vanuatu travel guide

Vanuatu Travel Guide (2024) – Everything You Need To Know

Vanuatu – a pacific island paradise! The archipelago of Vanuatu is made up of 83 islands. Travellers come here seeking gorgeous landscapes, fantastic diving & snorkelling, rainforests, volcanoes, lagoons, stunning beaches and warm hospitality.

Our Vanuatu travel guide will cover everything you need to know about this lush island nation.

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vanuatu travel guide

Table of Contents

How to get around in Vanuatu

Vanuatu has many islands on which you can stay, and our Vanuatu travel guide includes all options for transport.

The main island, Efate, has small local minivans that pick up and drop off around the island. Look for a ‘B’ fixed on the number plate and flag the driver down on the side of the road.

Tell him where you’re going and ask if he’s going that way. One of the quirks of this transport system is that there is no set bus route. The drop-off points are usually in the order of the people who got on, going directly to each person’s destination.

These trips cost 150vt (USD 1.30) per person. It’s best to have a small change to pay the driver.

Transport options from Port Vila airport to your accommodation

This Vanuatu Travel Guide will also help you with getting from the airport:

Once you arrive at the airport in Port Vila, there are two ways to do this:

Take a private taxi – Exit the arrivals hall and find a taxi driver just outside. The standard rate quoted from the airport to your accommodation on the main island is 3500vt (USD 30). You may be able to talk your way into a better price, but that all depends on how good your negotiating skills are.

You can book a private transfer here if you’d like to arrange a transfer before your arrival.

Take local transport – This is precisely what we did and it’s very easy and much more affordable. Exit the arrivals hall at the airport and wait just outside for one of the small local minivans with a ‘B’ on its number plate.

Flag the driver down when he comes past and tell him the address/road you’re going to. It’s worth just double-checking the price with him. Depending on your accommodation’s distance, he may charge you more than the standard 150vt. 

Our accommodation at the beautiful Nasama Resort  was about 4km past the centre of Port Vila, located on Pango Road. We paid our driver 200vt each from the airport to our accommodation; he was happy. We were dropped off directly before our resort; it was super easy.

The local minivans are very frequent on the main island of Efate, so it doesn’t take much effort to get around using public transport.

Car hire Options – Vanuatu Travel Guide

Yes, you can also hire a car on the main island. Discover Cars offers the cheapest prices. As a rough guide, prices start from around USD 70 per day.

The island is relatively easy to drive around – but mind the potholes!

Driving is on the right-hand side of the road in Vanuatu. Renting a car can save you time exploring different beaches and reaching the islands’ highlights.

Vanuatu Travel Guide: Where to stay in Vanuatu?

Efate (main island) – There are many options for accommodation in Efate. Most travellers will book a resort with access to the beach and facilities such as a pool and restaurants and base themselves there.

We booked a beach-view studio apartment at Nasama Resort for our stay in Vanuatu, and it was perfect.

Vanuatu travel guide - Where to stay in Vanuatu

A great feature of the apartment is that it was entirely self-contained, so we had our kitchen to cook meals. It was nice to cook breakfast and enjoy it with a coffee on our patio overlooking the beach each morning.

Alternatively, there is an on-site restaurant at the resort for those who don’t wish to cater for themselves.

Cafe Vila offers a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu in a very comfortable setting.

Vanuatu travel guide nasama resort

Our studio also included a flatscreen TV with A/C and a ceiling fan.

The location of our apartment was literally on the doorstep of a beautiful little beach with turquoise blue waters and an infinity pool, too. 

Vanuatu travel guide kitchen Nasama resort Vanuatu

We want to return to Nasama Resort on our next visit to Vanuatu – we didn’t want to leave! 

CLICK HERE to check prices and availability for Nasama Resort . Let’s get back to our Vanuatu Travel Guide. is an easy-to-use search engine. It offers the best selection of accommodation available all over the world. We find they offer the lowest prices and no fees. Our Tip: Search by price, and filter by best reviews.

Budget accommodation in Port Vila

If you’re looking for budget yet decent accommodation in the centre of Port Vila, I’d recommend Room with a View . Check out the  Moorings Hotel  if you’ve got a little more in the budget; rooms from USD 80 per night.

RELATED POST:  How to Visit Every Country in the Pacific – The Ultimate Guide

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Where to Eat in our Vanuatu Travel Guide?

Aside from the delicious and affordable market food, there are a few great places to eat in Port Vila – I’ve mentioned them below:

L’Houstelet – a French restaurant that has been open for over 45 years. If you’re looking for some well-cooked French-style cuisine, don’t look further than this restaurant, located directly across from the main supermarket in the centre of Port Vila. We enjoyed a delicious beef fillet with pepper sauce here, which is highly recommended.

Cafe Vila – This restaurant is part of the Nasama Resort ; however, everybody is welcome to dine here and enjoy their fresh menu. The fresh fish here is delicious. It’s less than a 10-minute drive from town; take a local minivan for 150 vt per person.

Chill Restaurant and Bar –  Great views and fantastic food at this restaurant in the centre of Port Vila. It’s a little pricey but a memorable dining experience.

Central Markets

Don’t miss out on eating some of the best food on the island. Our Vanuatu Travel Guide would be incomplete if we didn’t talk about the cuisine. Located at the rear of the fresh central markets, you can find ‘mamas’ cooking home-cooked dishes.

Several different stalls are set up here, and you can choose who to dine with. Just sit at the comfortable tables – there are menus and prices. 

I ate a coconut fish curry, served with rice and tropical salad – the price was 500vt ($4.25).

It was delicious and a very generous portion. I’d highly recommend eating here for lunch during your stay. 

where to eat in vanuatu

You’ll also see ladies selling ‘ready meals’ in the markets for takeaway. The food is home-cooked and wholesome.

Different options were chicken with vegetables (sweet potatoes, yams and green water spinach), dried fish, and the national dish in Vanuatu, laplap. 

where to eat in vanuatu

Try the local food! – The Best Recommendation in our Vanuatu Travel Guide

Laplap is prepared by grating breadfruit, bananas and taro and making a vegetable paste. Coconut cream is added, and meat such as chicken, beef or pork is added.

It is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an underground oven. We purchased some chicken laplap from the markets to eat for lunch, later on, the price was 200vt.

The dish tastes like mashed vegetables and bananas with coconut cream added. It was tasty, yet a little bland. The serving size was huge, and we struggled to eat the entire meal.

RELATED POST – 7 Tips – How to find the best food when travelling

Vanuatu travel guide laplap vanuatu

We love self-catering when we travel

Eating out for every meal can be costly, so if you choose to book an apartment as we did, having access to a full kitchen is priceless. We cooked quite a few meals during our stay here.

Our portable coffee machine was our saviour! It’s hard to find a good coffee on the island, and if you do, you’ll be paying at least $5 for one. We always travel with our espresso machine and a bag of freshly ground coffee.

Things to do in Vanuatu

Vanuatu has some of the world’s best beaches and diving/snorkelling. Most guesthouses and hotels can organise daily excursions. However, I’d recommend saving yourself a lot of money and booking activities online.

Viator is one of our favourite sites for booking food tours, day tours, and attraction tickets. It’s so easy to just browse the tours on Viator , pay online, and immediately receive your tour voucher.

Vanuatu Travel Guide – The cost

How much does stuff cost from the supermarket?

**Index of prices** Price shown in VUV/USD

  • 1.5L bottle of water 150vt / $1.30
  • Small NZ butter 220vt / $1.85
  • Canned tomatoes 160vt / $1.35
  • Baguette 60vt / $0.50
  • eggs (each) 40vt / 0.33c
  • 1 x small bottle Tusker beer 225vt / $1.90
  • Tinned tuna 100vt / $0.85c
  • 2min noodles 50vt / $0.42c
  • UHT milk 1L 150vt / $1.30
  • Bag spaghetti 500g from 150vt /   $1.30
  • Bottle of wine 870vt / $7.40

Cost of fresh produce from the fresh markets

  • Bunch of 12 small bananas 200vt / $1.70
  • Small punnet of baby tomatoes 200vt / $1.70
  • Pineapple 100-250vt / $0.84c – $2.10
  • Eggplant (x3) 200vt / $1.70
  • Avocado from 60-200vt / $1.70
  • Potatoes/sweet potatoes (sml bag) 200vt / $1.70

We picked up a few groceries at Au Bon Marche, a larger supermarket that is located next to the fresh central markets in Port Vila. It’s convenient to visit both at the same time.

After shopping for food, we caught a local bus to our resort from the front of the markets for 150vt per person. 

Popular Activities & Day Trips in Vanuatu

Vanuatu travel guide for the best beaches.

What would our Vanuatu travel guide be without telling you about the best beaches to visit while you’re here?

vanuatu travel guide

Eton Beach – This is arguably the nicest beach on the main island of Efate. Expect white sand, palm trees and turquoise blue waters – just like you’ve seen in those travel magazines. The nearby reef cradles a natural pool where you can relax and watch small tropical fish swim around you.

Paradise Cove Beach – This beach is conveniently located near Port Vila. Bring your snorkel and enjoy fantastic swimming and snorkelling while you’re here. This is a beautiful beach in a lush setting.

Hideaway Beach – A popular place to come and enjoy a lazy day of swimming, snorkelling and relaxing. Unfortunately, we noticed that the coral reef has suffered heavily due to the number of visitors trampling over it. Yet, it was still teeming with beautiful tropical fish and underwater life. There is a beach restaurant where you can enjoy lunch or a cold beer. You can also hire snorkelling gear at reception for a fee.

Hideaway Island is also home to the world’s only underwater post office, so kids (and adults) can get a kick out of swimming underwater to send that postcard from paradise!

Note: You must pay an entrance fee of 1250vt or AUD 17 for adults.

Champagne Beach – A famous beach located on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu. The beach is renowned for its shimmering crystal-clear waters and powdery white sands. See the bubbly water rising in the lagoon, caused by volcanic gas forcing the water to fizz through the rocks at low tide. This island receives many visitors on cruise boats from Australia.

Bokissa beach – Powder white sands, turquoise water and swaying palm trees. To the south of Espiritu Santo, Bokissa Island is an ideal place to escape and relax in paradise. Perfect for swimming, snorkelling and enjoying the warm tropical breezes of Vanuatu.

Other islands in Vanuatu worth visiting

Tanna Island is one of the most popular islands to visit in Vanuatu.

The biggest drawcard for visitors is to visit Mt Yasur Volcano. You can reserve simple accommodation in bungalows or a treehouse for incredible views of the volcano.

Vanuatu Travel Guide - Mt Yasur volcano

Accommodation options in Tanna:

  • Castle Tree House & Bungalows –  Set in White Sands, Castle Tree House And Bungalow provides a garden. Featuring a shared kitchen, this property also welcomes guests with a restaurant, a water park and a terrace.
  • Friendly Beach – Friendly Beach offers luxurious beachfront accommodation in a remote location. Each beachfront has a large terrace with a hammock and lounge seat, providing views across the Pacific Ocean.
  • Rocky Ridge Bungalows – Set in Tanna Island, Rocky Ridge Bungalows offers accommodation with a balcony. This is an affordable accommodation for those travellers on a budget.

There are daily flights to Tanna with Air Vanuatu. Check availability, and the cheapest flights can be found on Skyscanner .

Espiritu Santo Island is famous for its fantastic beaches, range of basic or luxury accommodations, hiking, relaxing and scuba diving and snorkelling.

Accommodation options in Espiritu Santo:

Santo Seaside Villas – A great option with breakfast included in the rate. Clean and comfortable rooms and the staff are super friendly.

Beachfront Resort – A great mid-range option. Guests can enjoy a swimming pool, a restaurant and a bar on this property. Free Wi-Fi and continental breakfast.

Turtle Bay Lodge – This is a beautiful property with excellent reviews, including breakfast and a waterfront location. If you’ve got the budget to stay here, with prices starting at around $100 per night, then book it!

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Things to remember about travel in Vanuatu

  • To visit many island beaches, hot springs, blue holes and caves, you’ll have to pay the landowners (in the form of entrance fees), so ensure you have some local currency or AUD.
  • Bring your snorkelling gear to save on hire fees.
  • Tap water is OK to drink
  • English and French are widely spoken here.
  • Use local (shared) transport and boats to get around to keep costs down.

Make sure you get Travel Insurance before hitting the road. We recommend Heymondo & SafetyWing Travel Insurance.

Click here and get 5% off Heymondo from us!

And that’s our Vanuatu Travel Guide. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments. 

Love to eat when you travel? After reading our Vanuatu travel guide, check out our post about   5 Foods you cannot miss in Vanuatu .

For more stories from our crazy adventure to visit every country in the world , read more about the time we got  stranded in the Pacific – cancelled flights, lost luggage, and coronavirus.

Travelling this way, too? Have you decided on the question regarding Suitcase vs Backpack – Which should you choose?  

Don’t miss our Ultimate Packing List for Travellers !

Want to visit a gorgeous island destination that isn’t so well known? Check out our page dedicated to the tiny nation of Palau .

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👫 Group Tours :  G Adventures OR compare multi-day tours worldwide with Tourradar .

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✅ Check out our Travel Gear  and  Travel Resources for more valuable tips to save you money!

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Magma erupting from Mt Yasur

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Vanuatu is a Pacific island adventure far beyond any notions of cruise-ship ports and flashy resorts. Deserted beaches, ancient culture, remote and rugged islands and world-class diving are just a small part of the magnetism of this scattered 80-plus island archipelago.


Must-see attractions.

Mele Cascades Waterfall Port Vila Vanuatu

Mele Cascades

This popular and photogenic swimming spot is 10km from Port Vila. A series of clear aquamarine pools terrace up the hillside, culminating in an impressive…

Millennium Cave

Millennium Cave

Trek and trudge through the jungle, across creeks, along bamboo bridges and through cascades to this massive cave, 20m wide and 50m high, about 15km from…

National Museum of Vanuatu

National Museum of Vanuatu

This excellent museum, in a soaring traditional building opposite the parliament, has a well-displayed collection of traditional artefacts such as tamtam …

Port Olry

Espiritu Santo

At the end of the sealed road you come to Port Olry, a small francophone fishing village with a stunning curve of white-sand beach and eye-watering…

Explosion of lava inside Yasur volcano's crater

Peering down into the rumbling, exploding lava storm of Mt Yasur is a sight you won't soon forget. The active volcano is so accessible that 4WD vehicles…

Mt Benbow & Mt Marum

Mt Benbow & Mt Marum

The guided climb up these twin volcanoes is reasonably demanding and the view is often obscured by low cloud and volcanic smoke and ash. But on a clear…

Scuba diver underwater at Million Dollar Point, Vanuatu

Million Dollar Point

Million Dollar Point, where hundreds of tonnes of US military equipment was dumped, now shows its coral-encrusted machinery to snorkellers and divers. At…

Bungalows on Iririki Island and yachts on Mele Bay from Port Vila.

Iririki Island

Iririki is the green, bungalow-laden island right across from Port Vila’s waterfront; it was closed following Cyclone Pam in 2015 but is expected to…

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vanuatu travel guide

Oct 24, 2019 • 4 min read

As home to the world's most accessible live volcano, the tiny island of Tanna in Vanuatu's south is the ideal place to plan an adventure.

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500px Photo ID: 125204697 - View across resort pool to harbour, Iririki Island Resort, Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Anja On Adventure

Vanuatu itinerary: How to Spend 12 Days in Vanuatu

This Vanuatu itinerary is perfect if you are backpacking Vanuatu. It will help with Vanuatu travel planning, give you ideas on what to see in Vanuatu, how to get around Vanuatu, Vanuatu travel tips, and Vanuatu hotels.

Looking for Vanuatu itinerary ideas ? What to do in Vanuatu? Where to stay in Tanna? What to see in Espiritu Santo? How long to spend in Vanuatu to see all the major sites? I was backpacking Vanuatu in April, during the time, known as the land diving ritual. And spending 12 days in this South Pacific Island is just the perfect amount of time to get the taste of the Happiest Place in the World . Find out how in my Vanuatu itinerary below.

🇻🇺 If you have been wondering “What is Anja’s favorite part of Vanuatu?”, you will find the answer hidden in the blog.

Vanuatu itinerary

In a bit more than 1 week in Vanuatu, you will see all the major sites . From Efate to Tanna, to Pentecost and Espiritu Santo. From Yakel Kastom tribe to land diving ritual . Inside this Vanuatu travel guide , you will find a perfect blend of culture and nature, sleep in tree houses, try tons of delicious food, hike an active volcano , dive among the shipwrecks, and see where bungee jumping comes from. All of it in less than 2 weeks in Vanuatu itinerary . From perfect Champagne beach and blue holes to volcanic landscapes under Mount Yasur. This is the Vanuatu itinerary , I used when celebrating my birthday in Vanuatu. This perfect Vanuatu itinerary will detail how to spend twelve days in Vanuatu , to make your trip memorable, cross off some bucket list items, and be full of exciting stories to tell.


  • Plan to spend at least a week in Vanuatu, but if time permits, reserve 10 days in Vanuatu to have enough time to include different islands in your Vanuatu itinerary.
  • Visit and feel the difference between islands Efate – more developed, touristic, and ‘Western’, Tanna – adventurous and cultural, Espiritu Santo – laid back, beach and tropical vibes.
  • Include must-do things; such as visiting the market in Port Vila, Mount Yasur volcano hike and kastom village visit on Tanna, swimming in Blue Holes, and snorkeling on Million Dollar Point on Santo.
  • Indulge in delicious food, a mixture of local produce and French cuisine.
  • If traveling to Vanuatu between April and June, don’t miss the opportunity to go on a Nagol or Land diving tour on Pentecost Island and witness the centuries-old tradition that inspired modern bungee jumping.

for ITINERARY idea: • Vanuatu itinerary: How to Spend 12 Days in Vanuatu for Vanuatu TRAVEL TIPS: • Vanuatu Cost of Travel and Detailed Budget Breakdown • Ultimate traveler safety guide: What to do during an earthquake • Epic Nagol Land Diving Pentecost Island Tour: Vanuatu Bungee Jumping for ACCOMMODATION suggestions: • for CAPTION IDEAS: • 111 Beautiful Vanuatu Captions For Instagram

for HALF DAY in … ITINERARY ideas: • Grand Canyon in half day: How to spend half day at Grand Canyon South Rim for 1 DAY or 24h in … ITINERARY ideas: • Best One Day in Amman Itinerary: How To Spend 24h in Amman • How to get from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon by car – One day road trip itinerary for multiple days ITINERARY ideas: • Dubai itinerary: How to spend 5 days in Dubai • Vanuatu itinerary: How to Spend 12 Days in Vanuatu • Zanzibar itinerary: How to spend 12 days in Zanzibar • Japan itinerary: How to spend 17 days in Japan

Table of Contents

Disclosure: This twelve days Vanuatu itinerary article may contain affiliate links. If you click it and buy something you like, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! Read more in  Disclaimer .

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vanuatu travel guide

1. Breakdown of 12-day Vanuatu travel itinerary

This is a semi-relaxed itinerary for Vanuatu . If you are the type of person who only enjoys spending time by the pool or on a beach, then this is not for you. The Vanuatu itinerary below offers active days and a steady pace to explore different Vanuatu islands . It is the original itinerary for Vanuatu that I was supposed to follow. Due to some tour rescheduling and flight cancellations, my Vanuatu itinerary was modified accordingly. The itinerary offers a combination of sightseeing days , day trips , and days to relax . There are days when you can add more activities or swap sightseeing days on the same island. Following this Vanuatu blog, you will get enough time to learn about Vanuatu’s history , experience its culture, swim on different beaches, climb a volcano, and enjoy delicious food.

women at melanesian kastom tribe on Tanna island that I visited on my Vanuatu itinerary

How many days do you need in Vanuatu? For your first visit to Vanuatu , I would recommend doing a similar route as described below. And you can even do the suggested itinerary if you are only spending 10 days in Vanuatu . You will see all the major Vanuatu bucket list items. But for the adventurers, you can add some more islands, like Ambrym, to your Vanuatu trip.  I would recommend starting your itinerary on Efate Island and staying somewhere close to Port Vila (4 nights). If visiting between April and June, go on a day tour to Pentecost Island on one of those days. Then fly to Tanna Island (3 nights) and your last stop will be Espiritu Santo Island (4 nights). Fly out from Santo directly or via Efate.

SHORT VANUATU ITINERARY OVERVIEW: Day 1: Arrival in Vanuatu and transfer to Port Vila Day 2: Port Villa, Mele Cascades, and underwater Post office Day 3: Day tour to Pentecost Island Day 4: Tour around Efate island Day 5: Fly to Tanna and transfer to Yasur volcano Day 6: Kastom village Day 7: Mount Yasur volcano tour Day 8: Fly to Espiritu Santo and transfer to Luganville Day 9: Luganville and Millenium cave Day 10: Million dollar point and Blue holes Day 11: Port Orly and Champagne Beach Day 12: Espiritu Santo and departure

Here is how Vanuatu itinerary island hopping looks on a map!

Island hopping on Vanuatu itinerary

2. Be st time to visit Vanuatu

The Vanuatu archipelago (formerly called the New Hebrides ) consists of more than 80 islands forming an irregular Y shape on the Pacific Ring of Fire . They are in a similar latitude as Fiji, and thanks to the tropical climate, the weather is generally good to visit Vanuatu all year round . There are two distinctive seasons in Vanuatu, dry season and wet season. Choosing when to visit Vanuatu will depend on a personal preference, but prices and the number of tourists will be higher during the Australian school holidays. Below are some general factors you should consider when planning your Vanuatu itinerary.

best time to visit vanuatu

The best time to visit Vanuatu is during the dry season between April and October. In these months the weather is warm and sunny, with minimal rainfall and less humidity. Months from April to June are shoulder season months that offer a perfect balance of good weather and fewer crowds. This period is ideal for outdoor activities, water adventures, and are great for anyone wanting to experience the Nagol Land Diving Ritual . I visited Vanuatu in April.

July to September have a bit cooler temperatures and are great for anyone who wants to spend their Vanuatu holiday exploring the underwater worlds with diving or snorkeling . This is a peak tourist season , with higher prices and more crowds as it coincides with the Australian school holidays. In October the temperatures start to rise but the month still offers good weather for outdoor activities. October marks the end of the dry season and sees fewer crowds. November to March is “wet season”. This also happens to be the cyclone season in Vanuatu , although cyclones can happen at any time. December to February are the quietest months with fewer tourists, while there might be more crowds during Christmas and New Year . Months from January to March are the wettest period with increased humidity and more frequent rain and cyclones.

Pin those for a later read!

vanuatu travel guide

3. How to get to Vanuatu

There are two ways on how to get to Vanuatu islands, by plane or by cruise ship .

  • HOW TO GET TO VANUATU FROM AUSTRALIA The easiest way is to get to Vanuatu from Australia and the Pacific region . Vanuatu National Airline, Air Vanuatu , offers direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Brisbane. They fly to Port Villa on Efate Island and Luganville on Espiritu Santo. Check I want that flight since they usually have great packages to Vanuatu from Sydney. I flew to Bauerfield International Airport (VLI) in Port Vila from Brisbane Airport and then boarded another Air Vanuatu flight to Nadi in Fiji. You can also visit Vanuatu by going on a cruise or renting a yacht . A lot of cruise lines go to Vanuatu, from P&O, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises to Royal Caribbean Cruises, MCS Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line. When booking a cruise to Vanuatu , make sure you dock in Port Villa and preferably on Espiritu Santo Island. To visit the famous Champagne beach.
  • HOW TO GET TO VANUATU FROM USA The best way to travel to Vanuatu from the USA is by air by major international airlines , such as Air New Zealand, Qantas, and Fiji Airways, with layovers in cities like Auckland, Sydney , or Nadi .
  • HOW TO GET TO VANUATU FROM EUROPE The most optimal way to travel to Vanuatu from Europe is via Australia or New Zealand , with major airlines like Qantas, or Qatar. There are also some routes available to fly via Asia, like Singapore or Hong Kong, and then to Fiji and Vanuatu.

Port vila Market that I visited during my Vanuatu itinerary

4. How to save money when planning a Vanuatu itinerary

Do you want to travel more and spend less ? I have created a list of Vanuatu travel resources for you. This is a collection of the best travel resources when it comes to transportation, accommodation, travel insurance, and more.

All of these are products that I personally use and recommend to others. Choosing the best travel resources from the beginning will save you time and money . Trust me, by using these travel resources, you will be able to travel further than you ever imagined.

vanuatu travel guide

5. Things to know before visiting Vanuatu

  • VANUATU VISA For visiting islands in the Vanuatu archipelago, you will need a tourist visa . For most countries, you can get a visa on arrival , with some exceptions. Find if you hold a passport of the country that gets Vanuatu tourist visa on arrival, or if you are the one that needs to apply for a visitors visa. Learn more about Vanuatu visa on official Vanuatu website.
  • SAFETY: Cyclones, Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanoes Cyclone season in Vanuatu is from November to April. If there is a cyclone alert while there, follow the National Disaster Management Office and Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-Hazards Department advice. Vanuatu lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire so earthquakes occur regularly. Read the traveler safety guide on staying safe during an earthquake . Tsunamis often happens, after an earthquake. There is a tsunami warning system in Port Villa and Santo. In the event of warning sirens, leave everything behind, move to higher ground, and follow the local authorities’ advice. There are several active volcanoes in Vanuatu , and you will probably visit one of them, Mt. Yasur volcano on Tanna Island. Follow the advice of the local guide when visiting them and check the latest volcanic activity advice on Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-Hazards Department website. 

vanuatu travel guide

  • VACCINATIONS There are no obligatory vaccinations for Vanuatu. There are recommended ones from the World Health Organisation (WHO) but consult your doctor before your visit. Recommended vaccines are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza. Have a look at the recommended Vanuatu vaccines here.
  • MALARIA, DENGUE and ZIKA Malaria, Dengue, and Zika all occur in Vanuatu. Malaria is more common in the northern regions , but the risk is present on all islands. Including the main island Efate and the capital Port Vila. High-risk months for malaria are from November to April, which are also the wettest months. Consult with your doctor about taking anti-malaria medication if you’re traveling to affected areas. Dengue and Zika virus can occur anywhere in Vanuatu . Peak transmission months are in the rainy season, from November to April. To prevent mosquito bites , use mosquito bite prevention measures: – ensure your accommodation has mosquito nets; – use an insect repellent with 20%-30% DEET or 20% Picaridin; – wear neutral-coloured (beige, light grey) clothing and long sleeves at dusk and at night; – apply sunscreen first followed by the repellent (preferably 20 minutes later).
  • MONEY Vanuatu’s currency is the Vanuatu Vatu (VUV or V) . In Port Vila and some resorts, you can use credit cards but with a 5% surcharge. When withdrawing money from the ATM, take out as much as possible to ‘lower’ the withdrawal charges. If visiting other islands and going outside Port Vila, always bring enough cash with you. There are no ATMs on Tanna Island, some on Espiritu Santo, and more on Efate Island. There is no bargaining at markets and tipping is not necessary. Tourist attractions are located on privately owned lands (like in Fiji and Samoa) and you will need to pay an entrance fee to visit them. If you are flying between the islands, a 200 VUV departure tax must be paid in cash at the airport before boarding your domestic flight .

vanuatu travel guide

  • TRAVEL INSURANCE Make sure to purchase travel insurance before your travel. Medical facilities are limited on the outer islands. If you get injured while hiking the volcano, or get ill because of the mosquito bite, chances are high you will need to get evacuated. Without travel insurance, this can be REALLY expensive. Buy one from your home country provider or find the best option with Safety Wing . In case you forgot, with Safety Wing you can get one when already abroad!
  • SAFETY TIPS Is Vanuatu safe? Vanuatu is safe , even for solo female travelers , but it still doesn’t hurt to use common sense. Don’t flash your valuables. Don’t walk alone after dark.
  • DRESS CODE Majority of the population is Christian . You should dress modestly, and wear clothes that cover shoulders and knees. Wearing a bikini on a beach is perfectly fine. Wear breathable, light clothing at dusk and down because of the mosquitos.

vanuatu travel guide

6. Twelve days in Vanuatu itinerary

Day 1: arrival to vanuatu and transfer to port vila.

Arrive in Vanuatu. Start your Vanuatu itinerary by flying into Vanuatu. You will most probably land at the Bauerfield International Airport on Efate Island. The airport is close to the capital Port Vila and easily accessible by public transport. After clearing any formalities, take a moment to exchange some currency to Vanuatu Vatu or withdraw cash from the ATMs available. Just a small amount to have it ready for the bus or taxi. You can exchange the rest of it in a bank in Port Vila.

PRO TIP If you plan to visit the outer islands and areas outside the main city, always carry some local currency on hand. They might not have ATMs or won’t accept Credit Cards.

My flight from Brisbane , Australia, to Port Vila, Vanuatu, should have arrived around 9 pm but it was delayed. Luckily I booked a private driver to pick me up before I landed. To be safe and stress-free which turned out to be an amazing decision. Later on, I found out that one of the Vanuatu leaders passed away and was transported back to the country on the same plane I was on. So there were no taxi drivers, busses or other transport options at the airport. Because of the repatriation ceremony, the usual 15-20 minute ride from the airport to Port Vila , took us a little bit more than an hour. Technically this should not even count as a day in Vanuatu itinerary. But if your plane arrives early, you will have more time to explore Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila.

Where to stay in Port Vila, Efate Island: The place where I stayed (Raynold’s Board and Lodge), close to Vanuatu National Museum, stopped renting rooms. Instead, look at some other accommodation options in Port Vila. • South Pacific Memories has cute bungalows, breakfast included in the price, free bikes and private parking; • In Breakas Beach Resort you can swim in their infinity pool or on a private beach, indulge in great food, and stay only 5 min drive away from Port Vila; • By booking Ramada Resort by Wyndham Port Vila you will sleep in a beachfront resort with a private beach and outdoor swimming pool.

WANT MORE OPTIONS? Visit this page to see all available Port Vila accommodations to book online.

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vanuatu travel guide

DAY 2: Port Villa, Mele Cascades, and underwater Post office on Hideaway Island

Start your first official day in Vanuatu exploring the capital Port Vila and its surroundings. I started my morning nowhere else than at the Port Vila Central Market . This is the largest market in Vanuatu, selling fresh fruits, vegetables, snacks, and traditional handicrafts. The market is open every day . All day during weekdays and in the morning on Sundays. If your accommodation is not serving breakfast, this is a great place to fill up your stomach . I do not exaggerate telling you that I saw papayas bigger than my hand and had the most delicious avocados for breakfast. I love markets because they are a perfect place to engage with friendly locals, sample fresh tropical fruits, and get a boost of dopamine from scents, smells, and sounds.

vanuatu travel guide

After the market catch a transport from Port Vila to Mele Cascades . The cost of the ride is acceptable VT300 (4 AUD/2,3 EUR), for a 10 km ride. But the entrance fee to the evergreen Cascades Waterfall is a tourist rip-off . I’m more than happy to support local communities but VT2000 (25 AUD/15 EUR) is a bit too much.

I was really excited to see the 35-meter Evergreen Cascades Waterfall . I mean, I came all the way there to see it. But locals at my guesthouse were saying the price was too high, and not worth it. And I heard the same from tourists coming out from the Mele Cascades.  So, I had the full intent to go inside and was there, but didn’t go inside . It just didn’t feel right plus I didn’t have water shoes, and the place was crowded. Since there were people on organized tours to the Mele Cascades . I’m not regretting it since we have plenty of waterfalls in Slovenia.

vanuatu travel guide

After your Mele Cascades adventure, head to Hideaway Island . Visiting Hideaway Island is one of the top things to do in Vanuatu. Close to the shore of the island, you will find the only underwater post office in the world . The entrance fee is VT1500 (18 AUD/11,5 EUR) and you can send a postcard from it for VT400 (5 AUD/3 EUR). Since I didn’t visit the Mele Cascades, I returned to Port Vila just in time to visit the Vanuatu National Museum. There is a VT1000 (13 AUD/8 EUR) entrance fee for an educational visit where you learn all about traditional Vanuatu sand drawings and instruments. After your sightseeing day, have dinner in one of the resorts on the beachfront, or go to Iririki Island. I had a homecooked dinner at the guesthouse , where the lady prepared a traditional Vanuatu dinner with pork, yam, and taro. It was delicious.

ALSO READ: • Vanuatu Cost of Travel and Detailed Budget Breakdown

DAY 3: Nagol land diving Pentecost Island tour

If you want to experience something adventurous, historical, jaw-dropping, and traditional, go on Nagol Land diving tour . I can GUARANTEE you, you will not regret it! Seeing Nagol (Nahgol, N’gol, Nangol, Nanggol) or land diving ritual was one of my bucket list activities and the main reason why I came to Vanuatu. The day tour to Pentecost was supposed to be later on in my Vanuatu itinerary. But the weather did its thing. At first tour was canceled and later I got a spot to do it a few days earlier. 

DON’T FORGET Pentecost Island day tours run from Port Vila . If this is also on your travel bucket list, be flexible with the rest of your Vanuatu itinerary.

I went to Pentecost with Air Taxi Vanuatu . The tour lasts for 8 hours and it starts with a pick-up from your Port Vila hotel. From Port Vila airport, you fly in a small aircraft 200 km north to Pentecost Island. They run on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from April to June . On Pentecost, the transfer is waiting to take you to one of the villages on the south of the island. There you are free to walk in the village. The highlight of the tour is seeing young men jumping off the wooden tower with only lianas attached to their ankles, as part of the Naghol or Land diving ritual. Before you return to Port Vila on a scenic flight, you are served lunch in a village. Tour is not the cheapest, VT53,000 (640 AUD/390 EUR) but it is worth every Dollar, Euro or Vanuatu vatu. An unforgettable lifetime experience and one of the best things to do in Vanuatu. If you will still have the energy to explore, go to Iririki Island , just off the coast of Port Vila. There are nice beaches to swim or just relax under the palm trees. I was having dinner with other tourists from the Pentecost Island tour. You can read my Nagol Land diving tour review here or have a look what it was like .

DAY 4: Tour around Efate Island

Another day on the main island of Vanuatu. If you are traveling to Vanuatu with a group or as a couple, you might consider renting a car . I didn’t want to spend another day in Port Vila or rent a car on my own, so I joined an Island tour with BBQ lunch . We visited the Blue Lagoon and Eden on the River , the cultural village and the Turtle sanctuary. There were 4 people on the tour so it didn’t feel too crowded for my taste. Guide was speaking English and French. Tour starts in Port Vila and from there you visit a cultural village . There you learn about the history, life, and customs of Ni-Van people . Stories about cannibalism, how they use spider webbing for fishing, hunting, knowing which fish are poisonous and more.

making fire with a wooden sticks

Then we went to the Blue Lagoon where we had time to swim in crystal clear water. The day of the tour was a no-cruise ship day, so it was a bit quieter. After we went to Eden on the River. Our final stop before going back was a small turtle sanctuary . Some people got to feed them and swim with them but I saw turtles in other places so was not participating in this activity. Island tour is a good half-day tour to break up your day, and perfect if you don’t want to spend the whole day on the beach. Blue Lagoon was the highlight for me.

Tour was fine but I wasn’t that impressed, I would rate it 3.8 out of 5. Probably because I was still under a strong impression from the land diving tour the day before, which was a dream come true and one of my best days in Vanuatu.

ALSO READ: • Epic Nagol Land Diving Pentecost Island Tour: Vanuatu Bungee Jumping

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vanuatu travel guide

DAY 5: Fly to Tanna and transfer to Mount Yasur area

Today you are going to visit yet another island in the Vanuatu archipelago . Visiting Tanna and its main attraction Mount Yasur volcano was a second bucket list item on my Vanuatu itinerary. The first one was Naghol land diving , the second one was the Yasur volcano tour and the third one was celebrating my birthday on Champagne beach. Before you get to Tanna, plan to spend here at least 2-3 days . Mount Yasur is an active volcano and one of the world’s most accessible ones as well. If the volcano is too active, or if the weather is bad the tour might get canceled. This happened to me but I planned ahead and was able to do a Volcano hike on my last day on Tanna Island.

Air Vanuatu plane between the islands

Also, make sure you have enough cash with you since ATMs are very limited. Plus if you are staying in some of the bungalows overlooking Mt. Yasur, cash is the way to go and there might not have electricity or accept card payments. Bring snacks and warm clothes . Direct flight from Port Vila to Tanna with Air Vanuatu only takes 40 minutes offering some amazing views during your flight. I’ve had a mid-day flight to Tanna Island White Grass Airport. I took a bus from Port Vila VT 150 (1,8 AUD/1,2 EUR) to the airport.

sign for tanna island on Port Vila airport

Now, the next part of Tanna itinerary will depend on where you will stay on the island. Basically, Tanna is a small island and accommodation options are limited. If possible, book yours in advance ! I haven’t and was struggling to book one last minute. You will find resorts on the West side of the island, closer to the airport, and bungalows and tree houses on the East side of the island, around the Mount Yasur area. I was staying in the Mount Yasur area. If you are staying in nicer and more modern accommodations on the West side , you can spend your afternoon snorkeling of visiting one of the blue holes. Great accommodation in that area is White Grass Ocean Resort & Spa offering complimentary Airport Transfers. As mentioned earlier, I stayed in an accommodation with Mt. Yasur view . First, because it was easier to get on a tour, and second because I always wanted to stay in a treehouse and have a front-row view of the volcano. Service is basic , with limited WiFi and electricity. But the experience is genuine and one of a kind.

traa house on east tanna island overlooking mount yasur volcano

I have had my transport from the airport to the accommodation arranged with my hotel. I paid VT 4000 (48 AUD/31 EUR) from White Grass Airport on Tanna island to my Mt. Yasur view accommodation. The drive took us around two hours . It was raining heavily and the ‘roads’ were non-existent. It was only me in the car and the driver/accommodation owner stopped at the store so I could buy snacks and water . Trust me, you will need both of those things so stack up! The drive was first through the forest and a bit uphill, but then we started to descend. Along the way, we stopped many times to see the ash plains of Mount Yasur and Tanna coastline. Seeing the black ash-filled landscape, the grounds shaking every now and then was surreal. It felt like landing on Mars.

ash plains under mount yasur volcano on Tanna island

The closer we were driving to the volcano, the scarier it looked. In some parts, we were able to see the smoke coming out of the ground . The smell of rotten eggs was getting stronger. I was really impatient and too excited to go up. But the volcano was too active that day, and the weather was not nice, so all the tours were canceled . Hopefully tomorrow! After I arrived at the Castle Tree House And Bungalow I got my very own tree house , with a view of the volcano. It was basic but super nice . The view was worth it. I also ordered some dinner and that was it for the night. The night was cold, windy and it rained. I didn’t sleep very well, since I was admiring red lava at every volcano eruption . Magnificent to watch! And frightening. At every eruption, there was a ground shake that was felt even more high up on the tree. Where to stay in Tanna: • White Grass Ocean Resort & Spa on the West Coast of Tanna is close to the airport and offers complimentary airport transfers. They have a private beach, free Wifi, a pool, a spa, and dining options. • Castle Tree House And Bungalow on the East Coast is where I stayed. It is surrounded by lush vegetation and has a homey, traditional feel with a free breakfast. They can help with organizing tours.

WANT MORE OPTIONS? Visit this page to see all available Tanna accommodations to book online.

mount yasur view from tree house

DAY 6: Melanesian Kastom village

Full day for activities on Tanna Island . Choose between hot springs, going to the beach, ash boarding, visiting a kastom village, volcano tour … It was pouring down with rain, so I was stuck at my accommodation. I was not the happiest since I was planning to do all sorts of activities. But, there was nothing I could do. You can’t fight Mother Nature. The owner of the bungalows said that the tours to the volcano will (again) not operate today. Bad weather and high volcano activity level. Fingers crossed, I might do it tomorrow. Luckily, it cleared up by midday so I could visit a kastom Latapo village close by and paid VT1500 (18 AUD/12 EUR). Bring cash!

Melanesian kastom village on tanna island in vanuatu

Most people visit the Yakel Tribe’s village on the other side of the island. Yakel is also the tribe showcased in the Tanna movie , which I highly recommend watching. It displays kastom traditions on the island, there is (of course) a love story and Mount Yasur Volcano. You can say this is Vanuatu’s version of Romeo and Juliet. Visiting Melanesian Kastom village in Vanuatu will be like stepping back in time . You will be greeted by men, women, and kids wearing traditional clothes, lavalava skirts, nambas, and leaves. Then they will show you their custom traditions. How to use various leaves, how to make a lavalava skirt from hibiscus plants, how to make fire with sticks and dry wood.

You will also see them dancing and singing . Women and men individually and then together. A beautiful site, especially with the Mount Yasur volcano in the background. If you are lucky, they will invite you to come and dance with them. Later they will show you plants they use for food (taro, yam, sweet potato), herbal medicines on-site, and trees surrounding them, including a huge banyan tree. The Kastom village visit lasted for a couple of hours and it was well worth the visit . Back in my accommodation I ordered some dinner and went to bed hoping I will be lucky enough to do the Mount Yasur hike tomorrow.

vanuatu travel guide

DAY 7: Mount Yasur volcano hike

Another day reserved for different activities on Tanna . Visiting hot springs, going to the beach, ash boarding, visiting a kastom village, volcano tour, black magic tour … This was my last day on Tanna Island. It was drizzling but I was still happy when I found out that the volcano tours would operate today . Yes! After a lovely lunch, I took a scenic walk through the jungle to get to the entrance of Mount Yasur Volcano Safari . Going through the jungle on ‘local paths’ it would be 15-20 minutes. I took the safer approach and chose the road. It took me around 50 minutes (15 minutes drive). 

This Vanuatu itinerary will give you an idea of how to spend 12 days in Vanuatu. Visit different Vanuatu islands, Efate, Tanna, Efate and Pentecost, hike Mount Yasur volcano, see vanuatu bungee jumping, naghol or land diving, dive on million dollar point and swim on champagne beach. Meet with kastom traditions and try local cuisine. Map included. | Travel itinerary | Vanuatu | Melanesia | Fiji | Pentecost #travelplan #itinerary #landdiving #mtyasur #travelitinerary #vanuatudiving

Mount Yasur is one of the most easily accessible active volcanoes in the world. It is a 361 m (1184 ft) high volcano, with daily strombolian eruptions recorded since 1774, when it was discovered by Captain James Cook . I decided to go on a twilight tour and paid VT8000 (96 AUD/62 EUR). Volcano tour starts with a special ceremony. Then you are taken on a short jeep ride to the parking spot on the top. Here you can see another amazing location for a post office. After you have to do a moderate hike to the rim of the volcano.

post office at the top of mount yasur volcano

Going on a tour, following the rules of the local guides is paramount. With each eruption the grounds are shaking, there are no handrails to protect you from falling and you have to mind every step. Plus the ash and rotten eggs smell is not helping. Views of the 400 m summit crater are spectacular and the surrounding area is magnificent. Fields and traces of dry lava fields and lush green jungle behind it. We stopped at the viewpoint and waited for the sunset. The tour is filled with adrenaline. Standing on the volcano’s edge, with LOUD eruptions, HORRIBLE smell, ash everywhere you look and flying lava … I am not sure how safe this actually is. It is scary. It is exciting. It is raw. It’s nature.  You can read a whole Mount Yasur volcano hike here with tips for visiting.

Below is one of the eruptions . You can see the sound (ash) wave before the ‘bam’.

I was happy to get the chance and climb an active volcano! But I was also happy to go down . I shouldn’t have to mention, that I was covered in ash ! And I had a buzzing sound in my ears. If you have, bring sunglasses, earplugs and a face mask. Thank me later! I asked my accommodation to pick me up after the end of the tour . It was pitch black dark and didn’t want to get lost. From the volcano tour to accommodation, I paid VT1500 (18 AUD/10 EUR). Was Mount Yasur volcano tour worth it? Absolutely! No doubt about it! It is scary but unforgettable experience! An absolute must to include in Vanuatu itinerary .

MT. YASUR VOLCANO HIKE TIPS • There will be a lot of ash flying around and you will be covered in it. • Bring warm clothes so that you won’t feel bad for them when covered in ash. Plus it gets cold at the top. • Wear sturdy shoes. You are going to the top of an active volcano! • If you are having asthma or breathing problems, bring a mask or something to cover your nose and mouth with. Did I mention the ash? • I was wearing sunglasses because ash was everywhere and my eyes were all in tears trying to take it out. • Bring a water pouch or a bag to protect your phone and camera from the ash. • Explosions are LOUD so bring earplugs. I didn’t have them (no one told me) which resulted in a ringing and buzzing sound for the next few days. • The rotten eggs smell is indescribable. At some eruptions almost makes you gag. So if you have, bring a scented mask or scented tissues. • Don’t forget your headlamp or a torch. • Have baby wipes to wash away the ash when getting back from the volcano.

vanuatu travel guide

DAY 8: Fly to Espiritu Santo and transfer to Luganville

Leave Tanna and fly to Espirito Santo , or Santo, the biggest island in Vanuatu. This will be the last leg of your Vanuatu itinerary island hopping . Depending on the day, you might get a direct flight with Air Vanuatu from Tanna to Santo. If not, you will have to switch planes in Port Vila. I started my day bright and early. First, for the transfer from Mt. Yasur to Tanna Airport. I paid VT2500 (30 AUD/20 EUR). My direct flight to Santo was changed, so I had to fly to Efate first and then to Santo. All good, but that meant I had to pay departure tax twice . In Luganville, I got a taxi from the airport to my accommodation and had dinner in a local restaurant. Where to stay on Espiritu Santo: • I stayed at Deco Stop Lodge . At the time they had a dorm room, but since I was the only one there, it was like having a private room. They have a pool, and are a short 10-minute walk from Luganville. They also help you book tours and have bikes for rent available. • Two other great places to stay in Luganville are The Espiritu and Hotel Santo Vanuatu .

🇻🇺 “What is Anja’s favorite part of Vanuatu?” I like seeing Pentecost, but in general, my favorite part of Vanuatu itinerary is Tanna.

WANT MORE OPTIONS? Visit this page to see all available Santo accommodations to book online.

sign in Bislama in Deco Stop lodge in Santo island vanuatu

DAY 9: Luganville and Millenium Cave adventure

Sign up for the Millennium cave tour . You will get wet but your day will be full of adventure and this might as well be the best thing to do in Santo. If you can, add it to your Vanuatu itinerary. Money from the tour, VT7500 (90 AUD/57 EUR), goes back to the local villages you will see on the tour. So by going on it, you will actually help the local community . I was hesitant to sign up for the tour at first. But contrary to what people were saying for the Mele Cascades, all the tourists and locals were raving about this one. So I decided to go. It is fun, exciting, and adventurous. You need to be in a physical condition to do it as it is not a moderate hike. You will be walking on slippery surfaces, ascending, descending, walking in cave and more. Harder and more exciting than the Narrows in Zion. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet (because they will). If you choose to bring a phone, wear a waterproof bag to protect it.

vanuatu travel guide

DAY 10: Million dollar point and Blue holes

Espiritu Santo is a mecca for divers , famous for diving the SS President Coolidge . If you are a diver, including Santo in your Vanuatu itinerary is a must. Spend your day checking some must-do things in Santo. Like diving or snorkeling on Million Dollar Point and visiting Blue holes in the afternoon if you have some time and energy left. I rented a bike for the day.

million dollar point

My first stop was Million Dollar Point , which is a must-visit in Santo. The entrance fee is VT500 or AU$5 if you pay in Australian dollars. I don’t dive but I do snorkel. At Million Dollar Point, you can see where Americans dumped millions of dollars worth of equipment at the end of World War II. All the ‘equipment’ is right off the shore. You can see tanks, tops, wheels … I didn’t feel comfortable looking at all of it, so I left rather quickly.

Million dollar point

I spend the afternoon cycling exploring and swimming in the Blue Holes. Blue holes are inland natural freshwater springs . They are blue oases in the middle of the tropical jungle, that get their color from the minerals, depth of the blue hole and water purity. I visited three blue holes in Santo : Riri blue hole , Matevulu blue hole and Nanda blue hole or Jackie’s blue hole. There is a VT500 (6 AUD/4 EUR) entrance free for Riri and Matevulu and VT1000 (12 AUD/6 EUR) entrance fee for Nanda Blue Hole.

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL TIP Colors of the holes are insanely pure and the water is super clean. Let’s keep it that way! At some blue holes, there are showers to wash yourself BEFORE entering the blue hole. Make sure, you don’t use sunscreen, or repellent before jumping in! And if you absolutely have to, try to use natural brands.

My cycling day ended at Nanda Blue hole. I was just too exhausted to bike all the way back to Luganville. So I paid a local to drive me and a bike back to my accommodation.

blue hole in vanuatu

DAY 11: Port Olry and Champagne Beach

Today you are going to spend a day relaxing on the North of Santo Island . Spend a day on a beach in Port Olry Beach and visit one of the best beaches in the world, Champagne Beach . Champagne Beach got its name from the volcanic gasses coming through the sand , so it looks like the beach is bubbling. You can also feel the bubbles when walking on the sand. The scenery is just perfect for some stunning Vanuatu photos . As with many beaches on other South Pacific Islands (Fiji, Samoa), there is a fee to enter . Champagne Beach is privately owned and the fee is VT2000 (19 AUD/15 EUR) per vehicle, or VT500 (6 AUD/4 EUR) for walk-ins. You you stay in one of the accommodations on Champagne beach , the entrance is free. With two other travelers, we rented a taxi for a day and paid VT4000 (48 AUD/31 EUR) each. It took us to all the sites on the East Coast, Blue Holes (the ones I visited yesterday), all the way up to Port Olry and Champagne Beach. We spent the whole day on the beach. Snorkeled, swam in the blue ocean, played with local kids, and had lobster lunch at one of the local restaurants.

ALSO READ: • 111 Beautiful Vanuatu Captions For Instagram

local kids on Port Olry

DAY 12: Espiritu Santo and departure

Time to say goodbye to Santo and Vanuatu . Depending on your International flight, you might have to take a flight to Port Vila first, so plan accordingly. My flight to Port Vila was in the morning and my outbound flight from Port Vila to Fiji was in the evening. So I had a whole day to spend in Port Vila. I visited Port Vila Market again, where I bought souvenirs and grabbed another delicious burger. All before my flight to another Island archipelago in the South Pacific where I spent the next 2 months.

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vanuatu travel guide

7. Final thoughts on How to spend 12 days in Vanuatu Itinerary

This Vanuatu itinerary is perfect for a first-time visitor to Vanuatu . It is a perfect combination of beaches, adventure, sightseeing, nature and history. You will have enough time to explore what different islands in the Vanuatu archipelago have to offer. 12 days in Vanuatu will be plenty of time for you to experience the vibe of different Vanuatu islands. I am positive you will be amazed at how every island offers different adventures and activities. From Mount Yasur volcano hike on Tanna to Naghol land diving on Pentecost , snorkeling on Million dollar Point and Efate with capital Port Vila. It will be hard to choose your favorite one. This itinerary for Vanuatu gives you enough time to visit some of the must-do places in Vanuatu, as it allows enough time to explore each island. Swimming in blue holes, learning about Melanesian Kastom culture , hiking an active volcano, and stepping back in time to see the origins of bungee jumping.

Melanesian Kastom village

7. 1. Possible Vanuatu itinerary alternations

I would spend more time in Santo than in Efate. I would still advise you to book at least 3 days in Tanna, just to be sure that you can go up the Yasur volcano. If you are diving, spend more time on Santo. Make sure to do the dives at least 1 day before your flight . If visiting Vanuatu during the Naghol ritual , I would recommend going on a tour! If you don’t have 12 days for Vanuatu travel and are wondering “How many days in Vanuatu is enough?” I would say, to have at least 1 week in Vanuatu, but if possible 10 days in Vanuatu would be perfect. What to do in Vanuatu for a week? If you want to explore Vanuatu in 7 days , I would suggest visiting only two islands . Efate and eather Tanna or Santo. If you feel adventurous, you can perhaps book a Tanna volcano day tour. By spending 10 days in Vanuatu you can add 3 or even four islands to your Vanuatu itinerary or opt for a day tour to Pentecost Island. Regardless of how many days you can include in your Vanuatu itinerary , make sure to enjoy every moment on the Melanesian Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Welcam, Anja

8. BONUS: Vanuatu travel planning guide

8.1. do i need travel insurance for vanuatu.

YES Enjoy peace of mind on your travels with a plan from SafetyWing . You can choose between monthly coverage or insurance for specific travel dates . They are one of the biggest names in the travel insurance world, and also give you the option to get insured while already abroad! Stay and be safe!

8.2. Do I need to book my accommodation in advance?

NO, BUT IT IS RECOMMENDED Accommodation in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila and on the outer islands is limited. To avoid any unwanted stress, I would recommend booking places to stay in advance or before you arrive . has a great feature on some stays, where you can reserve your room and cancel it for free if your plans change.

8.3. Will my phone work in Vanuatu?

MAYBE It depends on your mobile provider and the plan you are on. There is WiFi in some hotels, but some basic accommodations do not have it. You can buy a local Sim card once there or travel carefree and buy an Airalo eSim before your travels.

8.4. Is it safe to rent a car in Vanuatu?

YES Renting a car in Vanuatu is safe with some precautions. Check the rates at Discover Cars to make sure renting pays off. You will potentially only need a car on Efate and Espiritu Santo, to avoid paying for a taxi and have more freedom to explore.

8.5. Do I have to book tours in Vanuatu before I arrive?

SOME OF THEM You can explore areas in Vanuatu without a tour, like Port Vila and Efate Island. You can also go snorkeling at Million Dollars Point and swim in Blue Holes on your own. For others, like Pentecost land diving tour , and Mount Yasur volcano hike, I would book a tour in advance. Viator offers more tours in Vanuatu than GetYourGuide (which I used to book airport transfer).

➤ What you should read next …

• Epic Nagol Land Diving Pentecost Island Tour: Vanuatu Bungee Jumping • Vanuatu Cost of Travel and Detailed Budget Breakdown • 111 Beautiful Vanuatu Captions For Instagram • Best Ways of Tracking Travel Expenses During a Trip • Ultimate traveler safety guide: What to do during an earthquake

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✈ Travel Resources | Travel more & Spend less

Are you ready to travel like a PRO? Save time and money with these travel tips and resources . I personally use these companies to save time and money. They do the work by providing a list of options, prices, and reviews from actual guests, for anywhere I am traveling worldwide. ✈️ FLIGHTS: I use Skyscanner in combination with Google Flights to find amazing flight fares (try the Explore feature). I book directly with an airline or pair it with Iwantthatflight for the best deals. 🏨 ACCOMMODATION: is my favorite site for finding great hotel deals. They return the best rates and reviews are from actual guests! 🚘 RENTAL CARS: Discover Cars are my go-to, when planning an epic road trip. 🗽 TOURS & ACTIVITIES: I like to wander around on my own, but when I want to explore with a group, skip the line with an entrance ticket, I book it with GetYourGuide or Viator . ❤️‍🩹 TRAVEL INSURANCE: I never, under any circumstances travel without insurance. In most cases, I use yearly global travel medical insurance. But, if you don’t have that and some impromptu travel plans occur, use SafetyWing . With them, you can buy travel insurance even when you are already abroad. Better be safe, than sorry! 📲 ONLINE SAFETY: NordVPN keeps your devices’ browsing safe and malware-free. Stream shows from around the world, access social media in countries where they are blocked and buy cheap flights by changing your virtual location. 🛜 STAY CONNECTED WITH eSIM: Ditch the plastic SIM cards and waiting in lines at the airport! Airalo eSIMs allow you to connect as soon as you land at your destination. They have eSIMs for over 190+ countries worldwide.

🗨 FAQ related to Vanuatu Itinerary

What does the name vanuatu mean.

The name “Vanuatu” is believed to have two possible origins. One interpretation is that it’s derived from the Austronesian word “vanua,” which means “land” or “home.” The addition of the suffix “-tu” emphasizes the collective nature, making it “Our Land” or “Land of the People.” Another interpretation suggests that “Vanuatu” could be a combination of two local Melanesian words, “vanua” and “tu,” which together convey the idea of “many islands.” Vanuatu is an island nation in the South Pacific, and the name reflects its diverse archipelago made up of numerous islands.

How many days do I need to plan for my Vanuatu itinerary?

The ideal duration for a visit to Vanuatu can vary but in general I would recommend spending at least 1 week in Vanuatu. If you want to explore Vanuatu in 7 days, I would suggest visiting only two islands. Efate and eather Tanna or Santo. If you feel adventurous, you can perhaps book a Tanna volcano day tour. If you have time, spend 10 days in Vanuatu to fully experience the diverse culture, natural beauty, and adventure opportunities on different islands. By spending 10 days in Vanuatu you can visit 3 or even four islands or opt for a day tour to Pentecost Island. For more Vanuatu travel tips, Vanuatu itinerary ideas and what to see in Vanuatu visit Anja On Adventure blog. 

Is Vanuatu worth visiting?

Yes, Vanuatu is an often overlooked Melanesian destination in the South Pacific Ocean and often considered a bucket list destination for its stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, diving sites, kastom cultural experiences, vibrant coral reefs, pristine beaches, active volcanoes, and lush rainforests. It is also worth mentioning that it is the 4th happiest nation in the world. For Vanuatu itinerary ideas, Vanuatu cost of travel and Vanuatu places to visit, visit Anja On Adventure blog.

What is the best time to visit Vanuatu?

The best time to visit is between April to September. This is Vanuatu’s dry season, with sunny days and less humidity. For diving, the best month are July-August. If you want to see a Land diving ritual, you should come from mid-April to mid-June.  For more Vanuatu travel tips, Vanuatu itinerary ideas and what to see in Vanuatu visit Anja On Adventure travel blog.

Which islands should I include in Vanuatu itinerary?

Vanuatu is an archipelago consisting of 83 islands. Here are some recommended bigger islands you should consider visiting. Efate (capital Port Vila), Tanna (Mount Yasur volcano, traditional villages, and Yakel Tribe), Espiritu Santo (Blue Holes, white-sand beaches, and World War II relics), Pentecost (land diving ceremonies), Ambrym. For more about Vanuatu itinerary on Anja On Adventure Vanuatu travel blog section.

❥ About Anja On Adventure

anja on Adventure

Anja On Adventure is a travel blog, a collection of insider tips and information on destinations, that I visited as a solo female traveler, tour guide, teacher, yacht stewardess, and Survivor challenge tester. Anja, is a thirty-something adventure-seeking, sun chasing, beach hopping, gin-loving, tropics enthusiast with a creative mind and sarcastic spirit, who loves coconut and mango but doesn’t like chocolate and sweets. I am passionate about all things travel, maps, and puzzles. Click here to learn more About me .

About the author: Anja

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Vanuatu Travel Guide – Everything You Need to Know

vanuatu travel guide

Nestled in the crystal-clear waters of the South Pacific, Vanuatu is a tropical paradise waiting to be explored. This archipelago, comprising 83 stunning islands, offers travelers a wealth of natural beauty, diverse cultures, and unforgettable adventures. Whether you seek pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, or thrilling volcanic landscapes, Vanuatu has something to enchant every type of tourist.

What’s the Best Time to Visit? 📅

The best time to visit Vanuatu as a tourist depends on your preferences, as this beautiful island nation in the South Pacific has favorable weather year-round. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Dry Season (May to October): This is the peak tourist season in Vanuatu. The weather is dry and pleasant with lower humidity and cooler temperatures. This is an excellent time for outdoor activities, water sports, and exploring the islands.
  • Shoulder Seasons (April and November): These months offer a balance between pleasant weather and fewer crowds. You can still enjoy favorable conditions with fewer tourists. Keep in mind that November is the start of the wet season, so it may experience occasional rainfall.
  • Wet Season (December to March): This period experiences higher humidity and more rainfall, with the wettest months typically being January and February. While this is the least popular time for tourists due to the rain, it can be a good time for budget travelers, and you can still enjoy the lush, green landscapes.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Vanuatu depends on your preferences. If you prefer dry and sunny weather, the dry season from May to October is the ideal choice. However, if you want to avoid crowds and don’t mind occasional rain, the shoulder seasons offer a good balance. Keep in mind that cyclone season in the South Pacific occurs from November to April, so there is a higher risk of tropical storms during that time. It’s advisable to check weather forecasts and any travel advisories before planning your trip.

What’s the Best Way to Get Around? 🚌

Getting around Vanuatu as a tourist typically involves a combination of transportation options, as the islands are relatively small, and road infrastructure can be limited on some of them. Here are the best ways to get around Vanuatu:

  • Domestic Flights: For traveling between different islands in Vanuatu, domestic flights are often the quickest and most convenient option. Airlines like Air Vanuatu and Unity Airlines operate regular flights between the main islands, making it easy to hop from one island to another.
  • Inter-Island Ferries: Ferries are available for traveling between the larger islands, such as Efate, Espiritu Santo, Tanna, and Malekula. These ferry services are a scenic way to explore the country and can provide access to more remote areas.
  • Taxis: Taxis are a common mode of transportation on the main islands, especially in the capital, Port Vila. Negotiate the fare with the driver before starting your journey. In some cases, shared minibuses or vans also serve as taxis.
  • Rental Cars and Bicycles: Renting a car or a bicycle can be a great way to explore the larger islands at your own pace. Keep in mind that roads can vary in quality, and driving conditions may be different from what you’re used to.
  • Public Buses: On the main islands, such as Efate, you can find public buses that offer an affordable way to get around. These buses often have fixed routes and schedules.
  • Walking: In smaller towns and villages, walking can be a pleasant way to explore the local culture and landscapes. Many tourist areas in Vanuatu are pedestrian-friendly.
  • Water Taxis: Some remote islands and resorts may require using water taxis or boats for transportation between the mainland and nearby islands.
  • Guided Tours: Consider taking guided tours for specific activities and excursions. Many tour operators offer experiences like snorkeling, scuba diving, cultural tours, and more. They often provide transportation as part of the package.

Keep in mind that schedules and transportation options can be limited on some of the smaller and more remote islands. It’s essential to plan your travel between islands and explore local transportation options before you arrive. Be prepared for a more relaxed pace of life and occasional delays, and enjoy the unique experiences that Vanuatu has to offer.

What’s the Official Language?

The official languages of Vanuatu are Bislama, English, and French. Bislama is a creole language widely spoken and understood throughout the country. Here are some basic Bislama phrases and words that can be helpful for tourists:

  • Hello – Halo
  • Good morning – Gud moning
  • Good afternoon – Gud apinun
  • Good evening – Gud nait
  • Thank you – Tangkyu
  • Yes – Yas
  • No – Nao
  • Please – Plis
  • Excuse me – Sori
  • How are you? – Yu gud nomo?
  • What is your name? – Wanem nem blong yu?
  • I don’t understand – Mi no save
  • Help – Hap
  • Goodbye – Bai bai
  • Water – Wara
  • Food – Kaikai
  • Delicious – Hemia gudfala
  • I need a taxi – Mi nidim tekxi
  • Where is…? – Wea…?
  • Restroom – Hambakrum

These basic Bislama phrases can be very useful for interacting with locals and navigating your way around Vanuatu. The people of Vanuatu are known for their friendliness and appreciate tourists making an effort to communicate in their language. Additionally, English and French are spoken in more formal or official contexts, so having a basic understanding of these languages can also be helpful, especially in urban areas and tourist facilities.

Where to Stay? 🏨

Vanuatu offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. The choice of where to stay largely depends on the type of experience you’re seeking. Here are some popular places to stay in Vanuatu:

  • Port Vila: The capital city, Port Vila, on the island of Efate, is the most common entry point for visitors to Vanuatu. It offers a wide range of accommodation options, including luxury resorts, hotels, guesthouses, and vacation rentals. Port Vila provides convenient access to restaurants, shops, and numerous water-based activities.
  • Espiritu Santo: The largest island in Vanuatu, Espiritu Santo, is known for its stunning natural beauty. You’ll find resorts, bungalows, and guesthouses here. The island is famous for the clear waters of the Blue Hole and Champagne Beach.
  • Tanna: Tanna Island is renowned for its active volcano, Mount Yasur. It offers accommodations ranging from eco-lodges to more upscale options. Staying on Tanna is an opportunity to experience the island’s unique culture and natural wonders.
  • Pentecost Island: Pentecost Island is famous for land diving, an ancient and awe-inspiring ritual. Accommodation here is limited, with rustic bungalows and guesthouses.
  • Other Islands: Vanuatu has many other islands with accommodations suited for various preferences. For a more remote and secluded experience, consider staying on islands like Ambrym, Ambae, or Malekula. The accommodations on these islands may be more basic, offering a more authentic experience.
  • Resorts and Bungalows: Vanuatu boasts a variety of beautiful beachfront resorts and bungalows, which provide a tranquil and picturesque setting. Some offer overwater bungalows for a unique stay.
  • Eco-Lodges: If you’re interested in sustainable and eco-friendly travel, Vanuatu has a growing number of eco-lodges and accommodations that allow you to experience nature in an environmentally responsible way.

When choosing where to stay, consider factors like your budget, the type of activities you wish to experience, and the level of comfort you desire. It’s advisable to book accommodations in advance, especially during the high season, to secure your preferred options. Vanuatu offers a wide range of choices, so you can find the perfect place to stay, whether you’re seeking luxury, adventure, or a cultural experience.

What to Eat? 🍽️

Vanuatu offers a delightful array of local dishes and culinary experiences for tourists looking to savor traditional flavors and fresh ingredients. Here are some must-try foods in Vanuatu:

  • Lap Lap: This is a staple dish made from grated root vegetables like taro, yam, or cassava, mixed with coconut milk, and then wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an earth oven. It’s a traditional and flavorful dish.
  • Coconut Crab: The coconut crab, known locally as “poulet,” is a sought-after delicacy in Vanuatu. This large land crab is cooked in various ways, often grilled or served with coconut cream.
  • Kava: While not a food, kava is a traditional beverage made from the root of the kava plant. It’s often consumed during ceremonies and social gatherings. Trying kava is a cultural experience, but be aware that it has a mildly narcotic effect, so consume it in moderation.
  • Vanuatu Beef: Vanuatu beef is known for its quality and flavor. Enjoy dishes like grilled beef steaks or beef cooked in coconut milk.
  • Fresh Seafood: Being an island nation, Vanuatu offers a bounty of fresh seafood. Try local catches like coconut fish, parrotfish, and crayfish, often grilled, fried, or prepared with coconut milk.
  • Taro: Taro is a root vegetable widely used in Vanuatu’s cuisine. You can find taro prepared in various ways, such as taro chips, taro fritters, or boiled taro served with coconut cream.
  • Fruit: Savor the tropical fruits of Vanuatu, including pineapple, mango, papaya, and passion fruit. These fruits are often enjoyed fresh or used in fruit salads and desserts.
  • Bougna: This is a traditional dish made from root vegetables, usually taro, yam, and sweet potato, mixed with coconut cream, wrapped in banana leaves, and baked in an earth oven.
  • Island Fruit Smoothies: Cool off with refreshing fruit smoothies made from the abundance of tropical fruits available on the islands.
  • Manioc (Cassava) Cake: Manioc is a starchy root vegetable, and it’s used to make delicious cakes and puddings, often served with coconut cream.
  • Local Market Food: Visit local markets to sample a variety of snacks and street food, such as grilled skewers, fried doughnuts, and other homemade treats.
  • Tuluk: Tuluk is a traditional dish of pork or chicken cooked with island greens and coconut cream. It’s rich, flavorful, and a must-try for visitors.

When dining in Vanuatu, you’ll find a mix of traditional dishes, international cuisine, and the use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Don’t hesitate to explore local markets, street vendors, and small eateries to fully appreciate the authentic flavors of Vanuatu.

What to See? 🔍

Vanuatu is a stunning island nation in the South Pacific, offering a wealth of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and adventure. Here are some of the must-see places and attractions for tourists in Vanuatu:

  • Mount Yasur, Tanna: Witness the incredible power of nature at Mount Yasur, one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes. You can stand on the rim and watch volcanic eruptions up close.
  • Blue Hole, Espiritu Santo: Dive or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of the Blue Hole, a deep natural swimming pool surrounded by lush rainforest. It’s a popular spot for its underwater caves and marine life.
  • Millennium Cave, Espiritu Santo: Explore the dramatic Millennium Cave, a pristine wilderness area with waterfalls, cascades, and lush jungle. Guided tours allow you to hike through this stunning natural wonder.
  • Champagne Beach, Espiritu Santo: Relax on the pristine white sands of Champagne Beach, named for the tiny bubbles that rise from the sea floor. It’s a picture-perfect tropical paradise.
  • Port Vila, Efate: The capital city of Vanuatu offers a range of attractions, from the vibrant Port Vila Market to cultural experiences like the Ekasup Cultural Village and the Mele Cascades Waterfall.
  • Nanda Blue Hole, Espiritu Santo: Another captivating blue hole, Nanda Blue Hole is known for its stunning turquoise water. It’s an excellent place for swimming and picnicking.
  • Pentecost Island: Witness the exhilarating land diving ritual, where locals jump from tall wooden towers with only vines attached to their ankles.
  • Chief Roi Mata’s Domain, Efate: Explore this UNESCO World Heritage site, which includes the tomb of Chief Roi Mata and cultural artifacts, providing insight into Vanuatu’s history and indigenous culture.
  • Million Dollar Point, Espiritu Santo: Snorkel or dive around the submerged American military equipment left over from World War II, creating a unique underwater attraction.
  • Mystery Island: A popular cruise ship destination, Mystery Island is a small, uninhabited islet known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and coral reefs ideal for snorkeling.
  • Ambrym Island: This island is famous for its unique volcanic landscapes and customs, as well as traditional practices like sand drawing and mask-making.
  • Malekula Island: Discover the diverse cultures and traditions of Malekula, where you can witness ancient ceremonies, visit traditional villages, and explore untouched rainforests.

These are just a few of the incredible places and experiences that Vanuatu offers to tourists. The nation’s natural beauty, cultural diversity, and adventure opportunities make it a unique and unforgettable destination for travelers seeking an authentic South Pacific experience.

What to Do? 📸

Vanuatu offers a wide range of activities and experiences for tourists, catering to nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those interested in immersing themselves in the local culture. Here are some must-do things when visiting Vanuatu:

  • Hike to Mount Yasur: Witness the awe-inspiring eruptions of Mount Yasur on Tanna Island, one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes.
  • Dive or Snorkel: Explore the vibrant underwater world of Vanuatu, with its coral reefs, shipwrecks, and crystal-clear blue holes. Popular dive spots include the SS President Coolidge and Million Dollar Point.
  • Relax on Pristine Beaches: Visit the idyllic beaches of Vanuatu, such as Champagne Beach on Espiritu Santo or Hideaway Island near Port Vila, for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling.
  • Experience Land Diving: Witness the gravity-defying ritual of land diving on Pentecost Island, where local men jump from high wooden towers with vines tied to their ankles.
  • Discover Local Culture: Immerse yourself in the rich culture of Vanuatu by visiting traditional villages, attending cultural ceremonies, and exploring customs like sand drawing and mask-making.
  • Hike and Explore: Vanuatu offers numerous hiking trails through lush rainforests, past waterfalls, and up volcanic slopes. Guided tours are available to help you navigate the wilderness.
  • Visit the Blue Holes: Don’t miss the enchanting Blue Holes of Vanuatu, like the famous Blue Hole on Espiritu Santo. These natural swimming pools are surrounded by lush jungle and are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Relax in Hot Springs: Tanna Island has natural hot springs where you can unwind and soak in warm, mineral-rich waters.
  • Climb Coconut Trees: Participate in a coconut tree climbing experience and learn how to harvest coconuts the traditional way.
  • Enjoy a Kava Ceremony: Participate in a kava drinking ceremony to experience this traditional South Pacific beverage and learn about its cultural significance.
  • Try Local Cuisine: Savor traditional Vanuatu dishes like lap lap, coconut crab, and manioc cake, as well as fresh seafood and tropical fruits.
  • Attend a Local Market: Explore local markets, like the Port Vila Market, to shop for souvenirs, handcrafted goods, and experience the daily life of the locals.
  • Go Fishing: Join a fishing excursion, whether it’s deep-sea fishing for game fish or a more relaxed experience in the waters around Vanuatu.
  • Explore Shipwrecks: For divers, Vanuatu offers the unique opportunity to explore shipwrecks from World War II, like the SS President Coolidge, located near Luganville on Espiritu Santo.
  • Discover Unique Wildlife: Vanuatu is home to diverse wildlife, including birds, marine life, and unique reptiles. Birdwatching and wildlife tours are available on various islands.
  • Visit Chief Roi Mata’s Domain: Explore this UNESCO World Heritage site on Efate Island, offering historical and cultural insights into Vanuatu’s heritage.

Vanuatu provides an array of experiences for every type of traveler, from relaxation on stunning beaches to thrilling adventures in its natural wonders. Don’t forget to respect local customs and traditions and appreciate the unique culture of this South Pacific paradise.

Culture and Safety 🦺

When traveling to Vanuatu as a tourist, it’s essential to be aware of the local culture and take necessary safety precautions. Here are some key points regarding culture and safety in Vanuatu:

  • Respect Local Customs: Vanuatu is a culturally diverse country with many different indigenous groups, each with its own customs and traditions. It’s important to respect local practices, including dress codes, ceremonies, and village protocols. Ask for permission before taking photos in villages and other sensitive areas.
  • Kava Drinking: Kava is a traditional and culturally significant beverage in Vanuatu. If you’re invited to a kava drinking ceremony, participate with respect. Kava has a mild narcotic effect, so consume it in moderation.
  • Language: While Bislama is the most widely spoken language, there are over a hundred different languages in Vanuatu. English and French are also spoken. Learning a few basic Bislama phrases can go a long way in showing respect for the local culture.
  • Dress Modestly: When visiting villages and more conservative areas, dress modestly to show respect for local customs. This typically means covering your shoulders and knees.
  • Island Time: Embrace the relaxed pace of life, often referred to as “island time.” Things might not always run on a strict schedule, and patience is essential.
  • Health Precautions: Make sure you have travel insurance and check whether you need any specific vaccinations before your trip. Be mindful of food and water safety and take precautions to prevent waterborne illnesses.
  • Natural Hazards: Vanuatu is prone to natural hazards like cyclones and earthquakes. It’s a good idea to check weather forecasts and stay informed about any potential hazards during your stay.
  • Swimming and Water Activities: While Vanuatu offers excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities, be cautious in the water. Strong currents and undertows can be present, so follow safety guidelines and consider local advice.
  • Transportation Safety: When traveling between islands, use reputable transportation providers, and check the safety standards of the vessels. Inquire about the safety regulations of local operators for activities like diving and land diving.
  • Currency Exchange: Be cautious when exchanging currency, especially in local markets. Use official currency exchange facilities or reputable banks to avoid scams.
  • Crime: Vanuatu is generally a safe destination for tourists, but petty crimes like theft and pickpocketing can occur, especially in crowded areas. Keep an eye on your belongings and use hotel safes when available.
  • Local Medical Facilities: Familiarize yourself with the location of medical facilities and pharmacies in the area you’re visiting. Consider carrying a basic medical kit with essentials like insect repellent and over-the-counter medications.
  • Travel Documents: Keep your travel documents, including your passport, safe and secure. It’s a good practice to make photocopies or digital copies of important documents.

By respecting the local culture and taking appropriate safety precautions, you can enjoy a wonderful and safe experience in Vanuatu. The people of Vanuatu are known for their warm hospitality and friendliness, so engage with the local community, learn about their culture, and have a memorable visit.

For those seeking a getaway far from the ordinary, Vanuatu delivers an authentic, untouched experience in the heart of the South Pacific. From the lush jungles of Efate to the otherworldly beauty of Tanna’s volcanoes, this island nation is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers. So, pack your bags, immerse yourself in the warmth of the local culture, and create lasting memories in this tropical paradise that is Vanuatu.

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The Lost Passport

Vanuatu Travel Guide – An Adventurer’s Paradise

Vanuatu is the adventurer’s paradise we’ve been searching for. It is a country where you can climb two active volcanoes in one day, swim in the world clearest bluest lagoons, scuba dive incredible coral reefs, then board a cargo ship overnight to a remote island. Of course, there is the option to relax in a natural geothermal hot spring and enjoy a secluded beach all to yourself with a fresh coconut in hand after all the exploring too.

The culture in Vanuatu is diverse. There are over 100 languages spoken, sometimes more than 10 dialects on one island. There are 7 main religions, with many people following more than one. Cannibalism only ended a few decades ago, and many locals still believe in various forms of Black Magic.

There are a total of 83 islands, spread over 900 kilometers. From the Torres Islands in the far north to Angehowhat in the far south. Each island has its own culture, so you can just begin to imagine what a diverse country Vanuatu is.

To see all the islands would take many months. I recommend spending five to ten days on each island. This will give you sufficient time to properly understand the local culture and have the chance to meet the local people.

Table of Contents

Vanuatu fact file.

Population: 250,000

Currency: Vatu. Check exchange rates here.

Languages ; Bislama, English, French, Regional Dialects

International Airports; Port Vila, Luganville

Visa Requirements; for most countries only a departure flight is required. If you don’t want to book a departure flight just yet, you can rent one here for a minimal fee.

Domestic airlines ; Air Vanuatu , Bel Airways , Unity Airlines, Air Taxi Vanuatu

Phone services; Digicel, TVL

Where is Vanuatu Located? 

Vanuatu is a series of 83 islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It is located about 500km North East of New Caledonia, and 1,900km East of Australia. Vanuatu stretches from approximately the latitude of Mackay to Port Douglas in Australia, all of which is referred to as the tropics.

Air Vanuatu connects Vanuatu directly with its neighboring islands including; Fiji, New Caledonia, Soloman Islands, and Papua New Guinea.

Where is Vanuatu Located

Best Time to Visit Vanuatu 

The best time to visit Vanuatu is a personal opinion. Are you keen to see a certain festival such as the Naghol Land Diving, do you want to travel the off-season when prices are lower and there are fewer tourists around, or just after beautiful blue skies?

Vanuatu has a distinct wet season and dry season.

  • The wet season (monsoon season) runs from November to March. It doesn’t rain all day but the humidity is incredibly high with the ambient temperature above 30 degrees. This can be uncomfortable for some.
  • The dry season runs from April to October. There is much less rain and the ambient temperature ranges from 18 degrees to 28 degrees.

In my opinion, the best time to visit Vanuatu is the end of the wet season (February to March). I don’t mind the rain or the humidity in exchange for being one of the only tourists around. Heck, I even got the entire Blue Lagoon in Santo to myself! You can’t complain about that.

Vanuatu Island Guide

With 83 islands, there is plenty to see when you travel Vanuatu. Each island has it’s own unique culture, landscape, and attractions. Here is a quick overview of some of the most popular islands.

Espiritu Santo

Highlights: blue lagoons, diving SS Coolidge, Champagne Beach

Nanda Blue Hole Espiritu Santo

Santo Espiritu is commonly referred to as Santo by the locals. This is the largest of Vanuatu’s 83 islands. The east coast is well connected by sealed roads from Luganville in the south to Port Olry (pronounced Port Lory) in the north. You can take a hire car along sealed roads.

Other parts of the island such as the interior, north coast and west coast are unsealed and only accessible by 4WD.

The most popular attractions in Santo Espiritu is to visit one of Vanuatu’s Blue Lagoons . There are actually three popular Blue Lagoons here including the Riri Blue Hole, Nanda Blue Hole, and Matevulu Blue Hole. As the name suggests, the water here is incredibly blue and crystal clear (apart from Matevulu which has recently turned green).

Other popular things to do in Santo include hiking to the  Millenium Cave, and SCUBA diving the SS Coolridge, and checking out the old war relics at Million Dollar Point.

Of course, your time on Santo would not be complete without enjoying one of the amazing beaches such as Champagne Beach, Port Olry, and my favorite Lonnoc Beach.

Airports: Luganville

Stay in Espiritu Santo: Lonnoc Beach Bungalows – Lonnoc Beach

Highlights: Small Nambas, Big Nambas, Dugongs

Small Nambas Rano

Malekula is the second largest island in Vanuatu, but perhaps the most culturally diverse. There are regular flights and boats from Santo and Port Vila to Malekula.

A flight is less than one hour, while a boat takes four to eight hours from Santo, and overnight from Port Vila.

Popular attractions in Malekula include; Small Nambas Cultural Tour, Big Nambas Cultural Tour, Cannibal sites, Botko Waterfall, Losinwei Waterfall, South West Bay, and the Maskelynes. Malekula is one of the top islands to spot dugongs in the wild, though they can still be quite difficult to find.

Read my detailed guide to travel in north Malekula where I visited small islands like Uripiv without electricity, roads or mobile phone coverage.

Airports in Malekula; Nosrup, Lamap

Stay in Malekula: Nabelchel Guesthouse – Norsup

Highlights: volcanoes, hot springs

Ambrym Volcano Hike

Ambrym is home to two active volcanoes each with lava lakes. Lava lakes are a very rare occurrence, there are only five locations where you can find these.

Unlike Tanna where you can drive to the top of the volcano, the volcanoes in Ambrym   are more adventurous requiring two to three days of hiking.

A hike to the volcanoes can be arranged departing Craig’s Cove with options to return to Craig’s Cove or hike overland to Olal in the north or Ulei in the east.

The island has two domestic airports including Craig’s Cove and Ulei. Access to the south is via a road in terrible condition, while Olal and Rano in the north as accessed by speedboat.

Airports in Ambrym: Craig’s Cove, Ulei

Stay in Ambrym: Sam’s Guesthouse – Craig’s Cove

Highlights: Naghol Land Diving

Naghol Land Diving Tower

Pentecost is one of the easternmost islands in Vanuatu. It is said that it always rains on Pentecost whether wet or dry season.

Pentecost is home of the Naghol land diving festival . Naghol runs every Saturday between April and June, marking the start of the Yam harvest season. Read more about my trip to see Naghol on Pentecost here.

Pentecost’s west coast is accessible by a terrible condition road only passable by 4WD. The east coast has no road and can only be traveled by boat. It is suggested the government will build a road on Pentecost’s east coast, but no one knows when this will happen.

Airports in Naghol: Lonorore, Sara

Stay in Pentecost: Noda Guesthouse – Waterfall Village

Efate is commonly referred to as Port Vila and is Vanuatu’s most populated island. Life in Port Vila is very different from the outer islands. The island is accessible by sealed road, has phone coverage and stable power supply.

For good snorkeling near Port Vila snorkeling head to Hideaway Island. The bay is protected by a marine reserve which means no fishing. If you stay at the Hideaway Island Resort you will get free use of snorkels, kayaks, paddleboards, free boat transfer to the mainland and avoid the 1250 vatu island entry fee.

For good surfing head to Pango beach. It is one of the only surfing spots you will find in all of Vanuatu. Water is otherwise quite flat throughout the country.

Efate is visited by many Australian tourists with direct flights from Sydney and Brisbane. There are plenty of hotels available from dorm rooms to fancy 5-star hotels.

While a trip to Port Vila s an easy way to visit Vanuatu, you will not get a view into the traditional way of life here.

Airports: Port Vila

Stay in Efate: Hideaway Island Resort – Port Vila

Additional Islands in Vanuatu

Have you been to any other islands in Vanuatu and would like to contribute content? I am open to accepting guest content on islands such as; Tanna, Banks Islands, Maewo, etc…

Getting Around Vanuatu

International flights to vanuatu.

There are a number of international flights to Vanuatu, most departing from either Australia, New Zealand, or the other South Pacific Islands.

  • Air Vanuatu is the national airline with flights to Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea
  • Virgin Australia and Qantas both operate flights to Vanuatu. Flights from Brisbane are direct, while Sydney and Melbourne require a stopover
  • Air New Zealand operates direct flights from Auckland to Vanuatu

Domestic Flights in Vanuatu

Most people arrive in Vanuatu by plane into Santo Espiritu or Port Vila. Domestic flights provide travel routes to most of the larger islands.

  • Air Vanuatu is the largest domestic flight provider covering the most islands with the most frequent schedules. Their website is fairly good with lots of domestic flights and direct booking available.
  • Bel Airways also has regular flights between many of the outer islands and Port Vila. Their website contains minimal information and actually looks inactive. To check flight schedules and prices you will need to call them directly to tell you route and date.
  • Unity Airlines and Air Taxi Vanuatu have chartered flight services. There are many flights between the outer islands and Port Vila which you can try to board. Call them directly to inquire for more information.

It is common for domestic flights to arrive and depart early in Vanuatu. Domestic flights require check-in two hours before the scheduled departure and it is suggested to arrive up to three hours early. I have almost missed a flight from Malekula to Ambrym because of this, so take this warning quite seriously!

Domestic flights in Vanuatu have a standard 200 vatu airport tax. This is paid after check-in, and before departure.

The standard weight allowance for a domestic flight is 10kg check-in, and 5kg carry on . Excess baggage may be rejected, or have an additional charge. If you book your domestic flights in conjunction with an international Air Vanuatu flight, your baggage allowance can be increased to 23kg,

Boats in Vanuatu

Litz Litz Cargo Boat, Malekula

Boats are a cheaper way of traveling around Vanuatu. However, use cargo boats and ferries with caution. Schedules change on an hourly basis, and can quite often be canceled due to poor weather. Be sure to follow up on your boat schedule daily to be sure of its arrival and departure.

Vanuatu Cargo , Vanuatu Ferry , and Big Sista are the largest and most comfortable boat options to travel Vanuatu.

There are small cargo boats that service the outer islands from Port Vila and Santo Espiritu. Some cargo lines include; Makila, Tinawan, Freedom, Regim and Young Bloodz.

These smaller cargo boats are much more basic than the larger boat services. Expect the main cabin to be outdoors, without seats or any sleeping provisions. Toilets are terrible, best not to have to use them. There will be no food or drinks available onboard, so come prepared. Read my full review on taking a cargo boat in Vanuatu.

The best way to check cargo boat schedules and prices is by going directly to the port and asking for the manager. If the manager is not around, talk to the locals there, but beware of getting conflicting information from different people. They are not trying to trick you, may not actually know the latest schedules either.

Traveling by Road in Vanuatu

Apart from Efate and Santo’s east coast, roads in Vanuatu are typically unsealed, poor quality and only passable by 4WD. Travel is slow, usually no faster than 30km/hr.

The cheapest way to travel is by catching a passing vehicle. You can flag down a vehicle by waving at them or whistling. A standard fare starts from 200 vatu and increases with distance. It is easy to catch vehicles on a weekday. Catching vehicles on a weekend can involve a long wait, up to a few hours, as these are church days, not working days.

If you need to get somewhere in a hurry, you can generally charter a vehicle from your guesthouse. A standard fare starts from 2000 vatu and increases with distance.

Drinking in Vanuatu

Drinking kava at a Nakamal is common for many people in Vanuatu. It is more common in rural areas, where it is used as a way to relax after a day of work.

Beer is consumed and available in many places. In rural areas is it common to find that all shops are completely sold out of Tusker over the weekend, with only wine available. Beer is generally warm, not cold, as most people do not have their own refrigerators and rely on a communal one.

There are bars and nightclubs in Port Vila, some smaller hotel bars in Santo, and generally no bars or nightclubs on the outer islands.

Vanuatu Travel Videos

Here are a few travel videos I made while in Vanuatu. Give them a like, a comment, and be sure to subscribe to the channel!

Things to do in Vanuatu

12 Amazing Things to do in Vanuatu

Vanuatu Blue Lagoon

Vanuatu’s Incredible Blue Lagoons (Santo & Efate)

Espiritu Santo Travel Guide

Guide to Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu’s Unspoken Paradise

Naghol Land Diving

Naghol Land Diving, Vanuatu’s Craziest Tradition

Taking a Cargo Boat in Vanuatu

Taking a Cargo Boat in Vanuatu

Ambrym Volcano Hike

Ambrym Volcano Hike; Marum and Benbow (2 Days, 1 Night)

Malekula Travel Guide

Guide to Malekula Island, Vanuatu

Uripiv Island, Malekula

Uripiv Island, life without electricity, roads or internet

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Welcome to the official Vanuatu Tourism website

We are open plan your trip and book now, travelling to vanuatu, getting to vanuatu, staying covid safe, vanuatu is calling, 10 reasons to visit vanuatu in 2022, 20 must-do activities, meet us at the markets, share your vanuatu moments, life-changing adventures, explore our unique islands.

Air Vanuatu can fly you to all our beautiful islands, so get ready to be fascinated as you explore by hovering your mouse over an island to begin.

Efate & Port Vila

The capital, Port Vila, located 10 minutes from one of Vanuatu's two international airports, is set around a magnificent natural harbour offering stunning views of Iririki and Ifira islands, and a look out all the way to Malapoa Point.

The islands of Torres are Vanuatu's far northern islands lying west to neighboring Solomon Islands. The islands are lightly populated with an abundance of natural resources, white sand beaches, surf, and some of the most friendly locals you will ever meet.

  • Banks Islands

The Banks islands is an adventure of its own offering visitors eco adventures from hard treks, to fishing trips and snorkeling, and ]visiting cultural villages. You can also join in with the water music ladies and play music on the water. There's much to see and do in the Banks islands.

  • Espiritu Santo

Welcome to Espiritu Santo. With its amazing blue holes, caves, world renowned diving at the SS Coolidge, and powdery white sandy beaches, it's a little known paradise waiting to be discovered.

The rugged, long, narrow island of waterfalls flows with creeks and rivers - perfect for soft adventure seekers. Asanvari Bay is most idyllic, popular with yachts May to October. You will love the waterfalls, snorkeling, diving, and picturesque views of Pentecost, Ambrym, Paama, Malekula and Malo on a clear day.

Trekkers will love Lake Manaro which is one of 3 volcanic crater lakes in different shades of blue. Manaro in particular is the largest lake, turquoise-blue in colour, and acidic. Hikers trek through dense forest for 2 days to get to the lake and return.

You can't miss the Pentecost land diving which happens from April to June, every year. Pentecost also offers a variety of excursions to visitors seeking cultural experiences including custom village tours, as well as soft adventures such as hikes, snorkeling, outrigger canoe paddling, visiting historical sites and land marks.

Tourists are attracted by Ambrym's unique features: the two twin active volcanoes, Marum and Benbow, the tropical vegetation, and the customs of the local villagers. Accommodations are melanesian traditional bungalows, with very basic amenities, and welcoming hosts ready to make you feel at home.

Malekula is the second largest island and the most diverse, culturally and linguistically, with over thirty distinct languages spoken. Some of the best custom dances come from the island. The names given to the primary cultural groups are Small Nambas and Big Nambas.

Epi is a peaceful island with beautiful white sandy coves, many white and some black sand beaches, and inshore reefs. The interior is the rugged terrain of recent volcanic activity covered with lush rainforest. There are several small lakes where you can fish and swim and may get a chance to see wild birds, wild pigs and cows.

The island is part of the Vanuatu rain forests ecoregion, within the East Melanesian Islands biogeographic region. Dense evergreen forest covers nearly three-quarters of the island on the windward (eastern) side, while a combination of grassland and woodland occupies the north-west. Cloud forests exist at higher elevations. Much of the vegetation on the island is secondary growth.

There is a lot to see and do in Tanna. The drawcard of it all is Mount Yasur volcano, the world’s largest and most accessible active volcano and if you want to swim in underwater caves, snorkel on some of the best coral in the South Pacific, visit untouched waterfalls, see the islands wild horses and experience an ancient culture that remains largely unchanged to this day, allow time to explore Tanna.

If planning a private and quiet retreat to Mystery Island then check the cruise ship itineraries with the Vanuatu Tourism Office in Port Vila before setting out.

  • Efate & Port Vila

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Ultimate Vanuatu Travel Guide 2024 – Everything You Need to Know

The ultimate vanuatu travel guide post.

You’ve landed on the ultimate Vanuatu travel guide that details everything you need to know about visiting the beautiful South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu.

This Vanuatu blog post is designed to provide you with all the information you need to plan a memorable and authentic experience.

From the best places to visit and the most exciting activities to sign up for to practical tips for where to stay, how to get around, and how to stay safe.

I traveled solo to Vanuatu over Easter in 2023 and although it wasn’t the smoothest of trips, I have a lot of insights to share with you! Traveling to a less developed country can be tricky, but don’t fear I’ve uncovered a lot of information about Vanuatu travel that you simply can’t find online.

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler to Vanuatu, this Vanuatu travel guide will help you make the most of your time on this stunning and unique island nation.

So, pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready for an unforgettable journey to Vanuatu!


✔️ Flights: Book your flights on Skyscanner 

➡️ Car rental: Rent your car on DiscoverCars

✔️ Travel insurance:   I recommend World Nomads

➡️ Accommodations:   Book your stay at

✔️ Activities:   Arrange your adventure trips and tours

Champagne Beach Snorkeling is incredible - Vanuatu Travel Blog

Top 13 Best Things to See and Do in Vanuatu

A Vanuatu travel guide wouldn’t be complete without the best things to do.

Here are my 5 ride-or-die or die things to see and do in Vanuatu.

1. Tanna Blue Cave

Located on the island of Tanna, the Blue Cave is a natural wonder that is sure to take your breath away. The cave is filled with crystal clear water that glows a brilliant blue when sunlight filters through the cave’s entrance. Take a guided tour with Whitegrass Resort to swim and explore the cave, an experience I will remember for life.

✔️  Mt. Yasur Volcano full day Tour including Blue Cave  

2. Blue Holes of Santo

The Blue Holes are a must-visit attraction in Vanuatu. These deep, freshwater holes are filled with clear blue water that will make you go WOW! Swim, snorkel, and take gorgeous photos at one of the blue holes, my personal favorite is Nanda Blue Hole.

3. Champagne Beach and Port Orly

Champagne Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Vanuatu, with bright blue waters and pristine white sand replicating beaches you find in the Maldives and French Polynesia.

Further north Port Orly is another gorgeous beach that I actually preferred over Champagne Beach. It is free to access, unlike Champagne Beach and the waters and views are just as stunning if not more. Plus there is a great local restaurant to dine at!

✔️  Book a  Full Day Santo Blue Hole, Champagne Beach, Million Dollar Point & Port Olry Tour

4. Yasur Volcano

Located on the island of Tanna, Yasur Volcano is one of the most active and accessible volcanoes in the world. Take a guided tour with Whitegrass Resort to hike up to the crater and witness the awe-inspiring volcano. As the sun begins to set the red glow of the lava will contrast against the night sky, it’s magnificent.

✔️  Book Now! Mt Yasur Volcano Tour  

5. Discovering the Local Culture

Vanuatu is known for its rich culture that has been well preserved. Take the time to explore the island’s traditional customs and practices on your trip to Vanuatu.

From attending a local dance performance to visiting a village, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the unique culture of Vanuatu.

6. Shop at Port Vila markets

Port Vila, is home to several bustling markets where visitors can find local crafts, clothing, and fresh produce. The markets offer a glimpse into everyday life in Vanuatu.

7. Drink Kava

Kava is a traditional drink made from the root of the kava plant and is a key part of Vanuatu’s culture. Kava effects are similar to drinking a glass of wine, but you won’t get a nasty hangover. Visitors can try kava at local bars or at kava ceremonies, where locals gather to drink and socialize.

8. Discover Nearby Islands

Vanuatu is home to many picturesque islands, each with its own unique culture and attractions. Take day trips or longer excursions to explore nearby islands like Espiritu Santo, Tanna, and Pentecost.

✔️ Book Hideaway Island Escape, Blue Lagoon and Turtle Experience

9. Pentecost Land Diving Festival

The Pentecost Land Diving Festival, also known as the Nagol, is a traditional ceremony that is a very unique experience. During the festival, local men jump from tall wooden towers with vines tied to their ankles, symbolizing a bountiful yam harvest.

My experience snorkeling in port vila vanuatu answers the question, is Vanuatu a good holiday destination

10. Go Snorkeling or Diving

Vanuatu’s clear waters and coral reefs make it a prime place for snorkeling and diving . Explore the underwater world including colorful fish, sea turtles, and a range of coral.

✔️ Coongoola Full Day Cruise Including Moso Island and Snorkeling in Vanuatu

11. Visit the U nderwater Post Office

Located on Hideaway Island , Vanuatu’s underwater post office is a super cute attraction that allows visitors to send postcards from underwater! Snorkelers and divers can post their cards in a waterproof pouch, creating a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Hideaway Island is accessible from Port Vila so it’s an easy day trip to add to your itinerary.

12. Venture to Millennium Cave

The Millennium Cave, located on Santo, is a spectacular cave filled with waterfalls, rivers, and natural rock formations. You will need to take a guided tour to explore the cave and from what I hear it is very physically challenging!

13. Visit the Mele Cascades

The Mele Cascades are a series of waterfalls located just outside Port Vila. Hike through the jungle to reach the cascades, where you can swim in the refreshing pools and enjoy the stunning scenery.

✔️ Discover Cascades and Turtles Sanctuary in Port Vila

Money-Saving Tips

As Vanuatu can be expensive, below are my top money-saving tips when travelling to Vanuatu.

  • Bring snacks from home
  • Chose accommodation with free breakfast
  • Travel with a friend to split the cost of accommodation
  • Travel with hand luggage only
  • Convert AUD to Vatu in Vanuatu to avoid a fee
  • Travel outside of peak times such as May and September
  • Take advantage of free activities such as hiking, snorkeling, and swimming
  • Take the bus instead of a taxi

⭐ Love my travel guides and itineraries? I’m here to design a custom itinerary tailored to your travel dreams! Fill out the contact form below, and let’s plan your dream trip! ⭐

⏬ Custom Travel Itineraries Enquiry Form ⏬

➡️  Learn more about my custom travel itinerary services here .

Where to Stay in Vanuatu

Booking accommodation in Vanuatu can be tricky as there aren’t loads of options, especially budget-friendly options. Plus getting around the islands can be difficult, so picking a good location to stay is essential!

I traveled to Port Vila, Espiritu Santo, and Tanna Island so I have popped my accommodation recommendations below to help you book your stay.

Continue reading my Vanuatu travel guide to read my thoughts on the places I stayed.


I loved my stay at  Breakas Beach Resort,  it was a beautiful beachfront resort with wonderful bungalows.

Breakas is located just south of Port Vila on a 500m private beach. It’s a short drive to shops and restaurants although you won’t really need to leave the resort as it has it all.

Free breaky is included plus there is a range of delicious Italian options for lunch and dinner.

The resort also offers daily activities including cooking classes, live music, fire dancing, and more.

You don’t need to go far to access some great snorkeling at Breakas. I spent the day exploring the reef located on the private beach and it was magical.

Breakas resort port vila

Garden View Bungalow:  $262 AUD  (free breakfast included)

Discover other accommodations in Port Vila

Espiritu santo, turtle bay lodge.

Turtle Bay Lodge  was my favorite stay in Vanuatu.

The owners were so lovely and accommodating, even when my flight was delayed and I didn’t arrive until midnight they still greeted me with a welcome drink!

It is a prime location for snorkeling in Turtle Bay, plus you can borrow their Kayak and head up to the blue holes.

During my stay, I was surprised by a free fire dance performance one evening which just added to my stay.

The food is wonderful, with a range of Italian and hearty pub meals.

turtle bay lodge vanuatu

Double Room, Ocean View, Oceanfront:  $204 AUD  (free breakfast included)

I was even upgraded for free to the Deluxe Double Room which is priced at $308 AUD per night.

Discover other accommodations in Espiritu Santo

Tanna island, whitegrass ocean resort.

On my visit to Tanna Island, I stayed at  Whitegrass Ocean Resort  due to the fantastic range of tours they had on offer including the Yasur Volcano tour and Blue Cave tour.

The resort was very expensive but due to the remoteness of the island, there aren’t many options.

The resort is a short walk to Blue Holes 1 & 2 which are some of the best snorkeling spots on Tanna. Or you can even snorkel right off the beach of the resort, just follow advice from the dive team as it can be dangerous.

Overall, I loved my stay at Whitegrass Ocean Resort, the staff were lovely, the food was divine (although very expensive) and the rooms were clean and comfortable.

Is vanuatu expensive? accommodation is a major factor in the overall cost of travel to vanuatu

Bungalow with Seaview:  $362 AUD  (free breakfast included)

This last resort is extra pricey as it is on a pretty remote island, however, I managed to grab a great deal at work and only paid $278 AUD per night (I work for a travel company).

Discover other accommodations in Tanna

Is vanuatu worth visiting.

Vanuatu is an incredible destination for anyone looking for a unique and  unspoiled holiday experience.  If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, Vanuatu’s natural beauty, including pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and active volcanoes, won’t disappoint.

Immerse yourself in the  rich culture and traditions of Vanuatu , and experience the unique customs and ceremonies that make this destination truly special. A holiday in Vanuatu is a chance to reset your perspective and reflect on all you have to be thankful for.

For those who love adventure as much as I do, Vanuatu offers a range of activities, such as  snorkeling, diving, hiking, and ziplining, all set in stunning natural surroundings.

Importantly,  Vanuatu is committed to sustainable tourism , with many operators and accommodations implementing eco-friendly practices. The locals take great pride in maintaining the land and preserving nature for years to come, and this commitment shows in the  immaculate condition of the reefs, rainforests, and beaches.

Vanuatu has also managed to maintain its  authenticity and charm,  with locals welcoming visitors with open arms and genuine warmth.

It’s truly a great destination for families, couples, and solo travelers alike.

How to Get Around Vanuatu

getting around vanuatu by a rental car

Getting around Vanuatu can be a bit challenging as there are no railways or efficient public transport options on the islands.

However, there are several ways to get around the country which I will take you through.

To island hop in Vanuatu you have to fly via Port Vila . Air Vanuatu offers the only flights to and from the Islands unless you take a private Air Taxi. Just note, that flying to the islands can add up, particularly when you can’t go direct!

When you arrive,  Taxis are available on the main islands of Efate, Santo, and Tanna.  But they are not metered, so it’s important to negotiate the price before getting in and be wary of scammers. Hiring a taxi driver for the day for an arranged price is a common way for travelers to get around. I recommend asking your accommodation to help you book this to ensure you choose a reputable company and negotiate a fair price. Or they may even arrange a private tour driver instead.

You can take buses for generally cheap, but they can be crowded, uncomfortable, and poorly scheduled. It can also be tricky to tell a bus from a regular van.

Lastly, you can  rent a car  on the main islands, but they can be expensive ($100-$180 per day) and driving can be challenging due to the poor condition of the roads. Plus they drive on the right-hand side of the day.

I rented a car for the day in Santo, with the help of Turtle Bay Lodge , and it cost me $180 and came with an empty tank of petrol which only further added to the cost! But it gave me the freedom to explore at my own pace. Just remember to drive carefully and slowly as the roads are in bad shape.

Vanuatu Tours and Experiences Not To Miss!

Vanuatu offers a range of tours and experiences to suit every traveler. Tours are often the best or only way to get to the main attractions in Vanuatu so it’s definitely worth looking into.

Below are my recommended tours to check out.

1. Snorkeling and Diving Tours

Vanuatu has some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the world, with clear waters and abundant marine life. A snorkeling or diving tour can take you to underwater caves, coral reefs, and shipwrecks.

2. Mt Yasur Tour

Tanna Island is home to the famous Mount Yasur, an active volcano that is a must-see attraction. Whitegrass Ocean Resort offers one of the top-rated Mt Yasur tours available, I recommend checking them out.

blue cave tour vanuatu

3. Blue Cave Tour

Take a 40-minute boat ride from Whitegrass Ocean Resort . When you arrive, swim underwater (approximately ½ metre) to enter the turquoise cave. When inside you will see the stunning grotto, which is lit from above, by a shaft of light filtering down through a hole in the cave’s roof – the effect is breathtaking. My absolute favorite experience in Vanuatu!

santo horse adventure activity is $100 - Vanuatu Travel Blog

4. Santo Horse Tour

Spend the morning riding a horse through lush rainforest trails, a gorgeous private blue hole, and finishing along the beach. A wonderful way to see hidden spots in Vanuatu whilst learning a new skill. As a beginner, with no real horse riding experience, Meagan made the whole experience enjoyable. I always felt safe and in control thanks to her guidance!

5. Cultural Tours

Vanuatu has a rich cultural heritage, and visiting a traditional village is a must-do activity. A cultural tour can take you to remote villages to witness customs such as traditional dancing, firewalking, weaving, and kava ceremonies. One of the best places to experience the preserved culture of Vanuatu is on the remote Tanna island. Whitegrass Ocean Resort offers excellent cultural tours that you should check out.

6. Santo Day Tour

If you are in Santo and are short on time, this full-day tour covers the main attractions you don’t want to miss. Experience the blue Holes, Champagne Beach, Million Dollar Point, and Port Orly, all within one day.

7. Port Vila Day Tour

Explore the major attractions on Efate including the Blue Lagoon, swim with turtles, explore the Rarru Cascades, and enjoy an inclusive BBQ lunch. The perfect day trip to see the best of Efate!

✔️ Book a Port Villa Day Tour Now!

These are just some of the tours and experiences available in Vanuatu. Not all the available tours in Vanuatu are listed online, in fact, I found most were organized by the hotels and resorts.

They are generally very accommodating so I recommend talking to your accommodation about your itinerary and they will help you plan it!

Best Time To Go to Vanuatu

The best time to visit Vanuatu depends on your preferences and what you want to do.

The best month to visit Vanuatu is during the dry season, which runs from April to October . During this time, you can expect sunny and warm weather, with little rainfall and lower humidity.

This makes it an ideal time to explore Vanuatu’s beautiful beaches, go snorkeling or diving in the clear waters, and go kayaking or hiking. It’s worth noting that the peak tourist season is from June to August, so expect prices to be higher during this time.

I visited over Easter in April and it was a lot more humid and hot than I had anticipated. Let’s just say it was pretty sweaty and frequent swims and cold beers were essential.

If I were to go again I would wait until the end of May or September.

The wet season in Vanuatu runs from November to March which brings high humidity and heavy rainfall, with occasional tropical storms or cyclones.

While this isn’t ideal the lush tropical vegetation is the most vibrant during this time, and you may be able to find lower prices and fewer crowds.

Where is Vanuatu? 

The best time to visit Vanuatu is April to October during the dry season

Vanuatu is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean.

It is an archipelago made up of 83 islands, l ocated a 2-3 hour flight from Australia,

Vanuatu is also a short 1hr 30 min flight from New Caledon ia and a 2 hr 30 min flight from Fiji.

How to Stay Safe in Vanuatu

how to stay safe in vanuatu - Vanuatu Travel Blog

Safety is paramount when traveling to any destination, particularly when we travel solo.

In my opinion, Vanuatu is a safe destination for all to enjoy.

Below are my top tips for how to stay safe in Vanuatu.

1. Choose your accommodation wisely

If you are traveling solo to Vanuatu like I did, choosing your accommodation is very important for your safety.

Getting around Vanuatu is challenging, particularly as a solo traveler so staying near main attractions you are visiting is essential.

Plus I found the people at all the resorts I stayed at to be super friendly and helpful, particularly at Turtle Bay Lodge . They helped me hire a car, book tours, discover the best spots to snorkel, and even allowed me to purchase cash when I ran out!

When booking accommodation, I would check the reviews and opt for a place that has a tour desk operator and friendly staff.

2. Share your location with a loved one

No matter where you are traveling, I always suggest you share your location with either a friend, partner or family member you trust.

I also share my detailed travel itinerary with this person and make sure to check in every other day. If they are ever worried about my safety, it’s peace of mind knowing they know where I am.

3. Purchase travel insurance

The number 1 tip I continue to stress is,  travel insurance  is non-negotiable. 

If you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel FULL STOP! No buts no ifs. 

It is possible that you may experience unexpected medical expenses or disruptions to your travel plans, so it is important to be prepared with travel insurance.

I flew Air Vanuatu which is notorious for flight cancellations and delays. And yes it did end up happening to me… twice!!

For a 1 week’s trip, I had 2 flights that were delayed by 1 whole day, which meant I had to book additional accommodation and pay for extra meals. Having travel insurance gave me reassurance that if Air Vanuatu wasn’t going to reimburse me, my insurance provider would.

Just make sure to keep your receipts!

Plus, Vanuatu’s health care system isn’t the best, particularly on the islands outside of Port Vila. If you were to injure yourself or fall sick, you may need medical evacuation, which as you could imagine, is a pretty penny.

Travel insurance  is likely not as expensive as you think.

For example, a 25-year-old Australian traveler visiting Vanuatu for 7 days can purchase  travel insurance from World Nomad s for only  $70 AUD!

4. Lock up your valuables

On my trip to Vanuatu, the people staying next to my marquee were actually robbed. They broke in and stole all of their duty-free alcohol.

This could have been a lot worst and just goes to show that break in’s can occur and resorts can be targeted.

Most places have safes so pop your valuables in there, or lock up your suitcase when you leave.

Don’t leave cash lying around and hide your passport in your luggage.

5. Be careful leaving your bags unattended on the beaches

Most places in Vanuatu are generally harmless, but there are a few spots where I’ve been told by the locals to never leave your bags unattended.

These places include Riri blue hole, Metavelu blue on Santo, and blue holes 1 & 2 on Tanna.

Avoid bringing many belongings if you plan on swimming and when you do swim pop your bag on the water’s edge to keep an eye on it.

6. Avoid walking alone after dark

When traveling in Vanuatu, it is essential to be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. Avoid walking alone in dimly lit areas and back streets.

7. Wear lots of insect repellant

Dengue fever, malaria, and the Zeke virus are real risks in Vanuatu.

Make sure to wear insect repellant during the day and at night. If you are applying sunscreen, pop this on first before the repellant.

If you are like me and getting bitten really easily, I suggest visiting your Dr for some anti-malaria medication. It’s an added layer of protection and will give you peace of mind on your trip.

8. Be cautious of the weather

Vanuatu is prone to tropical storms and cyclones during the wet season, so keep track of the weather conditions and follow the advice of locals.

9. Respect the culture

Vanuatu has a rich cultural heritage, and it is important to respect the local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting villages, and ask permission before taking photographs of people or their property.

10. Use licensed taxis

Use licensed taxis for transportation, and avoid getting into unlicensed taxis or hitchhiking.

11. Stay Informed

Keep yourself informed about any security risks, natural disasters, or health hazards by regularly checking travel advisories and the local news.

Things To Know Before You Go: Vanuatu Travel Guide

is vanuatu a good holiday destination

Before you visit Vanuatu, there are a few things you should know to make your trip more enjoyable and hassle-free.

In this next section of my Vanuatu travel guide, I will take you through some key insights into what to expect on your trip.

While the official languages of Vanuatu are English, French, and Bislama , the local language is predominantly Bislama, particularly on the more remote islands. I personally never had any language barriers on my travels to Port Vila, Santo, and Tanna as a lot of the locals learn English at school and are thus bi-lingual.

Vanuatu has a tropical climate with two seasons – a wet season from November to April and a dry season from May to October. Year-round Vanuatu enjoys warm weather.

Vanuatu is also prone to natural disasters such as cyclones, earthquakes, and tsunamis, particularly in the wet season. Check the weather and the local news before traveling to Vanuatu, and follow the advice of local authorities in case of a natural disaster.

The currency used in Vanuatu is the Vatu.

Make sure to exchange your currency at the airport or in the city center before you head to the islands.

Debit/Credit Cards are not widely accepted on the islands and ATMs are very scarce. Don’t do what I did and run out of cash by day 3 with no access to an ATM!


There are no trains or public transport in Vanuatu.

Taxis and buses are available, but renting a car is the best way to explore the islands on your own schedule.

The Ni-Vanuatu people are friendly and welcoming, but it’s important to respect their culture and traditions. Dress modestly, avoid taking photographs without permission, and ask before entering a village or a sacred site.

Mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever and malaria are prevalent in Vanuatu. Make sure to use insect repellent, cover up (if it’s not too hot), and sleep under mosquito nets.

Vanuatu’s cuisine is influenced by its Melanesian, French, and British heritage.

On your trip, try a variety of seafood, tropical fruits, and root vegetables. Don’t miss the chance to try Vanuatu’s famous kava drink.


The electricity supply in Vanuatu is 220-240 volts, with a Type I plug.

If you are from Australia you don’t need to bring an adapter. All my devices were able to be plugged in with no issues.

Internet and phone service

The internet and phone service in Vanuatu can be slow and unreliable, especially on more remote islands.

I used my Optus roaming service which cost $5 a day. It was pretty slow and the coverage wasn’t great but it was all I needed. Combined with decent Wi-Fi at the resorts, I was able to stay in touch with loved ones and get some work on my blog done.

Consider purchasing a local SIM card if you need a strong and consistent connection on your trip.

In depth vanuatu travel blog for your next trip

Is Vanuatu Expensive?

Vanuatu can be expensive, but it can also be relatively affordable if you plan ahead.

I found Vanuatu to have  similar pricing to Australia and New Zealand.

Although the quality of products and services are rarely on par with that of Australia and New Zealand, so you  don’t really get value for money.

Vanuatu is quite expensive in touristy areas, in particular at resorts and restaurants/cafes near attractions.

For a full breakdown of how much I spent on my trip to Vanuatu, check out my  detailed Vanuatu expense guide.

port vila markets

FAQ’s – Vanuatu Travel Guide

If you’re headed to Vanuatu you may have a few unanswered questions.

Below are my answers to some common questions travelers have!

What is the best month to visit Vanuatu?

The most ideal month to visit Vanuatu in my opinion is May.

During this time, the weather is warm and sunny with temperatures ranging from 21 to 32 degrees Celsius and it is just before the peak tourist rush.

The months of June, July, and August are particularly pleasant, as the weather is cooler, but this of course means its peak time.

How many days do I need in Vanuatu?

I recommend a minimum of 5-7 days to explore the main attractions of Vanuatu, such as the stunning beaches, waterfalls, cultural sites, and outdoor activities like snorkeling and diving. My trip to Vanuatu was 7 days and this was the perfect length for me to tick off major bucket list experiences .

However, if you have a specific interest in a particular aspect of Vanuatu, such as its history or natural wonders, and have the budget, you may want to stay longer.

Or if you want to experience more remote areas of the country, and cover more islands, you will need to add extra days to your itinerary to allow for travel time.

Ultimately, the length of your stay will depend on your travel goals, how much leave you have with work, and your budget but if in doubt 5-7 days is a safe bet.

Is Vanuatu better than Fiji?

It’s difficult to say which is better Fiji or Vanuatu . It’s comparing apples with oranges. This is a Vanuatu travel guide but I will try and give you my unbiased opinion!

Fiji is known for its stunning beaches and luxurious resorts. It’s a popular spot for honeymooners and those seeking a relaxing holiday in paradise. Fiji also has a rich culture and history, with traditional villages and ceremonies that can be explored.

Vanuatu, on the other hand, is known for its rugged natural beauty, including active volcanoes, lush rainforests, and pristine coral reefs, making it a popular destination for adventure seekers. Vanuatu also has a unique culture, with traditional ceremonies still practised.

If you’re looking for a luxurious and relaxing beach vacation, Fiji may be the better choice. If you’re interested in adventure and exploring a unique culture, Vanuatu may be more of your style.

Ultimately, whether Fiji or Vanuatu is better for you depends on your personal preferences.

Is Vanuatu good for tourists?

Vanuatu is a great destination for tourists who are looking for an adventure.

From its pristine beaches to its lush rainforests and active volcanoes, Vanuatu is a place that provides a unique and authentic experience.

The country’s rich culture and traditions are also a highlight for travelers. The friendly locals, fresh food, and exciting activities such as snorkeling, diving, and hiking make it a perfect holiday destination.

With its warm tropical climate and laid-back atmosphere, Vanuatu is also an excellent choice for those seeking a relaxing trip.

Is Vanuatu cheaper than Australia?

Vanuatu is generally considered to be a more affordable destination than Australia.

The cost of living in Vanuatu is lower than that of Australia.

However, tourists staying and dining in resorts that are in prime locations will experience pretty similar prices to those in Australia.

This is for numerous reasons such as geographical location, cost to import goods, limited tourism supply, limited competition, and high government taxes and charges.

I personally found prices to be on par with Australia, however, once you factor in international transaction fees, government charges, and the quality of goods and services, the better value does lie in Australia.

Do you need malaria tablets for Vanuatu?

Malaria is present in Vanuatu, particularly in the more remote and rural areas of the country. In particular, Malaria is a risk in Espiritu Santo.

It is recommended that travelers take antimalarial medication. The type of medication will depend on how long you stay and your specific destination within Vanuatu.

I suggest you visit your Doctor or a specialized Travel Doctor for a prescription.

I am incredibly susceptible to mosquito bites so I opted into taking Malaria medication. The medication was around $20AUD and I was required to take one pill for 30 days, starting the dose a couple of days before arriving in Vanuatu.

More importantly, though, you should take measures to prevent mosquito bites from happening in the first place by, using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, sleeping under mosquito nets, and lighting mosquito coils, particularly during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

The Wrap-Up: Vanuatu Travel Guide

And there you have it, my detailed Vanuatu travel guide to help you plan an unforgettable and authentic experience.

In this Vanuatu travel guide, we have covered a lot! From the best things to do, where to stay, some great tour options, a couple of budgeting tips, and my must-know travel tips.

Let me know in the comment section if you have visited Vanuatu or if it’s on your bucket list. Feel free to share any tips or insights I missed!

Read more about travelling Vanuatu: Best Espiritu Santo Vanuatu Resorts Is Vanuatu a Good Holiday Destination? Is Vanuatu Safe For Tourists? Essential Safety Tips Best Port Vila Tours – Top Things To Do in Vanuatu  Vanuatu Vs New Caledonia: A Guide To Choosing Where to Go Is Vanuatu Expensive? Ultimate Spending Money Guide Vanuatu Snorkeling Spots That You Need To Visit!  Vanuatu Vs Fiji? Which South Pacific Destination Should You Travel To?

Pin for Later – Vanuatu Travel Guide

vanuatu travel blog

Thanks for reading my Vanuatu travel guide!

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Olivia McDonald is the avid traveler and creator behind Defining Decade, a travel blog tailored for those navigating their 20s. As an Australian with a rich background in the travel industry, she brings her passion for exploration to life through Defining Decade. Having travelled to 20+ countries, primarily in Asia and Oceania, Olivia shares authentic stories and practical tips on her blog. Whether you work full time, are a digital nomad or an aspiring entrepreneur, Olivia will show you how to travel more in your 20’s.

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