Planning your elective: Vanuatu
Mark Wilson gives the low down about planning your elective in Vanuatu
Vanuatu is a cluster of 80 small islands in the South Pacific lying in a triangle formed by the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and New Caledonia. The main island is Efaté, which is the third largest. The islands were originally populated in around 3000 bc and named as the New Hebrides by Captain James Cook in 1774. And until 1980 they were governed jointly by the French and English--now they are independent.
Vanuatu is a developing nation that has preserved its traditional heritage and is largely unspoilt by Western tourism, although the capital is a port for Australian cruise ships. Unfortunately, since independence the government has mismanaged the economy, there is a great deal of poverty, and a number of Westerners have settled in Vanuatu because it is a tax haven.
Diving and snorkelling are spectacular. The sister ship of the Titanic, the Star of Russia, which sank in Vila harbour