Vanuatu holiday resorts and visitors guide

 

Backpacking in Vanuatu

Tips and Tricks if you Plan a Backpacking Holiday in Vanuatu

Seeing the beautiful islands of the South Pacific is an incredible experience. Seeing through independent travel is even better. Leave the expensive tours and resorts for others and take a backpacking tour of Vanuatu. You'll find friendly faces, incredible sights and experience it all on your own timetable. A backpacking tour of this nation is an incredible experience for those who wish to get off the beaten path. However, you'll need a few pointers to get you on your way.

Where to Start

You should begin your tour on Efate, preferably in the city of Port Vila. You'll have a fun place to stay your first night on the island, a wide array of dining options, nightclubs and bars from which to choose. You can also hitch a ride form Port Vila, or hit the highway out of town on foot. You'll find more outbound rides in the afternoon, as people leave the town and head home, and inbound rides in the morning, when people go to town.

Backpacker by the ocean
Backpacking is a popular way to explore Vanuatu, although you might find fewer modes of transport available. It's important to plan ahead.

Transportation

You'll find numerous ways to get around in Vanuatu. You can take a boat between islands, rent a truck on land, hitchhike and more. If you have the cash, Air Vanuatu offers discounted flights between islands. However, if you have the time, taking a ship or boat is slower but cheaper. Renting a truck can be very expensive, unless you are not traveling alone. However many locals will be happy to pick you up along the road.

Local Customs

Vanuatu local customs differ from what Westerners are used to. For instance, haggling is not part of the culture and is considered rude. Don't haggle over the price of items in the market. In addition, being able to speak a little Bislama will help you make friends and will open doors for you during your trip. See our Vanuatu Guide for more info.

Local handcrafts market in Port Vila
Markets in Port Vila are an ideal place to visit on your backpacking tour in Vanuatu, where you will find freash local produce as well as a variety of handmade items and souvenirs.

Funding

Make sure you have enough cash on hand to pay for everything you'll need. Access to banks and ATMs is very limited, so plan accordingly. ATM's are found in Port Vila, on Efate island, and some in Luganville, on Santo island. You'll need to carry sufficient Vatu (the local denomination) to cover daily expenses, plus a reserve to tide you over just in case. Never count on being able to get additional funding, especially if you are traveling to remote areas of the islands.

Food and Drink

You'll likely find enough food and drink in local villages, hostels and hotels along the way. However, you should carry water purification tablets and a water bottle with you just in case. In addition, pack some canned food in case you find yourself roughing it for a night.

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