Travel Tips for Vanuatu

Some things to keep in mind when traveling to Vanuata...

 

Departure Tax

Departure tax at the International Airport is VUV 2,500 per person (except children under 12 years old), and VUV 400 for domestic Vanair Service tax. Both these passenger service charges are included in airfares.

Location

Vanuatu (Vanuatu means 'Land Eternal') is a "Y"-shaped chain of 83 islands 497 miles west of Fiji. The islands range from towering volcanic cones to others covered in dense rainforest to others which are raised coral islands with wide beaches and deep natural harbors.

Climate

The best time of year is April/May to October when temperatures range from 64°F to 82°F. Light weight casual clothing plus a sweater is usually sufficient. November & December are warm but not generally unpleasantly so. January to March is hot (79°F-93°F), often wet and prone to cyclones, but being low season it's also a good time of year to take advantage of travel deals.

Entry Requirements

United States citizens do not need a visa, but must have a valid, ongoing or return airline ticket and your passport must be valid for six months beyond your intended stay.

Tipping Protocol

There is no tipping or bargaining, it goes against local tradition. A smile and a 'thank you' is tip enough.

Language

There are over 120 distinct languages and many more dialects in Vanuatu but only 3 official languages: English, French and Bislama (pidgin English).

Health

Visitors do not need vaccinations, but anti-malarial medication is recommended if you are travelling to islands outside of Efate. There are several private doctors and hospitals in the 2 town centers, Port Vila and Luganville. There are no dangerous animals and urban water is safe to drink.

Currency & Exchange, Credit Cards, and Banking

The Vanuatu currency is the Vatu. Although Australian dollars are accepted by many shops, restaurants and hotels in Vila, and a few in Luganville (Espiritu Santo), they are NOT readily accepted outside of these town centers or on outer islands. All major foreign currencies are exchangeable in Vanuatu for Vatu. Daily fluctuations occur. Major credit cards Visa, MasterCard, and to a lesser extent, American Express and Diners club are accepted at most major resort/hotels and some restaurants and shops in Port Vila. Traveler's checks are widely accepted at the major banks and most of the larger resorts and hotels in Port Vila. ATM facilities are available only in Port Vila, Efate & Santo. Other outer islands don’t have ATM facilities except Espiritu Santo and Port Vila and overseas travelers can use their credit cards. Banks found in Vanuatu are Westpac, ANZ, National Bank of Vanuatu and Bred Bank.

Religion

Vanuatu is predominantly Christian. Visitors are welcome to attend Sunday services. Many of the shops and markets close on Sundays.

Jet Lag

Westbound flights appear to be the worst for jet lag but many people report feelings of jet lag with any long haul flights. To prevent feeling the worse for wear when you arrive at your destination try the following tips: Be well rested before boarding your flight, drink plenty of fluids and cut back on the alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, try to exercise by stretching in your seat or strolling the isle. One of the best tips is to try to set your body clock to your destination’s time while in flight. Waiting until you land can leave you literally in the wrong time zone.

What to Pack

Light weight casual clothing plus a sweater is usually sufficient, year round.