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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Vanuatu

The islands are an adventure enthusiast's paradise. The geologically active archipelago is a natural playground of colourful reefs, bubbling volcanoes and lush jungle. Visitors can drive up to the crater of Yasur, cited as the most accessible active volcano in the world, sea kayak round the islands' shorelines, explore underwater WWII relics, or hike and bike through coconut plantations and tropical rainforest. Those less inclined to exert themselves can relax on the many beautiful beaches, sample the multicultural cuisine in the capital, Port-Vila, or charter a boat from one island to the next. Tourism is centred on the islands of Efaté, Tanna and Espiritu Santo. International visitors arrive in Port-Vila, on Efaté, and from here can travel by boat or plane to explore the rest of the country.The island group of which Vanuatu is a part has been settled since BC 500. Up to and beyond the 13th century AD, it was at the heart of the empire of Tonga. During the 19th century, the islands making up Vanuatu (then called the New Hebrides) were settled by British and French missionaries, planters and traders. The UK and France eventually agreed on a condominium over the two islands.

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