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A Vanuatu guide for the budget conscious traveller

Vanuatu, with its mesmerising white sand beaches, breathtaking volcanoes and world-class diving opportunities, consistently tops many traveller’s bucket lists for the South Pacific. And who are we to argue! We can see definitely see why.

A gem of the archipelago, planning a holiday to our beautiful destination need not wait. As a place not just for the rich & famous, traveling to Vanuatu on a budget is easy. With our handy money-saving hints and a jam-packed, week-long Vanuatu itinerary that doesn’t break the piggy bank, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying a well-deserved holiday in our beautiful slice of paradise. We’ve prepared a comprehensive travel guide to Vanuatu for a wonderful seven day, a whirlwind trip for the budget-conscious traveller.

How long do I go for?

For those both time and money conscious, you can enjoy a rich and full Vanuatu experience in just 7 days. Although you don’t get to experience all that our country has to offer, you can do, see and enjoy enough in your trip to get a real taste of Vanuatu! Plus you should still have some money left over to afford your rent at the end of the trip too.

How to get there and where do I go to first?

Handy tip: Keep an eye out for flight deals & packages! Air Vanuatu offers great flight deals and discounts through social media channels so be sure to like the Air Vanuatu Facebook page to keep up to date with our latest flight specials and promotions.

Fly directly into Port Vila and enjoy all that Efate Island has to offer from the minute you step off the plane. You don’t need to immediately leave the mainland and visit the outer islands (like other island nations) to enjoy the beautiful scenery and major tourist attractions. Efate Island is great for markets, nightlife, families, road trips and resorts so spend the next two days exploring the island and enjoying the local culture and serenity. Don’t forget your camera or iPhone to grab that perfect Instagram shot.

Book accommodation through AirBnb as not only is it affordable, but it is an amazing way to authentically experience the island and save your pennies. Be sure to hit the local grocery store and use kitchen facilities at hand instead of dining out. Handy tip: the owners can be a wealth of information on the city and country and may even show you around for free!

Where to next?

As Vanuatu is made up of over 80 islands and so you really could go anywhere. However, to make sure you see and do the most of what is on offer, we suggest heading over to Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu’s largest island. Be sure to fly as traveling by boat is i) not too comfortable, ii) just as expensive as flying and iii) wastes a whole day of your week long trip. Time is precious!

Santo is world-renowned for its great beaches and water activities. Try your hand at a bit of snorkelling or scuba diving, or for those who are happy to simply relax, the white-sand beaches will be sure to keep you happy. Bring your own snorkel so you don’t have to rent one to save a few dollars!

From Santo, you can also enjoy a day-trip to either Tanna Island or Ambrym Island (we have handy island guides for each). Day trips to Tanna Island can be as cheap as $34 dollars, so the value for money is awesome. If you do venture to Tanna, you must try their famous coffee which is grown in volcanic soil.

For accommodation, locals are more than willing to have you stay in their home. Not only is this the best way to experience the real ni-Vanuatu culture, but also you will probably leave as an honorary member of the family. Before your stay, it is important that you and your host talk about compensation – you need to be on the same page in order to avoid misunderstandings.

And what else?

With only a few days remaining, head back to the mainland and explore the compact but energetic town of Port Vila before setting off home. You’ll be flying out home (sadly) from Port Vila so make the most of being in town! Vila Bay has a series of lagoons and beaches you can enjoy for free. Walk the main streets which offer up a supply of souvenirs, markets, and waterfront restaurants and cafes with some lingering French influences before it’s time to say goodbye to Vanuatu.

Look up Couchsurfing sites online for accommodation. There are typical hosts available (locals and expats) in the bigger cities so anyone who is part of this global network should give this option a try. One thing’s for sure: It’s free and you get to know very interesting people.

To get around town, your best options are share-buses, hitchhiking and hiring trustworthy locals to drive you. Taxis can be cheap if they use the meter. However, many taxi drivers try to charge you inflated prices after claiming their meter. Should that be the case, a bus is always an option.

Air Vanuatu operates direct and indirect international flights to and from Vanuatu. Check out the schedules and airfare for more details.