We can’t take you around by hand, but this might help. This brief Vanuatu guide will
provide you with some basic information about Port Vila and Vanuatu that you might find useful when preparing to
visit for the first time. (Vanuatu is often misspelled as 'Vanautu', and sometime as 'vanatu', 'vanuato' or
Vanuatu has a warm tropical climate. The best time to visit Vanuatu
is during the dry season, from May through to October. The temperature during this time is around 23°C (Celsius).
Most popular is the Winter season, during June, July and August, when there is less humidity.
From November to April is the wet season with temperatures up to
32°C, when it’s hot, humid and with periods of heavy rain. Use an online temperature converter for precise temperature conversions, from Celsius to Fahrenheit.
Vanuatu locals dres casual. Nude sunbathing is taboo and swimming
costumes must be covered when away from the beach.
Vanuatu's time is based on AEST plus one hour - AEST is Australian
Eastern Standard Time, which is Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane time. Or you can work Vanuatu time by adding 11
hours on GMT - Greenwich Mean Time, which is London time.
Business hours in
Offices and shops open from 7.30 am to 11.30 am and from 1.30 pm to
5.00 pm. Siesta (lunchtime break) is from 11.30 am to 1.30 pm, when businesses and shops close. Banks,
supermarkets, restaurants and cafes remain open through Siesta.
Offices and shops are open Monday to Friday. Many shops open on
Saturday morning, while general stores are open 7 days a week.
Post Office and
Bank buildings in Port Vila main street - Post Office building is seen on the
The Post Office opens Monday to Friday 7.30 am to 11.30 am and 1.30
pm to 4.30 pm, observing Siesta. However, the Post Shop selling stamps, postcards, post boxes is open through
The Telecom Sales Office, for faxes and international calls, is
located in the Post Office. It is open same hours as The Post Office, observing Siesta.
The Post Office building is on the main street in Port Vila, across
the road from Westpac and ANZ banks buildings.
The main Internet Café is in the town, not far from the Post Office
building, on the same side of the street. It opens 7 days, from 7.30 am to 5.00 pm, without observing
As of 2006 onwards, Worawia is now the official Community Postal
Agency for Mele and Mele-Maat area, selling postage stamps and post cards. Mail collection is also available at the
resort on a regular basis, provided by Vanuatu Post Ltd. Other products and services such as Telecom Vanuatu Ltd.
phonecards and public phone booth are earmarked for implementation during 2006.
Visitors don’t need vaccinations, but anti-malaria medication is
recommended, in particular for visits to outer islands. There are no dangerous animals or insects. Urban or tap
water is safe to drink in Port Vila, although bottled water is readily available in Port Vila supermarkets. Bottled
water though is recommended if you travel to outer islands.
The Central Hospital in Port Vila is open 24 hours for all medical
treatments. The town of Louganville, on Santo Island also has hospital facilities. There are several private
doctors in Port Vila. Before travelling to Vanuatu, check with your medical insurer if
your expat medicare benefits will apply to Vanuatu.
Vanuatu local currency is the Vatu, usually abbreviated as Vt,
although its international sign is VUV. Its value is subject to exchange rate, although it is a fairly stable
currency. Check an online Currency
Converter for the latest rate in your own currency.
Australian dollar and other foreign currency, as well as credit cards
are widely accepted in Port Vila, although the outer islands prefer Vatu. There are 7 ATM’s (Automatic Teller
Machines) in Vanuatu - 6 in Port Vila and 1 in Louganville, on Santo Island.
There are branches of the National Bank of Vanuatu, ANZ and Westpac
in Port Vila, where currency can be exchanged 8.00 am to 3.00 pm Monday to Friday. However, there are also other
currency exchanges in some of the private businesses, usually at duty free shops.
VAT (Value Added Tax) of 12.5% is charged on goods and services, as
there is no income tax in Vanuatu. Most restaurants take credit cards, especially Visa, MasterCard and
If you end up with local currency left in your pocket at the end of
your Vanuatu stay, you should exchange it back to your own currency, as Vatu is rarely found or accepted outside
Vanuatu. That's of course if you don't plan coming back, or collect bank notes and coins.
In accordance with Vanuatu custom neither tipping nor bargaining are practiced in Vanuatu.
Vanuatu power plugs are those used in
Australia, which may include switches for added safety
Vanuatu uses Australian/New Zealand type of 3-pin plugs, for 220-280
volts power/electricity supply. Similar power plugs are also used in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Argentina. These
plugs have an earthing pin, and two flat current-carrying pins. Plug converters can be bought in some local
electrical supplies or hardware stores as well as some general stores.
Driving in Vanuatu is on the right-hand side of the road. Cars and
4WD vehicles are available for hire from several hire companies, such as Avis, Budget, Discount Rentals, Hertz and
Laho Rent A Car.
Taxies are metered, but for long rides negotiate a price. Some taxis
can be hired for a full or half a day.
Public transport is available in mini buses, usually marked with a
Red B on the number plate. For 200vt the buses will take you anywhere in central Port Vila.
Paris Shopping Duty Free shop in Port Vila
Visitors’ personal effects are duty free. Passengers over 15 years of
age may bring into Vanuatu duty free: 250 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco or 50 cigars; 1.5 litres of alcohol or
wine; 250ml eau de toilette; 100ml of perfume.
Duty free goods can be purchased on all Air Vanuatu flights (and
other airlines flying into port Vila), at the international airport or the Duty Free shops in Port Vila. Check with
flight attendants about any changes to the above items limits.
Air Vanuatu, in conjunction with Qantas, has flights to Auckland in
New Zealand, Sydney and Brisbane in Australia, Noumea in New Caledonia, Nadi in Fiji and Honiara in the Solomon
The Sales Office in Rue de Paris, in Port Vila (next to National Bank
of Vanuatu) is open Monday to Friday 7.30 am to 5.00 pm and on weekends from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. Telephone: +678 23
848 or 23 878; fax +678 23 250 or 26 591.
Vanair, Vanuatu’s domestic airline, flies to the outer islands.
Telephone: +678 25 045 or 25 025; fax: +678 25 035.
Visas and entry
All visitors must have a return/onward ticket and a passport with a
four-month minimum validity beyond their arrival date.
For stays of up to 30 days, nationals of Commonwealth and EU
countries, Fiji, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, South Korea, Switzerland and the USA do not require
To extend the permits (up to 4 months maximum in any one year),
contact the Immigration Department, PMB 092, Port Vila. Telephone: +678 22 354; fax: 25 492. Your personal year
starts from the date you visited Vanuatu the very first time.
Vanuatu Public Holidays and Festivals
There are many public holidays and festivals in Vanuatu. Some of the more important
and celebrated holidays and festivals in Vanuatu are:
• January 1st – New Year’s Day -
• March 5th – Custom Chiefs’ Day –
• March or April - Easter Day -
• April & May – Land Diving (Naghol in
native language) on Pentecost island
1st – Labour Day
5th – Ascension Day
• June – Fete de la Musique (in Port Vila and on
Santo, Tanna and Malekula islands)
25th – Children’s Day
30th – Independence Day - nationwide
• August 3rd – 8th – Vanuatu Golf Open, held at
Port Vila Golf and Country Club, next door to Worawia
• August 15th – Assumption Day
• October 5th – Constitution Day
• October – Fest Napuan Music Festival – Port
• November 29th – Unity Day –
• December 25th – Christmas Day -
• December 26th – Family Day -
Traveling to Vanuatu might be easier than you think. The internet
allows potential tourists to easily book trips and reserve hotels in any of these islands. Once you find a deal in
your price range, there’s nothing stopping you from visiting this breathtaking region of the world.
Experience the adventure of scuba diving, or the excitement of being
within close proximity to natural beauty by embarking on a volcano tour. And for those who just want to relax,
there is always the beach with its many quaint nearby eateries. Vanuatu is also a great place to hold a wedding. You can even play golf if you
feel so inclined.