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A Beginner's Guide to Hiking Through Vanuatu
While scuba diving and snorkeling are enormous attractions in Vanuatu, you can enjoy this rich land in many other ways. You'll find that hiking the islands is an incredible way to get off the beaten path and enjoy traditional culture, incredible hospitality and some of the most amazing views of the islands and the surrounding ocean.
Where can you hike? Do you need guides during your trek? How do you find a place to stay the night? This guide will answer a few of your questions.
Hiking and walking are more than a great way to enjoy your stay in the islands. For most residents, walking is the only way to get from point A to point B. Car rentals and even scooters and bikes are somewhat rare on the island, so foot power tends to be the rule. As a result, most roads are perfect for day hiking and exploring. However, there are some areas in the islands where you'll need an experienced guide. If you intend to remain on well-traveled roads, you will be fine with an accurate map of the area.
Pentecost offers numerous options for exploration and hiking. A well-used truck road runs down the west coast of the island, which will take you to several villages, a Catholic mission, wonderful gorges and guesthouses where you can stay the night. You can also spend a half-day climbing Mount Vetmar, the island's second tallest peak.
Walking and hiking around Ambrym Island is almost the only option for transportation. You'll need a guide for much of the area; the jungle is largely undisturbed, except for WWII ruins and wrecks. You can hike the ash plains and climb the caldera of an active volcano, explore dry riverbeds and hike along the coast. Ambrym has numerous small villages, though no cities of any note. You'll find the people warm and welcoming, offering several guesthouses to help you enjoy your stay. The north of Ambrym is closed to visitors from September 1 – December 31 every year for the yam planting.
44 miles of new hiking trails currently exist on Malekula. You can also hike numerous roads and logging trails. You'll find that other trails exist that can take you through the interior of the island, past kastom villages and more. However, the interior trails should only be hiked with a guide; they are not usually marked and suffer from erosion. The inland hike is recommended only for those in top physical condition, as well.
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