Vanuatu offers an accommodation range to fit every budget, including 5-star resort properties, sophisticated over water bungalows, small luxury boutique properties, larger family-friendly hotels, serviced apartments, family owned guest houses, and to Robinson Crusoe-style budget accommodations, including island bungalows.
The currency used is the Vatu. Although Australian dollars are accepted by many shops, restaurants, and hotels in Port-Vila and a few in Luganville (Espiritu Santo), they are not readily accepted outside of town or throughout the islands. The main banks are ANZ, Bread Bank and National Bank of Vanuatu. There are several ATM machines in Port Vila, Lenakel, Lakatoro and Luganville, Santo.
Vanuatu has 240V and three pin (angled) plugs are required (the same as Australia and New Zealand). Adapters for US appliances are necessary.
Communication & Internet
Vanuatu has two main telecommunication companies; Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL) and Digicel. Both companies have stores in Port Vila and are open Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm and Saturday, 8:00am to 11:00am.
The code for making international calls out of Vanuatu is 00, while for calls to Vanuatu, it is 678. Several places (hotels, resorts, cafes, restaurant …) provide free WIFI. Vanuatu is on GSM digital and as such, roaming agreements exist with a few international mobile phone companies. Almost all of Vanuatu is covered, but in the more remote areas, reception can dip in and out, and one carrier could have better coverage in an area than the other.
If you’d prefer not to roam, both TVL and Digicel offer plans designed for tourists – TVL has a ‘Smile SIM card’ package (3,000 VT including 2,500 VT credit) and Digicel has a ‘Digicel Tourist SIM’ package (1,000 VT including 1,000 VT credit). Topping up is easy – most stores sell top-up cards and there are numerous street umbrellas who can top-up for you.
If you intended to travel throughout Vanuatu, it may be beneficial to invest in a Dual SIM mobile phone to ensure you have as complete coverage as you can. There is an Internet cafe in town Navity Internet café, E-Time Internet café and many of our resorts and hotels have wireless internet. Enquire at your hotel reception.
Standard Allowances include the following goods: 250 cigarettes 3L of spirits/Liqueur and 4.5L wines for NZ passengers; 2.5L spirits/Liqueur and 1.5L of wines for Australia passengers. For Noumea, Solomon Island, Fiji are the same with Australia passengers. You also can have 1 carton of beer.
People on Vanuatu dress light and casual, but not too brief in public places.
Air Vanuatu is the national carrier flying to Port Vila and with direct flights also available to Espiritu Santo. Regular return flights are scheduled via Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, and the Solomon Islands. Virgin Australia Airlines offers flights to Port Vila from Sydney and Brisbane. Air Calin operates flights to Port Vila from Noumea, NF offers flights to Vanuatu from Auckland and Fiji Airways connects Vanuatu through their hub in Fiji.
Visitors to Vanuatu should take preventative Malaria medication. There are several hospitals in Port-Vila, in Luganville, and there are small clinics and dispensaries throughout the islands. Serious injuries and medical conditions will require medical evacuation to more modern facilities in Australia, New Zealand or New Caledonia, so travel insurance is strongly recommended.
There are over 120 distinct languages and many more dialects. The official languages are Bislama, English, and French.
There is a 15% value added tax on goods and services and is included in most prices.
Vanuatu is 11 hours ahead Greenwich Time (UTC/GMT), which means that its 19 hours later in Vanuatu than in California. No daylight saving time.
There is no tipping and no bargaining, it goes against local tradition.
Vanuatu has no public transport system. Privately owned mini buses are common and run unspecified routes through the municipal areas. To get to other parts of Efate, taxis are the best option. Air Vanuatu ATR and Twin Otters are the only domestic airline to offer regular services between islands. Inter Island trading vessels also depart for the islands on a semi-regular basis. Air Charters are available : Air Taxi , Unity Airline and Belair Airline.
Vanuatu has a wonderful sub-tropical climate that means almost endless sunshine year round. Enjoying mild temperatures and clear blue skies for most of the year, Vanuatu weather is great all year round. In fact, there’s no bad time to visit Vanuatu, however some months are better than others.
Summer is from November to March, the average temperature is 28°C and it can be hot, wet and humid. Winter is from April to September with the temperature averaging 23°C. Sea temperature varies from 22 to 28 degrees making swimming enjoyable all year round.
The warmer months from December to April are also the wettest with good rain in every month. Vanuatu can average anywhere from 2 metres of rainfall annually to 4 metres on the northern islands.
The summer months are part of the tropical cyclone season. The majority of resorts are located in the southern part of Vanuatu where it is less humid, there is less rain and there is less chance of extreme climate conditions.
Visa & Immigration
Entry to, and residence in, Vanuatu is governed by the Immigration Act (Cap 66) as amended and by Immigration Orders issued by the Minister from time to time. Entry to Vanuatu for anything more than a short tourist or business visit is strictly controlled and Permits to Enter and Reside are normally issued to those who can in some way make a positive contribution to the economic development of Vanuatu. However, visitors from some countries will require a visa beforehand to ensure that their entry is authorised. Click on www.vanuatu.travel to view list of Countries that require a visitor visa to enter Vanuatu. Visas may be obtained on application to the Principal Immigration Officer at a fee of 3,600 VT.
Domestic departure fee is 200Vt from provincial domestic airports.The 200Vt is paid separately as it is not include in passenger tickets.