World War 2 wreck in one of many bays in Espiritu Santo
Photo by: KirrilyRobert, Creative Commons

The islands of Vanuatu each offer a different kind of adventure. They offer a little piece of paradise for adventure enthusiasts. The archipelago has many islands, its major provinces are: the Torba Province, Sanma Province, Penama Province, Malampa Province, Efate, Tafea Province and Shefa Province, this where Tongoa is located.

Tongoa, also known as Kuwae, is the largest island in the Shefa or Shepherd province of Vanuatu. Nearly 9 kilometers long and 6 kilometers wide, it got its name from an eponymous plant that grows on the large island. The island is covered with thick vegetation and is active with geothermal activity. The island is well known for its numerous ancient volcanic craters and black sand beaches.

It has been found that there had been human settlements on the island as early as 500 B.C. Up to the 13th century AD; Tongoa was the center of the empire of Tonga. Vanuatu was founded again by British and French missionaries during the 19th century, where they called the islands ‘the New Hebrides’. After World War II, there was a power struggle between the foreign colonizers and the indigenous islanders, over interests of political and economic matters of the islands. Eventually, the islands were let go and became fully independent by the year 1980.

The islands have a subtropical climate. Most days are warm, humid and wet, especially during the months of November to April. Rainfall is moderate. Tongoa is part of the geologically active archipelago. The island is filled with a playground of colorful reefs, astounding volcanoes and a lush, green jungle. There are plenty of things you can do while in the islands. Go and visit to the crater of Yasur, which is the most accessible active volcano on Earth. Another fun activity while in Tongoa is kayaking around the islands’ coast line. Or maybe hike or bike through their many tropical rainforests and coconut plantations. If you are more interested in the island’s history, try going underwater and explore the underwater World War II relics.

Those who prefer less action and adventure can still enjoy Tongoa! Relax and catch some sun from the islands’ many beautiful beaches. Sample their multi-cultural cuisine. Charter a boat and hop from one island to another. Tourism is mainly centered on Espiritu Santo, Efate and Tanna, although one can still visit and explore the rest of the islands. Who knows, you might discover something new and exciting!

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