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Vanuatu travel guide

Vanuatu is that perfect mix of wild, untouched paradise and welcoming South Pacific haven. It’s known for its breathtaking geological features such as the world’s most accessible active volcano, Mt Yasur, and the mesmerising natural blue holes. Vanuatu is also famous for having one of the friendliest populations in the world. Whether you’re island hopping via yacht, staying in a luxury resort or travelling on a budget, Vanuatu has myriad wonders that will steal your heart.If you’re planning a visit, explore our Vanuatu travel guide and find out how to make the most of your time amongst these beautiful islands. We’ve collected the best tips from our travel experts, and have all sorts of suggestions for things to do, the best time to travel, where to stay, getting around and more.
Where to stay
Deciding where to stay in Vanuatu is all about the experience you’re keen to enjoy. Most islands offer at least basic accommodation like village stays and family-run bungalows.If you’re seeking high-end resorts and the creature comforts of home, the best areas to stay in Vanuatu are probably Port Vila on Efate, and Luganville on Espiritu Santo. These precincts have long drawn the tourist crowd and offer a polished accommodation product.Head a little farther off the beaten track and you’ll find options like beachside bungalows and bures, along with private luxury islands like Bokissa and...
Things to do
Palm-fringed islands, rainforests, remote villages, and rumbling volcanoes make for a lengthy list of enticing things to do in Vanuatu. It’s the ultimate destination to sightsee, bask on beautiful beaches, and discover ancient traditions. From culture and arts to snorkelling, shopping and dining out, the activities in Vanuatu share the common thread of warm hospitality against a backdrop of sublime beauty.
Travel tips
By and large this pacific paradise is a safe and friendly destination, but there are a few Vanuatu travel tips that every visitor should know. As it’s located on the Pacific Rim of Fire, the region can be subject to extreme weather conditions.Health services can also be limited, especially on the remote islands, and you should take out travel insurance that covers emergency evacuation. Meanwhile vaccination against Hepatitis A and B, along with typhoid fever, is recommended. In general, the Vanuatu travel advice is to exercise common sense and general caution when it comes to personal...
Getting Around
Vanuatu transport is diverse, to say the least. It takes all means of transport to get around this island nation. Most islands feature one or two airstrips, with Air Vanuatu servicing major destinations.There are also ferries and cargo boats to get between some of the islands, but with frequent stops and large distances to cover, this can take a while. If you’re sticking to the major islands then mini-bus or taxi is the best way of getting around Vanuatu, and you can also hire your own car on Efate and Espiritu Santo.
Where to eat
Vanuatu food and drink is an integral element of the culture and island way of life. Using plentiful, locally grown fare, traditional cuisine features ingredients like root vegetables, banana and coconuts, and a bounty of freshly caught fish. Local dishes are readily available at markets and in villages, and a must-try is the national dish, laplap. This unique dish is made of breadfruit, taro or yam pound into a dough and baked in an underground oven with coconut cream, meat and spinach leaves. If you’re feeling daring, you can also sample the customary drink kava. Meanwhile, mainstream...
Shopping
Vanuatu shopping is an opportunity to discover authentic and handmade wares. This isn’t a destination renowned for its boutiques or flashy shopping strips, although resorts are starting to embrace the retail trend. The best place to enjoy shopping is at local arts and crafts markets, but the centre of Port Vila also offers all the necessities you may seek including duty-free items, and supermarkets along with more boutique handicraft stores. If you’re looking to buy fresh fruit or sample the local produce, the main market by the waterfront in Port Vila is a must-visit destination.
Best time to travel
Renowned for its clear skies and beach-loving lifestyle, the weather in Vanuatu is warm all year round. It’s characterised by the drier, temperate months of April to November, and the hot, wet, and humid months of December to March.As the temperature rarely drops below the mid-20s even in the coldest months of the year, Vanuatu is a popular destination in winter and spring for those seeking a sunny island escape.Crowd numbers can swell as a result, with the Australian school holidays considered peak periods. If possible, the best time to travel to Vanuatu is outside these holiday times.
Beaches
Vanuatu beaches are famous the world over, captured in endless postcards of palm-fringed white beaches and crystal-clear seas. These idyllic beachfronts are easy to find no matter where you venture, but some are more well-known than others. Espiritu Santo is perhaps home to the most spectacular beaches, but truth be told it’s hard to pick the best of a highly renowned bunch. Efate and almost every island have their fair share of stunning surrounds.If you’re looking to “escape” the crisp white sands, volcanic islands like Tanna offer a striking variation with almost-black shorelines –...