Backpacking in Vanuatu
Tips and Tricks if you Plan a Backpacking Holiday in
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.
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.
Backpacking is a popular way to explore Vanuatu, although you might find fewer modes of
transport available. It's important to plan ahead.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.