Top events in Vanuatu

July
01

This charity event is the only annual race meeting in Vanuatu. Thursday is the Race Ball, Friday sees The Calcutta and Saturday is Race Day....

August
01

The original race (1995) was designed as a ‘bush stroll’ for families but it is now a very competitive event. There are sections for adults (30km...

August
01

Held in late August annually, the field is open to visitors providing proof of handicap. The Port Vila Golf and Country Club is an excellent 18-...

Iririki, Vanuatu
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Iririki, Vanuatu

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Vanuatu Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

12,190 sq km (4,707 sq miles).

Population

261,565 (2013).

Population density

21.5 per sq km.

Capital

Port-Vila.

Government

Republic. Gained independence from the UK/France in 1980.

Head of state

President Iolu Abil since 2009.

Head of government

Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil since 2013.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Australian-style plugs with three flat, angled plugs are used.

“Discover What Matters” is the current slogan of Vanuatu Tourism slogan and whilst visitors certainly can enjoy colourful cocktails, fine resorts and swaying palm trees, the focus is on exploring and discovering what the country has to offer and, in the process, discovering more about yourself.

The islands are an adventure enthusiast's paradise and the geologically active archipelago is a natural playground of colourful reefs, bubbling volcanoes and lush jungle. Visitors can drive up to the crater of Yasur, cited as the most accessible active volcano in the world, sea kayak round the islands' shorelines, explore underwater WWII relics, or hike and bike through coconut plantations and tropical rainforest.

Those less inclined to exert themselves can relax on the many beautiful beaches, sample the multicultural cuisine in the capital, Port-Vila, or charter a boat from one island to the next. Tourism is centred on the islands of Efaté, Tanna and Espiritu Santo. International visitors arrive in Port-Vila, on Efaté, and from here can travel by boat or plane to explore the rest of the country.

Warm and welcoming, the local people come from over 100 villages spread across the 83 islands of the tropical archipelago. With a rich (and sometimes mysterious) traditional culture, the ni-Vanuatu people greet visitors as friends, introduce them to ‘island time’ and share their knowledge and love of the country that was officially named ‘the happiest nation on the planet’.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 29 March 2015

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Crime

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 y 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 by yourself. Where possible, travel as part of a larger group. 

In the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Pam there are reports of isolated looting.

Road travel

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.

Air travel

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. 

Sea travel

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.

Swimming

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.

Political situation

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, Iolu Abil, was elected on 2 September 2009. 

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).

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