Port Vila, Vanuatu

Vanuatu which means ‘our land’ has an independent status as a country and is a small paradise in  the Pacific. Composed of close to 100 volcanic islands, this island is blessed with natural beauty with long rainy seasons lasting almost all year round; there is rainfall almost every month. The cooler months start in December and end in April of the next year. It is best to visit and explore this country in the months of June through November.

Location: Vanuatu, Pacific
Size: 12, 190 sq km
Capital: Port Vila
Largest Cities: Port Vila, Luganville
Climate: Although blessed with rainfall throughout the year, the rainy season and cyclone season starts in December and ends in April the following year. Vanuatu’s tropical climate lasts for about nine month usually starting from May to November interspersed with hot rainy weather.
Population: Approximately 286,429 people

Language: Bislama, French, English

Religion: Protestant, Roman Catholic, other Christian belief, indigenous beliefs

Literacy Rate: 78%

Government Type: Unitary parliamentary republic

Head of State: Prime Minister

Land Borders: All islands, bordered only by water
Currency: Vanuatu Vatu (VUV)
Natural Resources: manganese, hardwood forests, fish
Main Agriculture: copra, coconuts, cocoa, coffee, taro, yams, fruits, vegetables, beef, fish
Main Industry: agriculture, tourism, offshore financial services, and cattle raising
Electricity: 240V AC, 50Hz
Time Zone: GMT +11

Country Tel. Code: + 678
Visa/Passport: Australian visitors to Vanuatu need a passport valid for six months, a return ticket, and enough funds for their stay. They can stay up to 30 days and can be extended for another 30 days at the Australian High Commission in Port Vila. A visa is not required.
Airport: The current International airports of entry are Bauerfield Airport on Efate, and Pekoa on Espiritu Santo. These airports are situated roughly 10 minutes from their island’s city centres, being Port Vila and Luganville.
Departure Tax: International departure tax for flights leaving Vanuatu is VUV 3,000 per person (over the age of 12) which is included in airfares. A separate, provincial departure tax of 200vt applies for departures from the following domestic airports: Bauerfield – Port Vila, Siwo Airport – Emae, Pele Airport – Tongoa, Valesdir Airport – Epi, Laman Bay Airport – Epi, Pekoa Airport - Espiritu Santo, Whitegrass Airport on Tanna. This 200vt is not included in domestic fares and must be paid separately.
Getting Around: Catching a local bus is a welcome surprise and experience. It is one of the most affordable options. Taxis are available and cheap. Local flights are available within airports.
Credit Cards: Major credit cards are widely used in Vanuatu especially in major hotels, restaurants and stores. ATM facilities are available only in Port Vila, Efate & Santo but tourists can use their credit cards.
Drinking: The legal drinking age is 18. A local drink kava is very popular but tourists are advised not to drink kava from villages due the water that was used. It does not mix well with alcohol and usually has a sedative effect.
Shopping: Business hours are between 7.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday with ‘siesta’ time from 11.30 am to 1.30 pm. Some shops close during siesta hours though supermarkets, banks and the post office remain open. Larger supermarkets remain open until 7.00 pm. Some shops and supermarkets are open Saturday mornings until 12 noon. Most shops are closed on Sundays, except on cruise ship days when shops in Port Vila are open.
Tipping: In harmony with Vanuatu Custom neither tipping nor bargaining are practiced in Vanuatu.