Geography of Vanuatu

Location:Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia
Geographic coordinates:16 00 S, 167 00 E
Map references:Oceania
Area:total: 12,200 sq km
land: 12,200 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes more than 80 islands, about 65 of which are inhabited
Area - comparative:slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:2,528 km
Maritime claims:measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate:tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds from May to October; moderate rainfall from November to April; may be affected by cyclones from December to April
Terrain:mostly mountainous islands of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Tabwemasana 1,877 m
Natural resources:manganese, hardwood forests, fish
Land use:arable land: 1.64%
permanent crops: 6.97%
other: 91.39% (2005)
Irrigated land:NA
Natural hazards:tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanic eruption on Aoba (Ambae) island began 27 November 2005, volcanism also causes minor earthquakes; tsunamis
Environment - current issues:a majority of the population does not have access to a reliable supply of potable water; deforestation
Environment - international agreements:party to: Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:a Y-shaped chain of four main islands and 80 smaller islands; several of the islands have active volcanoes

Vanuatu Quickstats

  • Population: 211,971 (July 2007 est.)
  • Area: 12,200 sq km
  • Density: 17 /km² (188th)
  • GDP (total): $726 million (175th)
  • GDP (per capita): $3,346 (121st)
  • Literacy: 74%

Languages of Vanuatu

Useful to know

  • Currency: Vanuatu vatu (VUV)
  • Dial code: +678

International Trade

External sites

More Resources

Recent blog posts