Crime rates are low, but increasing. Burglaries are often accompanied by violence. Make sure you lock doors and windows at night. Street crime is also increasing and you should avoid making yourself an easy target, especially at night. There have been a number of attacks on tourists at nightclubs and bars in Port Vila. Check with the Vanuatu Tourist Office or your hotel on places where extra caution is required.
There have been several serious attacks on foreigners, including lone women, in isolated locations. Avoid visiting remote tourist sites or beaches alone. Where possible, travel as part of a larger group.
You can drive in Vanuatu on your UK driving licence. General driving standards are below those of the UK. Many vehicles, including public transport, are in a poor state of repair and may not be insured. Many roads are not properly surfaced, so extra care should be taken when driving on them, particularly in heavy rain or after a prolonged dry period.
Inter-island travel by the domestic airline (Air Vanuatu) is very expensive and subject to delays. Vanuatu’s outer island routes are serviced by small aircrafts, and airports and airstrips have quite basic facilities.
Boat services between the islands are infrequent and can be unreliable. Inter-island boats should have a current sea-worthiness certificate, but many don’t.
Seek local advice from the Provincial Council Office and elsewhere before swimming in the waters off Vanuatu, particularly around the islands of Malekula and Espiritu Santo. Sharks are known to be present in these waters and deaths have occurred.
Many visitors to Vanuatu take part in water sports, including scuba diving and snorkelling without incident. However, deaths and serious accidents have occurred because basic safety measures weren’t taken. Safety precautions and emergency responses may be less than those expected in the UK.
Vanuatu has two hyperbaric recompression chambers to provide medical assistance for dive-related injuries, both located in Port Vila.
Make sure your travel insurance policy covers you for the activities you take part in.
Party politics in Vanuatu is in a continuous state of flux with frequent splits and coalitions. Although slowly diminishing, the Anglo/French divide continues to be important in politics, with parties generally being either predominantly anglophone or francophone.
The President serves a five year term. The current State President, Baldwin Londale was elected in September 2014.
14 MPs have recently been convicted of offences relating to corruption.
You should take extra care around political gatherings and follow instructions from the local authorities
Mobile phone services
There is a GSM mobile phone service in Vanuatu and you should contact your service provider to establish whether your phone will work in Vanuatu. Alternatively, SIM cards may be purchased from the local telephone company (TVL).