Fish Trap in Etafe
Photo by: PhillipC, Creative Commons

Luganville is the second largest city of Vanuatu after Port Vila in the south, and is the chief city of Vanuatu’s largest island, Espiritu Santo. The northern islanders, especially the indigenous tribes, call Luganville as “Santo.” Another moniker of the city, the “Kanal,” is used by the residents of Espiritu Santo countryside. Luganville is one of Vanuatu’s busiest ports.

The archipelago of Vanuatu is made up of 82 islands. Of these, only 65 are inhabited by the islands’ populace. Volcanoes regularly dot the islands, and the country itself is rocked by both land and undersea earthquakes every now and then.

Geographically, the islands form very steep profiles, leaving the plains of Etafe and Espiritu Santo suitable for city growth and settlement. Only 9% of the land, it is said, is fit for agriculture, with individual household planting crops for their own consumption. The produce coming from farms compose 65% of the country’s food consumption. The fishing industry is strong in the nation, for obvious reasons.

Another of Vanuatu’s economic sector that is booming nowadays is tourism. This industry has strengthened, with the local government’s programs aiming to increase the influx of tourists mostly from Australia and New Zealand. The filming of a hit reality show definitely helped in attracting tourists to the islands.

Like Port Vila, Luganville is also very ethnically diverse. A local tribal group called the Ni-Vanuatu dominates the populace. The population also has a decent number of British, Australians, French, and even Chinese. Luganville is known for its history: a large number of American forces set-up camp here during World War II. Evidence of this can be seen in the scattered antique military steel huts in various places of the city.

Luganville does not run out of sites and attractions for visitors.

Ammunition Bunkers. As mentioned before, these World War II structures, formally called Quonset huts, are past reminders of the World War era Americans. The local government has apparently turned them into tourist attractions.

Million Dollar Point. This is an antique underwater site, perfect for scuba trips and snorkelers. This place was used by the Americans as a dumping site for military equipment, and now, swimmers and divers can take a glimpse of the past now encrusted with corals and barnacles.

Public Market. This is Luganville’s bustling market square, near Sarakata Bridge, and attended to by shoppers and buyers from all over the archipelago.

Lysepsep Culture Park. The Lysepsep people are to the Vanuatu’s what leprechauns are to the Irish. The city has dedicated a park to these fantastic entities, widely-regarded as the very first dwellers of Luganville (whether one believes it or not).

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