Citizens from all Commonwealth countries, European Economic Community member countries..Travel Health
As a beautiful tropical to subtropical paradise, most visitors have a trouble-free..Local Currency
The currency of Vanuatu is the vatu (VUV or VT), with no smaller units in use. Banknotes..Weather
Vanuatu’s climate ranges from tropical to subtropical with a wet season lasting from..Local Customs
Visitors to Vanuatu find the locals warm, friendly and welcoming. Vanuatu’s population..Languages
Vanuatu is regarded as the most linguistically diverse nation on earth, with over 100..Transport Options
Located 6km north of Port Vila, Vanuatu’s international airport is called Bauerfield...Travel Tips
Beware of souvenir sellers who raise their prices when cruise ships are in dock. Many of..Local Food
Vanuatu’s cuisine combines fish, root vegetables (taro, yams, sweet potatoes), and a..Local Timezones
Vanuatu has one time zone. It is eleven hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+11) and..Dutyfree Limits
Passengers over 15 years may bring in 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco or 50 cigars or..
Visitors to Vanuatu find the locals warm, friendly and welcoming. Vanuatu’s population is 98.5% Ni-Vanuatu, the name for the indigenous inhabitants of this region who are mostly Melanesian. Consequently, culture in Vanuatu is very strong, but also quite diverse with many regional cultural variations in customs, traditions and artwork plus influences from Europe, Asia and other Pacific islands.
One of Vanuatu’s main cultural events takes place on Pentecost Island every Saturday from April to June. Based on a local legend, ‘naghol’ or land diving is a traditional fertility rite where young men ‘bungee jump’ from tall towers with only vine tied to their ankles. Tourists cannot participate but find this ancient ritual a breathtaking spectacle to watch. In northern Vanuatu, ‘Nimangki’ is an important cultural ceremony involving the slaughtering of pigs in a ritual where locals publicly give away their wealth. The island of Malekula is well-known for its fascinating ceremonies and dance with island inhabitants giving colourful and entertaining performances as ancestors or mythical figures. The traditional music played at cultural ceremonies often revolves around the ‘tamtam’, a traditional slit drum, intricately carved from a hollow log. Vanuatu is also known for its adaptation of popular songs into ‘string band music’, which combines ukuleles, guitars and beautiful voices.
Christianity is the predominant religion and it is common for ni-Vanuatus to invite visitors to attend church services on Sundays. However, traditional beliefs involving magic, spirits, demons and mythical figures still abound in Vanuatu. Throughout Vanuatu, ‘kastom’ strongly influences everyday life. ‘Kastom’ is a set of traditional taboos and customs affecting many areas of life that locals adhere to strongly. Tourists are advised to be aware of ‘kastom’ and always respect any requests made by the locals under ‘kastom’ laws.
In Vanuatu, it is advisable to wear clothing that is not too revealing, especially when visiting traditional villages. If you venture onto private land, you may be asked to pay a ‘visitor fee’. Always ask before leaving public roads and areas, as land ownership can be a very sensitive matter in Vanuatu. It is also advisable to ask permission when taking photographs that include local people and children. Many villages have a clubhouse or ‘nakamal’ where men congregate to drink ‘kava’, the Polynesian herbal drink reputed for its stress-relieving and relaxation attributes. It is also common for villages to have areas that are male or female-only, and tourists should respect these areas when visiting.
Tipping is not expected in Vanuatu, although many tourists do leave tips for exceptional service or quality. Generally speaking, haggling or bargaining is not practised. The price advertised in shops and markets is usually the price paid.