Vanuatu travel tips

Some of the things you might need to know for your Vanuatu holiday.


  • Sit near the front of the plane if you can for a quick departure.
  • When you arrive don't stop to take pics (like the one at the top of this page) - get a move on to customs as quick as you can. Otherwise, you could be stuck there for an hour or more and it gets hot.
  • Have some cold water for you and the kids on hand if you do get stuck.
  • The last chance to buy duty free is just beyond customs - before you go through immigration. It's mainly alcohol and the prices are good. Remember anything you buy duty free beyond this point you can't access until you leave the country.
  • Also, before you pass through immigration there is the first of the money exchanges. The queue will be dependent on how quick you get off the plane and through customs. The prices are good especially compared to the airport in Sydney.
  • If the queue is long, there's another money exchange as soon as you pass through immigration. You'll need some vatu for your holiday and the exchange rates here are very good so well worth queueing.
  • Most resorts offer a pick-up service but if you need a taxi there should be plenty to choose from - expect to pay 1500vt - 2000vt (au$17-26) to town.
  • Always ask the what the fare will be.
  • You can use aussie dollars for cabs but you might pay a bit more.
  • If you can, stop at a supermarket on the way to your accommodation. Water, beer, snacks for the kids are all cheaper than you'll pay at your resort.


  • Downtown Port Vila has very narrow and uneven footpaths with traffic whizzing by, especially on the main streets (Kumul Hwy and the Rue De Paris). Keep a good hold on to the kids.
  • Shops cannot sell alcohol from 12 noon on Saturday, all day Sunday and on public holidays.
  • Check the cruise ship schedules and try to avoid booking any activities when a cruise ship is in. You can check the schedules here.


Getting Around

  • You have a choice of mini buses or taxis. The buses number plate starts with a B and the taxis with a T.
  • Buses are cheaper but you may have to share your ride. Ask the driver how much before you get in. The same with taxis - they are generally not metered (or the meter is never turned on) so check the cost before you depart.
  • For an idea of some of taxi costs its around 1000vt from the airport to town, the same to Mele. For the airport to Le Lagon or Erakor wharf around 1500vt. Le Lagon, Erakor, Nasama to town 1000vt and Le Lagon to Mele 2000vt. These prices are for the taxi ride not per person and these are at the cheaper end of the scale. Settle on a price before you depart.
  • Buses are around 200vt per person from town to the airport or town to Erakor.
  • If you like a driver (and their taxi or bus) get their number and ring them whenever you need a lift. Have a couple of drivers on your phone in case one is not available.


  • The market in town has food stalls where you can select from a choice of fish, steak or chicken and fresh vegetables, rice or salad from only 500vt per plate. You can eat-in or takeaway.
  • Some of the good family friendly restaurants include Beach Bar at Mele beach, Cafe Vila Restaurant & Bar, Waterfront Bar and Grill, Stonegrill Restaurant, Jills Cafe and K2 Cafe.
  • Water in Vanuatu is generally safe to drink, however all resorts stock plenty of bottled water. When travelling to the outer islands stick to bottled water.

Places To Visit

  • Plan your travels around cruise ship days and public holidays (Vanuatu has a lot of public holidays).
  • Hideaway Island beach is completely coral. You need thongs or reef shoes to walk around especially close to the waters edge.
  • Mele Cascades can get very slippery with water rushing over the path (there are chains to hang on to). May be a challenge for younger kids.
  • Mele Cascades has changed ownership recently (not locally owned). It now costs 1500vt to get into the lower section and 3000vt to get to the waterfall. However you can go to Evergreen Tours in town and get a pass for 2500vt that gives you full access. Rarru is a good alternative.
  • If you are travelling to various places in one day it's probably better to book a tour. If you are going to one spot then arrange a taxi or bus and ask the driver to return at a set time. Even better look at hiring a car.
  • Many of the attractions around Efate have some sort of entrance fee. Check before you depart or with your driver and always carry some spare Vatu around.

School Visits
You should be able to arrange a visit to a local school or village through your resort or with a local tour company. Last time we visited Vanuatu (mid 2023) we packed as many school supplies in our luggage as we could fit. Things like pens, pencils, textas, rulers and calculators packed into pencil cases ready to hand out to the kids. We were staying at Erakor Island Resort and the staff there arranged a visit to the local school (Erakor school). The visit was a highlight of our trip and we got to meet and chat with the teachers and kids during their lunch break. They were very happy to receive what we brought.
Check out this link on the Havannah Vanuatu Resort web site: Havanna Pack For A Purpose
It will give you an idea of the type of supplies that the schools need including sports equipment, first aid, shoes, books and much more. So if you have any spare luggage space next time you visit Vanuatu and you would like to help out the local communities then pack for a purpose.

The best way to find out about anything related to Vanuatu is to join a Facebook group. These groups have a collective knowledge about everything in Vanuatu and you just need to ask a question and you'll receive an answer. They will also keep you updated on the latest happenings, incidents and issues, the best places to eat and where to stay.
Some popular groups include:
Eat, drink, play, relax in Vanuatu
Fun things to do in Vanuatu
Vanuatu Tourism

Note that this page is continually expanding. If you have any of your own tips for travel in Vanuatu send us an email at or complete the comments form below.

For more info check out our other Vanuatu blog posts:
Vanuatu Kids Clubs
Vanuatu Travel Tips
Vanuatu Things To Do
Vanuatu Healthy Travel
Mele Cascades
Hideaway Island
Round Island Tour
Erakor Island Resort

And our Vanuatu information pages:
Lastest Package Deals
Travel Guide


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