Vanuatu is an archipelago consisting of 83 islands spread throughout the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn.
Its neighboring countries include New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Fiji.
The Ni-Vanuatu people are peaceful and loving, who enjoy life’s simpler pleasures in a country of unique and diverse customs and culture. As proof, Vanuatu has been dubbed the happiest country in the world two years in a row by a study in the UK. The local people of Vanuatu are of Melanesian decent, though you will find an increasingly diverse expatriate community on each island. The current population stands at 224,000 as of 2011.
Espiritu Santo is the largest of Vanuatu’s islands (4,010 km2) and with some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches, amazing blue holes, caves, world renowned diving and snorkelling; it is a little known paradise waiting to be uncovered. While Santo is a Mecca for dive enthusiasts it also offers breathtaking sightseeing for non-divers. Days can be spent lazing around on vacant white sandy beaches, snorkeling and kayaking in the crystal clear blue water, trekking through untouched rainforest or discovering an ancient and relatively unchanged culture.
Best time to visit
Vanuatu has a warm tropical climate. The best time to visit Vanuatu is during the dry season, from May through to October. The average temperature during this period is 23°C (Celsius). Most popular is during our Tropical Winter season, June, July and August, when it is not as humid.
If you’re after a quieter time to visit, to avoid the crowds then February and March is ideal for you. During this general low season there is bound to be great hotel accommodation deals floating around for you to snatch up a bargain.
Vanuatu’s time is based on AEST plus one hour - AEST is Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane time. During Daylight Savings Time (DST) there is no time difference.
Business hours in Vanuatu
Offices and shops are generally 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. Banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Visitors are not required to be vaccinated, though it is recommended that visitors take Malaria tablets. There are no venomous animals or insects. Urban or tap water in Port Vila and Espiritu Santo is drinkable, but not advised. Rainwater can be provided should you wish to boil your water.
The Hospital in Luganville, is appropriately staffed and equipped to deal with most injuries and illnesses, though for any complications and more severe cases, patients will be Medivac to Port Vila. Prior to traveling to Vanuatu, check with your medical insurer if your expat medicare benefits will apply to Vanuatu. It is highly recommended that you bring a copy of your medical history.
Vanuatu power points
Vanuatu uses Australian/New Zealand type of 3-pin plugs, for 220-230 volts power/electricity supply. A variety of adapters can be provided on request, please ask at the reception desk.
Visas and entry requirements
All visitors must have a confirmed 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 visas.