Vanuatu officially has two seasons – the wet and the dry. The wet season (November to April) has the warmest temperatures (around 30 degrees) and higher humidity, with intermittent heavy rainfall during this time. The dry season (May to October) has average temperatures in the mid to high 20s. Locally, we call that winter.
BUSINESS HOURS / SIESTA
In the Capital, Port Vila, offices and shops usually open from 7.30-11.30am and 1.30 – 5.00pm Monday to Friday. Many shops open on Saturday morning. Local general stores open seven days. Siesta (lunchtime) is 11.30am – 1.30pm when many businesses and shops close. Restaurants, cafés, supermarkets, banks and the Port Vila market remain open.
Vanuatu Post has locations throughout the country, some shared with the National Bank of Vanuatu. The Port Vila Post Office is open Monday to Friday 7.30am – 5.00pm and Saturday 7.30am – 11.30am, for stamps, parcels, postcards, express mail service, facsimiles, phone cards, and souvenirs. In Santo, the Post Office is open from 7.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday and 7.30am – 11.30am Saturday.
Visitors do not need vaccinations, but anti-malarial medication is recommended for travel to the outer islands. There are several private doctors in Port Vila and hospital facilities in the capital and in Santo. Medical clinics operate throughout the outer islands. Pro Medical is a reliable private ambulance service operating in Port Vila and Santo, Ph 115. There are qualified, professional dentists as well. Urban water is safe to drink.
Vanuatu time is GMT/UMT plus 11 hours.
CURRENCY / VAT
Vanuatu’s local currency is the Vatu (VT). Australian dollars and credit cards are widely accepted in Port Vila, however the outer islands prefer Vatu. There are branches of the National Bank of Vanuatu throughout the country, Westpac and Bred Bank are in Port Vila and Santo where currency can be exchanged from Monday to Friday. Goodies foreign exchange is in three locations in Port Vila. VAT is charged on goods and services.
220 – 280 volts, mainly three-point plugs in hotels.
Roaming is available for most international visitors. Contact Telecom Vanuatu Ltd or Digicel for roaming information.
VISAS AND ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
All visitors must have a return/onward ticket and a passport with a six-month minimum validity beyond their arrival date. For stays up to 30 days, nationals of Commonwealth and EU countries, Fiji, Japan, Norway, Philippines, South Korea, Switzerland and USA do not require visas. To extend permits (up to four months maximum) contact the Immigration Department Ph: 22 354 Fax: 25 492
Passengers over 18 years of age may bring into Vanuatu duty free:
250 cigarettes or 250g tobacco or 50 cigars; 1.5 litres of alcohol or wine; 250ml eau de toilette; 100ml perfume. Duty free goods can be purchased on all Air Vanuatu international flights, at the airport or the duty free shops in Port Vila. Please ensure your duty free allowance meets international laws governing the carriage of liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) should you be on an international connecting flight on your return trip home.
TRANSPORT / TRAVEL
Driving in Vanuatu is on the right hand side of the road. Cars and 4WD vehicles are available for hire. Buses are a great way to get around town. Any minibus with a red B on the number plate will take you on its route in central Port Vila for 150VT and trips further afield start at 200VT. Some taxis can be hired for a full or half-day, for sightseeing or trips around the island. Air Vanuatu flies to the outer islands of Vanuatu and has flights to Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Nadi, Suva and Noumea. Air Vanuatu’s Sales Office is open Monday – Friday 7.30am – 5.00pm, Saturday 8.00am – 11.30am.
Ph: 23 878/23 848 Fax: 26 591
Australian High Commission
P.O. Box 111, Port Vila
Ph: (678) 22 777 Fax: (678) 23 948
European Union EC
P.O. Box 422, Port Vila
Ph: (678) 22 501 Fax: (678) 23 282
Ambassade de France
P.O. Box 60 Port Vila
Ph: (678) 22 353 Fax: (678) 22 695
New Zealand High Commission
P.O. Box 161, Port Vila
Ph: (678) 22933 Fax: (678) 22 518
Papua New Guinea Honorary Consulate
P.O. Box 594, Port Vila
Ph: (678) 23 930 Fax: (678) 22 439
Swedish Honorary Consulate
P.O. Box 169, Port Vila
Ph: (678) 22 944 Fax: (678) 22 944
People’s Republic of China Embassy
PMB 071, Port Vila
Ph: (678) 23 598 Fax: (678) 22 730
Wake up in Vanuatu
Maybe you’re reading this magazine poolside because you were tempted by the Vanuatu Tourism Office’s recent ‘Wake Up In Vanuatu’ campaign in Australia.
The VTO is the organisation responsible for promoting beautiful Vanuatu to outsiders but, for tourists, once you’ve landed they are also there to help you get maximum enjoyment from your holiday.
The AU$255,000 campaign was designed to wake up Australian commuters caught in the daily grind to the possibilities of an island holiday just a short flight from home.
The ‘wake-up’ themes the VTO emphasised were adventure, happiness and freedom and of course Vanuatu.
Who wouldn’t want to hop on a plane and indulge in a bit relaxation in the Pacific’s happiest country?
As the question went ‘Tired of not waking up on island?’ Now you have done just that, why not pop into the VTO’s office on Port Vila’s main street and pick up a few tips on what this amazing country has to offer for holidaymakers.
From dining to accommodation to adventurous experiences on one of their many islands and insights into the unique culture, the VTO has a comprehensive knowledge of everything Vanuatu.
Our picks for the perfect Vanuatu holiday include visiting the big island of Espiritu Santo for its stunning beaches (Champagne Beach and Golden Beach are favourites); the Blue Holes of Riri River and Nanda and the custom villages of Fanafo.
The island of Tanna, home to the eponymous Oscar nominated film offers adventure seekers the chance to stand on the crater of an active volcano, swim in magnificent caves, visit traditional villages and meet people completely removed from the modern world.
Port Vila is home to the Pacific’s best restaurants and duty free shopping and of course home to the national brew, Tusker.
Try the fabulous Tamanu on the Beach for a great lunch and visit the Mama’s markets on the seafront in town.
From eco tours to land diving, weddings to nightlife choices, spas to scuba diving and fishing, the VTO will direct you to the best on offer.
And don’t forget for all your inter-island travel see Air Vanuatu Island Tours for day trips to the outer islands. www.airvanuatu.com
The Havannah, Vanuatu
The Havannah is by far one of Vanuatu’s most exclusive resorts, constantly winning international industry awards.
The 30 minute drive from Port Vila takes you through Vanuatu’s biggest village, Mele and past the beautiful Mele Cascades.
The impressive tree-lined entrance greets you at The Havannah and immediately you know, this is next level adults only accommodation.
Choose from beachfront villas with private plunge pools, semi outdoor bathrooms and enough living space to totally unwind and relax, or the private access pool rooms and garden villas.
The emphasis is on space and relaxation at The Havannah and sure, you can paddleboard, snorkel or sail direct from the resort’s jetty on the beautiful white sand Samoa Point, or you can simply lay in a sunlounger with a good book.
The Point restaurant is the only part of the resort open to the public, so visitors are welcome for lunch and dinner.
Enjoy Vanuatu’s famed beef, freshly caught lobster or fish and Port Vila’s best dessert and wine selection. www.thehavannah.com