• Solomon Islands!

    Solomon Islands: Looking up at palm trees. Go Now!

    Solomon Islands
    This Melanesian country is best known for its many islands and beaches... and this natural landscape (pictured) is why most people go. Don't miss out on the unique Melanesian culture and foods though! Begin Your Journey!

  • Tonga!

    Tonga: Coastline. Go Now!

    The heart of Polynesian culture is rooted in Tonga, but most visitors just come for the natural beauty. Explore Tonga!

  • Vanuatu!

    Vanuatu: Jetty into the ocean. Go Now!

    Picturesque serenity is a good way to describe Vanuatu, but the culture offers much more, including the inspiration for bungee jumping, which remains a rite of passage for young men. Explore Vanuatu!

  • Palau!

    Palau: "70 Islands!" Go Now!

    Few people have even heard of this small Micronesian country, but those who have often return with stories of beauty unmatched elsewhere, such as view of the "70 Islands" (pictured). Go Now!

  • Explore the: Federated States of Micronesia!

    Federated States of Micronesia: Overlooking some islands. Go Now!

    Federated States of Micronesia
    This diverse country stretches for thousands of miles and has the diversity to prove it, including the people from Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Yap among others. Begin Your Journey!

  • Samoa!

    Samoa: A traditional home. Go Now!

    Among the most famous of the South Pacific's many countries, Samoa sits in the heart of Polynesia and has a culture to match. Begin Your Journey!

Culture & Identity of Vanuatu


Vanuatu's ethnic dynamic, linguistic variety, and culture are always changing as the country is home to over 100 local languages, but also a huge number of foreigners, who call this island nation home. This combination of people and ways of life strongly influence the culture, most noticeably in the capital city of Port-Vila, which seems to be a mix of all these influences as the culture is a combination of the South Pacific with Australia, New Zealand, North America, and Europe all rolled into one. Despite this hodge-podge, the pace of life tends to reflect that of Vanuatu more than it does anywhere else.

About a quarter of the people in Vanuatu live in the cities, with Port-Vila being the most important center as it is here the government is located and it is also the destination for most foreign workers and immigrants. Many places here offer the amenities, foods, and jobs that can be found elsewhere in the world so the variety of lifestyles and jobs are vast. Elsewhere in Vanuatu, including on most of the islands, the jobs available are limited and the way of life reflects this. In these places most people live off the land farming and fishing with only a limited number having a more stable job or income. Due to this heavy presence of jobs in the cities there is a fairly quick migration to the cities taking place today.

Days begin early in Vanuatu as school and work tends to begin at about 7:30 am so the people wake even earlier. For those working the fields or seas work begins when they awake and get moving, which again tends to be early. For those in regulated work environments and in school, the day has a set pattern and most people return home by early evening. For the others the schedule differs day to day based on what the world offers. No matter a person's occupation, many people in Vanuatu have a small plot of land for crops and take some time each day is spent growing and picking these crops for the day's meal.

Evenings and weekends are usually filled with socializing with friends and family, while many children like to play games; on Sunday many people attend church. It is this relaxation time that most people enjoy as the culture of the Ni-Vanuatu demands this pace and this pace of life is why so many foreigners have made their way to the country to call it home.


There is a strong push for a national identity in Vanuatu, which has been adopted by some people, especially those in the larger cities. However, many people still identify on a smaller scale as they identify with their local island, island group, their language group (there are over 100 languages), or their local culture, which is often tied to the ethnicity, island, and language as well. Today it is truly up the individual as to whether he or she first identifies with their nation or local island; most people in island villages still primarily identify with that island, village, or language, while many people in the cities are a mix of ethnicities and speak a single language so tend to identify more on a national scale.

The national identity of Vanuatu has a significant following as it is very inclusive of all the people of the islands. This identity is primarily political in nature as it is not defined in cultural terms. A part of this identity is a pride in the country's diversity so the identity remains vague intentionally to remain inclusive; the greatest exception to this is the heavy use of the Bislama language among the greatest supporters of this identity.

Many people today do identify on this national scale, but they also tend to identify on a more localized level with their local island, language, and culture. As over one hundred languages and islands are present in Vanuatu this diversity in local identities is substantial and the definition of each of these identities is distinct from the next.

This page was last updated: November, 2013