Revision as of 15:42, 31 July 2015 by Mrkvon (talk | contribs) (added interlink to Philosophy)
Jump to: navigation, search

Vanuatu is a country composed of more than 80 islands of various sizes and shapes, 60 of them being inhabited. The official language is Bislama, a sort of pidgin English and everybody speaks it. Because it is so similar, it is not very hard to communicate in English as many people know it. Other than that, Vanuatu has been a French colony and you will be surprised to find from time to time someone that studied in a French school and who will enjoy sharing a few words with you. As well, there are about 110 different languages in all Vanuatu (real languages, not only variations), so people often speak their dialect between them.

250 000 people live in this peaceful country, 50 000 living in the capital city Port Vila on the Island of Efate. Every island has a different name, the main ones being Efate, Malekula, Pentecost, Espiritu Santo often called Santo, Erromango, Ambrym, Tanna and Epi. You will not find big cities in Vanuatu, only the capital Port Vila and Luganville on Espiritu Santo are a bit city-looking-like.

Although very poor, ni-Vanuatus or ni-Vatus (inhabitants of Vanuatu, literally "of Vanuatu") are considered as being one the happiest population of the world. Except in the capital island and on Espiritu, electricity is rare. Some persons of the villages, usually the chief or the shop owner, own a generator or have solar panels to make a few light globes work some hours at nightfall. Otherwise people use electric torches to move around in the village. So don't come to Vanuatu without an electric torch ha ha!!

Ni-Vatus posses land, grow food on it and build their houses every few years so they are autosfficient. But one of the only income they have are tourists, to afford a solar pannel for example. Depending on your way of travelling and philosophy, it can be a solidarity gesture to accept paying for a guide, to pitch your tent on their field or other. Every village has a chief, a respected person elected by the villagers. whos role is to manage the issues concerning the village. Sometimes they are generations of the same family, but if the chief is not doing the job right, they can very well change to find a better one. It is a tradition to go and meet the chief when coming into a village.

Located not far from the Equator level, day starts at 6am and night falls at 6pm, no matter what time of the year. Because of the lack of electricity and the short days, people live with the sun and go to bed to what can seem early for Westeners (rarely later than 10-11pm). Climate is almost always nice, some periods a bit more rainy than others but nothing crazy. This changes of course from the most Northern island to the most Southern.

In Vanuatu, there is nothing to be afraid of: no snakes, no dangerous spiders, no weird animals, no dangerous people and no sharks (or very rarely). Only birds and some lizards before White man arrived with cows, dogs, cats, pigs and chicken.

All information below has to be taken with a large range of appreciation, as every island is very different mainly depending on the amount of tourist that visits it: infrastructure, frequency of the boats and flights, access to internet and electricity, etc.


Find info on hitchhiking at Hitchwiki.

From island to island

Vanuatu is composed of islands so there is, as you might guess, water in between. There are thus only two ways to travel from the one to the other: by boat (ferries and hitching private sailing boats) or flying. It can be a nice idea to combine all these options, otherwise you can be stuck for a while on one island


It is very expensive, but flights are quite regular and fast. Well, fast like small planes are, but speed doesn't matter on Vanuatu because you live on island time, which means veryy sloowlyyy. From an island to the other, you will pay one way easily between US$50 and up to US$200. It can be an experience though, because these are very small planes (few dozens of people), you really fell like flying, landing on what is supposed to be a takeoff ramp the only service being 2 guys chilling in the shadow at the arrival, people carrying machetes in the plane, etc. If you want to visit several islands as a cheap traveler, your budget will explode.


Ferries are cheaper (maybe half the price? Need confirmation), but they can be less reliable as they might not leave on the scheduled date depending on the weather. They are less regular and much slower than the flights, sometimes once a week and it will take you several hours, maybe a day to reach your island. The ferry stops on all the islands in between to make people jump in or go out. But they are a lot of fun to go on, people sleeping everywhere, and usually not many tourists on it!


A great way of moving through Vanuatu! A lot of these private sailing boats are moving through the different islands of the Pacific like Vanuatu but as well Fiji, New Caledonia and more so you might want to try to ask the owners if they can give you a lift to the next island they are going on. It might not be the island you wanted to visit, but oh well?! If possible, you can try to ask a local if they have a kayak or a traditionnal wooden kayak and then hop from boat to boat. And don't forget to bring the kayak back ;)

Moving inside the same island

Lot of the islands are small and thus walkable. Many of the islands have no concrete roads, just dirt roads. You will be in the middle of nowhere, you can have a swim whenever you feel like it, sometimes passing by a small village. Be careful not to get lost in the forest, even though you will not struggle to find coconuts and fruits growing everywhere. Usually on the small islands, there are not more than 1, 2 or 3 cars, used only to transport people or material, and they might want you to pay like everybody else. You can always negociate, it is up to you to see if the reward is worth the effort. On the bigger and more touristic islands with concrete roads, you can hitchhike as there are quite a few tourists. The local cars are very often some kind of common buses, but you might get lucky as ni-Vatus are very nice people

How to get to Vanuatu by flight

There are two airports, Port Vila and Luganville. Check both of them as the price can nicely vary between them. Luganville can be a better choice if the prices are similar as there are a bit more stuff to see on the island Espiritu Santo

How to get in a out of Vanuatu hitchhiking a boat

There a two ports that alllow check-in and check-out of the country: Port Vila and Luganville. It can be a nice idea to go from North to South or the other way around to visit the country more than making a circle which can be very time consuming. In between the islands, private boats sail almost all year because winds are ok and you could be lucky and even find a boat leaving to New-Zealand, Australia or New-Caledonia.


Ferry Big Sista From Port Vila to Luganville, stopping on the two islands Epi and Malekula. Port Vila-Santo is 900v (US$90), Port Vila-Epi is 500v (US$50)

Air Vanuatu The only company flying from an island to the other, but hey have international Pacific flights as well


{{#ask: Transport type::bus Connects country::Vanuatu|intro=* Bus: }} {{#ask: Transport type::train Connects country::Vanuatu|intro=* Train: }} {{#ask: Transport type::plane Connects country::Vanuatu|intro=* Airline: }} {{#ask: Transport type::ferry Connects country::Vanuatu|intro=* Ferry: }}


Find info on hosp ex at Couchwiki.

Here again, Vanuatu has two different aspects between Port Vila and Luganville as with the rest of the country. See the Port Vila article for more infos

In the big cities

You will find some hostels, or people hosting tourists that will cost you around 150v-200v a night (US$15-20). Otherwise, try to walk around the cities which are really not big and ask some houses to be hosted. People are very friendly and welcoming as long as you don't say anything bad about there country (for most, Vanuatu is the best country in the world although they never traveled ha ha). You can as well walk further out of the city and find a place to pitch your tent. Ask before to put your tent, see below why.

Hospitality networks are limited (37 people in all Vanuatu in January 2015 on Couchsurfing he he)

On the islands

Tent or outside

There is plenty of space everywhere for tents, but ni-Vatus are land owners and proud of it. It is very impolite to sleep somewhere without asking the owner or someone that will bring you to the owner. And even in some places that seem far away from everything, someone might pass and see you, and be assured that all the village will know it in a few minutes. You cannot really get in trouble, at most the owner will try to get a bit of money from you, but for the good sake of travelers reputation and ni-Vatu kindness, better ask before. Quite a few locals will want to charge you for pitching your tent on their piece of land, but you can negociate a nice price maybe including meals with them.


Many locals offer bungalows to rent for a night. Most likely you will not have internet, maybe not even electricity but they are pretty comfortable, however a bit pricy for the nomad traveler. Costs around 200v/US$20 a night

Meet fellow travellers on hospitality exchange networks: Trustroots


Find info on dumpster diving at Trashwiki.

Climate is very nice to grow food in Vanuatu, so many fruits like coconuts are growing everywhere and really easily. People own land and therefore grow their own food making them having very few expenses. There is a big chance to be regularly invited to eat "laplap", Vanuatu's most traditional meal, with the locals. You can also buy bread from the village baker whenever he feels like making some. But be quick because all the village is waiting for it! Local grown food is thus quite cheap all over the country, whereas the rest has to be imported from Australia or else, making all Western products expensive.

The general rule is quite simple: what is local is cheap or free, what cannot be produced in Vanuatu is expensive.

Beer is either expensive, warm, unfindable, or any combination of these three. Ni-Vatus traditionaly don't drink alcool at all.

To balance the lack of alcool, you should try the kava (pronounced karva), a local non-alcoolic drink! Made out of roots, it is very traditional to drink it without having eaten as a shot, some time around nightfall after a good day of work. The taste is, well, you will make your own opinion. It gives for a short time, several minutes to half an hour, an effect comparable to cannabis. But if you travel in Vanuatu, you will experience it no worries


Ha ha.... On the main islands and in the capital, yes there are some internet cafés, or cafés with free Wifi. Other than that, forget about your internet updates. The government tries to put some satelites to get internet in the schools, but better not having any expecations...

They have a pretty nice phone coverage, some with internet included. You might want to check this out if you can't live without updating your pictures every second day

How can I charge my electronics if there is no electricity on the islands?

On a lot of the small islands, there is not electricity except in some places, at the shop or the school for example. Go and ask the locals where to charge your electronics. They might charge you a bit for that as they need to run a generator, which is pretty fair


There is a big chance it will not work anywhere else than Port Vila or Luganville thanks to the tourists' wallets.


Vanuatu Tourism Office - Visa page: Most of the countries do not need to have a visa when entering the country, like all Commonwealth and European countries. A stamp will be put on your passeport when entering, allowing to stay 30 days, with possibility of extension up to 4 months. 30 days can be short, especially seeing the speed of transportation if you are not flying from island to island.


{{#ask:In country::Vanuatu}}

add a city

Travel destinations

{{#ask:in country::Vanuatu }}

add a location

See media related to Vanuatu.