Vanuatu was one of the key countries in my world tour since I saw a great report on TV. Everything seemed so great that I absolutely had to include it in my trip!
Vanuatu is a country of 80 islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is part of what is called Melanesia.
We chose to visit the following places: Port Vila (Capital) on Efate Island, Espiritu Santo Island, Banks Islands with Gaua and Torres Islands, Ambrym and Tanna. We had almost a month and left in October 2019.
We chose to trek for three days with camping gear. The site is no longer accessible as it was a few years ago because of the collapse of a crater. As a result, the hiking path has become a loop and all the craters are no longer accessible.
The provocative outfits are to be avoided. Clothes too short for girls are to be avoided too and the “top less” to banish; respect the population, you are not home there.
Vanuatu is expensive. If you do not have a budget, forget about this destination right away. There is no point in coming to “zone” and do no activity. Find out about accommodation rates and activities before you take your plane tickets.
There are distributors Sur Santo and Efate and in big cities. On the other hand think to take a lot of cash if you go on the other islands.
Camping and “zoning” homestay to sleep in his garden are not the custom here. Avoid doing this so that people are not embarrassed. There are however some campsites but not everywhere. Inquire well.
Internet & Tel
You can buy a local SIM card with internet and phone communication, both of which are separable from each other. For example for 1000 vts (almost 8 euros) you with about 30min of communication; and for 3000 vts you have 6GB of internet for 30 days. But the internet will not work on Ambrym …
Do not be surprised if the people you live with do not dine with you. It’s their way of showing you that they respect you. They will wait until you have finished and you have left the table to clear and dine in turn.
Watch out for the fish!
Do not eat fish unless you’re sure it’s fish that has been caught in the open sea. The coral is infected with a parasite that will give you what they call in the Pacific, the “scratch”. You will have, at best itching, at worst, in addition to that, vomiting vomiting and diarrhea. All this will be accompanied by an intolerance for a good year to all fish and alcohol! Be careful !
Air connections are with Air Vanuatu. Most flights depart from Santo Island; there are no flights to all islands every day. You can see the schedule of flights on the site of Air Vanuatu. The flights usually last less than two hours.
For travelers on domestic flights departing from Port Vila, a provincial tax of 200 vts per person will be payable after check-in.
Pay attention to the weight of domestic flights. You are allowed only 10 kilos in hold and 5 kilos in hand luggage. At last news the supplement was 159 vts per kilo (not very expensive).
There is a tax of 200 vts to pay from Ambrym. Remember to take a photo or copy of your airline ticket reservation, it may be required.
Do not be afraid to visit Ambrym without having booked accommodation, you will find something! After talking with locals I had the opportunity to find new places to stay! Here are the contacts:
* Sam’s bungalows
This is where we stayed. Sam David is the owner of great bungalows (I mean great because we had one with a private shower and toilet, and although the water was cold (you get used to it) it was nice not to have to walk fifty meters to pee!). The bungalows are five minutes walk from Craig Cove Airport in the village of Wuro. The space has been very well laid out for tourists. Sam and his family are very friendly and speak English. There is a beautiful beach five minutes walk. The meals are good.
Warning: I repeat it here, do not eat fish unless you’re sure it’s fish that was caught in the open sea. The coral is infected with a parasite that will give you what they call in the Pacific , the “scratch”. You will have, at best itching, at worst, in addition to that, vomiting and diarrhea. All this will be accompanied by an intolerance for a good year to all fish and alcohol!
What: For a year now it’s no longer possible to hike from Craig Cove to Ulei. The airport has even been closed. A large earthquake caused landslides at one of the volcanoes making access impossible and very dangerous; lava flowing into the sea in places. Now the hike is on one of the two volcanoes, the Benbow (1159m), but from there you can still admire the other, the Marum (889m), on a clear day.
How: The departure is from Port Vato in the south of the island. We will take you there by jeep. It takes approximately one hour from Craig Cove. Then you will have several hours of walking to “West Camp” where you will leave your things for the night. You will return to Benbow (or another small volcano) and then return to camp overnight. The next morning you will see Benbow if you could not do it the day before and you will go to your bungalow.
Rate: The rate for three nights full board including two in a bungalow at Craig Cove and tent in a shelter (you must bring your sleeping bag and your mattress and buy water extra), cost in 2019, 24000 vts per person. But it varies depending on the contacts who are told to go to Sam … prices may be lower!
Note: you will leave with few things because you can leave a business at the lodge. Take a lot of water because it is very hot.
There are some black sand beaches where the water is very clear because instead of having sand, the ground is covered with corals. It’s nice even if it stings a little feet.
What: There is a lake that has formed mysteriously (people believe in magic on the island) and that appeared after a volcanic eruption that destroyed the hospital on which it is currently located.
How: From the village of Wuro there is 40min by boat. Ask your accommodation to arrange the tour.
Note: There is a bungalow on the site where you can stay sleeping. You can also swim and borrow kayaks.
What: Hot springs in the sea.
Where: It’s a private area in a village.
How: From Craig Cove, go to the airport. Once in front of the airstrip, turn left and go to the end of the trail until you find a small path. Borrow it and as soon as you find the path that goes right take it. You will arrive on a village. Walk along. You will arrive at another village where you will ask the chief if you can swim.
Price: 500 vts for bathing.
Tip: You have to go at low tide.