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Vanuatu is an archipelago nation in Oceania. It belongs to region of Melanesia and consists of about 82 relatively small, geologically newer islands of volcanic origin (65 of them inhabited), with about 1300 km (810 mi) between the most northern and southern islands. In addition, the islands is a tourist destionation for their coral reefs and active volcano Mt. Yasur in Tanna island. With 113 indigenous languages, Vanuatu is a country with the highest density of languages per capita. However, English is widely spoken.
There is not many options how to get around. In cities like Port Vila or Luganville you can choose between taxis or public buses. There is a standard ticket price to get around the island, no matter if you take a ride for a mile or across the island. In Effate island, the public buses depart from central market in when they are full. There is limited or no service in week-ends and public holidays. Outside Effate or Espiritu Santo, the service is generally very limited. Remote villages may not be attended at all. The mini buses are used in Effate or Espiritu Santo, but the utes are used in smaller islands. To get form island to another, only an airplane or cargo ship is a possibility. The airplane-tickets are not really cheap for domestic flights. Discounts apply for booking in advance or if you have an outward international ticket.
Hitch-hiking is relatively easy, however some problems might occur. Despite the fact that hich-hiking is not really common for locals, they are very generous and helpful. The first car would probably pick you up, nevertheless you may still wait for hours because of low traffic. Other foreigners, especially tourists, might give you a lift as well. Outside of Effate or Espiritu Santo it is not common to own a car. It can easily happen that there is no car for an entire day. If there is any, it may be police or other officials which is a good opportunity to get advanced knowledge about the place. In Tanna island, you can get across the island by hitch-hiking or by taking a public bus (a ute) much cheaper than using the shuttles from lodges.
Hitchhikernick - visited Effate in late June for 4 days and found a mixture of locals and tourists picking me up. Not the easiest of places to find camping spots as land is all privately owned, but with help of locals I managed it. Managed to go all way around the island and blue lagoon is fabulous. Average waiting time for lifts was 45 mins for me.
The country is generally very safe. You should be prepared for tropical diseases, such as malaria or dengue fever. Other natural risks are: earthquakes and tsunami, tropical cyclones, volcanic activity. For example, the cyclone Pam damaged the islands considerably in March 2015.