Festivals in Vanuatu

Festivals in Vanuatu
Discover the top festivals and events in Vanuatu that are typically held to celebrate cultural and significant historical events.


Land Diving Ceremonies (April to June – Sat only) 

Watch as men and boys leap from a 30m-high tower, falling head first with nothing but vines tied to their ankles. This hair-raising fertility rite, known as the naghol (a ritual leap) is traditionally made to ensure a bountiful yam harvest between April and June on Vanuatu's Pentecost Island. Visitor numbers are restricted but various tour companies arrange organised trips to view the land diving ceremony.

National Sand Drawing Festival (June – annual) 

See intricate motifs and perfect circles drawn in the sand using just one finger and get an insight into indigenous Vanuatu culture, at this major cultural event, which is held on a different island annually – Epi Island hosts the festival in 2010. The event attracts hundreds of locals, who come to show off their region's sand drawing skills with pride. See also traditional dances, games, magic shows, storytelling and weaving demonstrations at this colourful festival

Independence Day (30 July) 

Watch traditional dance ceremonies, sports events and military parades at Independence Park in Port Vila, see canoes crowd the picturesque harbour and browse street stalls for a range of local cuisine at Vanuatu’s annual Independence Day celebrations.

Back To My Roots Mini Arts Festival (August) 

See traditional dances, acts of magic and various games at this fascinating cultural event held over three days at Halhal Fantor village on Ambrym Island.

Vanuatu Ocean Swim Port Vila (June) 

Watch the fun or join more than 200 keen swimmers in this annual ocean swim. Participants can choose between a 3.2km or 1.5km swim around Irirki Island (located 350 metres from Port Vila's coastline). The fastest male and female competitor each receive a trophy and a return airline ticket to next year's Ocean Swim.

Vanuatu Ocean Swim Espiritu Santo (June)

Watch the fun or join to 200 keen swimmers in this annual ocean swim, which starts at Luganville on Espiritu Santo Island and finishes at the Aore Island Resort, a distance of 2.6km. The fastest male and female competitor each receive a trophy and a return airline ticket to next year's Ocean Swim.

Vanuatu Round Island Relay (July) 

This 138km Round Island Relay, where teams of ten pass the baton, offers the chance to see traditional villages, coconut groves and unspoilt white-sand beaches on a run around Etafe, the archipelago's third-largest island. Or simply monitor the race progress with locals in Port Vila.