendously close to a nirvana state of mind!
Our modest bed was covered with colourful flowers which were the most beautiful decoration ever, everyone was so gentle, kind and smiling and the kids were incredibly cute (some of them had blond curly hair remaining from a distant Australian aboriginal lineage)!
Sunsets are amazing in Vanuatu!
We could not miss these moments for anything in the world and our ritual was to say 'see you tomorrow' to the sun every single day watching it slowly dive into the ocean for a night rest after having thrown to us tons of breathtaking colours and reflections!
The Blue Lagoon on Efate island where the ocean has entered into the forest and formed a natural pool with an amazing blue colour is another 'not to be missed' place! There are ropes for you to play Tarzan and Jane in the jungle and splash into the cool water of the lagoon!
Every day in Vanuatu is crazier in terms of experience than the previous one because almost everything is so wild and untouched.
We decided to do some canoe in the jungle but it ended up to be much more than just canoeing! After canoeing for a while, we left the canoes and alternated between swimmming up the river in the cool water crossing dozens of small waterfalls and walking into the rainforest, before reaching at the end of the 2-hour trail the last and biggest waterfall and getting a long spa treatment under its powerful jets!
Even though we took back with us an unexpected black toe and an even more unexpected fractured rib after falling down on the slippery stones in the jungle, this was so much fun, such an unforgettable experience! We felt like 10-year-old kids who had just drank the elixir of youth and were having the biggest fun in their lives!
At another waterfall closer to the capital we had another free spa procedure in the middle of the nature - the small fish in the blue water natural pool took care of our tired feet!
We left Vanuatu with big smiles and are still having colourful dreams a month after our return to Asia! What is it about the Pacific that enters under your skin and makes you happy for such a long time? It must be something special...and we definitely need another trip to keep looking for an answer!
In the meantime, HAKUNA MATATA! Chill out, stay cool, relax and let go...!!!
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