Cruising to Vanuatu


The British and French, who settled the New Hebrides in the 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence in 1980.


Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia
Geographic coordinates: 16 00 S, 167 00 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 12,200 sq km; note: includes more than 80 islands, about 65 of which are inhabited


2,528 km

Maritime claims

Measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


Tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds from May to October; moderate rainfall from November to April; may be affected by Cyclones from December to April


Mostly mountainous islands of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Tabwemasana 1,877 m


This South Pacific island economy is based primarily on small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for 65% of the population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism, with about 50,000 visitors in 2004, are other mainstays of the economy. Mineral deposits are negligible; the country has no known petroleum deposits. A small light industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties.

Economic development is hindered by dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural disasters, and long distances from main markets and between constituent islands. GDP growth rose less than 3% on average in the 1990s. In response to foreign concerns, the government has promised to tighten regulation of its offshore financial center. In mid-2002 the government stepped up efforts to boost tourism. Agriculture, especially livestock farming, is a second target for growth. Australia and New Zealand are the main suppliers of tourists and foreign aid.


Airports: 31 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 3
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 28
Roadways: total: 1,070 km

Merchant marine

Total: 52 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,214,417 GRT/1,649,713 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 28, cargo 10, container 1, liquefied gas 2, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 2, vehicle carrier 5
Foreign-owned: 52 (Australia 2, Canada 5, Denmark 6, Estonia 1, Greece 1, Japan 26, NZ 2, Poland 5, Russia 1, Switzerland 2, US 1) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Forari, Port-Vila, Santo (Espiritu Santo)

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

American Samoa - Australia - Cook Island - Easter Islands (Chile) - Federation of Micronesia - Fiji - Guam - USA (Hawaii)  - Kiribati - Marshall Islands - Nauru - New Caledonia - New Zealand - Niue - Norfolk Island - Northern Mariana Islands - Palau - Papua New Guinea - Pitcairn Island - Samoa - Solomon Island - Tokelau - Tonga - Tuvalu - Vanuatu - Wallis and Futuna

Further Reading

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